Team OS1st member Panya (Pon) Somnhot, is the 385th person to accomplish “The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning™” challenge in recognition of completing four of the oldest 100-mile trail runs in the United States within the same year.
As of September 2021, Somnhot completed Western States in 28 hours, 52 minutes, and nine seconds; Burning River in 27 hours, 10 minutes, and 40 seconds; Leadville Trail in 29 hours, 41 minutes, 37 seconds; and Wasatch Front in 35 hours, 35 minutes, and 30 seconds.
“They say that running ultras is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” Somnhot said. “Training the mind to remain grounded is just as important as physically training yourself to meet the demands of a mountain 100 miler. And the better you are at planning out a 100-mile adventure, the better your chances were at completing said 100 miler”
In preparation for The Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, Somnhot worked with a coach to develop a training regimen, focused on nutrition, and trained with the fuel he planned to use for the races, and worked to remain mentally present.
“I wanted to be mentally grounded with where my abilities were currently at,” he said. “Not where I wanted to be or where I thought I should be.”
This achievement comes after a career of ultra-running dating back to 2009 when Somnhot entered the Quadruple Dipsea 28.4-mile ultramarathon and was instantly hooked, going on to enter 50K and then 100K races.
“What attracted me to 100 miIers was the challenge of traversing challenging terrain with your own two feet,” he said. “I first heard about the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning when I first started Ultra Trail Running. I initially thought it was inconceivable that anyone could complete 4 x 100 milers in a span of one summer.”
But then, after training for the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run for a decade (thanks to the lottery system), Somnhot realized it was an attainable goal.
“For anyone aspiring to take on the challenge of the slam, I would impart a high level of patience with your mind and body, as well as getting into your desired races via lottery,” Somnhot advises. “Take the time to race other 100s, train, and prepare. One day your chance will come.”