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105th Base Defense Squadron Commander Dominates Ultramarathon

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mary Schwarzler
  • 105th Airlift Wing

Babe Ruth once said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”

Maj. Brian Ibbs, commander of the 105th Base Defense Squadron, lived up to this Babe Ruth quote when he completed the Manitou’s Revenge Ultramarathon, a grueling 52 mile race in the Catskill Mountains that starts in Windham, NY and ends in downtown Phoenicia, NY on Jun 24-25 2023.

Unlike urban marathons, this ultramarathon contains running, hiking, and climbing. With Manitou’s cumulative elevation gain at over 15,000 feet, participants must be extremely experienced and self-sufficient due to the difficulty of the trail. The race itself allows for runners to complete it in 23 hours, but Ibbs finished the journey in just over 14 hours, placing 17th out of 125 runners.

“This race was on my mind for several years.” said Ibbs. “I set it as a 2023 goal, trained for it and ultimately had the support of my wife which made race day a success.”

For this year, participants must have run another 50 mile or longer trail or mountain race, with at least 8,000 feet elevation gain, within a certain time limit. Qualifications must have been within the last two years.

“I began with winter hiking, trail running and ice climbing in the Catskills and Adirondacks with dozens of trips up and down Mount Beacon.” said Ibbs, regarding his training for this monster of a course.

To prepare for this event, Ibbs logged seven runs over 20 miles and averaged 25-45 miles per week, with his longest at 31 miles. These long runs were critical in preparation with additional sprints and hill workouts to help condition his body.

Even with all his training, race day came with its own sets of challenges.

“It rained for the first 35 miles, making the rocks wet and the footing treacherous.” said Ibbs.

With only nine aid stations along the trail, runners had limited availability to eat and rehydrate, making it difficult to maintain the energy levels needed to make it through the course.

“I was taking in as much food as I could at the aid stations. Things like bacon, potatoes and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” said Ibbs. “Keeping hydrated in between stations was important too, and things like salt pills helped with that.”

Having previously been the commander of the 105th Force Support Squadron, Maj. Ibbs has always been an officer that leads from the front.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to lead Airmen.” said Ibbs. “I consider it a duty of my position to ensure I maintain a high level of fitness to set the example. Staying fit to fight is critical to lethality and this race tested both my physical and mental toughness.”