At 40 years old, Kara Goucher took on a new challenge in her storied running career Saturday, running her first ever trail marathon.
The target was the Leadville Trail Marathon in Leadville, Colo. The Duluth East graduate finished sixth overall and first in her division (female 40-49), crossing the finish line in 3 hours, 54 minutes, 7 seconds. Tara Richardson, 27, of Glenwood Springs, Colo., won in 3:22:41 while Jana Willsey, 30, of Denver was second in 3:36:05.
According to the Leadville Race Series twitter account (@LTRaceSeries), Goucher was sharing the second and third position with Willsey around the 8.5-mile mark, but was slowed down due to stomach issues, likely due to the altitude. The course climbs 4,044 feet, hitting an elevation of 11,704 feet above sea level. “Without a doubt, the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” Goucher tweeted (@karagoucher). "Lots of dark moments today, thank you fellow athletes and spectators for getting me through. Massive respect not just for the amazing winners today but for everyone. That was tough as (swearing emoji)!”
Last month Goucher came face-to-face with a mountain lion — which darted back into the woods after a brief stare down with Goucher — a mile from her home in Boulder while on a training run in preparation for the trail marathon.