Jared Yuhas, 29, is training for a 100-mile run. He’s taken on the challenge as a way to motivate himself to run as often as he can.
“Everything feels better after a hard run,” he says. “I’m at peace.”
Before the run, however, there’s “always a small dread.”
“It’s not a pleasant process, for the most part,” Jared explains. “You feel great. You hit a wall. You can’t go on. You do. The next few miles feel great. Then horrible. It’s an unpredictable mental battle.”
In the battle he seeks a “bullet-proof mind.”
Born in New Jersey, Jared is the third of eleven children. His mother teaches fifth graders in Queens, NYC; his father left the scene when he was 8. A stepdad came on the scene, not to his liking, and Jared felt “on his own” by age 13.
His passion is for mixed martial arts. By age six, Jared was a wrestler. Later, a boxer. He experienced many victories and encountered extreme lows. Fatigue, in the act of sparring.
“Being tired and getting punched in the face is the worst feeling ever,” says Jared.
It’s what drives him to run.
He runs on his lunch breaks — 3 miles up the hill in Nike Zoom running shoes. Usually 10-15 miles after work. He goes to the Gilbert hills for sprints, does six mile loops around Tempe Town Lake. Close to the event, he trains most in the San Tan mountains where the terrain is similar to the race track.
One thing consistent about Jared’s running is that it’s “always solo.”
“Train for loneliness,” he says. “I’m a blackbelt in that.”
Jared credits running for calming him and benefitting “every part of life.”
“I find a park, get out of my car, run 10 miles or so,” he says nonchalantly, “I feel better, emotionally and physically.”
Running strengthens, he says, “the will to push forward.”
“An obstacle can be overcome,” he asserts. “When it gets uncomfortable, that’s when most people quit, but that’s when it’s just getting started.”
The Move to Arizona
“It was a shocker,” says Jared, “I arrived in July.
He made the move cross-country in 2011, at age 19, with a new girlfriend and a plan to live with her mother. The adventure left him heartbroken, laid off, and living out of his car in the valley. He bounced from one construction job to another, working as an electrician. He rented a room on craigslist and used his car to drive for LYFT.
A housemate told him about Freeport and the copper mines. He applied. A month later, on a visit home to New Jersey, he got a call from Freeport-McMoran. Could he be there for an interview on Wednesday? Yes. Jared got in his car and drove three days straight across the country and into the interview.
He got the job and works for FMI as an Industrial electrician apprentice. Nearly a year later, gratitude for his boss Manny flows freely from him.
Looking for his next challenge, a buddy suggested Jared try running a marathon. It seemed “too normal” for Jared, but got him researching long-distance running events. He signed up for the Beyond Limits Ultra (BLU) 100-miler in California, Apr. 2-5.
It will be his first running race ever. The race runs through wildlife preserves in the San Jacinto Mountains, at a “comfortable” altitude of 4500 ft. There is a 32-hour time limit for completing the 100-mile race. Participants are provided campsites close to the course, but Jared’s not planning to sleep.
“If I stop, the muscles seize up,” he explains. “It’s better to keep moving.”
Jared is aware of the risks in the attempt, to his body and life, and takes them seriously. The run, he says, requires constant awareness of what could go wrong, mentally, physically. To know the symptoms and how to respond.
For most, running a 100 miles without rest would seem impossible. But Jared knows that what is impossible, is temporary. It’s tattooed on his left forearm. The idea keeps him going when he hits a wall, and is affirmed each time he breaks through to a new level.
“I’m thinking of it as a 10 mile run,10 times,” he says with a smile.
The Plan Changes
On March 16th, Jared learned via email that the BLU multi-day race was being postponed until September. Disappointed, but not deterred from his goal, Jared will forge ahead.
“Trained too hard to not do it,” he says; it’s just a matter of when.
“Not waiting until September,” he texts, ”I’ll find another race.”
A traveler, Patti Daley came to Globe in 2016 to face the heat, follow love, and find desert treasure. She writes in many formats and records travel scraps and other musings at daleywriting.com.