Guest Race Report: Shelby Thirkill HURT 100

2018-04-05T21:34:39+00:00 April 4th, 2018|Race Report|

Hurt 100

The Hurt 100 is one of the planet’s most difficult ultra marathons. This 100 mile race consists of nearly a total of 25,000 feet of elevation gain and loss with a cut off time of 36 hours. You complete one 20 mile loop, five times. The course is 99% singletrack trail with 1% asphalt, containing rocks, roots, overgrown fauna, cliffs, and 20 stream crossings. There are three aid stations: Nature Center (start/finish), Manoa (Paradise Station), and Nuuanu. I intended to spend three minutes or less in each aid station and not sit down unless it was necessary. My A goal was 30 hours, my B goal was 32 hours, and my C goal was 34 hours. It’s time!

‘Twas the eve of Hurt, and my errands had been done, carbs inhaled, and my outfit was ready to go. I managed to remain calm and contain my anxiety, yet the butterflies in my stomach had been flying all day. Friends had taken the time and energy to reach out and wish me well. With numerous people contacting me, those I speak to often and some hardly at all, I finally grasped just how significant the endeavor was that I was about to partake in. I packed up the last bit of supplies, popped some melatonin, and laid down at about 8:15 pm. Surprisingly, I was able to get about eight hours of sleep, with the exception of tossing and turning wide awake for an hour in the middle of the night.

The next morning, Dad, Johnny, and I drove to the start and parked relatively close. It was similar to any other trail race on-island, except there were many runners I didn’t recognize carrying a ton of gear. We checked in. Immediately, I found some friends to hug and chat with to neutralize my nerves. I made my way to the porta potty and I looked up at the dark sky afterwards. The moon wasn’t in sight but the stars were bright and happily twinkling. I took a deep breath and inhaled all the power and beauty of Mother Nature herself and smiled big. This was it. Before you know it, someone yelled for the crowd to walk to the bridge; five minutes to go. I grabbed my bottle of Skratch Hyper Mix from my dad and gave him a hug and a kiss, “see you in a bit”, I said. I hugged Johnny as well and Rozie B. and I headed over like cattle to a spot on the bridge. I chugged my Hyper Mix and gave off the bottle. John Salmonson began thanking everyone and wishing them luck, and introduced the one and only, Luis Escobar, for the prayer. He explained that he had been fortunate enough to run with the Tarahumara tribe, and was going to share a prayer he learned from them. First, he asked everyone to grab hands with someone next to them, and who else but my two friends I trained the most with, Rozie and Jeff Snyder were next to me. I grabbed hold of each of their hands, and Louis asked us to feel the energy through a moment of silence. They were squeezing my hands as hard I was to theirs. The force that flowed through the rainforest air was electric with the stream water rushing and the crickets chirping loudly. Louis then asked for us to repeat after him three times, “Earth – my body. Water – my blood. Wind – my breath. Fire – my spirit”. As I was saying the words, I felt myself choking up a little bit, the moment I had been working so desperately for was finally here. A minute later, John yelled “go!” and that was it, the conch was blown, and my epic journey had begun.

As I had expected, loop one was full of conversation, laughs, and excitement. It was eye opening to hear different languages and accents swirling around me. People from all over the world had traveled to our beloved little rock to take a stab a Hurt, and I was privileged enough to run amongst some of the best. I reached Manoa in just over two hours, and was in and out within a minute. I had been running with Rozie and Jeff until we split up going through Pauoa Flats but the trail was still crowded at that point and I was barely alone for the loop. I was excited to finally see Johnny and dad at Nuuanu after 13 fun miles and I immediately spotted them in their red Hawaii Running Lab shirts. I handed them my headlamp, used the restroom, grabbed some food, and I was on my way. About an hour later on Manoa Cliff Trail, I heard someone coming up behind me, I offered to let them pass but thankfully it was Snyder. We chatted on and off all the way down to Nature Center until he got away from me on Pipes. Johnny and dad were excited to see me and I also got to see my girl, Alyssa who was going to be my first pacer. My watch time was off and I asked them how long loop one had taken me, and they said about 5:30. I immediately got a little worried because I had planned to run around a 5:50. “Oh no, was that too fast?” but they quickly assured me the time was totally fine and I was doing great and that Snyder was waiting for me to leave. With purpose, we grabbed more food, waved goodbye, and happily left Nature Centure station. Loop one, done!

