Fenelon Has a 100 Miler!! (Jun. 2016)

rhondarunOn May 29th most of the people in Fenelon Falls were seeking air conditioned shelter or in the least, trying to stay as still as possible to combat the unseasonably high temperatures and humidity that settled across Ontario. On this ridiculously hot day, one Fenelon Falls resident was tackling the hardest physical challenge of her life.  Rhonda Ingram-Empey was running her first 100 mile race.

Rhonda Empey started this adventure about seven years ago when running a block did not seem like a possibility for her. Her first target was to reach 5km and eventually time melted away and more distance became the goal. She had help from many other runners along the way, but most consistently from Karen Pride. They are known as the ‘ultra girls’ by other runners in town for their regular 25 and 50km trail runs. In 2015, Rhonda’s  50 km turned to a 50 miler when she successfully challenged an 80km race.

KarenandRhonda has been training for 7 years and she felt that she was ready for her next big challenge.  The Sulphur Springs Trial Run is held in the back woods trails of the Dundas Valley Conservation Area near Hamilton, Ontario. Rhonda decided she was ready to try the challenge of the 100 mile race- the longest of the 4 options in the day’s event.

In the extreme heat, temperatures reaching over 36 degrees with the humidity, the race became more of a challenge than participants expected. They expected the woodland terrain which includes hills, rocks and roots to navigate but Mother Nature unexpectedly provided a nasty 4am thunderstorm for the runners to endure.

With a strong show of determination and strength, Rhonda brushed off the sweat and endured the heat of the day then pushed through the downpour and thunder in the dark of the night.  She overcame the body’s desire to quit and she beat the distance to completed the 100 mile race in 29 hours, 13 minutes and 38 seconds.

posing with directorsHer family and friends provided support at the aid stations, attempted to keep her cool with ice and water, ran pace with her giving motivation and keeping her spirits ups, and of course, cheered her on as she crossed the finish line.

Fenelon Falls is proud of you, Rhonda. You are an inspiration for all and an example of what can be accomplished when you set your mind on a goal. Congratulations!

Many people know Rhonda’s smiling face from Sobeys produce department. Next time you see her, give her a big high five on this amazing accomplishment!!

Article by Corrie Lee

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