Taco Bell quesadilla fuels elite runner to record-breaking 273-mile run

Alyssa Godesky runs in the 2017 Challenge Wanaka in February 2017; a Taco Bell quesadilla.
Alyssa Godesky runs in the 2017 Challenge Wanaka in February 2017; a Taco Bell quesadilla.
Photo: Phil Walter, Joshua Blanchard (Getty Images)

Competitive long-distance runners can be particular about their preferred brand of energy gels, the electrolyte- and amino-acid-packed goop that sustains them on long runs. I like running, but I do not like energy gels. So I found a hero in professional triathlete Alyssa Godesky, who this summer shattered the record for the 273-mile Vermont Long Trail after eating a Taco Bell quesadilla en route. Bravo.


I discovered Godesky’s unusual running fuel via this Runner’s World Q&A, in which the Charlottesville, Virginia runner mentions that her friends hiked 20 miles into the Vermont woods just to deliver her the quesadilla, one of her favorite foods. Godesky says she was hitting a wall with “just” 50 kilometers left to go when her friends arrived with the heaven-sent quesadilla: “I ate it right away and of course it went down super easy.”

Was the quesadilla entirely to thank for her record time of 5 days, 2 hours, and 37 minutes? (She slept just 18 hours total during that time, averaging about 55 miles per day.) No, it was probably the years of ultramarathon running, triathlon competition, and intense training. But who’s to say that greasy cheese pocket didn’t help in its own way?

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.

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I don’t think it’s unusual - most successful ultrarunners I know eat total garbage.  It’s really hard to support that kind of sustained effort on sugar and electrolytes.