Interview with Riddle Run 2019 Champion, Brian Farrell

Farrell running in snow.
Farrell posing with the trophy.

by Nic Carter


  1. How many times have you ran this event?  Thrice

  2. How did you first hear about it? Brandon Smith invited me a few years ago at the Second Wind banquet. I didn’t go. It was really snowy and I chickened out.

  3. Is this your longest run to date?  Yes. Previous long was a marathon

  4. Considering taking on Ultramarathons in the future? No. Not as a focus, at least. Possibly the occasional slow long run on the trail.

  5. What were your biggest challenges for the 2019 Riddle?  The snow and ice made running pretty challenging. The first loop was a few degrees below zero but it warmed up enough that I stayed comfortable.

  6. Take any falls?  Aid, water, weather issues? No falls. I noticed ice crystals growing in my water bottle. After a few loops I couldn’t unscrew the top, but luckily Tom Rice started a nice fire and Nic Carter kept the bottle warm by the fire, refilling it with water and electrolytes as I needed it.

  7. What are your recommendations someone running this for the first time? Would you do anything different?  As a non-ultra runner, take it easy. Don’t plan on doing the whole thing. Start with a few loops, and then go loop by loop. But don’t start the sixth loop unless you’re prepared to do one more.

  8. Where will you display the roll of toilet paper with 20 years of signatures and times? It’s preserved in a plastic bag in the dark, where it’ll be safe from the damaging effects of UV rays.

  9. On a perfect running year where would you put an Ultra on your schedule?  In the 13th month.

  10. Did you get a cupcake? Yup, it was a great reward for finishing.


This story originally appeared in the March/April 2019 issue of In Passing.