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  • Writer's pictureJoe Nail

Project 1310 | Episode 6: Nevada

Mount Charleston to Las Vegas

This one had it all: high altitude, big elevation change, 90+ temps, serious quad pain, and crazy wildlife.

We arrived in Vegas from KC and were immediately smothered by 110-degree weather on the jet bridge.

It had been a long morning of a marathon + 1,000 push-ups on my high school track, so we tried to get to the hotel and sleep ASAP.

The following day, I got my second-ever massage, and we drove towards Mt. Charleston, where we met up with two of my friends from Stanford Fellowship of Christian Athletes: Camille and Hunter. Camille is a 200/400 runner on the track team, and Hunter is a wrestler. They joined me for the pre-race prayer and the first 4-5 miles as the sun began to set.

It was dark by mile 13 and that’s when the real race began as the wildlife was out in full force. Just around dusk, and before I had switched to a headlamp, I was nearly bitten by a rattlesnake on the road. A few miles later, I was greeted by coyotes that ran up to the side of the road, howling. We later encountered wild burros (donkeys), a fox, deer, and desert bighorn sheep. All of this (particularly the near snakebite miss) forced us to adjust our protocols, trying to keep the car with me rather than setting up aid stations a few miles down the road.

I was doing okay, averaging 8:50 per mile until about mile 17 and then the wheels started to fall off. The same quad that had given me big issues in Kansas was now painful to even walk on. But powered by tiger balm, icy hot, compression sleeves, and liquid IV, we powered through and got the job done, finishing in almost exactly 5 hours.

By the time we got to Vegas, it was after 11 PM, but still over 90 degrees. We completed our post-race tradition of 50 push-ups. During that post-race interview I fully bonked, and within moments of getting in the car I was fast asleep. Knocked out an ice bath back at the hotel and got to sleep.

It wasn’t about to get any easier: the Grand Canyon, Zion, and the mountains of the Pacific NW are all up next.


Time for marathon + 1,000 push-ups: 5 hours, 34 min.

Elevation gain & loss: 5,940 feet

Heart Rate: 121

Temperature: 91 degrees


Up next: Grand Canyon



Over the course of 50 marathons, Joe will be running a total of 1,310 miles. Each and every mile will be dedicated to a veteran or service member nominated by this community.


In each of the 50 states, Joe will be running the marathon and completing the push-ups in an iconic location, from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii to the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and encouraging everyone to come out and walk or run a mile in honor of a veteran or service member who you know or admire. In each state, Joe and the crew will also be meeting and walking or running with local veterans groups and active military service members.


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