Snyder and I ran together most of the way to Paradise Station and it was pretty fun. It felt like we were out on any other regular Saturday together chatting and laughing away with him poking fun at me every chance possible. At Paradise Station, I was in and out in a couple minutes and I grabbed food to go. Among one of the things, I grabbed was an almond butter ball. I’m pretty sure it was vegan but about two miles later my stomach started an onset of cramps. Looking back on it now, I think almond butter and peanut butter are too oily for my stomach to handle on really long runs (it’s happened before but clearly I thought I was superwoman). On the way to Nuuanu as the cramps began to occur more frequently, I decided that some music would help to take my mind off the cramps. The boost method worked and I made it to Nuuanu in decent time. On the way out I caught up with Rozie and Andy and started to the climb with them but didn’t stay with them for long. Besides some of Judd Trail, I mostly ran by myself the remaining six miles to Nature Center. I kept telling myself over and over, “just get to Alyssa” since she was going to pace me from miles 40 to 73. My cramps had worsened and happened in sharp waves. This was nothing I haven’t dealt with before but I still had a long way to go. This is when a little doubt began to creepily crawl into my head. “Did I train hard enough? Am I starting to tire because I missed a few runs near the end? Stop! Just get to Alyssa!”.

Cha ching! Loop two done. As we were climbing up the infamous Hogs Back, Alyssa checked in and asked how I was feeling. I told her I was attempting a new method of not dwelling or talking about physical issues to avoid rolling myself into a huge snowball pity party. She explained how that might work for some things but maybe we could find a solution and at least try and aid the issue. Thank god I had a brain with me, because mine was clearly defective. I told her about my stomach cramps and she said we would definitely address it at Paradise. I turned around and looked at the beautiful sun setting and felt excited for the break from the heat. I was thrilled to see the aid stations lit up with pretty lights and also stoked that my ten hour headache was starting to melt away now that the beaming sun was off my back.

We made decent time to Manoa and we saw people more frequently on the trail. I hadn’t seen Alyssa in a week, which means we had a good amount of topics to talk about. We got to Paradise Station and my time there was just as efficient as a Nascar pit stop. The greatest part about this stop was being able to give Elsie, my coach’s daughter, a kiss on the cheek. Mental boosts come in all forms, shapes, and sizes, and this one worked pretty well for me. This was the first time I changed my socks and actually sat down in a chair (after 15 or so hours).

Moments later, we were heading out of the station with infectious cheering from everyone and I was stuffing my face with the food I grabbed to go. A few miles after we had made the climb up Manoa, I started to feel a little low. I knew we were about 50 miles in. Halfway. How daunting and utterly soul-shattering. For months I had already trained myself on mentally thinking about the race in sections instead of looking at the distance left to conquer. Halfway for a 10K or marathon feels reachable. Halfway for a 100-miler is completely demoralizing. “Stop. You can’t allow yourself to think like this” I repeatedly chanted to my tired brain. The remainder of loop three consisted of laughs, ups, and minor lows but ultimately the miles clicked away and finally we were at Nature Center again. Loop three done and 60 miles in the bank.

As the locals know and anticipate, the infamous loop four was when I really started to slow down. Descending down Manoa I was feeling okay mentally but not moving as fast as I should have been. Looking back on these hours, I was not as efficient with my gel intake as I had been during the day (taking one every hour). We got to Paradise Station and I rushed straight to the porta potty as I had been doing the past several stations. Apparently the ultra- running gods and the menstrual gods failed to meet up over coffee and chat, because my period started at mile 67. DAFAQ. This explained the lower back cramps and more intense severity of stomach cramps. Luckily, I came prepared and had tampons in my drop bag. One month prior we had a 50-mile training run and it had started the day before so I dealt with 13 hours of menstrual misery. I knew there was a good chance I would have it but thought maybe it would start on the 15th (but that would be too much good luck in one weekend). The ginger chews and ginger ale from the volunteers were helping. The cramps were happening less frequently, but I still had to stop sometimes and bend over to let the sharp pains pass. I’m not sure how else to explain them besides feeling like you’re getting stabbed in the stomach every few moments.

