I called Paul Stone, the Texas-based handicapper who also writes about college football for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, on Thursday morning to talk about this week's college football line moves. He was in his car on his way to a town about 60 miles north of Houston, where he was going to organize an adventure race.
Turns out the man has been running ultramarathons and adventure races for the past 17 years. In case you don't know, an ultramarathon is anything longer than a marathon. And adventure races go through hills, valleys, rivers and streams, sometimes for days on end. One year, Paul ran from the Texas-Mexico border to the Oklahoma-Texas border to raise money for a homeless shelter. It took 17 days to go the 670 miles. For three straight years, between 2000 and 2002, he ran a race in Death Valley that started at Badwater, Calif., the lowest point in the western hemisphere, and ended at Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Racers get 60 hours to run the 135 miles. One of the years he ran it in 37:51:00 and finished ninth out of 75 runners. He figures he's done close to 25 races of 100 miles or more.
"You don't have to be talented," Paul says. "Just need to be persistent and not have too much to do."
Of course, handicapping does require some skill. And Paul shared some of his in this week's breakdowns.