Chicago Entrepreneur and Endurance Athlete, Matthew Maday, Becomes 10th Person in the World to Finish 333km Ultramarathon, La Ultra

72-hour race across the Himalayas in its eighth grueling year

10th Person in the World to Finish 333km Ultramarathon, La Ultra

Local entrepreneur and distance runner Matthew Maday delivered an outstanding performance in the 8th annual La Ultra marathon, hosted in Leh, India on Aug. 17. Maday completed the 333km (206 mile) race category in 69 hours and 50 minutes and was the sole 2017 entrant to cross the finish line, earning him the honor of being only the 10th person in the world to ever finish this distance of the race.

Founded in 2009, La Ultra ultramarathon, known as "The High," is considered by many to be the most dangerous ultramarathon in the world. Runners compete in one of three distance categories: 111km, 222km, and 333km, with all three routes crossing some of the highest peaks in the Himalayas. In the past eight years, 108 runners from 24 different countries have participated in the various distance categories.

La Ultra is a test of physical, mental, and weather extremes, as runners encounter sub-zero cold, 100-degree heat, rain, snow, and punishing altitude during the three days. This year's entrants' list included 35 runners in the 111km category and five in the 222km category. Maday was one of only two runners in the 333km distance, and the only one to finish.

As grueling as La Ultra is, the extremes are what drew Maday to the race in the first place. "Distance running has always been a release for me — my way of shutting off the noise of the work day world and doing something that engages my whole body. A race like this is as much a mental victory as a physical one — and I was eager to see how far my planning and training would take me."

Maday's training regimen was by the numbers. "The secret to finishing a race like this is maintaining unrealistic optimism, following a realistic interval plan, and utilizing the best racing technologies like Tailwind and Altras."

Although carefully planned and executed, nothing could prepare him for the nuances of the race. "The most difficult aspect of the race," Maday said, "was the mid-afternoon heat. The sun burns right through your clothing, so even though it's 100+ degrees outside, you still have to wear a jacket or risk sun poisoning."

A documentary of the making of the race is available on YouTube (, and presents the story of La Ultra's race director and medical officer, Dr. Rajat Chauhan, and how he came up with the idea for what many have dubbed the most difficult race in the world.

Cassandra Turner
Instagram: @dreamsbeyondreality
Facebook: dreamsbeyondreality

Source: QUO VADIS, Nellie Greely

Related Media