The leg from Paradise to Nuuanu was one of the two most difficult stretches of the race for me. Out of nowhere around mile 70, I began to cry and open up a can of philosophical emotional baggage on Alyssa. This was right around the I’ve–been–awake–and–running–for–24–hours’ stage and it was hitting hard. Physically, besides the stomach cramps, I felt descent with no major issues; however, mentally I was just incredibly tired. I felt that I had stayed mentally strong despite the struggling and fatigue was hitting home. She did her best to console me and to tell me that I was doing great, and that helped tremendously but it was me in the cage fighting my mind. Once we started the gnarly two-mile descent down Judd Trail, I was moving like a sad inch worm who had lost all her faith in humanity. I had stopped crying after about twenty minutes or so but the fear of falling face first was getting to my head and slowing my feet down drastically. We finally made it down the climb and I knew the porta potty was near yet I still had to try and pee two or three times less than a mile from the aid station.

At last, I could finally hear the stream flowing and I knew we were only several minutes away from the stream crossing and the aid station where I would see my favorite people. I had taken a gel right before the end Judd descent and I was feeling a tiny bit better by the time I got close to the stream. As I was about to turn left to the stream rocks, I heard loud bass and music bumping. I got to the first rock and the big lights lit up the stream and there was Nate Borgourne, yelling at the top of his lungs and chee-hooing for me, “YEAHHH SHELBY!!!!”. On Friday night, he said he’d be DJing at Nuuanu and asked me for a song preference . . . of course it was blasting. I asked him to play “Never Forget You” by Zara Larsson and he found  great remix that reminded me of good times with my friends. I started to tear up but immediately stopped myself because I didn’t want to fall face first in the rushing stream. After over three of my roughest, most intense hours, I felt completely reborn from his incredible act of compassion and kindness. I hurried to the restroom and grabbed new supplies from Johnny and Dad, and gave Nate a huge hug. I told Nate about my stomach issues and he immediately grabbed some magical Doterra oil for me to take. This was a lifesaver and shortly after my stomach issues subsided. This was the point where Alyssa was going to switch out with my good friend, Joe Pope (two time Hurt finisher) and run with me from miles 73 – 100. He had been there the entire race with the HRL crew and I was thrilled he was willing to help me out. As I was stuffing my face, another song began to flow loudly through the speakers. It was one of my favorite house remixes of “Never Want To Dance Again” by George Michaels. There was no way I could resist my eyes filling up on this one. I looked up at the pretty volunteer who was handing me food and I yelled “This is my song!” She smiled big at me, with teeth. Everyone knows I am an emotional runner, and while you’re on no sleep, 73 miles in, the emotions hit your mind even harder. I was ready for a come back and I was absolutely done with this ridiculous low.

With everyone in the aid station hollering and cheering, Joe and I took off and headed back to Nature Center and I was full of energy. Throughout the race, Joe received word from Alyssa that I had been much stronger at climbing. He wanted proof. We tore up Nuuanu as dawn began to break. The sky was starting to turn pink and life was slowly making its way back into my aching body. Joe was full of laughs and repeatedly kept telling me how amazing I was doing and that he never climbed up this fast at the end of Hurt. I told him that the blisters under my right toes were starting to worsen and we planned to fix them at Nature Center. After one hell of a roller coaster loop, we made it back to Nature Center after about eight hours. The sun was shining and as I was sitting and mowing down food, Joe was powdering my foot. “It’s not that bad!” As he slapped powder on my foot I yelped out but he didn’t have an ounce mercy. We changed socks again but I never changed my shoes and I think that was a great decision. While I was eating, the one and only, John Salmonson, came up and said to me, “I told you that you’d be fine. How are you doing?” I gave him a big smile and told him I was honestly having the time of my life. Moments later, PJ Salmonson, John’s wife and other RD, came over and said I looked great and I relayed the same message to her. Talk about an ultimate power couple. Chatting with them got me pumped for loop five and I was feeling great. Before I left, I made my way to the food table and started stuffing my face and pockets as much as I possibly could with fruit and sandwich wraps. Stan, John, and Steve, were all significantly amused by my strong hunger drive and vegan power. “Look at her! She’s like a chipmunk!” John shouted. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone eat this much on the way out for loop five!” exclaimed Steve. Chewing and laughing, Joe and I were out and headed up the 1,000-ft climb of Hog’s Back for the fifth and final time.

