Sunday, February 7, 2016

Emma's First Ultra: Skydive 2016

Hi I am Emma Radley and I am 11 years old. On Saturday January 30th 2016 I ran my first 50k at Skydive Ultra. My dad, Justin Radley, his girlfriend, Jill Bunnell, and I drove to the race in Clewiston, Florida on Friday night. That night we hung out with our friends, The Thompsons. The 150 mile race started at 5:00 and we knew some of the people running it like Tim Schaum also called, The Llama. We camped in our tent that night and we got up the next morning and got ready for the race. The Llama gave me a blue shirt that said “I love ultra running”. The race is called Skydive because another activity available is skydiving. My dad skydived with a really nice instructor named Lead. After he skydived we started the race. Jill did the 10k with Julie Thompson, CB “Pops” Thompson, and Kaitlyn Sanders. We ran laps that were 7.2 miles long, 3 miles before an aid station and 4.2 miles after the aid station. The teenagers who were helping out with Kristen Beck were really nice and helpful. In my first lap it took me 41 minutes for the 1st half and an hour and 2 minutes in the 2nd half. The 1st half of the 2nd lap took 1 hour and 4 minutes and the 2nd half was 1 hour and 5 minutes. In the 1st half of the 3rd lap it took me 56 minutes, the 2nd half took 1 hour and 3 minutes. The 4th lap took 56 minutes in the 1st half and 1 hour and 15 minutes in the 2nd half. After that I had to do a half lap so I actually ended up doing 32 miles and that last half lap took me 48 minutes. My total time for the race was 8 hours and 53 minutes. I accomplished my goal of 8-9 hours. Once I finished the 1st half of the 3rd lap I ran ahead of my dad and ran with The Llama and Carla Simonet back to the main aid station. I asked The Llama why that is his nickname and he said that llamas are very strong and that they can carry a lot of weight and go places that people can’t go, and that sometimes it is cool to have a silly nickname like llama. When we got back to the aid station the really funny race director, Eric Friedman helped me find a pacer. For my 4th lap I ran with David Barnes and Kimberley Gates. When we were running we talked about what we liked about running and Skydive. They asked me why I had wanted to do Skydive and I told them that my dad and I had volunteered the year before and I really liked it so he signed me up to do Skydive as my 1st 50k. We talked about different food that we like at races and they offered me their very last piece of homemade pizza. David had a mini camera and he took pictures and a video. A few days later I found the video on YouTube! For my very last half lap I ran with Omer Leibovich. We talked about important running things like calories, electrolytes, and pacing yourself when you run. Once we got to the aid station I had to run a little bit farther to the timing mat and then I was done. We waited for my dad to get to the aid station, and then I took off my chip and ran to the finish with him. Jill was also there. She had drove to the aid station down a 1 mile road from the main aid station and she drove my dad, Omer, and I back to the main aid station. When I got back to the aid station Jamie Woyton made me a banana chocolate marshmallow burrito on the grill. It tasted really, really good. After that, Eric gave me my medal. Once I finished my burrito I got my hat from The Llama that said “I love ultra running”. That night I went to bed about an hour after I finished and then I woke up the next morning. We stayed until about 12:00 then we left. We got to watch some 150 milers finish but we left before everybody got to finish. Skydive Ultra was an awesome experience, we had so much fun, and I am glad that we went. I am so glad that I finished my 1st ultra race and 50k at Skydive and I plan to keep running ultra-races. Some of my next races are the Oscar Scherer 25k, Croom Long Play Half Marathon, and the Save the Daylight 12 hour race, and my goal is to run 40 miles. I plan on going back to Skydive Ultra next year. Video from David Barnes:


  1. You are so amazing! My 9 year old son was surprised that you ran 32 miles. I know your daddy is proud of you. We are all proud of you! Keep running...keep have many miles ahead of you, and I know you'll be a shining star!!!

  2. Congratulations Emma, you are an inspiration! Skydive Ultra was my first 100 miler and it was so cool to see you out there doing your first 50k! :)