This photo ruins the surprise ending.
For a road marathoner, with a personal best of 2:32, the act of shuffling at 12-minute pace feels like failure.
Under headlamp Emily Harrison, the racer, and I, the pacer, stumbled downhill into the small canyon where the Auburn Lake Trails aid station (85 miles into her 100 mile adventure) is located. As we neared the oasis of lights and activity, after covering the last 4 miles since sunset alone and in the dark, Emily blurted out, "I don't think I can do this any longer." I snickered, like any good pacer would do, and reassured her that in my past 6 finishes at Western I've NEVER moved this well at this point in the race. The rest of my response, "I'm sure you think that, but we gotta stop thinking and keep moving."
She did, and finished 7th woman in 102 degree heat and against a field of top notch ladies. She now has the luxury, after that Frankenstein-like walk wears off and her swollen, sausage feet return to normal, of deciding if she'll toe the line a year from now.
Congratulations Emily! You killed it! I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as I did.
On to some photos...
Some of the adiUltra boys after a run on The Flume Trail (on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe) a few days before the race. I'd pace Emily, Brian Tinder (without his shirt) would pace 2nd place finisher Rob Krar, James Bonnett (in the yellow) would pace 5th pace finisher Dylan Bowman, and Josh Brimhall (in the black) would join early pace setter Hal Koerner.
A view of the ladies on their way up to the sky in the early morning hours. Photo by Bob MacGillivray.
Emily Harrison covering the early miles of the race in good form. Photo by Glenn Tachiyama.
Emily is smiles at Robinson Flat (mile 30). Photos by crew member and Emily's mom, Cheryl Harrison.
Brent Hollowell, from Nathan Sports, helps Emily ready her pack at Foresthill (mile 62).
And we're off! I begin running with Emily at Foresthill and stick with her to the finish.
An appetite at Highway 49 (mile 93.5)! I'd be puking by now.
The top ten men!
The top ten women!