By Sean Patrick Murphy
Running an ultra marathon did more for Rachael Carpenter than just prove her fitness level.
“After participating in the race I feel like I’ve become a more positive person,” Carpenter said. “Additionally, I’ve learned that with perseverance and determination, I can accomplish a lot more than I previously thought.”
Carpenter, of Voorhees, took part in the Stroehmann Back on My Feet Lone Ranger Ultra Marathon July 16 and July 17.
She said she learned about it from the instructor of her CrossFit class, Ed Walto at the Brach’s MMA Gym in Voorhees. He and a co-worker had run this marathon previously and he asked his students if any of would like to “come along for the ride” and run.
The participants ran 8.4-mile laps around Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River Running Loop. The race was 24-hour marathon which began 10 a.m. on July 16 and ended 10 a.m. July 17. Participants walked or ran as many miles as they could in a 24-hour period.
Simultaneously, there were participants in Back on My Feet relay races, a Midnight Madness Run, and a Pajama Run.
Carpenter participated in the marathon as a fundraiser for the organization.
In lieu of paying a regular entry fee, she had a set monetary goal to reach in order to participate in the race. She exceeded her goal of $185 by $45.
While she does not consider herself an athlete, the 31 year-old said she’s always been an active person. In high school she ran cross country and track.
Carpenter also participated in a student program that paid for her entry into the Los Angeles Marathon. In her twenties she continued to run and work out at her local gym.
“Recently, I’ve taken up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and started racing again,” she said. “This was my first race in 13 years and I’m planning to run the Philadelphia Marathon in November.”
Carpenter ran 67.648 miles for approximately 21 hours and 40 minutes. She placed 82 overall (out of 207 participants) and ranked 23 among females participating.
Carpenter said she started preparing for the race about five months ago. She ran three days a week, on average, loosely following a running schedule from runnersworld.com and trailrunevents.com for a 100-mile race.
Carpenter also did some cross training by doing Jiu-jitsu, striking (boxing), and CrossFit classes.
“I love the fact that the Back on My Feet organization uses running as the first step in their program to help the homeless community,” she said. “I know that personally, it has helped me become a stronger person, both physically and mentally, and I know that running can do this for others as well.
“Besides, it takes discipline to be able to do multiple early morning runs on a weekly basis,” Carpenter added. “And if the participants have this kind of discipline and determination, there won’t be much that can stop them as they work to get their lives back on track.
“I can’t help but be inspired by them,” she said.
“I wanted to challenge myself by running this marathon,” Carpenter said. “Although I had participated in marathons before, I didn’t diligently train for them.
“In the back of my mind I regretted that I had not tried harder,” she continued. “So when I heard about this race I thought it would be interesting to see what my body would be capable of doing if I did train on a regular basis.
“I wanted to know what it felt like to run so many miles,” Carpenter said.