By Alix Shutello
After mistakenly running off-course in his second marathon, state trooper Larry West ran just short of 28 miles. The race director of the Gusher marathon in Beaumont, Texas proclaimed, “You just ran your first ultra.”
And from there, an ultra-runner was born – all due to a traffic error in a local marathon. West then started researching endurance races and training for longer distances. Two years later, in 2011, he ran the Rocky Raccoon 50 in Huntsville, Texas…but he had his heart set on going even farther.
“While researching ultra marathons, I became captivated by the Badwater ultra marathon in Death Valley. I was invited to pace for veteran Badwater runner Cheryl Zwarkowski, provided I finished my first 50-miler.”
The problem was, the Rocky Raccoon 50-miler was so hard, West proclaimed he would never run again.
“Mile 46 was and is still to date the worst moment physically of my entire life,” West said. “However, once I finished and recovered, I signed up for three 100-milers in an attempt to qualify for Badwater within one year (ultimately, it took me one and a half years). Meanwhile, I paced Cheryl at Badwater the summer of 2011, and I ran my first 100-miler at Arkansas Traveler 100 in October of 2011.”
West went on to run Badwater in 2013, but not before he saw the tragedy at the Boston Marathon in April and was compelled to do something to help. Fortunately, he came upon a small article in “Runners World” that included information on an organization called Cops for Kids with Cancer. Being in law enforcement and having run three 100-milers, West felt the 2014 Boston Marathon might be an opportunity to use his ability to run for others, and reached out to the group.
“The charity typically gives each family $5,000 for those involved directly in the care of children with cancer. Their website is http://copsforkidswithcancer.org,” West said.
There is a website set up for the charity: http://www.crowdrise.com/CFKWC2014BostonMarathon/fundraiser/Mile46
Videos with a local story on Larry are at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q-6pTyQgUw