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In Mere Minutes, Ultra-Marathoner Wins 420 Games Race In San Francisco

It looks like Avery Collins - the ultra-marathoner who uses cannabis as part of his training regimen - is built for speed as well as distance. The 24-year-old from North Carolina won the third annual 420 Games road race in San Francisco on the weekend in a time of just nine minutes. Mind you, he didn't run 4.2 miles in that time (the race was shortened to two miles at the last minute because of some traffic issues in the area) but that's still really fast.

To prep for the race, the Colorado resident told SFGATE he ate some potato chip edibles and toked a couple of times.

“I use cannabis on a daily - hourly? - basis. Running high is awesome. It’s pure joy,” said Collins, who just a few weeks ago ran 112 miles in Colorado’s San Juan mountain range in a time of about 34 hours.

Jim McAlpine founded The 420 Games in 2014 to show that cannabis users are far more than just "lazy stoners." They're responsible consumers that use cannabis as a tool in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In just two years, the cannabis-friendly athletic events have exploded into a multi-city tour with thousands of participants. The weekend race in San Fransisco attracted 1,000 participants.

Collins shows cannabis is part of a healthy lifestyle

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Collins, who started running in his early twenties, has rapidly become one of North America's top ultra-marathoners, running races upwards of 200 miles. He was youngest person ever to do the double marathon at America's Toughest Road Marathon, finishing it the weekend he turned 21.

In an interview with Civilized earlier this year, Collins said he usually gets high for more than half of the six or seven runs he does in an average week.

"It sets the mind free," he said. "You don't think about anything but what's currently going on. It makes the greens greener and the blues bluer - but it's much more than that. It makes the run very spiritual."

As one might expect of a high-performance athlete, Collins doesn't smoke often - he prefers to ingest THC either in pill form or edibles. He also incorporates cannabis into his post-run recovery, applying indica patches at night to sleep, and regularly using a cannabis compound rub on sore muscles.

"In April, I ran a 100-miler in Indiana and it was just extremely muddy: 8-10 inches of mud the entire time, and I pulled my Achilles tendon. After the race, I had a huge knot form at the bottom of my leg," Collins told Civilized. "Most people would be out for months, but I started running just a few days after that race. I was applying that compound three to four times per day. I can honestly say that I believe I recovered twice as fast as the typical person would without that compound."

Cannabis can be used while swimming, skiing or lifting weights

McAlpine also says cannabis enhances his performance, a message he continues to emphasize in his attempt to change perceptions of people who consume cannabis. This is true of running but also other high-performance sports, he told SFGATE.

“Whether I’m lifting weights, swimming, mountain biking, skiing, (marijuana) gives me an extra degree of focus,” said McAlpine, who is opening the first cannabis-friendly gyms in Los Angeles and San Francisco later this year.

“My reactions are quicker, and I have a flow state, if you will.”


Banner photo: Participants line up at the starting line for the 420 Games race on the weekend in San Fransisco. (Photo courtesy of 420 Games)


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