Andrew Snope was understandably giddy when he stopped running about 11 a.m. Saturday morning.
After all, he had been running almost non-stop for 24 hours on the track inside the Alaska Dome – his only down-time came for a half-dozen bathroom breaks.
And he had broken the world record for distance covered in 24 hours while running barefoot.
Snope, 28, of Savannah, Georgia, covered 136.98 miles, topping the previous standard of 131.43 miles, which New Zealand's Peter Wayne Botha posted in 2013 in Auckland.
"You feel pretty ecstatic,'' Snope said early Saturday evening as he sat in a chair trackside. "Your senses are really heightened.
"To take a shower is ecstasy. To sit down is mind-blowing.''
The most grueling race at the Dome this week is the six-day race – that's why the event is called Six Days at the Dome – and it drew about 40 runners, who will wrap their 144 hours about 11 a.m. Sunday. There have also been 24-hour and 48-hour competitions.
Snope said that although he didn't take up running until less than three years ago, he's always been active – hiking, rock-climbing, skateboarding. Inspired by the book "Born to Run,'' which is in part an ode to minimalist running – barefoot or sandals – Snope found he had a talent for the sport.
He says he's still never owned a pair of running shoes. Twice, he said, he's won certificates at races for a pair of running shoes, but never cashed them in.
Snope, who races either barefoot or in sandals, favors running barefoot.
"It just informs my form,'' he said. "My running is all about efficiency, and that's why I'm able to run long distances in relatively short periods of time.''
At home, he runs barefoot on asphalt and concrete, or on the beach. He also does speed-work on grass. Snope said he likes to get in a morning run, then, often, a late-night run after his shift as a bartender.
As he circled the track Friday, five hours into his 24-hour session, Snope looked remarkably light on his feet. And 24 hours on the track didn't seem to damage his feet – afterward, the bottoms of his feet were not blistered, cut or scraped.
Saturday, Snope said he initially planned to take a run at the 24-hour barefoot record next year, but moved up his schedule because the Dome presented a forgiving surface and a controlled climate.
He said he got a good eight or nine hours of sleep Thursday evening, which he needed for his run at the record. Snope for several days earlier in the week served as the race cook, which kept him so busy he estimates he slept perhaps seven hours in the span of more than three days.
And with the feeding station located trackside, far from the kitchen at the Dome, he said making big pots of pasta required a half-mile round trip and some heavy lifting.
"The least feng shui kitchen you can imagine,'' Snope said with a grin.
Snope was scheduled to fly out of town Saturday night, headed to vacation in Ecuador, where he planned to hike, surf, kayak and raft with a friend.
After delivering a world-record, one-day performance on foot, he was headed for another long day, this one traveling by air.
"About 24 hours,'' he said.
Alaska Dispatch Publishing