Fearless runners take on the Iron Horse Ultra 100
St. Paul hosted the Iron Horse Ultra 100 this weekend, a grueling 100 mile or 100 kilometre run that saw 78 fearless adrenaline junkies take to the fields and trails.
The Iron Horse Ultra 100 began at Reunion Station at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning and did not fully conclude until 10 a.m. the next day, leaving participants between the ages of 23 and 57 limping and sore, but very proud of their accomplishments.
“The runners were happy and that’s what matters. It was a good run,” said Monique Poulin, who coordinated the event. “There was only like seven or eight people who were local, so we brought in 70 people from out of town; the farthest was from Texas.”
Runners could participate in the event either as a soloist or as a member of a relay team. The races featured eight stations where runners could hydrate or change hands in places like Elk Point, Fort George and Lindbergh.
“Those are real key areas that we went through,” Poulin said, adding that part of the initiative was to have the runners experience as much of the area as possible.
“Lots of people when they got to Fort George were like, ‘I can’t believe this place is here!!’” she noted. “That was what we kind of wanted so that people might think about coming back to visit.”
The event was made possible by participation from local farmers who allowed runners to use their land. “We really thank the farmers for doing that for us and letting us use their land,” Poulin said, adding she was appreciative of producers’ efforts in moving cows and otherwise facilitating the course trail.
About 25 volunteers pitched in to help, and did a great job, Poulin said, but as it is a 27-hour event, she is hoping to see more people come out and volunteer for next year’s event.
The event caters to a select few that wish to push themselves to the absolute limit, with finish times for soloists ranging between 11 hours to 27 hours.
Adrian Harvey of Calgary, who ran the Iron Horse Ultra 100 as his sixth ultra marathon of the year and finished with a time of 11 hours and 17 minutes, says these types of races appeal to him on a level of self-empowerment.
“I think you just find stuff out about yourself. You’re in the middle of the night; there’s no one sitting there cheering for you and you have to figure out a way to keep going,” Harvey said, adding that after six ultra marathons, his legs need a good rest. “Sometimes you surprise yourself and do things that you really shouldn’t be able to do.”
For Stewart Wyllie, who finished the 100 kilometre run in 12 hours and 54 minutes, these races are about testing his personal limits.
“I just like to test my body’s capabilities,” Wyllie said. “I like the challenge and pushing myself to the limit. I’m kind of crazy like that.”
Every participant that finished the race received a handcrafted medallion made by Sabrina Michaud, from the St. Paul Visual Arts Centre. According to Poulin, every medallion is unique and together, represent an autumn theme to encapsulate the spirit of the race.
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