At the ripe age of 25, endurance athlete Avery Collins has competed in 30 ultra-marathons—often on mountainous terrain at high-altitude—and finished in first place or near the top in almost every single one. His secret? Training sessions that include running 25- to- 30 miles daily, climbing up to 40,000 feet in elevation weekly, and using cannabis.

A social smoker during his college days in North Carolina, Avery says he began using cannabis regularly around the same time he became serious about ultra-running—in which, after his first double marathon, he was hooked on the sport. Avery first experimented with incorporating marijuana into his routine when his roommate raised the idea.

“He asked me, ’Have you ever thought about smoking and going for a run?’ To be honest, it never really occurred to me,” said Avery. “But for the heck of it, I gave it a whirl and it helped me become more focused and engaged in the moment,” he says.

Today, marijuana has become an essential part of Avery’s workouts and training. He incorporates cannabis topical ointments mostly as a post-race or post-training wellness product to help reduce pain, swelling and fatigue. He also uses edibles, not joints, and does not imbibe during competitive races.

“Not only does cannabis alleviate the boredom and help keep my legs moving forward, but it’s also a highly effective pain killer,” said Avery. 

For Avery, his go-to Mary’s Nutritionals products are the Muscle Freeze, CBD Compound, CBD Drops and the Whey Protein.

Despite Avery’s phenomenal success as an ultra-marathoner, he is looking forward to dabbling in other endurance sports. He also wants to travel the country, run more races, visit dispensaries, and get himself out there more to show the world that it is possible to use cannabis on a regular basis and be a successful athlete in an extremely demanding sport.

“I want to help dispel the stigma around using cannabis as a training aid, the misperception that athletes and cannabis are incompatible. I also want to help spread the message that you can live life without limits.”

Avery’s accomplishments have certainly proved that the sky is the limit, and he’s been enjoying teaching others to follow their dreams and embrace the positive medicinal uses of cannabis in ultra-endurance sports and beyond.