See more of the story

Today: Michael Koppy of Duluth. Koppy is an ultramarathoner, and recently presented at the Midwest Mountaining spring expo on his race in the Utah desert at the Moab 240 (Mile) Endurance Run. He placed 22nd out of 144 starters.


The Race for the Ages in Manchester, Tenn., intrigues me. One is the distance of trying to run 250 miles. After completing the Moab 240, I have a handle on the sleep management part. The biggest challenge for me with this race Labor Day weekend will be the heat and humidity. Coming from Duluth, we don’t get much heat. I have never done well in hot, humid conditions. Because of my effort to deal with this climate difference, I have designed, produced and now sell a hat called the Ice Hat. It has four pockets that hold ice to keep your head cool. It has made running hot ultras less intimidating. I am expecting heat the whole 68 hours that I’ll be running (you run hours to match your age). The second unknown is the course: it’s a one-mile loop on blacktop. I’ve have not run much on blacktop since my marathon days 20 years ago. Finally, I’ll need to run the loop 250 times and question how I’ll be able to handle that psychologically. I am looking forward to running with all the legends from the ultra-world that gather to compete in this race.


Three podcasts: “Science of Ultra,” “Trail Runner Nation” and “On Being.” I like “Science of Ultra” because I learn the science behind our sport. There are numerous rituals that are performed that are myths and have no science behind them. I want to become better at this sport, so I would like to learn what will work (and) not just what has been done in the past. For example, one myth is that runners will drink pickle juice to ease cramping. The belief is that the sodium will help, but now we know that cramping is a function of the nervous system not the depletion of sodium.

“Trail Running Nation” asks great questions of the top ultra runners in our sport about races they are competing in and how they prepare for them.

“On Being” is a total change from the other two podcast in that it asks why are we here and what is our role in the world. The answers to all of this I find very helpful at those dark times in a race when everything has gone south and those questions come up.


Ultrarunning and Trail Runner magazine, and the book “Mindful Running.” The books that I am reading are mostly factual or have a spiritual focus. The factual books are to help me be informed. The spiritual focus books elaborate on topics discussed in the “On Being” podcast.


My current interest is building furniture. Every year I spend two weeks at Marc Adams School of Fine Woodworking, south of Indianapolis. I take classes to improve my skills and occasionally teach classes there. My specialty is inlay of materials, such as wood, stone and shells. I also travel all over the Midwest to buy lumber which I sell to customers. I try to maintain a supply of 35 different species.