Behind the Scenes: Kristi Eramo O’Connell’s First Ultra Marathon

After seven years of competing in the CrossFit GamesKristi Eramo O’Connell has shifted focus to endurance sports. Her training regimen blends weightlifting with endurance exercises to prepare for marathon-level performances.

Recently, O’connell challenged herself with her first ultramarathon (50 kilometers). O’Connell participated in the Zion Ultra Marathon, traversing the breathtaking landscapes of southern Utah’s deserts within Zion National Park. Explore the scenic vistas and delve into her racing experience through the recap on her YouTube channel below:

[Related: Kanna Fitness “All Abilities” Classes Promote CrossFit for Everyone]


O’Connell will run in shoes that aren’t fully broken in, making her slightly apprehensive. She plans to bring a backup pair of shoes to switch into at mile 17 if needed. Here are the additional supplies O’Connell has prepared in her drop bag:

Extra Pair of Running Socks



Food (includes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) 



O’Connell will consume the same food she utilized during training and will use Maurten Gel, known for being gentle on the stomach, for additional energy

24 Hours Before the Race

Twenty-four hours before the race, O’Connell arrives at the starting point in her camper van. While there, O’Connell performed stretching exercises. She then embarks on a three-mile hike, which she believes is excellent for limbering up.

“We’re shaking our legs out…you don’t want to sit around. We’re going to get about a nice good three-ish mile hike to loosen everything up before the big day tomorrow,” stated O’Connell. 

Zion Ultra Marathon 

On the morning of the marathon, O’Connell discussed how her training conditions didn’t match the race location. She mentioned training at 800-900 feet, which contrasts sharply with the marathon’s elevation of about 5,000 feet. Therefore, this ultra marathon will present her with conditions she has yet to experience.

Starting the Race

O’Connell typically avoids running with food and water but decides to carry them for this particular race as precautionary measures. Joining hundreds of other competitors, many of whom arrived just that morning, she embarks on the race. Meanwhile, athletes who embarked on the 100-mile challenge the day before are crossing the finish line.

During the Marathon

Eighteen miles into the race, O’Connell admits navigating the course is tricky but fun. Her bottle contains electrolytes and ample carbohydrates to fuel her journey. O’Connell looks forward to the final 12 miles of the ultra marathon with anticipation.

As O’Connell approaches the last one and a half miles, O’Connell reveals the preceding five miles pose significant challenges: predominantly uphill and her legs feel exceptionally heavy. O’Connell has been on her feet for over five hours.

Finishing Strong 

O’Connell crossed the finish line despite the final eight miles proving more challenging than expected. Upon completing the race, O’Connell received a medal and mentioned never needing to use her drop bags. Throughout her journey, O’Connell sustained herself with electrolytes and water. She relied on energy gels when she recognized a lack of concentration or felt her energy waning.

O’Connell’s Race & Prep Reflections

O’Connell’s training included a maximum run of 16 miles before this event. “I only did a 16-mile training run, which was the longest I went. At 16 miles, I felt so good,” says O’Connell. 

Reflecting on the race, O’Connell avoided cramps, sickness, and blisters. She found miles 27 to 31 particularly challenging, surpassing the longest distance she had previously run. O’Connell credits her comprehensive strength training and cardio regimen for success in the race. O’Connell’s abs were sore, likely due to the additional weight from the food carried in her vest.

Exhaustion hit O’Connell at mile 27, leading to “gummy ankles” and a fall. Despite the setback, she recovered and persevered to the finish line. O’Connell attributes overcoming these challenges to her calve, glutehamstring, and quad strength developed during her prep.

“That [strength] comes from weightlifting…being able to climb the uphills, handle the downhills with strong quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, [and] Achilles really helped me on uneven surfaces…with lots of climbing, which we don’t have in Ohio.”

Featured image: @kristieramo on Instagram

The post Behind the Scenes: Kristi Eramo O’Connell’s First Ultra Marathon appeared first on BarBend.


您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。 必填项已用 * 标注