Learn : Ultramarathon Story  

Note from Editor: This is a great story about two guys, Brendan Murphy and Nolan Taylor, who completed a 429 mile run across the entire state of South Dakota to raise money for cancer research. Their web site, Chemo is Harder, gives more details about this incredible journey and what you can do to support their cause.

Running Background:

marathon photoMe and a great friend, Nolan Taylor decided that we had something in common...our families were affected by cancer directly. My father (and best friend) passed away 5 years ago (2003) from Melanoma. My mother, on the other hand, is a 31 year uterine cancer survivor. Nolan's dad survived tonsil cancer and is doing very well today. Once Nolan and I met in early 2007, we decided to do something about cancer instead of sitting around and complaining how bad it sucks! We came up with an idea to form a non-profit organization, which we call: "CHEMO IS HARDER" to remind us and everyone else that no matter how bad you think you have it, there is someone out that battling something much worse than you...and realize that you don't have it so bad. From that came the idea to take our running talents to the road---literally.

We decided to run across the entire state of South Dakota to raise money and awareness in the name of cancer research. We also wanted to promote a healthy outlook on life and do so by running!!

We spent 14 days, covering 429 miles throughout South Dakota and raised awareness and $20,000 so far in our quest to help fight against cancer! This is just the beginning for CHEMO IS HARDER, and if anyone is interested in our journey, they can visit our website at: All of the money we raise goes directly to cancer research efforts and would love to hear from you by signing on to our guestbook on our website.

We met wonderful people all along the way and have incredible stories from everyone that we encountered. I am working on getting a DVD produced from all the pictures and video I took along the journey and also am writing a book about our adventure! I hope folks will pick up a copy of each so they can get inspired by all those great people we met along the way!


Nolan and I trained for 1 year and 3 months to prepare for this 2-week journey across South Dakota! We built up our mileage over time, running many races, to include a few marathons, an ultramarathon, and many long runs over the weekends. We spent countless hours running and getting in the gym to stay fit. All told, we ran over 3,000 miles on the road in order to prepare for the 429 mile journey across South Dakota. It was a very memorable and rewarding one at that!

In terms of training advice we received, the best advice was: "get plenty of rest" and the worst advice: "don't break your leg".

Actually, since no one we know has ever done anything like this, no one had any advice that we could actually use cause they all thought we were crazy for even considering putting our bodies through such an ordeal like this....

Race Day:

We started in Capitol, Montana (population 0), but there were many people that came to cheer us on as we were about the embark upon our 429 mile journey across South Dakota. Since everyday presented new and more difficult challenges, it is very hard to sum it all up on a sheet of paper. That is why we created the website, and we managed to blog our experiences of every day running on our Journal Page.

As every day passed, each new day became a greater challenge. Aches and pains and weather conditions added to the drama that unfolded as we made it across the state... We both had to re-commit to "WHY" we were out there for 14 days straight, putting our bodies through pure hell---and that reason was to help find a cure for cancer!!

I personally do not want to see anyone else have to go through what me and my family did. I don't want anyone else to lose THEIR best friend! Motivation is a wonderful thing. We must all find within ourselves that driving force to do the things we do...and we had to re-visit our motivation every day, often, many times throughout the day. In the end...we accomplished our 429 mile goal across South Dakota and more importantly, we raised a ton of awareness and money to help us in our battle against cancer!!!


My recovery wasn't bad. I felt a bit rough right away and for a few days, but it quickly subsided. The only issue I have is that I overstretched my Achilles tendons. I had no idea how badly one can hurt after a continual beating on the body, but I owe it to the more than 3,000 miles of running to my success. It just goes to show you that you can do anything if you train for it!

Running Gear Recommendations:

Newton Running Shoes
A must!!!
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A must-have for listening to tunes!
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Jelly Belly Sport Beans
I used Clif Shot Blocks and Jelly Belly Sport Beans. They helped with energy along the way.
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Tips/Words of Encouragement:

If you put your mind to can do anything you want. The key to completing anything and feeling successful is by writing down your goals and prioritizing them. Then you have to visit those goals every day...and I mean every day! It serves to engrain it into who you are. The last, and most critical piece is to share your goals with as many people that you can. This forces you to COMMIT to those goals! It is much harder to quit something if you have a lot of people depending on you or watching you to make sure you do it. I also think your word is your bond, so keep your promises! Set your goals high and always give 100% of will never be disappointed if you do just that.

Plans to Run Another:

I will always run and intend to do many more marathons and ultras in order to stay in shape and also to raise a ton of money for cancer research!

For my next ultramarathon, I'll work to get more people involved and get more people to get out and run...for whatever reason motivates them.

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