Story by Anthony Garzilli | Photo Supplied
Ronald Vargas is ready to run.
Vargas, 57, is a production manager at The Greenery, where he has worked for more than 24 years.
A veteran of endurance races, his next run will be at the 2023 Bigfoot 200-mile race in the Cascade Mountains range in Washington state Aug. 11-15.
Vargas, a native of Costa Rica, grew up playing soccer and became an ultramarathon runner 10 years ago. He has completed five 100-mile races, five 50-mile races, two 24-hour races and numerous marathons and trail runs.
A recently completed 160-mile race from Hutchinson Island, Ga., to St. Marys, Ga., was finished in 40 hours and 18 minutes.
But the Bigfoot 200 will be the longest endurance race he has attempted.
The Bigfoot 200 starts at Mount St. Helens and finishes in Randle, Wash., going “point-to-point” through the Cascade Mountains, including 46,000 feet of ascent throughout the race, a news release said.
To prepare for the Bigfoot 200 race, Vargas has been running more than 80 miles per week in the Lowcountry and in higher elevations in North Carolina. He plans to train at higher elevations in the coming weeks to prepare for the tough terrain of the endurance event.
At the Bigfoot 200, runners will explore such varied terrain as the volcanic Mount St. Helens, long mountaintop ridgelines, mountain and lake views, deep old-growth forests, and misty mountain tops, according to ultrarunning.com.
Runners will be well supported with 14 full aid stations. Participants will have six sleep stations along the journey.
“Ronald truly embodies the ‘never give up’ spirit, and we are honored to call him part of The Greenery family,” President and CEO of The Greenery Lee Edwards said in a news release. “Our whole team is supporting him on this journey, and we know he will make us proud.”
There are entry fees and travel costs to compete in the event. Other costs include provisions for the four-day race as well as a crew of people to deliver food, shoes, water and a van for short rests for Vargas.
“It’s always exciting to take on a new challenge,” said Vargas. “I appreciate the support of my family, friends and The Greenery that has brought me this far, and I will do my best to represent them all out there on the course.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to support his journey. Visit gofund.me/2b16b20d