American ultrarunner Justin Young recently completed a days-long run tracing the entire circumference of Hawaii‘s Big Island, where he lives. He completed the run as part of the Go Big ultramarathon, although he was one of only two competitors signed up for the 420K race (50K and 100-mile options were also offered). Young won the race, which was in its first year, closing out 2020 with a bang and the fastest known time (FKT) on the race route, dubbed the Big Island Circumnavigation. His course and route record now stands at three days, three hours, 52 minutes.
As Young noted in his post-run report on fastestknowntime.com, there was a race on a similar route around the Big Island that took place in the 1990s. This was a five-day stage race, and Young said that the Big Island Circumnavigation hasn’t been completed since then. While the Go Big race had a set course, it didn’t have a scheduled start. As outlined on the event website, runners in the Go Big 260-Miler could start any time between 5 a.m. on Boxing Day and 5 a.m. on January 4. Racers did, however, have to coordinate their start times with event organizers before setting off.
Ultimately, Young’s only competitor in the 420K race, which featured more than 5,000m of elevation gain, was Russ Reinbolt of California, who finished in three days, 17 hours, 42 minutes. After the run, Young took to Facebook to write down his thoughts on the race. “I’ve been asked why many times,” he wrote. “I know it is cliché, but it makes me feel alive. And I love how this event seems like such a big deal, and it is, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s so meaningful and pointless at the same time.”
Young averaged 10:49 per kilometre throughout the run, which is pretty solid for such an arduous route. While the Go Big 260-Miler is the longest race he has completed (according to his UltraSignup profile), he’s no stranger to ultramarathons. In 2020, he ran three other ultras, including the infamous HURT 100 in Hawaii, where he placed 16th overall. He also won a 100K and finished fifth in a six-hour race, both also in Hawaii.
In his Facebook post, Young wrote that he had been planning on attempting the Big Island Circumnavigation for a while, and he had seriously considered giving it a shot in October. That didn’t work out, though, but when the Go Big race was announced, it made perfect sense for him to enter. “[There were] a few divisions, including a 50K and 100-mile option, but I knew I had to attempt the 260 around the whole island,” he wrote. “I knew I had my opportunity.” He made great use of that opportunity, not only completing the route, but running into the record books with one of the final FKTs of 2020.