Completing a marathon is a feat that only 1% of the U.S. population can count amongst their accomplishments. Our TNT marathon alumni know very well that it takes incredible determination and motivation to cross that finish line-and we are inspired by them every day!
Enter the Western States Endurance Run—a 100 mile event that raises the difficulty level to the extreme. This event, that starts at the base of Squaw Valley and ends in Auburn, boasts 18,000 ft. of elevation gain and 22,000 ft. of descent to make up one of the most insane courses out there.
Only 450 people out of the thousands that apply are picked from the lottery, and two of TNT’s very own were amongst that group. Coaches Geoff Vaughan, of the San Francisco/Marin marathon team, and Marcie Cathey, of the Diablo Valley and Ultra marathon teams, took part in this crazy event this past Saturday and made all of us at TNT gush with pride!
“I have always had a desire to find new ways to explore the limits of my mind and body,” said Cathey. “Western States is the ‘Boston marathon’ of ultra marathons.”
But, we think this event makes Boston pale in comparison. Need some proof? Check out the above chart to see what these athletes go through during this 20+ hour event.
Although Coach Cathey was forced to pull out at mile 80 due to shin issues (which is still equivalent to THREE marathons, if you’re counting), she is glad that she listened to her body and vows to return and finish it one day.
“I was bummed to not be able to complete the goal of 100 miles,” said Cathey. “A race has yet to push beyond the limit of my mind and I intend to keep it that way. I have no regrets.”
Coach Vaughan was more fortunate on the injury front last Saturday and finished the full 100 miles in 22 hours, 28 minutes, and 12 seconds—that’s averaging a 13.5 minute mile! His training and motivation led him to a top 100 overall finish as well as a top 20 finish in his age group.
“In my last miles, my primary emotion was determination,” said Vaughan. “I knew I still had strength to persevere. I would take what my legs would give me and then ask for a little bit more.”
While the Western States’ mileage and setting may be more extreme than most of the events TNT offers, Coach Vaughan thinks the comparison to attempting an ultra marathon and joining the Team is vivid.
“You start with a goal…that may seem far from reach, perhaps impossible,” says Vaughan. “It takes real courage to intentionally go into uncharted territory…especially territory that involves physical and mental discomfort. But, it is in this territory where we find our progress, where we learn the most about ourselves, where we bond with others who are enduring the same challenges, and where we truly live in the moment.”
If you’re thinking of attempting something bigger than yourself—whether it be your first half marathon or an ultra distance event like Western States—Coach Cathey urges that, if you want it, do it. Coach Vaughan echoes her sentiment, as well.
“Think big,” says Vaughan. “ If a certain event intrigues you, put it in your sights and go get it. But, do your homework. You get out what you put in.”
With the support of a team, professional coaches to guide you, and the motivational mission behind LLS, all of the puzzle pieces are there for you to test yourself physically and try something outside of your comfort zone. That is, only if you want it.
“In your training, listen to your coaches and do the work to achieve your goal,” says Cathey.” Be humble, patient, and keep balance in your life. You will have no regrets!”
Congratulations again to our incredibly tough and inspiring Coaches, Geoff and Marcie. We are so lucky to be able to count incredible leaders such as you amongst our TEAM!
If you want to take your training a step further, TNT can get you there! We train athletes for Iron distance triathlons, the Death Ride, and ultra distance marathons like the Skyline 50K each year. Contact us at 800.78.TRAIN or visit www.teamintraining.org/sf to learn more.