Holder Topples Long-Standing Walking Record

Yolanda Holder after beating Amy Howard’s record.

I’d been checking FB, text and e-mail for hours; actually, for days.
For nearly a week, I’d been following Yolanda Holder’s attempt to break pedestrienne Amy Howard’s 137 year old six-day walk record in a way usually reserved for late September baseball scores.
Holder’s goal was to cover 410 miles in 144 hours. That’s just under 2.85 miles per hour, for six days.
She determined her own walk, rest and eating routine. Her first two days, she covered 82 and 66 miles, for 148. She was in good shape. Then the fatigue, and then rain, that muddied the hard dirt trail she walked on at the, “Across the Years” walk at Camelback Mountain Ranch in Glendale, AZ.
But in the last few hours, with fatigue a constant companion, you could tell it would be close.
She posted a short video at 340 miles, in which she lamented about the rain, her sore legs, and how she needed to complete 80 miles on the last day to reach her goal. She closed it by asking for prayers.
Thanks to fellow ultra-walker Bob Davidson, who continually kept me (and many others) updated with periodic reports at 355, then 360, and finally, with eight hours remaining, she reached 380 miles. The record was right there, sort of. She would need 3.75 miles in each of the remaining hours to reach the magical 410.
“She’s go no margin for error,” I told my wife, Susie, “even a 15 minute break at this point could prove a devastating setback.”
I received no more reports.
I figured she’d had some last-minute stumbling block. Blisters? Stomach problems? More rain? Could she have just collapsed with a few miles remaining?
About 5:00 AM, I finally nodded off.
Just after 8:00, I awoke and immediately checked my FB page.
I saw an exuberant-looking Yolanda Holder, standing next to a large chart, with the results of the ATY race, and her message: I did it…New American 6 Day. Ped Walk record 410 (actually 410.4)Miles of Smiles.
On her face you saw nothing but joy. The struggles of the week, the rain, the sore muscles and self-doubt were all gone. All that remained was the beaming face of a champion.

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