Many can run a marathon, but it takes a different breed to run an ultramarathon.
In the Western States Endurance Run, racers take on the 100 miles of dirt between Squaw Valley and Auburn, California, and they must complete the race in 30 hours or less.
On Sunday, Gunhild Swanson, 70, became the oldest woman to ever complete an ultramarathon when she finished the Western States in 29 hours, 59 minutes, and 54 seconds.
The finish line was as cheerful and dramatic as any Super Bowl ending.
In an interview with iRunFar.com, Swanson said that she and her pacer took a wrong turn at mile 88, which tacked an additional three miles onto her race.
This was Swanson’s third time running the Western States, and in 2005, she completed it in 25 hours, 40 minutes, and 29 seconds to set a new record in the 60-69 age group.
Swanson may have been the last person to cross the finish line, but better than anyone else, she knows how to find another gear with her best available energy in the moment. Even at 70.