Steamboat runners finish 100-mile race

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— Most people would call the idea of running a 100-mile race crazy. Lisa Barbour used to be one of them.

"A few years ago, I thought it was absurd," she said.

But Barbour, a Steamboat Springs resident, changed her mind and ran in last weekend's "The Race Across the Sky," a 100-mile ultramarathon on the Leadville trail.

At 4 a.m. Saturday, she left the starting line. Twenty-nine hours and 45 minutes later, Barbour crossed the finish line after running through the night.

"It was much harder than I expected," she said.

Two other locals, Brenda Geister and Mike Ehrlich, ran the marathon with Barbour. While the race was difficult, the key is to "just keep going," Geister said.

"You don't sleep and you don't stop," she said. "You don't rest. It's not so much miles as it is hours."

Geister competed in four other summer events associated with the Leadville 100 -- a 27-mile marathon, a 50-mile mountain bike race, a 100-mile mountain bike race and a 10-kilometer run.

The races started in the beginning of July and ended with last weekend's marathon.

She finished all five races within the time constraints and was crowned a "Leadwoman" finisher, a title that has been bestowed on only three women in the event's 22 year history.

"You have to complete all five events, and if you can complete all five, you're a leadwoman," said Geister. It was her third time running in the 100-mile race, but her first attempt at the "Leadwoman" crown.

"I can't believe how Brenda does that," Barbour said.

All 50 states and a few countries -- including Germany, Japan and Australia -- were represented in the pool of ultramarathon runners.

About 475 people signed up for "The Race Across the Sky," but only 193 of those finished, Geister said.

Barbour finished the race, but credits her finish to her pacers, who provided moral support and carried her water and food while running alongside her.

"I would not have finished without my pacers, that's for sure," she said.

Barbour said that she is not planning to run in the marathon next year, but probably would give it another try in a few years. Geister hopes to run in the Western States 100 race in California next year.

Both Barbour and Geister are working moms, but somehow find time to train.

"You just become pretty efficient with your time," said Barbour. "There's not a lot of sitting around."

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