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Ultrarunner falls and breaks nose, carries on to win Bandera 100K

Katie Asmuth didn't let a hard fall and a bloody nose stop her from finishing her race

Photo by: Instagram/kt_runshappy

American ultrarunner Katie Asmuth had a race to remember at the Hoka One One Bandera 100K in Texas on Saturday. She won the race, which is noteworthy enough, but she did so after falling and breaking her nose about two thirds of the way through the run. Instead of calling it quits and dropping out of the race, she shared a laugh with everyone around her, stuffed a tampon up her nose to slow the bleeding and carried on to run the final 35K or so. She crossed the line in 9:25:00, taking the win by more than 10 minutes over second place. In the men’s race, Texas runner Ryan Miller ran to the win in 8:10:08 in the first ultramarathon of his career. 

Taking a tumble 

“Wasn’t the most glamorous or graceful of races, but we got it done,” Asmuth wrote on Instagram after the race. Luckily for her, ultrarunners are rewarded for their grit rather than grace, which is why she came away with the win. As she noted in another Instagram post, the Bandera course is “super rocky and technical in parts,” which led to her unfortunate (but, as she said, memorable) trip and tumble, which occurred at an aid station around 64K into the race. 

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“From cheers and cowbells to… silence,” Asmuth wrote. “And blood dripping from my face and knees. A volunteer saved my race [with] a tampon that I stuck up my nose for the next 20 miles.” She said she took the event motto of “No whiners, wimps or wusses” to heart as she trucked through the final chunk of the race toward the win. 


The race was a huge success for Asmuth, but she almost didn’t go. She signed up for the run in June, but she wasn’t sure she would be able to run due to the consistently high COVID-19 numbers in California (where she lives) and across the U.S. Asmuth works as a nurse practitioner, and as she explained in her Instagram post, she told herself she would only go to the race if she got both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in time. “And miraculously, it happened,” she wrote.

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With her top result, Asmuth won a Golden Ticket to the 2021 Western States 100, which is set to take place in June. “The adventure is just beginning,” she wrote. “Now the real work begins.” 

An exciting debut 

A seasoned road runner (he has a marathon PB of 2:14:27 and qualified for the previous two U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials), Miller only started trail running in 2020, but he seems to have quite the knack for it. In November, he raced the USATF Trail Marathon Championships, finishing in eighth place.

The Bandera was his debut ultra, and despite being about two and a half times farther than he had ever raced before, he crushed it to take the overall win and book his spot at the Western States 100 beside Asmuth. “Was today a dream?” Miller wrote on Instagram after the race. “Everything came together today in the most beautiful way I could have imagined.”