Jennifer Love as she gets the insights from participants competing in this muddy race.


Desiree Marek
“There is no greater source of discipline than the effort demanded in overcoming obstacles.” — Simone Weil

Three and a half weeks ago, a medical provider told me that it was unlikely I would ever run more than five miles again, and even doing that would take me several months. Two weeks prior, I hyperextended my left kneecap while sweeping a race course. My knee made a loud popping sound, one of those soul-crushing sounds that you know deep down means something bad, and I was barely able to walk. Despite rest, a steroid injection, aggressive physical therapy, and heavy doses of every anti-inflammatory treatment one could think of, I saw only minimal improvement. I saw medical provider after medical provider, but no one had a definitive diagnosis. In all likelihood, it was a severe sprain, probably to the ACL. Rehabilitation was going to be slow and only time would tell whether I would recover fully. I sat out my next race, the White River 50, which I had planned on being my Western States qualifier this year. Sad though I was, I knew it was the responsible decision. I accepted that I was going to lose my entry in the WS lottery and that I would need to start over next year. There would be other races, as everyone assured me, though it didn’t feel that way.