Dauphin woman nabs title in 240-km endurance test

Dauphin's Sue Lucas is the first woman ever to complete the Tuscobia Winter Ultra women's 150 mile foot race in Wisconsin.

Sue Lucas wins women's category of Wisconsin extreme endurance test

Sue Lucas trains for the Tuscobia Winter Ultra 241 kilometre race in Dauphin. She later went on to be the first woman to finish the race. (Helen Scotch)

The next time you grumble about shovelling your driveway or complain about the long, cold walk to work, consider what Sue Lucas of Dauphin did.

Lucas went to Wisconsin to compete in the Tuscobia Winter Ultra women's 241 kilometre (150 miles) foot race and did not leave disappointed. She's now the first woman ever to complete the race.

The race started at Park Falls Wisconsin on the Tuscobia trail, about 120 km out and 120 km back. She was one of two groups who began their trek on Friday, Dec. 27 at 6 a.m. The goal was to finish by 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Everyone walks, runs or hikes the distance.

"Some were using hiking poles," explained Lucas. "We were also pulling a small sled. On that we had to have some mandatory equipment including a warm sleeping bag, a sleeping pad and two litres of water. We had food and a stove in case of emergency. My sled weighed about 25 pounds."

Lucas said she's always been drawn to these sorts of challenges, and in the past, has taken part in marathons, iron man triathalons and hundred-mile races.

"I've got that kind of personality where you're just looking for bigger and better challenges," she admitted. "Plus, this was my 50th year so I decided that I was going to go big!"

Not only was Lucas the first woman to complete the race thereby winning the women's category. She also placed second overall, finishing in 54 hours and 35 minutes.

"I came home with some pretty swollen ankles, two large feet and a cough. Otherwise I'm in pretty good shape," she smiled. "I didn't plan on sleeping, but during the second night, I had a lot of hallucinations all night long, which was kind of freaky."

For her, the trick was to focus.

"I kept repeating to myself, 'If you can just make it to the sunrise, if you can just make it to the sunrise, then you'll be fine,'" she explained. "Once the sun came up, the hallucinations went away, and I was able to focus on getting to the finish."

How did she train for something like this? "I do a lot of dog walking. I've got a two-mile trail behind my house, and I pull my sled with 30 pounds on it around that trail, over and over," said Lucas.

Right now, she is resting up until her next race.

On Jan. 27, she'll compete in the Arrowhead 217 km (135 mile) race in Minnesota. She is also registered for the Actif Epica 130 km race in St. Malo, Man. Lucas is hoping she'll be the first woman to complete all three winter races.