HUMBOLDT — One hundred kilometres is not a long way to go by car, but imagine running that on foot in one continuous race.
For Andy McAnally, that what he did over a weekend for the Lost Soul Ultra Marathon in Lethbridge on Sept. 6 and 7.
The ultramarathon is a tradition for McAnally, who has been competing in seven Lost Soul races since 2007. By this past week, McAnally said he was still tired from completing the race but he did not have any muscle pain.
“It’s a tough course but I always enjoy that finish line. [It’s] a wonderful feeling,” McAnally said.
According to the website, the course is 54 kilometres long with “elevation gain or loss approximately 1,200 meters with 16 significant hills,” and while it may be difficult, McAnally says it is also a beautiful trek.
For the 100 kilometres runners, they had to complete the loop twice to finish the marathon.
The 100-kilometre trek that took him 20 hours and 47 minutes to complete from 9 a.m. Friday morning to 5:47 a.m. Saturday morning. Eleven hours of the race was in total darkness, which didn’t faze McAnally.
“1 a.m. in the middle of the coulees. Not a soul around. I like these moments,” he wrote on Facebook.
Throughout the race, McAnally only took short 10 minute breaks to change socks and get a dry shirt and ate only small amounts of food.
The last 30 kilometres were hobbled because of an injured foot. Moving forward in pain was the biggest challenge for McAnally.
“The thing is practically everyone on the course is in some sort of pain and really, some more than others.”
Besides the physical toll, McAnally said he had his ups and downs mentally during the race. You talk to yourself, he said, but you also start to hallucinate.
“I thought I was getting close to an aid station; I heard a lot of people cheering, and then it turned out to be a pack of coyotes just yipping away. I realized I was another hour from the aid station.”
While there was a lot to deal with during the run, McAnally said he also got to talk with other runnings and great volunteers and onlookers were always cheering them on.
Everyone who finished received an engraved Lost Soul Ultra stone to take homeRacers even get the chance to pick their own rock that would get engraved but McAnally said was hurting by the end of the race, so a helpful volunteer also helped McAnally pick his out.
“I was going for a small rock because I was kinda hurtin’, and this volunteer came up to me and said ‘oh, why don’t you pick that one. It’s so unique.’ I said I will if you pick it up for me because I couldn’t bend down at that stage,” he laughs.
McAnally will be letting himself recover before thinking about his next big run but he will be considering the Lost Soul 50 kilometre run for next year or the Beaver Flat Ultra at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park which also takes place in September.
“It’s good to have a tough ultra run in Saskatchewan [and] put Saskatchewan on the map. Everyone thinks Saskatchewan is so flat.”
This is the first year that there was a Lost Soul 200 kilometre race with eight runners competing but McAnally says that would take year-round training before he would be ready to compete at that level.