Go­ing the dis­tance

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Water­ville

Marathon run­ners are a rare and spe­cial breed; I of­ten won­dered where they got their mo­ti­va­tion to run a 42 kilo­me­tre-long race. Then I heard about a Water­ville man who took part in an Ul­tra-marathon, a gru­el­ing 100 mile (160 kilo­me­tre) run that took place at Lock­port, New

York – in the mid­dle of win­ter to boot!

Daniel Gri­mard, who moved to the Town­ships from Mon­treal about eight years ago, fin­ished 21st in his first Ul­tra­ma­rathon on Jan­uary 27th in -10 de­gree weather. Of the 74 run­ners strong enough and, shall we say ec­cen­tric enough, to take part in this race, named the “Beast of Bur­den”, only 35 fin­ished within the max­i­mum time al­lot­ted: thirty hours.

The com­puter tech­ni­cian only started jog­ging two years ago, by­pass­ing the tra­di­tional 42 kilo­me­tre marathon, run­ning in­stead in two fifty mile (80.5 kilo­me­tre) races in the United States to help pre­pare for Jan­uary’s ‘feat’ of dar­ing. “When I started jog­ging, I never thought I could run a one hun­dred mile marathon. But the Ul­tra-marathon is through a for­est and I love run­ning in forests in­stead of on as­phalt. It’s not as hard on your body,” said Mr. Gri­mard in an in­ter­view with the Stanstead Jour­nal. “I’ve also run two fifty mile marathons in the for­est, one in New York and one in Ver­mont.”

Ul­tra-marathons are ap­par­ently quite dif­fer­ent than the still im­pres­sive 42 kilo­me­tre long trek. “In the Ul­tra-marathon it’s as much of a men­tal chal­lenge as it is a phys­i­cal chal­lenge. The 42 kilo­me­tre (26 mile) run is like a sprint that you do as fast as you can. But in the 100 mile race you al­ways have to work men­tally. You don’t see the same peo­ple in the 42 as in the 160; it’s not the same kind of chal­lenge.”

“I fin­ished my race in 27 hours and five min­utes,” ex­plained Mr. Gi­rard about the race that be­gan at 10:00 in the morn­ing on Jan­uary 26th. “Run­ning in the win­ter is much harder than at other times of the year. Es­pe­cially dur­ing the night when it gets colder; it’s really hard to keep go­ing. By then you are de­tached from the other run­ners – all alone.” There are aid sta­tions along the course ev­ery ten kilo­me­tres where run­ners can fuel up on food and drink. “I had to change my jog­ging clothes four times dur­ing the run be­cause they were wet and, in the last twenty kilome- tres, I had to rest for about thirty min­utes be­cause my feet hurt so much.”

When asked how it felt to reach the fin­ish line, Daniel said: “You are just about dead when you reach the end, but you’re happy. You feel like you’ve really ac­com­plished some­thing and that is very psy­cho­log­i­cally grat­i­fy­ing. My goal was to fin­ish in good time.”

Mr. Gri­mard is plan­ning to take part in a few more ‘ul­tras’ this year: a fifty mile run at Bear Moun­tain, New York, in May, and the Ver­mont 100 En­durance Race, one of the orig­i­nal 100 mile runs in the USA. “Reg­is­tra­tion for that race lasted only one day and it was com­plete; 350 peo­ple reg­is­tered for it, some coming from as far away as Florida!”

“I love jog­ging and I like to push my­self, so I’ve found a new pas­sion. And I like chal­lenges that are a lit­tle out of the or­di­nary!” he con­cluded.

Photo courtesy

Daniel Gri­mard is seen here dur­ing the “Beast of Bur­den” Ul­tra-marathon that was held in the State of New York in Jan­uary.

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