While running this year's Leadville Trail 100, Jennifer Schubert-Akin will be raising money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Her sister, Yvonne, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 22 years ago.
Schubert-Akin is asking people to pledge a certain amount for each mile she runs Saturday. Checks should be made out to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and sent to Jennifer Schubert-Akin at 27855 Whitewood Drive E., Steamboat Springs, CO 80487.
All proceeds go to the Multiple Sclerosis Society and are tax deductible.
Steamboat Springs Jennifer Schubert-Akin looks forward to that last jaunt up East Sixth Street in Leadville during the early morning hours.
Exhausted, worn out and giving everything her body has left, it's a delightful sign to the Steamboat Springs runner.
"That's the best half-mile. You can see the finish line and the banner and all the people," said Schubert-Akin, who plans to run the Leadville Trail 100 race for the fifth time Saturday. "It's the easiest half-mile you'll run in your life."
Or, it's at least the easiest when you've already covered 99 1/2 grueling miles, all above 9,200 feet.
The Leadville Trail 100 race is aptly called the Race Across the Sky. Runners have 30 hours to complete the race, which hits its highest point at Hope Pass before returning to town.
Schubert-Akin has completed the race twice and had to drop out three other times.
Last year, on her return into Twin Lakes at mile 60, Schubert-Akin missed the cutoff time. She got sick with flu-like symptoms and was forced to stop.
"Everybody wants their last Leadville to be a good one," Schubert-Akin said. "When you have one that doesn't go well, you can't wait until you get out there again to prove to yourself you can do it."
Schubert-Akin has been able to train at Leadville's high altitude more because she bought a cabin near Twin Lakes - about 20 minutes south of Leadville. She said it's imperative to adjust to the altitude.
Another key for her will be to maintain a low to moderate heart rate for the first half of the race.
She said a lot of people go out too strong and end up crashing the second half of the race.
Finally, she said, she should know by mile 60 whether she'll be able to finish. She said that in the years she has finished, she felt good at that point - or relatively good, at least.
"At some point, you know your body will be hurting badly," she said. "But you just have to keep moving."
To follow Schubert-Akin's progress in the race, visit www.leadvilletrail100.com and look for bib No. 365.