Edwards’ Franklin Reilly runs for COVID-19 relief
Local runs 100 miles on 21st birthday
Most people celebrate their 21st birthday by throwing back a few beers — if not to excess. Edwards’ Franklin Reilly did something a little different.
The Battle Mountain alum who is finishing his junior year at Williams College, where he’s majoring in both physics and statistics, ran 100 miles to raise money for the Food Rescue Express in Eagle and the Our Community Foundation to help those affected by COVID-19.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Reilly had raised $8,667 of his goal of $10,000 on his gofundme page.
“I’m on the Nordic and track team at Williams, and track got cut short. I wanted to get back in running shape when this hit,” Reilly said. “This could be an opportunity, something that took me a few weeks. This was a perfect opportunity to bring the community together and leverage my birthday to do something like this.”
And so, Reilly left his house in Edwards at 4 a.m. on Sunday — happy birthday — starting his way toward McCoy and then over to Burns, ran down to Dotsero via Cottonwood and then headed back up the recreation path to Edwards.
That’s roughly 96.5 miles so he made it an even century by running laps around Freedom Park, the whole 100 miles completed roughly at 1:50 a.m. on Monday.
“The hardest part was getting home from Wolcott,” Reilly said. “I told myself that all I had to do was count to 1,000 and then I could stop. Once I got to 1,000, I started all over again.”
Friends chip in
Reilly, who graduated from Battle Mountain in 2017, did the cross-country-Nordic-baseball (with a senior season of track) combination for the Huskies. He helped the Battle Mountain skiing team to back-to-back state titles in 2015 and 2016, was an individual league champion in cross-country, and was part of three Western Slope titles in the fall.
Clearly, he is no stranger to endurance sports, but 100 miles is a different challenge — he had run a 50-miler while studying abroad in Norway previously.
In the week leading up to the century, Reilly did marathon-length (26.2 miles) runs on back-to-back days to build up endurance. But everyone needs some help.
So Nate Boyer, Matt Felton, Rob Parish. Riley Parish (mighty at 8 years old), Erin Park, John O’Neill, Ethan Cotton, Nate Badger, Evan Fitzcharles and Thomas Singleton helped pace him through the run with his brother, David, doing the honors during the final 3.5 miles in Freedom Park.
“The joke was don’t worry about my vital signs,” Franklin said. “Worry about my words per minute. I did chat a lot at the beginning. The last 10 miles was kind of quiet.”
Not only did Reilly have pacers, but the community turned out. As he ran, he saw encouragement in the form of chalk drawings on his path. Friends drove by blaring music and one even was tooting a horn from a car.
As good of an athlete as Reilly is, 100 miles wears one down and he was feeling it.
“It’s not like an excruciating stabbing pain,” Reilly said. “It’s more like a dull stomach ache which you feel for 21 hours.”
The end was in sight (sort of) during the dark hours of late Sunday evening and Monday morning.
“What was crazy is that I had friends and parents in lawn chairs as I was doing laps in Freedom Park,” Reilly said. “They were cheering each time I went by.”
At the finish, Reilly thanked everyone involved and said, “I’m very tired,” which might be the understatement of the year.
Reilly got some sleep early Monday morning, but Williams College was still waiting for him online. While he’s not sure what he is going to do with his double major of physics and statistics, Reilly will be working with the U.S. Ski Team this summer on data analysis.
“I still had a ton of assignments,” he said. “I had some code I had to turn in. One of my professors had heard about my run and said I could turn it in a day late. That was a nice present.”
The bigger present is the outpouring of support from the community.
“What has really surprised me is how much we’ve raised,” Reilly said. “People are leaving messages and donating. I’ve had friends say that I should run 100 miles in a race to get the belt buckle (as an award). The way it’s turned out the belt buckle is the money we’ve raised.”