Friday, April 03, 2009

Running with the Buffaloes

No, this isn't about the University of Colorado XC team. It's a story I did for the local weekly paper about Ronda LeClair of Plains and her performance at the Buffalo Run in Salt Lake City. Ronda's one of those runners who can get into a groove and just keep hitting that pace for hours.

According to her husband and son, she had the lead at 38 miles; but, she maybe pushed a bit hard in the early, hilly miles and it caught up with her a bit over the last 10 to 15 kilometers.

At any rate, here is my report to the papers.

The Muddy Buzzard

On Saturday, March 28th, Ronda LeClair of Plains competed in the Buffalo Run 50-Mile Race outside of Salt Lake City. The race was held at Antelope Island State Park - which is on the largest island (28,000 acres) in the Great Salt Lake. There are about 45 miles of trails on the island, which is inhabited with 500 head of buffalo together with deer, antelope, bighorn sheep and numerous bird species.

Much like the Energizer Bunny, Ronda just kept going - and going - and going. She went all the way to 34th place overall (out of 106 total), 3rd place among the women and 1st place in the women's 50 - 59 age group. Her time of 9 hrs., 10 min. and 40 secs. means that she ran right at 11 minutes per mile over the 50 miles of hilly trails. (Another way to think of this is that she did the equivalent of 200 laps around the Plains HS track with each lap in about 2 minutes & 45 seconds!!!!) With the race beginning at 6:00 a.m., Ronda was done in plenty of time to clean up and make it to Salt Lake City in time for dinner!

Completing and ultramarathon (defined as any race longer than the standard 26.2 mile marathon distance) requires a unique blend of endurance and determination and the ability to manage the fatigue that is inevitable in an event that lasts longer than a standard work day. Ronda clearly showed that she was able to conquer the challenges on race day.

Ronda was joined by her husband Jim on race day. Jim chose to run the shorter 25 Kilometer (15.5 miles) event, finishing in a time of 3 hrs., 29 min. and 14 secs. Apparently the family that runs together stays together!

Both Ronda and Jim are extremely humble and would be the last to let you know about their accomplishemnts; so, the next time that you see them around town be sure to congratulate them on their spectacular finishes.

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