A 70-year-old woman became a legend this weekend when she barely beat the 30-hour cutoff time at the prestigious Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. Yes, she’s 70. In fact, she’s almost 71. Yes, that’s 100 miles. In fact, it’s also 18,000 feet of climbing and 22,000 feet of descending. Gunhild Swanson’s endeavor was so remarkable that, when word reached the finish line of an elderly woman trying to finish, winner Rob Krar made his way to the last aid station and ran/walked the last 1.2 miles with her — while wearing flip-flops.
Here is a photo gallery, including Rob Krar (in the cowboy hat), taken by someone accompanying Swanson:
And here’s an interview with her after the race, where she explains a few remarkable things. First, she took a wrong turn and added three miles to her run. Second, she ran seven-minute pace around the high school track to the finish line in order to beat the clock — and that’s after 103 miles! Third — oh, just watch the video; it’s worth nine minutes of your Tuesday morning.
And congratulations to Billy Yang, who does a lot for the running community but this time got to be on the receiving end a bit.