RICHLAND -- Brandon Lott never cared about running when he was in high school.
"I hated running, I didn't do track," said the 1991 Columbia-Burbank graduate. "I thought running was stupid."
But the 38-year-old figured something out years later.
"I needed to lose weight, and we had a family contest," he said. "I started running, and I lost weight. As I lost some weight, I ran more."
And he kept on running, into ultra-marathons -- races a lot longer than the standard 26.2 miles of a marathon.
"I've done nine 100-milers and 20 50Ks," he said.
And now Lott has decided to put on a race here in the Tri-Cities, the Badger Mountain Challenge, which runs Friday and Saturday.
The response has been over the top.
"I was hoping if I got 200 to 300 people competing, that would be the top end I was expecting," he said.
Instead, he's got almost 500 competitors -- 23 to run in the 100-mile event, 68 in the 50K (31.1 miles), and almost 400 in the 15K (9.3 miles).
The start and finish lines will be at the Trailhead Park at the foot of the Badger Mountain Trail in South Richland.
The 100-mile race begins at 7 a.m. Friday, and Lott expects some of the runners to finish the race in under 24 hours. He expects some others to not finish.
The 50K general start begins at 7 a.m. Saturday, with an early start for those concerned of not finishing in the allotted time going off at 6 a.m.
The 15K begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Shockley and Keene roads so that the field can spread out while going up Badger Mountain's narrow trail.
Lott may surprised by the high number of entries for this first-time event, but at the same time, he's not.
"Trail running as a sport is really taking off, and this is the first event of its kind around here," he said.
Lott understands that feeling. His first marathon was at Mount Hood, and it followed the Pacific Crest Trail.
"I knew I was undertrained," Lott said. "I was one of the last ones to finish it. But the biggest reason I liked it was because it was a marathon on trails, in nature, and other people were doing the exact same thing."
So he looked for marathons on similar terrain, but they were all on roads. Lott found an ultramarathon just west of Yakima in 2007 and he competed in it.
He didn't, however, finish it.
"I made it 74 miles, but at certain cutoff points you have to be there in a certain time," he said. "I was devastated. I went back the next year and finished it."
The course of this race will cover Badger Mountain, Red Mountain and a number of steep hills in between.
And what kind of person runs 100 miles at a time?
"Trail running has less impact on the body," Lott said. "If a person hasn't trained and run the miles necessary for it, they literally fall apart. Our bodies are meant to run, they're meant to go and not be sedentary."
And then there's the mental part.
"The body take you to a certain point, but the last 25 miles is really mental," he said. "To get that last marathon in, it messes with your head. That last quarter of the race, your body is screaming at you, you're feet are on fire."
The course will have 18 aid stations, and at each one a runner has to check in, drink water and maybe eat a sandwich.
"You have to continue feeding the body in a race like this," Lott said.
Notes: Proceeds of the race go to the Friends of Badger Mountain. ... Lott says the best time to see some of the 100-milers finish will be at the Trailhead Park between 10 and 11 a.m. Saturday. ... There will be a post-race meal at the park (cost is $5 for non-runners). There will be some vendors there, too. ... People may want to park down the hill at the Bethel Church or side streets, then take the shuttle up the hill.