Two Columbia Men Set to Run Ultramarathon

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COLUMBIA- Running a marathon is a lifetime achievement for most people, but two Columbia men have a much larger race in mind, as they head to the Western States Endurance Run.

The Western States Endurance Run is a 100-mile ultramarathon in California.

It's the ultimate test for distance runners including Columbia Track Club's Dave Winarski.

"It's by far the most difficult thing I'll ever do," Winarski said. "It can be as low as 20 degrees at the start and six hours later it's 105."

Despite the obstacles, Winarski is optimistic.

"I'd really like to come in under the 24 hour cut off time," Winarski said. "You get a special award for coming in under 24."

If runners survive the 100 miles of hills, heat and hallucinations, they get a belt buckle. The buckle is bronze if you finish in less than 30 hours and sterling silver if you finish in less than 24 hours.

Winarski won't be alone--teammate Shawn Goertz is competing too and is well aware of the challenge.

"Ultra running is hard and I don't say a lot of things are hard," Goertz said.

Goertz and Winarski qualified for Western States after completing the Berryman 50-mile race in less than 11 hours, but no amount of time on the trails will be get them fully prepared for Western States.

"I just want to finish and have fun and being able to walk the next day would be good too," Goertz said.

If either finishes Western States, they will be the first people from Columbia to do so.