What are they thinking? Runners line up to tackle Calgary's 150-km ultra marathon

Calgary marathon organizers wanted to up their game this year, so in honour of Canada’s 150th anniversary, they added a 150-kilometre ultra marathon to their existing races.

That’s roughly the distance from Calgary to Red Deer.

But what goes through the mind of a runner to mentally prepare for such a gruelling endeavor?

We asked four runners and here’s what they said:

Martin Parnell of Cochrane, Alta.

Martin Parnell

“I chunk it down. I break it down into little pieces,” Martin Parnell told CBC News.

“I chunk it down into 10-minute pieces. I run for nine minutes and walk for one. I don’t try and get ahead of myself, I don’t even worry about that. Just get through the next nine minutes of running and then start walking. I walk to give my legs a rest but also to take in my nutrition, hydration and electrolytes.”

Jenny Lynn of Sudbury, Ont.

Jenny Lynn

“It’s just the challenge to see if you can actually finish it. It takes a toll so you have to find that mental state to keep pushing through,” Jenny Lynn explained

“I believe, I believe, I believe, I believe, over and over. I think of all of my friends who keep telling me that ‘You can do this,’ I don’t want to let them down because they believe so much in me that I just keep pushing through.”

Beverley Grobbelaar of Calgary

Beverley Grobbelaar

“I am not a great trainer, unfortunately, I don’t put in what I should, but I think my mind is strong enough to get me through it,” Beverley Grobbelaar said.

“I love to run and I am just going to keep reminding myself of that and I have the ability to do it. When I am having a really low moment, I often think of people that would like to run or can’t run and that gets me through it.”

Noel D’arcy from Olds, Alta.

Noel D’arcy

“There is a lot of motivation and energy from the crowd and from the cheering. There is a lot of support out there,” Noel D’arcy said.

“I will be visualizing the finish line because it’s what keeps me motivated to keep going. I can’t explain the feeling when you finish a long distance race. It’s something that is pretty incredible.”

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