By Alix Shutello
I continue to be amazed by the women out there who are moving to distances beyond the marathon. While it’s unfathomable to think that I even have time to run a half or full marathon I often wonder about how much time I’d need to train for races 50 miles and beyond.
Some women just have that time!
Enter Cheryl Zwarkowski, 52, an ultra runner (and grandmother, I might add) who began her running career in her early 40s.
“I generally finish the challenges I have set for myself and continue to look for and strive for new ones,” Cheryl told me via email.
Cheryl is an inspiration. She ran her first ultra distance 50K race in January of 2005 when was 46 years old. Cheryl’s story from couch potato to endurance athlete began 4 years earlier, when she realized that her fitness had taken a turn for the worse. Cheryl started working with a personal trainer at the gym and began walking. Soon afterwards, she ran a 5k which turned on the racing addiction immediately. She moved on to 10k races all the way up to marathons and well, the rest is history.
As I write this post, Cheryl is has left for Brazil (Brasil). On January 21, she will run the Brasil 135, a tortuous race through the Mantiqueira Mountains with only 10 miles of the race on flat ground. You ascend 30,000 feet and down 28,000 feet during the course of the race. Competitors must complete the course within 60 hours. Cheryl’s goal is to complete the race in 48 hours.
“At the completion of the race, I will have run up and down the total distance of Mt. Everest!” She exclaimed.
Read Cheryl’s story on Runners Illustrated!