Columbia woman goes the distance in ultramarathons

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COLUMBIA - Rather than training for 5K races, Columbia-native Kristin Walls trains for distances of 50 kilometers. Walls runs in ultramarathons, which can range anywhere from 50

However, most ultramarathons range from 31 miles at once to 100 miles over multiple days.

Walls began racing in marathons in May and then began training for longer distances.

“I used to think people were crazy,” Walls said. “But then, once you start doing it, it’s this crazy thing that takes over.”

Walls said she trains for months before a race. Her regimin includes running for hours at a time and practicing yoga.

“It’s not just showing up on race day and saying I’m going to run fifty miles,” she said. 

Walls recently ran in the Dogwood Canyon 50K Trail Run.

She said the biggest challenge for her is the mental aspect of the races.

“I think sometimes, as a runner during these long distances, you can let your mind take over," she said. "Your body is going to start to hurt. That’s just inevitable. So, I think being mentally prepared is my biggest key."

Walls said the training sometimes take her away from other aspects of her life, but said she does her best not to let it interfere with her family. She does most of her training while her sons are at school.

If anything, Walls said, she hopes her love of running inspires her children to adopt healthy lifestyles. She is currently helping her oldest son train for his first half marathon.