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100-Mile Run to Agony and Ecstacy

Sports: Angeles Crest endurance race poses danger, hallucinations and illness. Just finishing is victory enough.

September 30, 1996|SONIA NAZARIO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Unlike marathons, longer runs require runners to eat and drink constantly if they expect to finish. Paul Braun, 34, of Encinitas scarfed six peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, three turkey sandwiches, lots of corn chips, chocolate chip cookies, protein drinks, and chicken soup. The total count: 15,000 calories in about 30 hours.

Before crossing the finish line as No. 29, Braun paused to kiss his wife, Andrea. It was the first time the commercial real estate broker had finished a 100-mile race. "29th! I can't believe it!" his wife sobbed happily.

Despite being seven months pregnant, she ran the last half a mile with her husband.

As Lisa Deaton, 43, crossed the finish line with two friends holding her hands, her husband, Demorest, yelled, "Her feet are total hamburger!" A large blister under her heel had broken and peeled off. It was bleeding.

Overcome by emotion, Deaton often cries as she runs, and when her husband cries as he runs with her, they must run separately or risk choking up so badly they can't keep running.

Usually, 50% to 60% of those who start finish the race, Winton said. Sunday's is one of about 20 endurance races throughout the country each year. Such races, Winton said, were launched in the early 1980s when a horse in a 100-mile Northern California horse race went lame, and the rider wanted to see whether he could run it instead.

The worst of them may be Colorado's Hard Rock run. Sunday finisher Diane Ridgway, a Denver nurse, said the average elevation is a lung-sapping 11,000 feet, along sheep trails. She finished that one in just under 45 hours--after hallucinating that the ground was strewn in comic book covers featuring the Fantastic Four and Superman.

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