Today I’m excited to be catching up with someone that was first on the show a little over 5 years ago in episode 80!
In our original chat, he was just embarking on a challenge/project and now 5 years later, the project is complete.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Jeffrey Binney today as he fills me in on all the details.
Inactivity Was The Norm
Jeffrey Binney grew up on a farm in Missouri and only played sports when he was forced to.
He was overweight for as long as he can remember and was “alarmingly okay with being unhealthy.”
While still a child, Jeffrey’s mom was diagnosed with heart failure, stemming from her unhealthy lifestyle.
Her diagnosis was not enough to convince Jeffrey to change his habits, at least not yet.
Jeffrey went to school for musical theatre and moved to NYC as a young adult to focus on comedy.
As he was approaching 30 his eyes began to open as he saw his mom’s health decline.
At the young age of 57, she was losing her battle with heart disease.
It was during this challenging time in his life that Jeffrey came across trail running.
Desperate For A Different Future
Jeffrey spent countless hours in a hospital waiting room during the last few months of his mom’s life.
It was in the waiting room that he first picked up a copy of Trail Runners Magazine.
This magazine along with his desperation to not end up in the same position as his mom was what made him try trail running.
Jeffrey was immediately hooked after that first run on the trails.
Throughout his life, Jeffrey had always accepted the stereotypes placed on him.
Running had a way of making him feel that he was capable of anything and not held to a certain stereotype.
Jeffrey didn’t follow the usual path for new runners.
He skipped all the shorter distances and instead set his eyes on a 20-mile trail race.
The Possibilities Were Endless
Once Jeffrey proved to himself that he was capable of more than he ever thought, he let his imagination run wild.
Jeffrey began with the 20-mile race and then jumped to a 50-mile race.
For Jeffrey, the 50-mile race was a stepping stone to his ultimate goal which was completing 100 miles.
Jeffrey not only wanted to complete a 100-mile race, but he also wanted to document his journey.
Prior to training for the race, Jeffrey had moved to L.A. in the hopes of getting more experience with film and television.
In creating a documentary, Jeffrey was hoping to accomplish two of his lifetime goals simultaneously.
The Leadville 100 is not an easy race even for an experienced ultra runner, but that didn’t deter Jeffrey from signing up.
The reality of filming a documentary while also training for an ultra was no easy task.
Jeffrey was working with a limited budget and crew which led to long days and extra stress leading up to the race.
In hindsight, Jeffrey was able to determine that the extra stress and lack of sleep negatively affected his performance.
The “cutoff monster” got Jeffrey at the mid-way point of the race and he was pulled from the course.
Going into the race Jeffrey wasn’t sure what to expect, but he wasn’t prepared to not finish.
Quitting Is Not An Option
Following Leadville, Jeffrey wasn’t excited about the prospect of attempting another 100-mile race anytime soon.
His coach had other ideas and convinced him to finish for the sake of the film.
Jeffrey signed up for the Rocky Raccoon 100 which gave him 6 months to train following Leadville.
He put his head down and trained without broadcasting to everyone what he was planning.
The end result was his first 100-mile finish with 8 minutes to spare before the cut-off.
The race itself didn’t exactly go smoothly, with a bad fall at mile 63 where he unknowingly at the time fractured a rib.
The pain of his injury was dwarfed by the sense of joy and accomplishment he felt crossing that finish line.
Telling A Story
For Jeffrey, the process of creating a documentary was fun and rewarding.
He learned through experience that there was a mix of control and lack of control.
Jeffrey learned that a documentary is unlike a traditional film because he had to work backward.
He had to capture everything on film and then work backward to create the storyline.
Over the last few years, Jeffrey encountered numerous obstacles that threatened to derail his film.
He realized that producing a film and running a race wasn’t all that different.
Each endeavor required him to choose to keep going when quitting seemed to be the easier option.
Mentioned In This Article:
- Jeffrey Binney Round 1 (Episode 80)
- Once Is Enough
- JJB Life
- Leadville 100
- The North Face Endurance Challenge Series
- Rocky Raccoon 100
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