My mind and heart couldn’t be happier to be headed out on the last loop. 80 miles! I had just ran 80 miles in almost 30 hours. Joe was the happiest clam I had ever laid eyes on and he  pulled out his phone to snap a picture of me going up the ever so rooted, Hog’s Back. I flexed the guns for him and we continued to charge on. I was feeling psyched by the time we reached Tantalus road and widened my gate. We started to float through Kalawahine to Paradise Station and that’s when Joe put on some music. Luckily, his seven year old daughter and I like some of the same EDM tunes. About two miles later though, I started to crash a little bit. Of course it was when we hit the descent of Manoa. Exerting that burst of energy for the past four miles was starting to take its toll. The sun was getting hotter and hotter and as much as I wanted to jog faster down Manoa my body wouldn’t allow to push past a trotting pace. This was another time when I should have eaten another gel, but I didn’t feel like taking the energy to pull it out of my pack. Michael and Pauline (my coach and his wife, AKA my family) were waiting at Paradise Station and that information alone fueled me all the way down. The 1+ mile Manoa Falls Trail is a heavily trafficked tourist destination and there were many people hiking that Sunday morning. Joe led the way as he politely told people we were coming through. People were asking him questions. He praised me up and down to strangers all over the world. “100 miles? Out here? “WTF!”. At last, we rolled into Paradise Station with cowbells ringing and everyone hollering. I had to sit down and I chugged another bottle of Skratch Labs Hyper Mix. There weren’t that many runners in the aid station but there were plenty of volunteers and spectators. “This is getting hot and really hard” I said to Michael. “Yup. This is it” he replied with no sympathy. He only dishes sympathy when it necessary, and this was not one of those times. Only a half marathon to go. Sounds so easy but this was scary, unknown territory for me. I felt my throat started to tighten and close. I glanced at Michael and I could tell he knew I was holding back tears. Partly, I was getting emotional because I knew that something drastically serious would have to happen in order for me to quit. Like falling off a cliff. Yeah, that would qualify. Pauline was scurrying around and grabbing potatoes for me while trying to get me to laugh, she’s one of the best humans I know. “You need to get out of here” Michael was telling nothing but truth. I screamed out a “THANK YOU EVERYONE!” as loudly as I could and gave a wave as Joe and I headed out with smiles on our faces.

People happily moved aside the busy Manoa Falls Trail as Joe announced a runner was coming through. For the entire mile while I was weaving through people, I told myself I did not want to take forever to get up this switchback heavy climb. I didn’t want to take a year to get to Nuuanu and I knew that there was a great chance of me slowing way down on the Nuuanu descent. Joe knew this was an opportunity to push my thrusters and climb out of this mini low. I requested music and as we started up the endless switchbacks. He played a song I knew and loved but it was a remix I had never heard before, “My House” by Flo Rida (Jameston Thieves & ARKN Remix). I fell in love and as I lead us up the climb I started hauling faster with mini bursts of running. “Girl, you’re killing it! Yeah!”. Impressing Joe Pope was an excellent incentive to not act like a little b*itch. I asked him to replay the song over and over, who knows how many times we listened to it. I was feeling strong and I felt that I could make it to Nuuanu in under two hours (second loop pace) if I kept this going. We made it to Bien’s Bench in exactly one hour, which meant that there were only about two miles of descending before hitting Nuuanu Station. It was somewhere around noon and the heat was hitting me hard especially after that huge exertion. I managed to make it down the nasty five-minute hill without sliding, but once we hit the shady section of Judd Trail, my mind started beating me up ever so slowly.

With every step downhill, my feet would barely slide forward in my shoes. This agitated the hell out of my blisters, specifically the one under one of my right toes. I was warned about your brain pulling whatever tricks necessary to get you to quit, but I never imagined it would be my feet. I thought for sure it would be my existing achilles injury, or maybe I’d vomit for hours. Nope. It was my feet that my brain was making me believe were melting down to the muscle tissue and bone. I started sobbing. I was right around 90 miles. So damn close. Yet I knew every step down those terrible rocks were getting harder and harder. Just then my group of HRL teammates, Snyder, Solange, and Andy were ascending and crushing it. Ughhhhh, I should be with them. I longed to be with them. Yet, here I am sobbing like a little girl moseying down like a freakin’ snail. I gave them a holler and high fives. Minutes later, Sergio Floran and his pacer passed me on their way up. “Don’t worry Shelby, I was crying down at the aid station too!” he smiled and I laughed. One of the biggest badasses on island just told me he was crying, I guess it’s okay to do so then. Just keep moving. Finally, we made it down to the flat-ish, yet rooted short section before the stream crossing. “You want to try and run?” Joe was trying his best. My stubborn ass didn’t say a word or move any faster. Though once I got close enough to hear the water flowing, I started to jog. This was when the fun really started.

