How Cannabis Helps This Ultra-Marathoner Race 100 Miles At A Time

For most people, running a marathon is sufficiently insane - let alone regularly running four to eight times the length of a marathon, a.k.a 100 miles to 200 miles, at a single stretch.

But Avery Collins, a 23-year-old from Jacksonville, North Carolina, is one of the elite athletes who do just that. Collins, who started running in his early twenties after playing basketball throughout his youth, has rapidly become one of North America's top ultra-marathoners. He was youngest person ever to do the double marathon at America's Toughest Road Marathon, finishing it the weekend he turned 21.

And, in a dramatic twist on slacker stereotypes, Collins is a total stoner. 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," Collins tells Civilized. "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."

His unorthodox training approach has earned him coverage in the Wall Street Journal and a slew of sponsorships from cannabis companies ranging from Mary's Medicinals and Incredibles to Roll-Uh-Bowl.

As one might expect of a high-performance athlete, Collins doesn't smoke often - he prefers to ingest THC either in 20mg-50mg pills 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," says Collins. "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."

Collins acknowledges that your mileage may vary when it comes to running high.

"It takes time to dial in on how to use certain products properly and effectively so that you're still productive."

And while cannabis is a cornerstone of his training, he doesn't use during competition and he never will, he says.

"For someone who, most of the time, is finishing in the top three, if not winning. I don't want people to have an excuse as to why I beat them."

"I'm educating people on the simple fact that cannabis can be used in a positive way, as opposed to just getting high and sitting on the couch."

Avery Collins runs the HURT 100 - 100 Miler in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 16th, 2016. You can listen to his full interview with Civilized associate editor Julia Wright below.


Craig Cesal has been in prison since 2002, when he was sentenced to life without parole in a conspiracy case involving smuggling 10,000 to 30,000 lbs of marijuana. He owned a truck repair company in Chicago, and he was implicated in the conspiracy when he picked up a truck used to smuggle the cannabis in Georgia. Even though he had no role in planning the crime, and he wasn't even sure what they were smuggling, all the charges stemming from the incident were pinned on him.

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