Markus Ernst, physical therapist and owner of TurningPoint Medical Group in Colorado Springs, takes the challenge running 100 miles to raise awareness for Brain Injuries and Brain Disorders.
The “Race across the Sky” in Leadville, CO is a 100-mile race through the Rockies with elevations ranging between 9,200 feet (2895 m) and 12,600 feet (3840 m). To ascend and descend 15,600 feet (4,800 m) is the ultimate challenge and counts as the hardest running event in the world.
Markus Ernst, a former Triathlete from Germany, moved to Colorado 6 years ago. A year after hearing about the Leadville 100 trail run, the run became his dream to start this epic race and to finish it.
Markus specializes in brain rehabilitation in his clinic, TurningPoint Medical Group, and works every day with people suffering from brain injuries and brain disorders. This has lead him to dedicate his start at the 2017 Leadville Trail 100 Run to the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC). Markus states that, “people do not understand what it means to have a brain injury. In which most cases are an invisible injury.” Markus himself suffered a severe concussion in 1994 after he crashed his bicycle going 40 mph downhill during a Triathlon. He reflects, “Imagine, you drive up Pikes Peak with your car and the engine only has 50-60 percent of its performance; that is how you feel with a concussion.”
The goal is to raise awareness for brain injuries and brain disorders and to raise money for the BIAC. The BIAC is the go-to resource for help and services for survivors of an injury to the brain, their families, and providers. Their mission is to give guidance, resources, support, and education to loved ones and those who suffer from brain injuries. BIAC’s goal is to facilitate lifelong recovery of Coloradans affected by their condition.
We asked Markus some questions about the race
Why run 100 miles through the Rocky Mountains?
Is there really an answer why someone wants to run 100 miles, maybe not? It is testing my limits to find out if I can do it. It is my nature to challenge myself. Is it not part of human nature? I enjoy running, especially in the mountains; I can relax when I am running and it keeps my brain “free.”
Is it fun to run 100 miles?
I do not think so. Maybe on the first 50 miles, but the last 50 miles will be filled with pain and a lot of motivation from the support team.
What does it take to run 100 miles?
Running 100 miles takes serious preparation with a rigorous training schedule, including running up to 70-75 miles per week. I am a physical therapist and run a clinic, so I usually work at least 40-45 hours minimum per week. My answer for “What does it take to run 100 miles?:” A wonderful wife who supports and sacrifices quality time with me for the next 6-7 months. It also takes a great support team for the race. I only have to run 100 miles, but the support team always has to know where they can find me on the trail. They must make sure I get enough nutrition, help with minor injuries, and provide motivation. If the support team fails, the runner fails too.
“It is only a hundred miles for me but it is an endless trail of recovery for most people with brain injuries and brain disorders.” Markus Ernst.