Run for four miles.

Now do it again, and again … and again.

That’s what 83 people did at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester on Saturday.

Some are still doing it. Again, and again.

“I’m excited to see what the day brings,” said Travis Bashaw of Auburn before the start of the Last Man Standing Ultramarathon. “How long can I talk myself into going back to that line.”

The idea behind the Last Man Standing is you start on the line on the hour. If you finish the 4.2-mile course within the next hour, you go back to the start line and go again.

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The person that does the most laps — the last man standing — wins the “golden ticket,” an invitation to the world championship of “backyard ultramarathons.”

“One more, one more, one more — until you can’t say one more is how it works,” said Bashaw.

“Thirteen loops. If I can get that I will be pumped,” said Bashaw. “That will put me over 50 miles” and in bed by 2:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

Fifty miles won’t win Bashaw the made in Maine deck chair and the 29 pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. It was a standard 30 pack, but the race organizer keeps one for himself.

Nope, the beer and the chair to drink it from will go to the man or woman who will complete at least 30 laps, predicts Ryan Metivier. “I’m expecting big numbers. “I’ll be shocked if it doesn’t get above 130 (miles),” said Metivier.

Metivier of Auburn completed 27 laps for 113 miles during the 2019 Last Man Standing race, good enough for second place. He trained for this year’s event, but an injury kept him off the course Saturday.

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Instead of competing, Metivier crewed for his wife, Melissa. “My wife did it for me last year so I owe her one. She did it for me for 27 hours last year,” said Metivier. “Melissa wants to be the first girl to get 100 miles. I’m fully expecting her to get 100,” said her proud husband.

“There is a small percentage of people that can run 100 miles in 24 hours,” said Metivier. “It’s way more mental than anything. At some point you’re in just as much pain as everyone else.”

So, it’s a matter of who can work through the pain, explained Metivier.

“It’s very much a head thing,” said Dave Chapman of Starks. “You have to decide if you’re going to keep going. You have to get beyond the pain.”

Chapman said he has no hope of winning the 30-minus-one pack of beer. “I have not made it to 8 o’clock yet,” said the five-time participant.

Race promoter Eric Cobb of Back 40 Events says that many will pack up at 8 p.m. Saturday after running for 50 kilometers. “Those are the backbone of the event,” Cobb said those who make 50K their goal. Those wanting to run for 50 miles will finish at midnight and then there are the competitors that push beyond 100 miles, a full 24 hours after the start of the race.

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“That’s when it starts to get interesting,” said Cobb, who only expects there to be five or six people left in the race at the 100-mile mark. “That’s when the race starts.”

“I am mentally prepared for 200(miles),” said defending champion Jason Bigonia of South Bristol. “I am aiming to win.”

Bigonia won the 2019 race with 28 laps, one more lap than Metivier. Metivier was hoping for a rematch, but the injury put his hopes on hold.

“I am the fittest and lightest I have ever been,” said Metivier. “Just bad timing.”

Each participant has somewhat of a base camp setup. A chair, extra running shoes and socks, lots of nutrition and plenty of water. Hanging in Bashaw’s base camp is a baseball jersey that belongs to his younger brother. Damon Bashaw wore the No. 3 jersey while playing shortstop and pitcher for his high school baseball team in Vermont. The jersey has not been worn since Damon was involved in a car accident, leaving him a quadriplegic.

“When the struggle gets real, I will think of what he is going through,” said Bashaw.

Racing in the Last Man Standing is “kind of like life,” said Chapman. “There are good times and there are bad times.”

“Every bad lap is followed by a good lap,” Cobb said over the loudspeaker. “So don’t give up.”

“It’s quite an experience when you finish this race,” said Metivier. “You know that you have pushed yourself to a different level.”


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