How a Renown Health Doctor Prepares for an Ultra-Marathon

Dr. Beenfeldt makes a run for it training for 100 mile ultra marathon

Avid runner Dr. Derek Beenfeldt begins training for a 100-mile ultra-marathon.

For most of us, training to run or walk in a marathon sounds like a pretty lofty goal to reach, but for Derek Beenfeldt, MD, a family practice doctor with Renown Medical Group, running a marathon is just the start of a good workout.

Dr. Beenfeldt is an ultra-marathoner. In 2014, he ran two 50K races (31.25 miles), a 50 mile and one 100K (62.14 miles).

Dr. Beenfeldt makes a run for it training for 100 mile ultra marathon
Renown Medical Group’s Derek Beenfeldt with sister Andrea running the Cuyamaca 100K (62+ miles) just outside of San Diego in October 2014.

“I have always been active,” says Beenfeldt, just not to this degree.”

He credits increasing the distance of his runs to his sister, Andrea, who would sign him up for races frequently without his knowledge.

“I run often with my sister,” says Beenfeldt.  “I’m lucky to have her push and encourage me to strive to run longer distances.”

Going for more is indeed in store for Beenfeldt  this year.

He plans to race in the Napa Valley marathon in March, a 50K “Way Too Cool” ultra-marathon a week later, followed by the Boston Marathon in April, and the Silver State 50-mile in May.  All of these runs are to train for the world’s preeminent ultra-marathon, The Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, which begins at the base of Squaw Valley and ends in Auburn, Calif.

In a typical week, he pounds the pavement or trail for 50 to 70 miles —a large amount of time and effort from someone who used to hate running.

“As I progressed in my running, it went from a chore to where it is now as an integral and important part of my life,” he says. “It is stress relief, being amongst great people, being in the best shape of my life and doing what I love in the outdoors. You see things running that you just can’t see on a set of wheels.  Most importantly, it is about running events with my family.”

Interested in running marathons but don’t know how to get going?
Dr. Beenfeldt offers tips to get started:
• Start with 1 to 2 miles and increase from there.
• The best way to keep motivated is to have events scheduled every three to four months. Start with 5K’s (3.1 miles) to start and then work your way to longer distances. Events in the community can be spread out over time to including popular runs such as the You’ve Gotta Be Crazy Run; the Journal Jog; Moms on the Run; the Santa Dash; The Turkey Trot; the Leprechaun Run; Reno 5000; and the Reno-Tahoe Odyssey.
• Reno also has its own ultra-marathon, the Silver State 50K & 50-Mile, which is run over the top of Peavine Peak on May 16.