August 30th, 2014: My boyfriend did something that I can barely wrap my head around. Here’s his story.


Why do humans reach outside of their comfort zone deliberately inflicting pain in return for gratification?

Not sure.

But I recently had the joy, and I use this term lightly, of taking part in this masochistic ritual people call, “Ultra marathoning”

Some might say I have an extensively large bucket list but to them I say, Carpe Diem; time is ripping along and I’m scared of blinking. I truly believe that knowledge comes from stepping outside of comfort zones and the more dramatic the challenge, the more rewarding the growth. When I made the hasty decision to run the 50km cross country marathon in Kaslo, B.C., I had only one question, why do they call it: Sufferfest?

With 2 weeks ’till countdown and not even owning a pair of running shoes, I knew I was behind the eight-ball. From understanding the little I do about endurance sports its:  50% skill / 50% mental. Well, I guess I’m half-way there I tell myself hesitantly.

Then, with well designed science on my feet and short shorts I was off. 

My first practice run was just under 10km, sort of treating it as a confidence booster. The following day it felt like a heard of elephants had a polka party on my legs. Second run pushing to 18km {I had dragged Jenn with me}, I was still working on confidence. Strategy dictated that I should run over 30km to prepare my mind and body for extended lonely distance running; so thats what I did and by the last 3km I was now reflecting on my decision.

Race day was here and there was an exciting buzz in the sleepy town of Kaslo. Actually it was the sound of my alarm ringing in the tent at 4 AM. Dark and scared, I wait patiently as the other 20+ racers arrive to meet their fate.

Race time 6AM. The start-line vibrating with restlessness and BANG!! This is the beginning of the end.

Form, breathing, pace. The first 3km were a grueling, humbling uphill slog. By 20km things were looking promising, 30km my mind was drifting but my 3rd position provided the encouragement I was looking for.

By 35km things were starting to fail as my form, breathing, and pace now turned to wanting water, salt + carbs. Now, entering 40km emotions take over and your mind becomes a cruel mistress. Turning to my one chum along the lonely trail we share our pain through trivial banter. We load up on salt and sugars at the last pit stop in preparation for the final 5km stretch.

My strides shortened to absorb the pain during the descent back to town and my mind now slipping into its happy place. Delusions of grandeur fade to muddled km tallies as snot and sweat drip from my face like a pissed off bull. Digging deep down the inner voice cavity of my exhausted shell of a man, I force myself to move my feet.

The last 3km were out of body. The faint sound of music and cheering pulled me closer and now on the final concrete miracle mile I think of food, lots of it.

As I cross the finish-line I collapsed with overwhelming joy. 5 hours and 27 minutes. With a fourth place overall finish and silver in my age category, I can say with all honesty, I know why they call it “Sufferfest.

Would I do it again?

Lets just say my bucket list is shorter.

– Eugene Voykin