The 39-year-old Frederick man is part of an elite group of ultrarunners. Only 102 people in 13 years have completed the Grand Slam of Trail Ultrarunning, a combination of four 100-mile races spaced a month apart that starts in June and ends in September.
This year's races, which Mr. Sayers ran in, were held in California, Vermont, Colorado and Utah. His accomplishment is even more impressive considering he'd never run more than 60 miles in one stretch before competing in his first 100 two years ago.
He trained three years for the Grand Slam, increasing mileage gradually, then tapering off closer to the race. He normally runs 85 to 100 miles a week, mainly in Gambrills State Park and along the Appalachian Trail.
There's little glory in his sport. There are few spectators; finding pacers, runners that accompany racers the last 40 miles, is tough; and the prize for finishing is a trophy or belt buckle.
Runners must trek through knee-high mud or snow, brave narrow, mountainous trails, cross rivers and canyons, and in the span of a race go from freezing to balmy temperatures. Between 45 and 65 percent of 100-mile runners drop out without finishing, Mr. Sayers said.
He carries a pack that weighs about nine pounds during races. He packs tights, gloves, a cap, a jacket and a garbage bag for a poncho. What he carries depends on how many aid stations are on a given course.
Runners can typically get food and water and change bandages or clothes at aid stations and are told ahead of time where the stations will be so they can plan accordingly. His wife Mary will meet him at some stations with food that he eats while running.
The ultrarunner said he has been injured but never seriously enough to stop a race, especially considering the amount of training he endures.
Because of the planning involved, Mr. Sayers isn't sure if he'll run another Grand Slam: runners have to register three years in advance. He has set his sights on a six-day race in which runners log as many miles as possible for 20 hours each day. He also swims competitively in events such as the 4.4 mile Great Chesapeake Bay Swim and said he will continue to run 100-mile races.
Mr. Sayers said when people find out how much he runs they often have the same reaction: one of disbelief. He's heard "you're crazy," plenty. But every once in a while, he'll hear the reaction he had after reading about ultrarunning. He said, "That sounds really cool. I've got to do that."