19-year-old Ontario runner becomes youngest finisher at Sulfur Springs 100 miler

19-year-old Ontario runner becomes youngest finisher at Sulfur Springs 100 miler

History was made at the 31st edition of the Sulfur Springs Trail Run 100-miler on May 27-28 in Ancaster, Ont. by 19-year-old Matthew Munro of Oakville, Ont., who became the youngest 100-mile finisher in the history of the race. It was his first 100-miler. Munro completed the 160.93-kilometre race in 29 hours and 13 minutes, the second-last runner to cross the finish line within the 30-hour cut-off time.

Matt Munro Sulfur Springs
Photo: Sue Sitki Photography

Heading into the race, Munro says he had no idea what to expect, having only completed one 50K race before his 100-mile attempt. “When I started running, I couldn’t believe someone could run 50 kilometers,” Munro laughs. “Then I found out people run distances a lot farther than that. I was captivated by this whole 100-mile ultra thing.” Another thing that attracted him to the 100-mile distance was the cool belt buckle runners receive for finishing.

After Munro completed his 50K, he knew logically the next step was trying the 100K. “I was planning to do the 100K race at Sulfur, but my crazy friend decided to sign up for the 100-miler, which obviously meant I had to as well,” Munro says.

With his longest training run being 50K, he knew Sulfur Springs would be daunting. “There were 110 kilometers of uncertainty, and I had no idea how my body would react,” says Munro. “I was only running about 50 to 70 km and hit a peak week of 115 km. Even though I ran a lot, I wasn’t sure I had done enough.”

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Munro looks back on his first 100-mile race as a painful experience. “I knew the race wasn’t going to be easy, but it was way tougher than I expected,” he Munro.”After 50 miles, I felt unbearable pain–it felt like I was going to die.

“If it wasn’t for three amazing pacers, I wouldn’t have been able to get through the final three 20-kilometre loops,” says Munro. “I also can’t thank the team that crewed me enough. They just kept throwing me back out loop after loop.”

Matt Munro Sulfur Springs
Matthew Munro and his crew team at the 2023 Sulfur Springs Trail Race. Photo: Sue Sitki Photography

The 19-year-old says he plans on taking a break from running 100-mile races to focus on shorter distances that don’t “mess him up” for two weeks. “My biggest takeaway from the 100-mile experience is that even when you think you have nothing left in the tank, there is always more,” he says.

Munro was one of 81 runners who started the 100-mile race. This year, there were 1,200 participants over the seven race distances of 10K, 20K, 50K, 50 miles, 100K, 100 miles and 100-mile relay. Mauro Campbellwho is in his 12th year as race director at the Sulfur Springs Trail Race, says that this year marked a significant step toward the race’s ultimate goal of becoming the first Western States qualifying race in Ontario.

The race would need 150 registrants in the 100-miler to be considered an official qualifier. The 2024 Sulfur Springs Trail Race is scheduled for May 25 and 26. Check out here for more information.

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