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What it's like running the Burning Man Ultramarathon

Michael Brandt is the Founder-CEO of HVMN, a company that makes exogenous ketones. In this clip from our interview on the Singletrack Podcast, he talks about his experience running the Burning Man Ultramarathon.

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I gotta ask you one more question about the Burning Man scene. Other than the obvious, you know, exotic location and I'm guessing, you know, the fans around the course must be interesting as well - is there anything else interesting about that race or is it like any other 50 K out there?


There's a few interesting things about the Burning Man Ultra Marathon. One is it's bring your own aid station. Everyone's expected to bring a gallon of water and some snacks. And then those are all brought together by the camp that puts it on as a camp called Pink Lightning.

They take everyone's gallon of water and everyone's snacks, and they orchestrate this race. So they go and set up the aid stations around the playa using what everyone has brought in. It's very communal. If everyone's been to Burning Man, it's very much in that spirit of community, of Burning Man where you're not expecting, uh, pink lightning or the person next to you to be your aid station, you, you all contributed.

And then they dole it out, you know as people wanna pick it up at the different aid stations around the playa. That's a cool part. I think the other cool part is if anyone, if anyone's been at burning man and just knows about it, it's a giant art festival. There's giant flaming octopus over here. There's, you know, there's DJs going all hours of the day over here, giant things being built on fire, all this stuff going on.

And what's really interesting because I went to Burning Man for a couple years before I did the ultra-marathon - it's interesting how the Ultra-Marathon itself becomes an art installation because it starts at four in the morning, you know the playa gets very hot as the sun comes up. So the idea is to get it mainly wrapped up before the sun hits anywhere close to high noon.

You're running around on your 4, 5, 6 am and. Burning man never shuts off. There's people awake. And it's interesting the reactions that you get from people, because you're literally an art project to them.

They're like walking around, they've been out all night partying and they're like, who is this person running around with a hydration vest? You know, you're moving, you're doing like six, seven minute miles. Like who are you? There's a flaming octopus over here and there's this ultra-marathon. And you become an art installation.

I don't think I appreciated that. There's something interesting about the vibe at Burning Man where you become the art and it adds another dimension to the race. Like you see other people getting their mind expanded by the fact that you exist and are up at four 30 in the morning running laps around this, this giant encampment.

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