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The vast majority of people will live out their lives having never run a half-marathon, let alone a full marathon of 26.2 miles (42.195 kilometers). Ultra marathoners, or simply ultra runners, comprise a small percentage of distance running enthusiasts that routinely run races of 50, 100 or even 200 miles in length.


Map of Long Trail, Vermont

Case in point; in 2015, Nikki Kimball ran 273 miles on the Long Trail through the mountainous woods of Vermont. Put another way, that’s the same as running 10 back-to-back marathons through rocky terrain. Her journey, with all its ups and downs, was captured in the documentary Finding Traction.

''I think too many girls are taught to let fear limit their actions. I want girls to explore their fears, and to crush them. I want my Long Trail attempt to inspire a little girl to say I can do better than Nikki.''

— Nikki Kimball, on ultra running

Kimball completed the Long Trail in 5 days, 7 hours, and 42 minutes, breaking the women’s record by over two full days.


Found a GSP who looks just like my first pointer, Dhaby. I think Zoe gave me good vibes for tomorrow!

A photo posted by Nikki Kimball (@vikabirddog) on

Kimball, who lives in Bozeman, Montana, has amassed an impressive resume in the decade since she first competed in ultra running. She is a three-time winner of the prestigious Western States 100-mile Endurance Run and was aided in her 2007 victory by U.S. Senator Max Baucus who served on her support crew.


In 2014, Kimball won the 156-mile (251 km) Marathon Des Sables multi-stage endurance race in Morocco on her first attempt. Along with the Badwater 135, it has a reputation as one of the toughest foot races on the planet. Well, tough for everyone except Kimball, apparently…