100 miles in 32 hours!

A bruised, battered and somewhat dirty Rae-Anne Gill enjoying a drink after the challenge. Note the legs covered in dirt.
High Prairie teen finishes punishing race with seconds to spare

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Most teenagers look forward to sleeping in on weekends, or taking the summer off to relax.

Not Rae-Anne Gill, 16, who wakes up and decides to run 100 miles in only 32 hours!

Gill recently competed in the River Valley Revenge Ultra-Marathon in Edmonton on June 16-17. The race invites people to run either 50 miles, 100 miles, or be part of a 25-mile relay team.

Of course, Gill chose the 100 miles [50-mile loop repeated].

“You’re given 32 hours to complete the race,” says Gill.

She completed the course in 31 hours and 59 minutes – just under the wire – to place second overall and first for females.

“It came down to seconds.”

The $150 entry fee was well worth her effort. Gill will receive a pair of $250 trail shoes from Arc-Teryx, a medal, and hat.

And, most importantly, the satisfaction of completing the race.

Gill competes for the challenge of pushing herself to the limits of what the grueling race encompasses. The course runs through the scenic Edmonton river valley, uphill and down, across the banks of the river, and on concrete.

Gill’s goal was to simply complete the race.

“I had one goal in mind. I kept that in mind,” she said as she checked her watch as she got close to the finish line.

It was close, as Gill lost about 90 minutes the first day after going off-course.

“I had to push my pace,” she says. “I had to sprint the last 400 metres.”

And after 32 hours of walking, running, crawling, she still had the resolve to do it!

Only five dared take on the 100-mile challenge. Only two – including Gill – finished!

The weather was hot at 28C.

“I had to lots of running when it was hot. I walked at night because it was tough to see. I went straight through [no sleep].”

There were five aid stations along the route to replenish runners with food and drink. Gill also carried a backpack with extra fluids and “food I could stock up on”.

So, what prompts anyone to take on such a challenge, what drives Gill’s passion?

Gill started running with the Grade 6 students at High Prairie Elementary School. She continued to run in junior high at Prairie River.

“I’m not that fast of a runner so I decided to run longer [distances],” says Gill.

“It’s kind of a competition with yourself. I’m not trying to beat anyone else, just myself.”

Gill plans to compete in other ultra-marathons in Grande Cache, AB, and Kimberley, B.C. later this year.

“I’d like to do as many as my parents let me,” she says.

Besides her strenuous training and strict diet, Gill credits three pacers she had with her on the Edmonton course: Tyler Gamblin, Roslyn Bergen, of Edmonton, and Doran Walker, of Peace River.

“It was the most supportive community. They tell me if I just kept moving and pushing myself I could get through.”

And, she admits, “I’m stubborn enough!”

Gill is self-trained. She reads books, browses the Internet, and watches videos for ideas.

Diet is important.

“I’ve been a vegan for two years,” she says. “I don’t eat meat or dairy or eggs.

“I just find I feel better. I like to eat foods that give me energy.”

Gill, who was born and raised in High Prairie, is the daughter of Darryl and Kathy Gill. She has just completed her Grade 10 at E.W. Pratt High School and recently received the Grade 10 Female-Athlete-of-the-Year honours.

Still, 100 miles in 32 hours!

“It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” she says.

Hard to argue that!

Rae-Anne Gill climbs one of river banks during the challenge…
…and crosses the finish line at 31 hours and 59 minutes.

 

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