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Crossing the finish line at White Mountains 100 Ultramarathon a surreal experience for Deer Lake's Michaela Pye

Deer Lake native Michaela Pye during the 2018 White Mountains 100 Ultramarathon held this past weekend in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Deer Lake native Michaela Pye during the 2018 White Mountains 100 Ultramarathon held this past weekend in Fairbanks, Alaska. - Submitted

A wonky hip. Swollen feet. Sleep deprived.

It may sound bad, but Michalea Pye will tell you otherwise.

Pye, a 22-year-old Deer Lake native, is tired and sore today, but she’s pretty proud after completing the White Mountain 100 Ultramarathon in Fairbanks, Alaska, with a final clocking of 36 hours and 43 minutes — in a cold and mountainous journey that required the 89 entrants to complete the 100-mile trek in under 40 hours or risk being disqualified.

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Michaela Pye eager to test her mettle with ultramarathon through White Mountains in Alaska

Michaela Pye approaching the finish line at ultramarathon

Pye was dealing with some discomfort Tuesday, but she was happy to have reached the finish line and found some of her Alaskan friends waiting for her.

She was so exhausted when she arrived at her destination that she just felt she had been through an out-of-body experience, she said. She always thought the body could be pushed to do amazing things, but wasn’t so confident about pushing it to complete a gruelling 100-mile trek that was pretty nippy at night, with temperatures dipping to -45 degrees.

“I was capable of doing something that I thought was a big task, so it was kind of surreal,” she said.

It was cold and the terrain was unforgiving, but she managed to keep her wits and continue forging ahead, even when she experienced excruciating pain in her hip at the midway mark of the race.

It was cold and uncomfortable dealing with the pain. She’s not even sure how she injured it other than thinking she extended her body the wrong way and her hip slipped out. She took a short break at Mile 50, which was the highest elevation point in the race. She had concerns about moving on with a hip that seized up on her, but she found strength in the sky as the northern lights began to dance around the sky because of the frigid temperatures.

She had only seen them so active on one previous occasion, so it was certainly a sight for sore eyes.

“It was pretty extraordinary,” she said. “It definitely took your mind off everything that was happening.”

Tired and sore, she’s still thankful that she took on the challenge. She didn’t know if she had it in her to see the finish line, but she had to find out.

“It’s still sore, but I’m getting around OK. My feet are pretty swollen, but no serious injuries,” she said.

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