DEER LAKE Sheila LeRoux put 1,275 kilometres on her legs during a strict training regime in an effort to reach the finish line at the Deer Lake 67.
Mission accomplished for a woman who lists the Tely 10 as the longest distance event she ran outside of training leading up to her lining up on the start line at the second annual Deer Lake 67 ultramaraton Sunday.
Motivated by race organizer and fellow participant Lorne Reid to compete in the second Deer Lake 67 earlier this year, LeRoux crossed the finish line with a running time of eight hours, 27 minutes and 54 seconds.
Her time was good enough to secure fourth place among a field of eight women and 22nd overall in a field of 32 runners who travelled along a route that featured paved roads, railway beds and water crossings around Deer Lake. Her running time was actually eight hours and six minutes after she had taken time to visit all five aid stations along the route to address things from changing footwear to keeping the fluids coming.
Despite being in unchartered waters, LeRoux felt she was in good hands with Reid providing her with a set training program to follow. She believes the plan was a blessing for her because she didn’t think she would have had the gumption to devise and follow one on her own.
There was never a moment where she felt she couldn’t get the job done, but she was warned in advance by Reid that she would hit her mental wall along the way.
That’s exactly what happened to her when she reached the 54-km mark.
“Your mind starts shutting down your body mentally, but I talked myself out of it,” LeRoux said of the slight challenge on her way to the finish line. “I really talked myself out of it. I said if Lorne was here now he would say suck it up.”
She appreciated having the support of Reid through her four months of training and her pit crew on race day, but she also enjoyed seeing all the familiar faces at the aid stations and throughout the race route. As a local woman on the course, she was overwhelmed with the cheering and encouragement she heard throughout the race.
“When you’re going into the aid stations and everybody knows you it’s an amazing feeling,” she said.
Throughout the race LeRoux showed no signs of fatigue. She was able to be her chatty self for the duration.
Being committed to a training plan and never wavering, even during July when temperatures soared in the high 20s, prepared her well she figures.
“I kept a good steady pace all through. I could talk any time through the whole 67-kms,” she said.
It seems a couple of runners from New Brunswick appreciated LeRoux’s presence on the course as much as the local community who cheered her on from start to finish.
Behind LeRoux’s home in nearby St. Jude’s lies the T’Railway that was used for the final leg of the journey of the race. From her house to the finish line at Holiday Inn Express is 5.5kms.
Along the way, she encountered a couple of runners from New Brunswick. She was told by one of them that his cellphone battery had died. She then informed him to be on the lookout for a purple bag, which was 5.5 kilometres from their final destination, because she was dropping it off at her house before proceeding to the finish line.
“They told me what a nice feeling it was to see that purple bag,” she said with a hearty chuckle.
The following is the official results from the second annual Deer Lake 67 held Sunday in Deer Lake:
1. Lee Churchill — 05:14:41.0
2. Duane Warren — 06:05:07.1
T3. Giles Bagley — 06:20:27.1
T3. Nicholas Ruel — 06:20:27.1
5. Derek Anderson — 06:37:13.6
6. Manuel Seguin — 06:46:16.1
7. Nancy Jewer — 06:50:15.2
8. Stephen Ford — 06:53:12.3
9. Shaun Shea — 07:01:14.3
10. Johnathan Hall — 07:01:41.2
11. Gregg Robertson — 07:10:46.7
12. Lorne Reid — 07:21:59.1
13. Craig Pike — 07:23:35.2
14. Dominic Demers — 07:26:16.2
15. Jackie Cabot — 07:31:28.1
16. Dean Burden — 07:35:39.9
17. Steve Wheeler — 07:46:06.3
18. Richard Stewart — 07:48:28.4
19. Natalie Cloutier — 07:49:37.4
20. Rob Ryan — 08:15:49.5
21. Jason Bolton — 08:22:24.7
22. Tony Brathwaite — 08:26:37.8
23. Arch Rose — 08:26:41.6
24. Sheila Leroux — 08:27:54.7
25. Vicki Lush — 08:28:46.9
26. Jeremy Loveman — 08:39:57.1
27. Peter Oxley — 08:41:35.7
28. Mark Cumming — 08:43:39.0
29. Terry Burt — 08:56:12.2
30. Augustine Van Der Baaren — 09:04:20.2
31. Kristi Bane — 09:30:39.6
32. Ashley Dawe — 09:43:41.5