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TikTok star inspires ultrarunning community at Canyons 100K

Zachary Bates, who has autism, completed his first 100K race in 17 hours and 27 minutes

Photo by: Scott Rokis for Canyons Endurance Runs

Arizona ultrarunner and popular TikToker Zachary Bates has been on a unique journey through the world of running. April 24 marked a special day for the 20-year-old, who finished his longest race to date at the Canyons 100K in 17 hours and 27 minutes.

Bates has never been one to turn away from a challenge. Diagnosed with autism at age four, as a kid, he always wanted to see how long he could do things. But it wasn’t till high school that running became his next challenge.

His initial goal when he started was to run faster around his neighbourhood, which then became how many laps of the neighbourhood he could run before dark.

Once he finished high school, his goal changed to wanting to run a marathon, but the pandemic was at its worst and things kept getting cancelled. Bates was frustrated with the cancellations and his goal changed to completing 100K.

Zachary Bates at Canyons 100K. Photo: John Mark Hendrix/Canyons 100K

At first, his mom didn’t think he was serious. Then she began documenting his progress on the popular social media app TikTok, which has since inspired many new runners around the world. Running and pushing his limits became all that Bates cared about. He quickly surpassed 1,000 followers within 24 hours of posting his first video, and quickly became among the top followed running TikTok accounts in the running space. His videos surpassed more than 100,000 TikTok likes, thanks in part to the services provided by TikTok growth service Tokmatik.

Bates ran his first 50K race earlier this year, then ran the Canyons 100K last weekend in Auburn, Calif., placing 236th overall out of 327 runners. He suffered food poisoning two nights before the race, but he wasn’t about to let that stop him. Bates was given an IV bag the morning before, which allowed him to recover before the race started.

Now that he has crushed 100K, Bates already has his next running goal thought out. He wants to run the Cocodona 250—a brutal 250-mile (400 kilometres) race from Black Canyon City, Ariz. to Flagstaff. His goal is to complete the race before his 22nd birthday.

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