I first knew of Marcia when she sent me a message through the blog: “Nervous yet?” she asked me on June 29. I confess, I had been so wrapped up in my preparation, that I’d done little research on the different forums and sites run about Badwater. She found out about my solo attempt and had contacted me out of the blue. After a few trade messages, she mentioned that she might come out to see me on my run. I thought it a bit strange, but was quickly learning how supportive the ultra community is, so I was looking forward to meeting her.
We were starting on a Monday, and she had mentioned that she would be driving to Lone Pine (at the base of Mt Whitney and at about mile 122) and would come out to see me on Tuesday. She and her husband, John, meet us at about noon. She’s dressed to run, and offers to pace me “for a while”. Her hand is in a cast due to a recent surgery (“it throws me off when I run and frustrates me” she tells me), but she then proceeds to pace me for the next 12 hours! This allows my crew to rest for the push up the mountain, and I get to meet an incredible woman.
She’s completed what I was attempting three times and runs basically every day. She and her husband (who’s also completed Badwater with a record time of 1,088 hours) drove 6 hours to Lone Pine, are camping overnight, and will also pace me up the Portal Road to the 135 mile ‘finish’ line. After that, they’re driving home. On top of that, on finishing the 135, she presents me with a finishers belt buckle she’s had made. It’s unbelievably humbling.
I learned a lot about looking out for others and sacrifice, as well as a few interesting stories that Marcia told me from her experience. On that desolate road in the desert, she kept me engaged and moving forward on one of the more mentally challenging parts of the course.
One story she didn’t tell me, though, was about her escape from death the year before. Below is a link to the story that ran at the time, and if you subscribe to the ultralist, she’s published her story there as well. I can’t do it justice, but suffice to say, if you are at all inspired by what I had to go through, you’ll be floored by her courage and determination.
I’m honored to say I know and spent time with her, and more importantly, that she thought enough to spend time with me.