Silver Bay native runs 100Marcus Taintor, a 2001 graduate of Silver Bay’s Kelley High School, recently joined ultra-marathon runners from around the country to compete in the Superior 100 Mile Trail Race.
By: MJ Bock as told to Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Marcus Taintor, a 2001 graduate of Silver Bay’s Kelley High School, recently joined ultra-marathon runners from around the country to compete in the Superior 100 Mile Trail Race. Beginning at Gooseberry Falls, the grueling course included Mount Trudy, Carlton Peak, Moose Mountain and many other climbs of high elevation. The race began at 8 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 7, and closed at 10 p.m. the next day. Headlamps were worn by runners as they traversed the dark trails through Friday night.
Taintor decided to run the race last spring.
“There’s kind of a group I run with, but most of the training was on my own, he said. “Most days I run like everyone else—an hour or two, but about once a week or every other week I do a long run of 20-30 miles.”
Taintor , who also ran in three 50-mile races over the summer, claimed that the mental challenge of an ultra-marathon is not that difficult.
“Mentally, you break it up. [You say] ‘I just have to run to Finland,’ then when you get to Finland you say, ‘now, I just have to run to the next place,’” he said.
At mile 42.8, however, competitors were permitted to have pacers (buddy runners) who ran alongside. The Superior 100-Mile Trail Race web site advised competitors to “find someone who knows you as a runner—preferably someone you have done long runs with or have run long races with—that way they will know how to read you, anticipate your needs, push you when needed and hold back when required.” Two of Taintor’s brothers, Micah and Luke, were pacers during the early hours of Saturday morning. A third Taintor brother, a medical doctor in Alaska who provides care to residents in remote villages, awaited news of the race from afar.
As it turned out, it was not the physical challenge of the 100-mile trek that presented the problem. Out of a field of 136 who registered and the 90 who finished the 100-mile race, Taintor was 59th-- nothing to sneeze at under any circumstances-- but not quite what he had in mind.
In the end it was a bad fall at mile 30 that threw the monkey-wrench into his plans for the race. “I wasn’t happy with the way the race went, said Taintor, “ It was okay until mile 75 and then my shin started hurting. In the lower part of the leg and top of the foot there are tendons and fascia that I guess got inflamed.” He wasn’t unable to run much of the remaining 25 miles of the race. At that point he welcomed another pacer from Duluth, Samantha Frey Carlson, who encouraged his last marathon stretch.
Taintor was “a bit” tired, he said, but smiling as he crossed the finish line at Caribou Highlands Resort in Lutsen before sunset on Saturday.
Taintor, who began running trails in junior high, said that the highlights of his 100 mile run were seeing the sun set over Sawbill Dome and watching rain moving between the valleys of the various Sawtooth Mountains.
“Next year, I’ll run the race again,” he said.