Houghton, NY (PRWEB) June 21, 2012
Glen Avery ’76, technology librarian at Houghton College, is known to many as the “marathon man” for his completion of marathons on all seven continents. Avery achieved yet another feat on June 3, 2012: the 56-mile Comrades Ultramarathon in South Africa.
Avery accomplished the brutal endurance event in 11:55:27. The finish cut-off for the event is 11:59:59.
Approximately 14,500 people started the race and about 11,800 finished, according to Avery. The event was 89 kilometers (56 miles) long, progressing from Pietermaritzburg in the mountains to Durban on the Indian Ocean. Avery first attempted this event in 2007, but withdrew at the 47-mile mark.
“89 kilometers (56 miles) is a very long way. Running and powerwalking that distance is an energy allocation problem that required my mind to monitor my body almost constantly and to calculate when and how much to eat and drink, and how much effort to exert at any one moment,” shared Avery. “I said often to myself during the event, ‘I am running with my mind; the legs are just along for the ride.’”
The thoughts and prayers of many friends and supporters also kept Avery going. “I chose to make this ‘our race’ rather than ‘my race.’ I did not want to fail them.”
The Comrades Ultramarathon is deemed one of the most challenging endurance events in the world, due primarily to the strict time cutoffs at various points in the race and the 12-hour limit at the finish. The hilly terrain and the wide fluctuation in temperature and humidity add both physical and mental difficulty.
Avery ran a conservative and smart pace, passing about 920 people after the 17-mile mark.
“I am proud to have gone back to South Africa and conquered this event. I love the country and I love this event that is so historically important to its people. One of the few Americans to have ever completed the Comrades, I now have a bond with South Africans that will endure forever.”