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