Guts. The word is in her name. Maggie Guterl became the first woman to ever win the Big Dog Backyard Ultra, a unique trail race in Tennessee that has competitors complete one 4-mile lap per hour. The last person still on his or her feet wins.
The 39-year-old from southern Colorado, who works at a nutrition company, ended up running 250 miles in 60 hours. She averaged about 53 minutes per loop, which gave her roughly seven minutes of down time to eat, change socks and tend to any aches, pains or blisters along the way. Then, at the top of each hour, she toed the start line again to begin another 4-mile loop.
“Our lives sometimes are so easy,” Guterl told The Denver Post. “I mean, life is hard, it’s complicated, it’s stressful. But all the comforts we have — we can drive to Starbucks and get a coffee, and I can do so many things just straight from my computer. But there is something about raw suffering to achieve a goal that is much more rewarding.”
The second place finisher timed out during lap 60, but Guterl believes had that not occurred, she was feeling so good, she could have hit 300 miles.
Still, it’s a race like no other, and even though she made it look relatively easy, it all comes down to who can continue moving forward while getting beat to a pulp.
She ended up tapping out after 183 miles in the 2018 race due to IT band issues.
“It’s like a contest for getting punched in the face,” Cantrell told Outside Magazine last spring. “Who will stand up and get punched in the face the most times? Because, after a while, it starts to hurt.”
Guterl didn’t start running seriously until a decade ago, when she signed up for a marathon. Since then, she hasn’t looked back. And to be frank, even if she did, she wouldn’t find anyone on her heels.