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Man runs nearly 50 miles for ‘Richmond Challenge’

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 4:47 PM EST
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Running a full marathon is an athletic feat of its own, but some are truly taking it to the next level by running the “Richmond Challenge” - a full marathon, half marathon and 8k.

According to race organizers, almost 100 people have signed up for the challenge, including Richmond native, Fernando Ordaz.

“Roughly around 46 miles,” Ordaz says about the grand total of mileage for the challenge.

The Richmond Challenge allows runners to do all three races on different days but in the month of November.

“It definitely takes a lot of willpower. Not just physical strength, but mental strength,” Ordaz said.

He had a scare just two months back with a sprained ankle, which happened while playing basketball with a friend. It left him unable to run for a week. To stay mobile, however, he spent time biking and using elliptical machines to maintain his endurance.

But hard training isn’t new to him, as he’s been racing since 2017:

“The first 10k I ran in an hour and six minutes, and then my most recent one was forty-four minutes.”

Ordaz's first completed race, The Monument Avenue 10k, back in 2017.
Ordaz's first completed race, The Monument Avenue 10k, back in 2017.(Fernando Ordaz)

Going back further, he says running would never have crossed his mind.

“I used to weigh 240 pounds, and I took it upon myself to drop it all. I decided to get on a treadmill, walk, and push myself a further distance.”

Older photo of Richmond Marathon runner, Fernando Ordaz when he weighed over 200 lbs.
Older photo of Richmond Marathon runner, Fernando Ordaz when he weighed over 200 lbs.(Fernando Ordaz)

And at only 25 years old and three marathons under his belt, he’s hoping others can find that same drive that pushed him to take those first strides.

“If you’re going to get into it, just take it slow. Don’t worry about time at all. Get on a treadmill, get on a bike for sure, cross-train, drop that weight, and then see how you do on the track or outside,” he said.

He adds that after completing the challenge, he hopes to continue racing to become faster and eventually qualify for the New York or Boston Marathons.

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