Sixty-three miles into the Honey Badger 100 Mile Ultra Road Race in Cheney, KS, Guthrie Head Cross Country Coach James Strahorn hit his lowest point. With the race leader in sight, Strahorn couldn’t take it any more; he had to stop. 

“It was my lowest point in the whole race,” Strahorn said. “It was the first time that I had to stop and sit down and take a break.”

Battling the heat, Strahorn resorted to dousing himself in water every few miles. The strategy worked in regulating his body temperature, but it also caused his socks and shoes to become soaked, creating painful blisters on the bottom of his feet. 

“At mile 63, I had to stop and take my shoes and socks off and take a break,” Strahorn said. “I soaked my feet in some ice water and let them air dry before starting back up.”

With a renewed focus and fresh pair of socks on, Strahorn knew if he was patient enough and ran his race, he could catch the leader. Seven miles later, Strahorn passed race-leader Chris Hines and never looked back. 

“I knew that if I was patient enough and if it was meant to be, he would come back to me,” Strahorn said.

Over the course of the next 20 miles, Strahorn put together his best stretch of the race, putting pavement between him and second place. Strahorn crossed the finish line in 20 hours and 11 minutes. He had to wait three hours and 23 minutes for Hines to cross the finish line in second place. 

“When I passed him to take the lead, I knew that it would be tough for anyone to catch me at that point,” Strahorn said. “It was such a great feeling when I took the lead, that I just kind of zoned out. I passed him with 30 miles left, so anything could happen at that point. I tried to be as aggressive as possible on the finish.”

Strahorn entered the weekend seeking redemption after failing to finish the race last year. As he crossed the finish line at 2:11 AM, he couldn’t help himself as he hugged the race director. 

“I was as emotional as I could’ve been at two in the morning,” Strahorn said. “I kept telling myself two more miles, two more miles. Once I finished, I gave the race director a big hug. I told her that I didn’t finish the race last year and she said that she remembered me. It was a really awesome feeling.”

Strahorn will now turn his attention towards the Guthrie High School cross country teams, as they return one of the best boys and girls squads in Class 5A. But once the season ends, he’ll get the chance to compete in the North Face Endurance Challenge, which is invite only. 

“I’ll have the opportunity to travel to San Francisco to run in the North Face race and I’m extremely humbled by that,” Strahorn said. “There are so many talented people in that race that I would have to run my absolute best to finish in the Top 100. I’m just honored that I will have the opportunity to run in it.”