Event an emotional experience for Tranum
Non-stop running. No sleep. 100 miles.
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It seems unfathomable, perhaps even a bit scary.
Starkville's own Candy Tranum calls it the "neatest thing" she's ever done.
The 39-year-old Tranum recently faced those grueling conditions as she completed the Arkansas Traveller 100.
The trail running event, held at Ouachita National Forest on October 2-3, welcomed 96 runners, some from as far away as Japan.
Of the 96 participants, only 70 completed the entire race with Tranum crossing the finish line in 19th with a time of 25 hours, 11 minutes, and 16 seconds.
Just three other females completed the challenge ahead of Tranum.
While the results of Tranum's performance were impressive, the run-loving mother of two says just finishing the trek was an incredible experience.
"When I could see the finish line, I just teared up," said Tranum. "All of a sudden you just get emotional. I was like 'oh my gosh I did it'. All night long, you're thinking and working through it, but when I had about six miles left, I knew I'd be able to finish because I felt good. It's still to me like a dream. It doesn't seem like I really did it."
Prior to the Arkansas race, Tranum's biggest challenge had come in the form of previously completed 50-mile events. With that in mind, Tranum says the extra 50 miles of the Traveler was a bit intimidating at first.
"I was scared to death before I did it," said Tranum. "My biggest fear was the running through the night. That actually turned out to be the most fun part to be honest."
Tranum's run began at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 2, and ended at 7:11 a.m. on Sunday.
Throughout Tranum's voyage, she says there was never really a point where she thought she wouldn't be able to finish. The biggest problem was leg pain that developed as a result of the terrain.
"I almost felt guilty because I had such a really good day," said Tranum. "Now my legs at times made me worry I wouldn't be able to keep going very well. Running downhill was just really painful. But mentally, I never thought 'oh no, I'm not going to make it'. Sometimes when you run long distances, you have emotional ups and downs, and I just never got down. I just felt so blessed and happy all day."
Tranum gives a lot of the credit for her strong performance to her pacer, an individual who joined Tranum at the 48th mile and ran the final 52 miles of the race with her.
"Sometimes you can get a little disoriented and you need somebody with you," said Tranum. "She kept me on my nutrition schedule and was just really helpful. I don't know if I could have done it without her."
As important as the pacer was to Tranum, her training for the event was just as important.
Tranum says she ran at least 50 miles per week, sometimes running from 70 to 80 miles per week to ready for the challenge that lay in front of her.
"A lot of times I would run twice a day," said Tranum. "I've got two boys, so I work around their schedule. I'd run a lot of times in the mornings and then again at night."
That preparation, along with a whole lot of determination, pushed Tranum to the completion of her ultra-marathon.
"I love my running," said Tranum. "It's just my sanity."