Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Melissa Williams Ultra Chick

Melissa Williams Ultra Chick

Since November 2008 Melissa has run at least one marathon or ultramarathon a month. She runs a minimum of 50 miles and, often, up to 100 or more per week. She is a member of the Marathon Maniacs . She competes in 100-mile races and has run for over 30 hours at one time!! Melissa placed 2nd overall in Across the years 24 hour race in Arizona from New Years Eve 2010-New Years Day 2011 with total mileage of 112.6,beating all of the men!

Recently, I had the pleasure to interview Melissa. She began running at a young age. She said that the first time she ‘discovered’ the joy of running was in elementary school during a walk-a-thon for a charity. It was an all-day event with the money raised depending on how many laps were completed. She remembers thinking “why would anyone walk when you could run?” So she ran the rest of the day. It was her first ultra!

She shared with me her most memorable race, the Pine to Palm 100-miler ,during which she ran for 31 hours straight! She considers this the toughest race she has ever participated in, with the major elevation changes and bad weather— it rained entire time.

 “I learned from that race don’t be afraid to try, push yourself, challenge yourself and then you will build on that—you are stronger than you think you are”. She uses that race as a comparison when she is at a rough spot in other races, to remember that she has made it through such a mentally and physically challenging race. “My pacer Anne and our friend Brandon really got me through post mile 65. We ran the night together and shared many stories and laughs. I am not sure how I would have made it through without them. I also remember the main aid station director at mile 65 on top of the mountain looking me directly in the eyes while I sat freezing and doubting myself and he said- "Mel you are strong and you can do this- now get back out there and get it done- you are not stopping here!!" And I just listened and went. The strength of these people believing in me really got me through it and made it for one of the most memorable experiences of my life! “

When asked about what advice she would give to a new runner she simply says “Stay positive and have fun!” She notes that people are generally very hard on themselves especially within in the sport of running. She says they should “… let go of preconceived notions and be proud of the little successes, and to build on every little success…”

Her goals for the future are to continually raise the bar, while celebrating each year. She would like to qualify for the USA 24-Hour Run National Team and to run in Badwater Ultramarathon. She will continue to travel and do races all over the world. Melissa’s next race will be the 100-miler Lumberjack endurance Run in Washington State in April 2011.

Melissa’s energy and excitement is contagious, she has made running friends all over the world and has a passion for encouraging others. I have no doubt we will continue to see many great things from her and we can rest assured that she will accomplish them and have fun at the same time! You can read all about Melissa's races in her blog aptly named Ultra Chick Adventures.  

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