Bill Abel, Engineer at Mid-States Concrete Industries, is crazy. Not because he went to Iowa State, although he takes plenty of ribbing during football season, but for what he does for fun. He is a runner.
How many of you have ran a marathon (26.2 mi)? Half marathon (13.1 mi)? How about an ultra-marathon of 50 mi?
Bill just competed and completed an ultra marathon of 100 miles. The Western States Endurance Run. The Run is conducted along the Western States Trail starting at Squaw Valley, California, and ending in Auburn, California, a total of 100 miles. The trail ascends from the Squaw Valley floor (elevation 6,200 feet) to Emigrant Pass (elevation 8,750 feet), a climb of 2,550 vertical feet in the first 4½ miles. From the pass, following the original trails used by the gold and silver miners of the 1850’s, runners travel west, climbing another 15,540 feet and descending 22,970 feet before reaching Auburn.
Most of the trail passes through remote and rugged territory, accessible only to hikers, horses and helicopters.
“There is no clear answer, but I think it’s to see how far I can push myself. I think we have all seen the videos from the Ironman Triathlon when people are crawling to the finish line. I’ve always wondered if I could push myself that far. Since I can’t swim, I know triathlons were out of the questions. So I thought I would give ultra-marathons a try. I had run marathons for years, so I started with a few 50 mile races and then moved to the 100 mile races. The race is just as much mental as it is physical. You learn a lot about yourself when you are on a deserted trail in the middle of nowhere at 2:00 in the morning after already running 80 miles, knowing you still have 20 to go. In most cases your mind will break long before your body does, but you just try to keep moving.”
“My family thinks I’m crazy, period. They also know if I don’t get my runs in I can be hard to deal with. That being said they are also very proud of what I have done. Their sacrifice and support has been huge and I would not have been able to compete at this level without it. They ask the same question everyone else does…”Why?”
“It takes an enormous amount of time to train for this event. I am proud of the dedication and perseverance he shows. It is a great lesson for our kids to learn. We are very proud of him, it’s a great feeling to see him cross the finish line.” said Bill’s wife Val.
A good friend of Bills presented him with a trophy for his accomplishment. Congratulations Bill on an amazing accomplishment.