Former Marine Runs for Veterans at XTERRA Wawayanda

May. 17, 2017

Billy Richards is a beast. Specifically, he goes by the name, “The Tattooed Beast.”

“Nah, that’s just a fitness term,” said Richards, who earned the name from his powerlifting prowess, and the fact that he ruptured his tricep tendon while lifting weights in 2015. He had surgery on his arm and couldn’t move his body while recovering. Rather than rest, he started running.

“I did my first ultra marathon three weeks after surgery with my left arm in a brace and a 45-pound pack on my back.” 

In the last two years, Richards has completed 16 marathons and 25 ultra marathons. Three of those races were 100 miles long.

“Ultra marathons aren’t bad, once you have a fitness base and have finished a few marathons to get some mileage on your legs. It’s more about strategy, pacing, and nutrition,” he said.

Most recently, Richards competed in the Spartan Ultra Beast Marathon, six 50K races, the XTERRA Wawayanda 50 Mile Trail Run, and the Long Island Marathon in nine consecutive days.

And he did it all while carrying the American Flag.

“Every race I run, the flag goes with me,” said Richards. “On the roads I keep it open, and on the trails I keep it wrapped and open it when I cross the finish line.”

He carries the flag to show honor and support for military, police, first responders, and America itself.

A veteran of the US Marine Corps and the US Army, Richards did two tours in the Mediterranean Sea while with the Marines. The second tour led him to the Persian Gulf, where he served in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 

“I was inspired to do this recent 9-day challenge for veterans, to remind people of the struggles they go through coming back from deployments,” said Richards. “I want people to remember that they are still out there.”

“I definitely had some ups and downs during the last nine days,” admitted Richards, of his endurance challenge, which lasted from April 29th until May 7th. “The big low points were during the first day at the Spartan Ultra Beast. That was a knockout of a race which took ten and a half hours to finish because of the obstacles.”

The next day, he climbed 4000 feet in eight miles, and on the third, he dealt with chafing issues until another racer handed him a tube of Desitin.

“I’d say the highlight of my journey was finishing the XTERRA Wawayanda 50 miler,” said Richards. It was race number eight, so I was extremely fatigued to begin with, and it was a technical race. But I powered through it and came in at 12:06.”

There was only one other competitor in the Wawayanda 50 mile run. David Wise finished in 11:21:25. 

Kyle Baluyot won the 10K in 53:56 while Gabrielle Czernik won the women’s race in 1:03.

Ryan Hall won the men’s 25K in 2:23. Hall placed third in the same distance at the XTERRA Shepaug Run on April 8th. Alina Abdurahmanovic was the women’s winner in 4:05.

The 50K champ was Jason Friedman, who finished in 4:58.

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