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Monday, August 04, 2014

Ultra Women

I always think people who runs ultra are a bit crazy up there. But then again I have many friends who runs ultra and I know that they are certainly not crazy and most of them are very nice humble people. And over the course of the past weeks, my opinion and respect for them went up many many notches especially for these 2 lady fiends of mine.

Over the just concluded weekend, Singapore sees it second ultra event for this year - a super duper ultra event for only the hard core die hard ultra marathoners. Spanning a maximum distance of 168 km between Bukit Timah Hill and Mount Faber, the event is a real test of endurance. Runners can choose to do a shorter 108 km but that still involves doing 5.5 loops of 8 km per loop at Bukit Timah Hill before running 17 km to Mt Faber and doing another 4 loops of 8 km before running the 17 km back to Bukit Timah Dairy Farm. And that comes with total elevation of 3500 metres! To put the distance in perspective, from Changi Point in the east of Singapore to Causeway Point in Woolands is just 36 km!

Our first Ultrawoman, Mel, prior to completing in the 108 km distance has only a 50km trail race to her name. Yet I don't know what drove this little lady to celebrate her birthday by running 108 km and that on the actual day too! Anyway, what this plucky lady lacked in physique and experience, she more than made up for in pure grit, determination and completed the gruelling 108 km in just over 26 hours. A few of us were honoured to be invited by her to share in her journey across Singapore and I must say that I am deeply humbled by her courage and strong resolve to finish it despite not sleeping, no food for the 26 hours and blisters and painful heel. 
Photo credit Rosemary Chan
Of course she swear after completing this that she will not compete in another ultra event but I wouldn't be surprised if the next thing I know of, she had went and sign for an event like the Badwater 135 Ultra Marathon which is what our next ultra lady did.

The Badwater 135 is billed as the world toughest foot race and rightfully so since it span 135 miles which is 217 km to us un-initiated in the Imperial system of measurement. And that is not all. Day time temperatures can go up to 55 degree Celsius! Only 97 crazy nuts started this race and 83 finished it. Out of the 83, one of them was Kelly, arguably the most hard core and prolific ultra runner in Singapore having completed countless ultras and marathons all over the world. 

But even by her own standard, the Badwater was probably one of the toughest race of her life and yet she breezed through in just over 46 hours! Read more about her adventure at the Badwater 135 on her blog here.
Photo Credit Andre Blumberg
So what possess these people to take on this type of challenge where the distance they run is longer than the distance they take to go to/from work everyday and their battered bodies cry out for relief, for protection from all the abuses they put it through while completing in such events?

I seriously don't know but whatever it is, I take my hand and legs and whatever off to them and can only salute their grit and determination.

Well done ladies!

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