I glanced up at the inside of the green porta potty door as I was trying to relieve myself. As I stared a little harder, I noticed that the dirt marks and dust moved and slid to another space on the door. No, oh Lord. Okay let’s double check and look at something else. I glanced to my left at a the light gray toilet paper roll cover. The dirt marks and dust were in fact, moving and sliding to different area. Jesus. How much worse is this going to get? I read and heard many stories about hallucinations, and before Hurt all I could do was pray that if I did hallucinate it would be chalk full of rainbows and unicorns. I bursted out of the porta potty, grabbed my stuff and thanked Freddy once more for all his effort running the station.

I managed to hop from rock to rock over the stream without slipping, and after I crossed it started to set in that I had so much farther to go. How the hell was I going to make it another seven miles? I knew every single step it would take to get there and it seemed so far. Before we started up the gnarliest climb of the course, I paused and hunched over and took hold of my knees. “Joe, it’s so far. Is this it? Is this the hardest part of running 100 miles?” I sobbed. “You’ve gone 93 miles. Seven is not far. This is it, girl” he explained while haunching over next to me. “You just crushed the climb up Manoa, and your feet are not any worse than they were an hour ago”. The dude was right, and with that I start trotting to the climb. Pain is temporary, pain is temporary, pain is temporary. I continued to say aloud repetitively. On our way through the beautiful forest, my girl Sara rolled by as she was heading to the aid station. “Good job, girl!” as we both exchanged the homogeneous suffering smile. She was having a killer race and I was very proud of her. “You love to climb, let’s do this!” Joe encouraged me as I tried to take bigger steps up the rocky switchbacks.

“Joe, do you see that?!” I was genuinely excited and confused. “See what?” he chuckled. “Those three asian tourists holding green suitcases over there!” I was dead serious. He laughed and told me it was tree and as I got closer, they disappeared and I realized he was in fact correct. They were holding a map, wearing hats, searching around and everything. All I can say is, I’m thankful I didn’t see goblins or ghosts but that was the most random and clear hallucination ever. As the next few runners approached us, I kept asking if they were real people. We were laughing on and off and this elevated my mood. I started to climb a little harder. Come on legs, you could feel worse. Judd Trail is covered by trees and many hang low on the trail. As I approached a low tree branch I thought it would be a good idea to test my upper body strength. Why? I have absolutely no clue. “Look Joe! This is a perfect pull up tree!” he spotted my legs as I did the pull up in case the tree broke. Thankfully, it didn’t. “You’re so strong!” he just yelled and laughed with amusement.

As we approached the godforsaken Five Minute Hill for the final time, Joe asked if I could do it in five minutes. This was the gnarliest climbing section on the entire course and this fool wanted me to crush it with 95 miles on my little legs. This is why I and everyone else in the universe love Joe Pope. Raging with excitement and gasping for air, I crawled to the top in about 5:20. DONE WITH THAT B*TCH!

All the way to Pauoa Flats, it is mostly descending with plenty of roots and logs to hop over and I was feeling thankful. We had a nice pace going and I looked up and saw the beautiful and talented, Mallory Young (2017 finisher) who was pacing the one and only, Ken Michael. “YEAH GIRL!!!!” she smiled big and gave me a hard high five as we passed by. What an incredible and fortunate boost to receive with only a handful of miles to go. As we were hopping over the ankle-snapping roots of Pauoa Flats, Joe had been checking his phone and said “You’re tenth woman overall right now”. WHAT?!?! ARE YOU FOR REAL? I think I asked him two or three more times to confirm before finally believing him. Sylvia and Sara were the last two women we saw coming out of the aid station and Joe said at that point they were about twenty minutes behind me. I knew I had made up time on the climb but I did not want to lose this position. Anxiety began to rush over me for just a second and I told Joe what I was feeling. “Turn it around and use it for motivation, you can do it” he was spot on. Screw this anxiety! I didn’t work this hard for the past year, especially the past six months, and obviously for the past 32 and a half hours only to let someone pass me with four miles to go. LET’S DO THIS!

