TJ Dailey figured he had concocted the secret recipe for success.
The Noblesville resident’s Meshingomesia Track Club, which he started in 2016, used its consistency to win the inaugural Great American 5000 (kilometers) virtual race, from San Francisco to New York. The team of 24 runners won by more than 550 miles, or three days. The race, which is 3,105 miles, began June 14, featuring more than 250 teams and more than 4,000 runners.
“They gave you a cumulative 24 hours to run each day,” Dailey said. “We crossed the line virtually in New York in a little shy of 16 days. We divided it up that each person runs an hour a day. We covered about 198 miles a day.”
Some teams included Olympians and professional runners.
“We were lucky to have a complete team from top to bottom,” he said. “Most of the professional athletes had four or five on the team and the rest were filled in with your average non-competitive runner. We were lucky to have 24 people that took it real seriously.”
That commitment was huge since Dailey said it was grueling schedule, unlike preparing for a one-weekend marathon or road race.
“This is going out and racing for 16 straight days,” he said. “We communicated on strategy. If you wake up and feel bad, you don’t have to run an hour at once, break it up into 15- minute or 30-minute runs.”
Dailey’s younger brothers, Trent, 39, and Todd, 35, competed, too. Trent lives in Marion while Todd is from Westfield. Most the runners are originally from Marion. Meshingomesia is the name of a country club in Marion.
Todd, 35, said most of the runners in age range of 35 to 45
Anthony Bruns, who grew up in Marion but now lives in Denver, was the No. 1 runner. He led the team with 172 miles.
“He was our rock star,” Dailey said.
The youngest runner was Corey Stewart at 26 and the oldest was Matt Byerley at 54. Both are Noblesville residents.
“We had a good range of ages and experience across the board,” Dailey said.