B.C. woman wins one of most difficult marathons in the world
'It felt really really challenging ... I think it was the hardest run I've ever done'
A Nanaimo woman climbed her way to victory by winning one of the most difficult marathons in the world earlier this month.
Kristin Clarke ran and climbed the 42-km Inca Trail Marathon in less than nine hours, finishing as the overall winner.
Despite the gruelling experience, she says she found joy in the experience.
"I've found a passion and drive ... I treated it like an adventure," she said.
"I was really just at peace with being out there in nature."
Training for the challenge of lifetime
The Inca Trail Marathon ends at the Machu Picchu ruins in Peru, which sit almost 8,000 feet above sea level.
"It felt really, really challenging," she said.
Despite having never run an actual marathon, Clarke ran and power-hiked on longer distances during her training.
"I've tried training in the same elevation ... I did local adventures ... Strathcona, Arrowsmith, Juan de Fuca Trail ... power hiking as much as I can," she recalled.
Clarke struggled with the climbing component of the marathon and said the altitude really affected her.
"You're tired, dizzy ... just trying to manage ... I felt like I was really out of breath," she said.
Clarke's challenge began before she even set foot on the trail. She was sick after arriving in Cusco because her body didn't adjust well to the altitude.
"I was a little worried about the race itself ... but I survived."
Throughout the run, Clarke tried to maintain the right mindset.
"It's more mentally challenging than physically ... an emotional roller coaster really ... [I tried] to be positive," she said.
On the second big climb of the race, Dead Woman's Pass — which is nearly 6,000 feet above Machu Picchu — she didn't think she'd make it.
"There was all this beautiful scenery I was able to take in once I was at the top ... that made it all worthwhile," she said.
With files from On the Island