I began working with Ron about a month before I was to run the Chicago marathon. I thought I was in good shape, having been training all summer, but his workouts changed my beliefs on fitness.

I didn’t mention it at the time, but I had wanted to try something a little harder. I had been interested in the sport of Ultrarunning, that is — covering distances greater than the marathon’s 26.2 miles (but typically 50 or more) in a single effort. These runs usually take place in wooded trails made up of rocks, roots, stream crossings, mud and plenty of hills. Suffice to say, they make the marathon look easy in comparison. I had to try.

On April 14th, 2007, I succeeded. In 12 hours and 58 minutes I ran 50 miles, finishing 40th out of 122 runners. The day was cold and wet; the course technical and steep; and the race unlike anything I have ever done. I attribute my success to the time spent working with Ron and his team in the gym. Perhaps, most importantly, is the mental strength I’ve acquired while working with them. It took a certain level of resolve to continue knowing that there were still 7 hours of running left ahead of me. Despite the pain (which there was a lot of), quitting was not an option.

Training with Ron has allowed me to discover that the fears, doubts and limitations I once believed to be true are nothing more than illusions. Over the months, I have gained more than just an improved physique: I am more confident, more determined and more dedicated throughout all areas of my life. I can’t thank him enough.