Vidakovich column: A 240-mile change of pace

Mike Vidakovich
Brian Passenti on the trail at the Moab 240 Endurance Race.

“The hardest distance to cover is the distance between your ears.”

                                             — Glenwood Springs ultra-marathoner Brian Passenti

When Glenwood’s Brian Passenti goes out for a run, he may not come back for a few days. His latest jaunt started on Friday morning, Oct. 7 at 6 a.m., and lasted until 3:52 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10. He covered a total of 240 miles in that time and came in 11th out of 248 starters at the annual Moab 240-mile Endurance Run. Passenti’s official finish time was 81 hours, 52 minutes, 21 seconds.

“I had a really good couple of days there and things just came together for me,” said Passenti, who bettered his time from the same race in 2020 by an astonishing 14 hours.

Passenti, who works part-time as a surveyor at a local engineering firm and runs his own online running coaching business, said he ran with the mantra, “We are so fortunate to be able to do what we are passionate about,” during the entirety of his nearly four days on the mountainous trails and dirt roads of southern Utah.

He went into this year’s race with a better training base and a determination to make up some lost time from the same event two years ago.

“The main goal was just to finish, but to try and get a better time than in 2020,” Passenti said. “I wanted to have a better overall experience this time. I suffered quite a bit the last go around.”

Passenti had a friend in a van meet him at five designated spots along the race course. This is where he tried to get some sleep and refuel his body with some solid food other than energy gels and nutrition bars that could be carried with him.

“I probably got a total of about 5 hours of sleep in those four days. When I felt really tired on the trail, I would lie down in the dirt and try to sleep for 10-15 minutes to reset the sleep pattern in my head,” said Passenti, who refers to these brief sleep interludes as “dirt naps.”

He plans on heading back to the Moab race in 2024, but next year on his running docket is what Passenti refers to as his “redemption year.”

“It’s just a culmination of past events that I did not finish,” he said.

With his jobs and a wife and small children to look after, Passenti has to manage his time well in order to get in the type of long runs that are required of someone who makes tackling the ultra runs his specialty.

“I work hard at my running training and I’m sometimes on the road all hours of the day and night,” Passenti said. “It certainly is a balancing act to manage all the things I have going on.”

Passenti finished ahead of all of the 167 runners who lasted until the end of the race in Maob except 10. He had a strong finish in the last 40 miles this year, going from 21st place to 11th and running most of the way in, while others were relegated to walking.

“I felt pretty strong at the end,” Passenti said.

It’s a good bet he will complete his 2023 redemption tour in fine fashion, and be even stronger when he returns to Moab in 2024.

Glenwood Springs native Mike Vidakovich is a freelance sports writer, teacher and youth sports coach. His column appears on occasion in the Post Independent and at

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