Stories, Travels and Photographs

100 Miles 100 Minutes | Ultra running Buena Vista, CO


One of the best things about my job is getting to meet incredible people. On a camping trip this fall, I met Chris Hammes, an ultramarathoner.

Completing a marathon is a feat in itself, but ultrarunners travel even longer distances. Any distance over 26.2 is considered an ultra-distance run, and races can go anywhere from 100 miles up to 3,100 miles. Yep, you read that correctly,  3,100 miles. As if running incredibly long distances isn’t intense enough, Chris likes to train around the fourteeners of Buena Vista. Chaffee County, where Buena Vista is seated, has the highest concentration of fourteeners in Colorado. Just imagine the workout you’d get running at 14,000 feet in the mountains.

I tagged along on this trip with my good friend and fellow commercial photographer, Daryl Love, who was shooting a lifestyle session for Chris. After hearing a bit of Chris’ story before hand, I decided I wanted to make a little documentary about him while we were camping.

Chris works as a barista living in Fort Collins, but he has placed high in some major ultramarathon races. In his first international race, the UltraTrailMontBlanc or UTMB, Chris was the first American to cross the finish line. Though Chris has been running for years, he picked up ultrarunning for the thrill of it and naturally excelled.

Such an inspiring story was a joy to tell.

Photo by Daryl Love

During our trip, Daryl and I spent one day scouting for locations in the Buena Vista area. Though we were telling a story about a man who runs 100 mile races, we didn’t have the capacity to travel quite that far. We wanted to find a variety of looks within one centralized location to make it look like he was traveling long distances by switching up the backgrounds and light direction. The whole video ended up being shot in maybe a 10-square mile radius, but it looks like a much longer distance than that. And though Chris’ story could likely fill up a full documentary, I wanted to capture as much as I could of the idea in a 60-90 second spot. It ended up being about 100 minutes in the end, hence the name.

It was an illuminating trip, and I came away with a much deeper understanding of ultrarunning and the drive it takes to run as far and as often as a person like Chris does. This video was just tapping the surface, but I think it gives an overview of what it means to be an ultrarunner - and what it means to live a life of passion.