Students at Liberty University find every way possible to be Champions for Christ. Junior Math major Scott Taylor proved his champion qualities as a runner last weekend when he became the youngest competitor to finish this year's Grindstone 100-mile Ultramarathon in the Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.
The Grindstone is known as the hardest 100-mile ultramarathon on the East Coast, covering 100.2 miles.
Taylor started training in May, running 80 to 90 miles a week and keeping to a strict diet. His five months of training paid off with a 43rd finish out of the 62 participants who were able to complete the race; there were 83 runners in all. Taylor began running at 6 p.m. on Friday and finished at 1:55 a.m. on Sunday for a total of 31 hours and 55 minutes.
Taylor had great support from Liberty. His Advanced Running teacher, Dr. David Horton, known around Liberty as "The Runner," came out at mile 66 to cheer him on. His friend Jaime Azuaje ran the race as well, and three friends from Liberty assisted by running alongside him and offering food, drink and clean clothes. The rest of the time all Taylor had was a headlamp and the light of the moon to keep him company over the mountainous terrain.
“Grindstone was really the start of something that I hope to continue,” Taylor said.
Taylor, originally from Michigan, ran three years for his high school’s cross country and track team. His first marathon was the Richmond Marathon in November 2007, after which he declared to never run again because of the excruciating pain. His love for the sport kept him going, however, as he ran the same marathon the following year.
Upon coming to Liberty University, Taylor decided to continue pursuing his passion for long-distance running with Horton’s help. He enrolled in Horton’s class, which is known for being extremely demanding. As part of the class, all students are encouraged to run a 50K.
“Dr. Horton’s class made me love running again, and that was what it was about for me,” he said.
Taylor plans to race in the Mountain Masochist trail run in November, and Hellgate 100K in December, and then hopes to run another 100-mile ultramarathon in May.