The entire fifth loop I had been leap frogging with Joe’s good friend, Mauricio, a seven time Hurt finisher. I would pass him on the climbs and he would demolish me on the descents. We passed by him one last time on the way to the Pig Gates of Manoa Cliff Trail. We wished him well with encouragement. Joe explained that if Mauricio didn’t catch us the last few miles, that we’d be in really good shape. We went through the second Pig Gate and that’s when one of Michael’s famous sayings chanted through my head. Don’t leave anything in the reserve. I have
a tendency of doing this in races, and he calls me on it all the time. Not this time. I started the race with the intent to leave all my guts out on the trail, and I wasn’t going to not follow through with my plan. Manoa Cliff Trail is a fun, winding descent with some climbing in the middle, but it is runnable and I knew it well. My endorphins were flowing, my feet weren’t aching at all, and my legs were feeling strong. We were running. “Dude! We’re going like 9:10 pace right now!” If someone told me that I would be near sprinting during the last four miles of my first 100-miler, I would have told them they were downright bad sh*t crazy. We were flying and I was doing everything in my power to keep my swollen eyes wide open and focused in fear of tripping on anything and everything. I felt free, and I could not have been happier during those final miles. Though there were solid amounts of suffering, I never desired for it to be over. I wanted to suffer. I wanted to be reborn. I wanted to change. I wanted to execute my plan of taking in every second of the journey, the good, bad, and ugly. This was it, this was ultra-running.

About fifteen minutes later, we came up on Sara Verga and her pacer as they were about to climb up a switchback of stairs. She and I had been leapfrogging the entire race as well, and she was crushing it. “GREAT JOB SIS! WE’RE ALMOST THERE!” she said thank you and gave me a good job as well. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I was capable of racing hard with almost 34 hours of effort on my body.

With half a mile to go we were rolling down Pipes, and Joe was turning around every minute or so to make sure no other runners were coming. We were in the clear. There is an iconic bridge you cross with about a quarter mile to go before Nature Center, and before I knew it, we had approached it. “I can’t tell you how many times I thought about crossing this baby for the last time while I was training” I tried to hold it together. “This is it, girl!” he was so excited for me. We made it to the final rocky stairway that leads down to the bridge where we had all started and held hands over 34 hours ago. Before I headed down them, I stopped, turned around, and asked Joe if there was anything in my teeth. He checked, held my face, flashed a big smile, “no”. I should have given him a hug but I was still worried someone might be coming up behind us.

A man was waiting there as I crossed the bridge, “runner!” he yelled. I weaved my way through the walkway that lead down to Nature Centure. Jen McVeay was sitting there waiting and recording, “it’s Shelby!!!!!”. Just hold it together, just hold it together, just hold it together! There were tons of people lined up along the finish shoot, volunteers, spectators, and loved ones were all cheering and clapping. I made the final right turn and that’s when I saw the beloved sign that designates the finish which reads, “We wouldn’t want it to be easy”. I lost it completely. There were more people there than I could have imagined, most of whom I loved dearly. All I could hear was loud, bountiful cheering and that’s when time froze. To say I thought about this moment many times would be the biggest understatement of my life. I thought about it a year ago when I paced Alex Garcia to the finish. I thought about it when my name popped up on the screen at the lottery party. I thought about it when I broke down numerous times throughout training in fear I wouldn’t finish. I thought about it when I was training myself to get over my fear of the dark by going to the restroom at night without turning the lights on. I thought about it when my Plantar Fasciitis flared up months before when training was still “easy”. I thought about it after completing triumphant workouts and runs. I thought about it when anxiety ate me alive during those months on the trails and I was doing everything in my power to push through. All my self-defeating thoughts, anxieties, and fears had vanished. To everyone who ever doubted me or made me feel worthless, it didn’t matter anymore. Most importantly, I had beaten and crushed the most significant bully of my lifetime, myself. This was the exact moment when I realized that I am capable of anything I put my mind to, and that I should never doubt myself again. I paused at the sign and smiled hard, gave it a kiss, and rang the firebell. This was the most simple, yet beautiful finish that had me feeling more alive than ever. This entire journey had given me a gift that no one could ever take away from me: grit. I set out on this journey to see if I was truly meant for this, to see if running was my calling, my destiny. That’s exactly what I found. It’s pretty safe to say that I am an now an official ultra-runner.

I would like to humblingly extend my sincerest mahalo to the Hurt Ohana and outstanding volunteers who created an unforgettable weekend for everyone involved. Thank you to John and PJ Salmonson for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime and for being so supportive of my journey. To Alyssa and Joe, thank you both to infinity for sharing this race with me– I couldn’t have done it without you two. To my coach and dear friend, Michael, I would never have toed to the line had you not introduced me to the trails, and for that I’ll be forever grateful. Lastly, to my beloved dad and Johnny, having you two with me the entire weekend was more than I could ever ask for. I love you all to pieces.


PC: Augusto Decastro, Kalani Pascual, Melanie Koehl, Howie Stern, Dean Thirkill, Joe Pope