Nov 11, 2008

Horton history — Professor perseveres through 50k

by Anthony Barone

“Health is more valuable than learning; without the former, the latter couldn’t exist,” Thomas Jefferson said. Such a sentiment is especially true for Liberty students and faculty who recently competed in a 31-mile race.

On Nov. 1 at 6:30 a.m., several runners from the United States, Canada and Spain, including Liberty University students and Liberty professor Dr. David Horton, competed in the 50k (31.1 mile) Mountain Masochist Trail Run ultra-marathon.

An ultra-marathon is a race in which runners travel more than 42.1 kilometers, or 26.2 miles, according to“The course itself is a challenging combination of roads, jeep trails and single track that can cause even the most experienced runner to breathe a sigh of relief at the finish line,” Clark Zealand posted at

The race started in Lynchburg and ended in Montebello, Va.

Horton started the event in 1985, when a student approached him and asked him to start one.

Horton, 58, directed the race for the first 23 years and has now “turned the reigns over to Dr. Zealand.”

This year he participated in the event for the first time since its inaugural year.

“I thought it was the perfect time to run,” Horton said.

First place went to Eric Grossman with a winning time of seven hours and eight minutes, according to

The last time Horton competed, he placed first with a time of around seven and a half hours, this year completing the run in less than 10 hours.

Horton is motivated to run because the Lord has given him a talent to run, he wants to lead by example and it increases quality of life.

Students said they were amazed by the event, but only one said he would even consider such a feat.

“I would be there cheering on the runners,” alumni Sean Langille said.

Horton’s running career includes 30 marathons, at least 160 ultra-marathons and more than 130,000 miles.

He participated in a national race that began in Los Angeles, Calif. and ended in New York City and also ran the entire Appalachian Trail.

When asked about what training is needed to participate in such an event, he explained how he normally tries to run 10 miles a day and before the big race about 100 miles a week.

“I’m addicted to running,” he said.

He also noted how one should probably run 20 or more mile practice runs a few times before the actual race.

Horton will direct the upcoming ultra-marathons including the Hellgate 100k in December and the Holiday Lake 50k in February.

“I hope the day I die, I had a good run,” Horton said.



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