Sports

Hall enjoys the ultra challenge

Megan Hall, back, teaches Sophie LaRue warmup techniques during a North Whidbey Running Club practice. Hall has taken up ultra running and hopes it will inspire others to enjoy running and the outdoors. - Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times
Megan Hall, back, teaches Sophie LaRue warmup techniques during a North Whidbey Running Club practice. Hall has taken up ultra running and hopes it will inspire others to enjoy running and the outdoors.
— image credit: Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times

Megan Hall likes to run. And run. And run.

Many people are joggers, some compete in an occasional 10K and a few attempt grueling 26-mile marathons.

Hall, 23 and a 2007 graduate of Oak Harbor High School, is testing the waters of ultra running.

Ultra runs are long distance competitions, such as 50- and 100-mile treks or 12- and 24-hour runs.

One of Hall’s adventures included the 100-mile Badger Mountain Challenge March 30 in Richland. She finished fifth, second among the women, in just under 24 hours.

She has also participated in a 12-hour race and a 50K.

Hall is new to the ultra running scene, just learning the ropes and doesn’t see herself as anything special, especially compared to the veteran ultra runners: “I have so much respect for them.”

She said ultra running is a “whole different world” and she is “falling in love with it.”

One of the best aspects, she said, is getting to know the other runners. It is a close-knit community: “You see the same people no matter where the race is.”

Hall added, “I just come alive when running. You are with people who love running, and I like running the trails and seeing all the scenery.”

She does most of her training outdoors -- she doesn’t like being cooped up in a gym -- but is starting to incorporate cross training into her regiment.

She is also beginning to understand and discover what diet works best for her as she gets in shape and competes in the races: “Nutrition teaches you to listen to your body.”

She said many ultra runners are vegetarians, but she hasn’t switched yet, eating a lot of chicken and fish.

While competing on the ultra runs, each runner has to find what works best of him or her. She said, “One guy brings two big pizzas; it works for him. I fuel off something different.”

Hall, who ran high school and college cross country and track, likes the different aspects of the endurance training. She also likes what the training is teaching her about herself.

“I can relate it to life,” Hall said. “It helps me persevere through things that might seem hard…In daily life, when I run into something hard, it doesn’t mean I am doing anything wrong, it’s just hard.” She also pointed out that people “learn through failures.”

Hall, who coaches the North Whidbey Running Club, hopes her efforts inspire others to “love the outdoors and exercise.”

Hall plans to compete in another 100-mile race later this year. This weekend she will take it easy and run a marathon.

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