For many runners, running a full marathon of 26.2 miles is their ultimate goal. However, for other runners they are looking to push past the marathon goal and move to ultramarathon distances, which is a race exceeding 26.2 miles. On March 12th-14th, the 4th Annual Conquer the Wall 35 & 47-Hours Endurance Challenge hosted by the Tug Valley Road Runners Club in Williamson, West Virginia gave ultramarathoners the chance to put their training, strength, and endurance to the test.
According to TVRRC President Alexis Batausa, 80 participants from 20 states came to take the challenge this year.
“Ultramarathons are smaller than your marathon races. This race may bring in 80-100 people, but each participant brings a solid foundation of their running accolades that keeps us on our heels to have them run this event. There are so many veterans of this sport that keep us inspired and motivated to be like them. We are grateful and thankful for them to support our race and community,” says Alexis
During the event, runners could run as individuals or as teams over a 35 or 47 hour period. Before the race began, participants set their mileage goals, and then got to work.
Of the 80 participants, Alexis reports 27 runners reached 100 miles during the 47-hour time frame, 3 participants reached 100 miles in the 35-hour time frame, and 3 teams accomplished the 100 mile mark.
During this year's Conquer the Wall, participants also had extra guidelines to follow due to the ongoing pandemic, but this didn’t stop them from reaching their goals and enjoying the event.
Alexis says, “ I was very pleased to see the participants follow the guidelines. They felt comfortable throughout the weekend and I believe they felt they were in a safe environment, especially with the distance we kept between other participants and volunteers. Camping and sleeping in their cars and campers were pretty straightforward. This race creates its own community for three days.”
As Alexis says, this race creates its own community for the weekend. A comradery forms as everyone cheers on their fellow runners. It’s on that thought, Alexis also gives credit to fellow members of the TVRRC and others in the community for their work and dedication to making this ultramarathon a reality each year.
“This is a long race weekend and I could not do it without the dedicated individuals putting in the time and effort to make this a very successful event,” Alexis says. “ Thank you to the Tug Valley Road Runners Club members who made the time and knew how important this race is to our participants, this organization, and our community.”
Now, it’s on to planning the 5th Annual Conquer the Wall Challenge, which will be held March 11-13, 2022! Alexis takes a deep breath and says, “We are so excited about next year being the 5th anniversary of the race! Planning has started and we are already looking at the logistics on how we can improve and bring people from around the world here.”
P.S.-In the end, Alexis finally took time for a bit of rest.
All photos provided by Alexis Batausa and the Tug Valley Road Runners Club