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Thursday, 15 March 2018 12:12

Medicine Hat woman completes an amazing 316-km race

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An incredible achievement – Medicine Hat’s Karen Fogen recently completed a 196-mile or 316-km race in New Zealand.


The event was held over seven days from Feb. 25 to Mar. 3.  Fogen competed in the Alps2Ocean. This is a stage race, which means competitors must run a certain distance everyday, usually 30 mi or 50 km, within a time limit. Furthermore, the racers must carry their food and camping equipment in a backpack.
“It was quite a bit harder than what I was anticipating,” Fogen revealed. She said the major challenge to overcome was the heat. Although it’s winter in Canada, it’s summer in New Zealand and with average daily temperatures around 20C Fogen wasn’t acclimatized. “I was fighting heat exhaustion probably every day,” Fogen confided.
After a difficult first day of competition, Fogen joked with her husband Dale, who accompanied her to New Zealand, “I think it’s time for an all-inclusive resort.”
In order not to succumb to heat exhaustion, Fogen made sure she took breaks in the shade and was strict with her nutrition. “I had to totally focus on eating and taking my electrolyte tablets,” Fogen said. She maintained the right intake of salt and was careful not to push herself too hard otherwise she’d feel dizzy.
During the race, she developed a blister on her big toe and her Achilles tendon flared up. Both injuries slowed her down.
To stay mentally strong in the face of physical challenges, Fogen policed her self-talk. “You have to be positive,” she said. She wouldn’t allow the thought she couldn’t make it to creep into her mind.
Over the seven days of racing, Fogen’s total running time was 59 hours and 23 minutes. That put her in the middle of the pack, a result she’s happy with considering the effect of the warm temperatures and the pain in her toe and Achilles tendon.  Despite the hardships, Fogen was impressed by the rugged and scenic New Zealand landscape.
The race led competitors past some of the stunning mountain vistas where scenes in the movie Lord of the Rings were filmed.
Now that she’s back in Medicine Hat, where she works as a teacher’s aid in the Catholic school system, Fogen has been battling jet lag. There’s a 20-hour time difference between Alberta and New Zealand. Understandably, Fogen sounded a bit tired at the start of our phone interview, but as she began to describe her experience and to relive it her energy level and her enthusiasm increased noticeably.
Fogen has many fond memories of Alps2Ocean and continues to experience the race even as she sleeps.
“I’ve been dreaming of running. It’s like I’m still out on the trail,” Fogen shared.
In the back of her mind, Fogen is already considering her next race – the seven day Atacama Crossing. Held in Chile’s Atacama Desert, which is one of the driest places on Earth, this stage race is 155 mi or 250 km in length. As an experienced runner who has competed in many marathons, the Atacama Crossing probably isn’t even long enough for Fogen to break a sweat.
Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more info  about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.