Two Austin runners set a new women’s time record on the 93-mile Wonderland Trail today, cutting nearly 2 hours off the previous record set in 2012.
Allison Macsas and Mallory Brooks started their run early Monday and completed the loop around Mount Rainier together, without any outside support.
They aimed to break the 30-hour barrier. They did much more than that, finishing in 29 hours, 12 minutes and 25 seconds, just before noon today.
“The things we thought would be the biggest challenges – snow fields and washed out bridges – turned out to be no big deal. At the last minute, we decided to run the loop opposite from last year, which means most of the elevation gain was in the second half of the run,” Macsas said after completing the run. “The last few miles were definitely the most challenging, both physically and mentally. We knew we had the fastest known time, which made it easy to keep pushing forward. “
The women ran the opposite direction so they could navigate snow fields in the daylight, and also because they were familiar with the last half of the trail, making it easier to run through the night.
When they finished, they ate Nepali food and drank a beer, according to Gabe Steger, Macsas‘ fiance. They plan to shower, then lay down flat, he added. Sleeping is sometimes difficult after such a long run, he said.
Time records are kept in three divisions – supported, in which crew members can help a runner by providing food or shoes or anything they need; self-supported, in which a runner can cache food or mail packages to him or herself; and unsupported, in which a runner can only carry his or her own supplies or eat and drink what they find in the wild.
Until today, Candice Burt held the women’s unsupported “fastest known time” of 31 hours, 11 minutes and 56 seconds, set in 2012. That’s just over a 20-minute pace, on a rugged, single-track trail with 22,000 feet of elevation gain and loss. (She also encountered two mountain lions along the way, and has some cool tattoos on her legs.)