Basin Electric employee runs in the Black Hills 100

Most people hear 50k and think, “Man, I could never do that.” One Basin Electric employee is the exception. Sarah Feist, Leland Olds Station administrative assistant III, ran the Black Hills 100 50k, technically an ultramarathon, trail race on June 23. She ran the 31.2 miles in 7 hours and 53 minutes.

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Sarah Feist during one leg of the 50k of the Black Hills 100.

Feist got started on trail runs a couple of years ago. Since she lives in North Dakota, where there isn’t much variety in terms of elevation change, she did some research and found the Black Hills 100. Last year, she participated in the 30k, or 18 miles, of the Black Hills 100 and challenged herself to run the 50k this year. She trained for 16 weeks to get in tip-top shape for the hills she was going to be traversing over. Feist says she, “set a goal and set out to achieve it as a personal challenge to herself.”

The Black Hills 100 is a trail race through the Black Hills in South Dakota. The trail Feist ran was the Centennial Trail outside of Sturgis, South Dakota. A week prior to the race, the trail had been fairly dry. But the week of the race rain had changed that trail to a terrain filled with unexpected surprises such as full creeks to run through, green trees, and sand with a quick shift to mud.

“The race is really beautiful. You get to run a trail that is super hilly, with many turns, and a trail that changes from pine covered, to sand, to dirt, to mud,” she says. “The creeks filling up was unexpected but it was cool to run through. In some of the creeks they had ropes for us to hang on to when we crossed them.”

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Feist ran through creeks that had been completely dry the week before. Photo credit: Randy Ericksen

She prefers trails runs over road runs because the changing terrain makes trail running more interesting, “It’s not just running, there’s a lot of walking and hiking, down hills and up hills. Even going downhills becomes exhausting after a while because your legs get so tired,” she says.

She says trail racers have a camaraderie. “Trail runners are really inclusive and supportive, they aren’t so much a competitive group,” Feist says. “There are times when you are completely alone for miles and when you come up to another runner, you start talking and make friends. Trail runs are a little more laid back.”

In addition to making friends out of runners, Feist also says having a crew keeps your mentality in check when running 30-plus miles. Feist’s crew was her mom and dad. Every 10k there were aid stations where runners could get food and water. Here, the crew would be able to give the runner, a fresh pair of socks and shoes, which were much appreciated after running through the cool creeks. “Having a crew,” Feist says, “is a mental and moral boost cause they are there to support and say, ‘keep going, you got this.’” When a crew isn’t at an aid station, newfound friends help the runners to keep pushing themselves to the finish line.

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After making it to the finish line, Feist needed a minute to take a breather.

Though the trail is “unrelenting with ups and downs on rocks and tree roots, and always being on the lookout,” Feist was pleased with the results. “It went well, I was really happy with my results. The main goal is always to just finish and finish healthy and happy. I think I achieved that. Though the recent rains and mud may have slowed it down, I was happy with the time I made it in,” she says.

Not only was she pleased with her physical health and results, but also emotional. “The race is a super overwhelming and emotional experience. Lots of hours are put into training, but the support from family and coworkers goes a long way,” she says.

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Sarah Feist finished the Black Hills 100 50k in 7 hours and 53 minutes.

Feist participates in Basin Electric’s Race Reimbursement Policy, a policy designed to support races of all kinds from 5k races to wheel chair races. “Thanks to Basin Electric for the race reimbursement policy. It’s pretty rad that the company uses this policy to support us [employees] that way. … A lot of my race friends were blown away by Basin Electric’s support.”

Comments

  1. Cindy Frank says:

    Amazing Sarah. Good work!!

  2. Jarvis Schmidt says:

    Good Job !!!!!!

  3. DesaRae says:

    Amazing job Sarah!

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