SYLACAUGA, Ala. — In two short days, more than 200 runners from three different countries and 29 states will be in the midst of the Pinhoti 100, as SylacaugaNews.com reported last week. SylacaugaNews.com sat down with two participants to give readers insight into running 100 miles.
Marty Livingston of Oxford will return to the Pinhoti 100 after last year’s race, which was his first 100 miler. Livingston hopes to avoid a critical mistake he made last year: moving through aid stations too quickly. Last year, when moving through the eighth aid station near the 45-mile point, Livingston checked in, got some food, and departed. After leaving, Livingston realized he had forgotten to top off his water bottles. At such a deep distance into the race, a hydration and/or nutrition error could be a race-ending mistake. The distance between the eighth and ninth aid stations is the longest distance between stations in the entire race, at approximately 6.8 miles. Livingston was nearing the point of taking water out of standing pools throughout the trail when he ultimately reached the ninth aid station. Livingston says this mistake has taught him to always take his time through aid stations in order to get all essential supplies, especially in the latter half of the race. As 100 mile runs progress, many participants’ thoughts become cluttered, and a habit of refilling bottles or hydration packs becomes more difficult than one would expect.
Sonia Steely of Birmingham will also be returning to the Pinhoti 100 to run her second 100 mile run. Steely’s first 100 miler was the 2013 Pinhoti 100, when she finished in 28 hours and 51 minutes. For 2016, Steely set a goal of finishing in under 27 hours. Steely was on pace for a 26 hour finish in 2013 until about mile 74, where she let herself slow down and lose motivation to finish fast once realizing she would finish before the cut-off times. Steely has instructed her pacers in the last quarter of the race to push her to a faster finish than 2013. One slow-down point for participants is realizing they will meet cut-off times comes in the final four miles, which is on Oldfield Road in Sylacauga before reaching Legion Stadium; this is what Steely hopes to avoid in this year’s race.
Many think running for more than 20 hours without sleep can be exhausting. Steely knew she had to keep moving all day and night to finish on time, and the adrenaline rush from the race kept her going without even yawning a single time in her 28 hour finish.
Others wonder why some runners choose to participate in ultra-marathons on trails instead of participating in local 5K, half marathon, or marathon runs. Livingston says the scenes of nature, like waterfalls, fall foliage, and sunrises during the race all make trail running unique, but that the physical and mental endurance needed to endure rough terrain, sporadic weather conditions, elevation changes, sleep deprivation, and the distance itself make trail running a special challenge that is gives off a remarkable sense of accomplishment.
SylacaugaNews.com will continue to cover Pinhoti 100. Stay tuned for more information.
Jack Wilbanks for SylacaugaNews.com | © 2016, SylacaugaNews.com/Marble City Media LLC. All Rights Reserved