Taking on the ultra challenge

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  • Courtesy photos Darce Watt tackled a 50-mile ultra marathon, with the bloody knees to show for her effort ...

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    ... and a little hardware, after she won the overall women’s and age group women’s categories. Watt ran in honor of Emory Corwine, a special operations instructor at Fairchild Air Force Base who was killed in a motorcycle accident five years ago.

  • Courtesy photos Darce Watt tackled a 50-mile ultra marathon, with the bloody knees to show for her effort ...

  • 1

    ... and a little hardware, after she won the overall women’s and age group women’s categories. Watt ran in honor of Emory Corwine, a special operations instructor at Fairchild Air Force Base who was killed in a motorcycle accident five years ago.

This past Saturday I entered my first ultra marathon at Frater Lake, Wash. It is a veteran memorial for Emory Corwine who was a special operations instructor at Fairchild Air Force Base. He was killed in a motorcycle accident July 12, 2012. So the race kicks off at 6:12 a.m. in the morning.

There is also a ruck race 50 miler that is a relay where male team members carry a pack with 35 lbs. and females with 25 lbs. of non perishable foods that are donated to the food bank. The 50 mile ultra marathon started with 46 runners and many, probably half, did not finish. Mostly a male race due to the extremely rugged terrain.

We started with a meeting introducing the family of Emory and the naming of each relay leg that was a memorial of different fallen soldiers. Very emotional. The people putting this on where service members with Emory in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service. We then started the first 16 mile loop, next an 18 mile out and back to the top of Granite Peak and finally that 16 mile loop again. The race gained and dropped 7,700 feet, three times over the course of the race.

These were very steep, rocky, rutted trails where at times you were almost on hands and knees climbing the last 2 miles to the top of the peak. It was the most painful experience I have even done.

I won the overall women’s and age group women’s. Three men finished ahead of me. I set out with three goals: finish, win and break the course record. Tall task. I was in so much pain the last 16 that I fell short by only minutes of the course record.

It was an amazing experience. I was not tired, the legs were just done. I fell and picked myself up many times. I finished with bloody knees, covered in dirt and sweat but I did it. I ran the first 34 miles in 6 hours and the last 16 took 5 and 1/2. The legs just wouldn’t do anymore.

I plan to do more, and definitely do this again. It has been described as the most challenging ultra by the people that are regularly running these. I learned a lot. My final time was 11:30. I skipped right over traditional half and full marathons. Definitely doing some of those also.

I would like to thank my husband, Victor, for encouraging my to race, although this one made him nervous, as well as my boss, Ryan Comer, at Alta Forest Products for backing my passion.

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