Friday, February 27, 2009

A great day for a day off!

Today is a BEAUTIFUL day here in Santa Rosa. The sun is out and it is NOT raining. I went out for a 7 mile run today and it felt really good. I thought I was running pretty fast and then when I looked at my watch, it told me otherwise. Oh well!

This was overheard at The Coastal Challenge this year by Scott Jurek. Scott has won Western States 100, 7 consecutive times from 1999-2005. He will be competing there again in 2009. He is an amazing ultra runner with many wins under his belt. This is what he said when asked to compare The Coastal Challenge to a typical 100 miler.

"It's like breaking one's hand one finger at a time, versus breaking the entire hand at once." That says a lot, coming from Scott!

Tomorrow is a long run with a couple of friends. Meredith is joining us too, from Austin Texas. She and I were on the Montrail team together and have run many of the same races. It will be a fun run.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I hope you enjoy these few pics from Costa Rica. What a beautiful country!

I went for a run today in Annadel. I just love this park. I use to ride my horse there when I was little. It was always a long day, because my house was quite a long way from it and after riding in the 5000 acre park all day, I would ride home. In my 20's, I use to ride and train my horse for endurance racing there, too. It has always been a special place to me. The lake is finally rising with all this rain and it's beginning to look "beautiful" again.

Sugarloaf Park is another favorite place of mine to run. The trails are steep, but it is an excellent place to train for ultra's. I try and get over there a couple of times a week and it is always a peaceful place. Not many people go there and so my "twisted sister" Suz, and I always run there without ever seeing anyone.

My son Caleb and I want to do a backpacking trip together this summer. I am excited to spend the time with him. I hope he wants to do a trip to Mt. Whitney too. Lots of things to think about. I may run a race in Colorado also. Training at altitude is important, so I may have to incorporate that into my schedule. So many things to do, so little time.........

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My so called TCC race report

I have been writing up a race report for The Coastal Challenge for days now. As I mentioned before, I did not keep a daily journal as I had planned. It is really difficult to talk about each day without feeling like I am leaving out important things as each day was filled with so much adventure that I am unable to put it into words. I think what I am going to do is just give you a brief report about what I saw and how I felt. I am going to just be lazy this time. Trying to remember what happened in the order that it did is impossible without notes. Here is a brief bla bla bla.

Day 1: 33.5k The race started in Quepos, as small palm tree lined beach town nestled along the coast. The heat and humidity was staggering. We ran along a hot unpaved road before crossing a very old, rural bridge. We ran through an African date palm plantation and the bugs were so loud that it was hard to hear myself think. Soon the road took off through an overgrown area with lots of roots covered by tall grass and leaves. There was no trail and we climbed and tiptoed through what looked like a snake filled swampy area. I fell into a large body of water as I tried to navigate my way through the jungle. The water was deep and up to my arm pits. I tore my Nathan pack when I fell in. The climbing was very hard and technical, but I loved every minute of it. We eventually crossed the Savegre River on a metal pull cart and enjoyed the rain that fell on us that afternoon. We finished this stage at the Rafiki Jungle Lodge.

Day 2: 39k We woke up early and the rain had stopped. Everything was wet. Actually everything was ALWAYS wet 24-7. Today we ran straight up into the Rain forest looking for pink trail markers to guide our way. The mud was as deep as my knees and several times I lost my shoes. Searching for my socks in the mud is hilarious when you realize that the socks you have been searching for are still on your feet. Digging through the mud for your shoes is comical too. I only found it comical once I looked back on it! At the race briefing every night, Rodrigo the course designer would go over the course. The only words I heard him say every night were DEHYDRATION, ELECTROLYTES, IV FLUIDS, SNAKES, ANTI-VENOM, CROCS, MUD, HILLS, MONKEYS, WATER, HEAT, HUMIDITY, SNAKES, SPIDERS, SNAKES, SNAKES, HEAT, HUMIDITY. I think you get what I am saying. That is all I heard. So during each stage, I tried to remember what he said we would encounter. All I could hear were the above words. I heard them LOUD and CLEAR. The uphills were brutal and the downhills were horrendous, spending hours running around and through sinkholes, mudslides, vines, rocks and who knows what. We finished in Dominical where we camped beside a beautiful ocean beach.

Day 3: 52.2k Today was just a killer day for me. We ran for almost 2 hours along a boulder filled large river where we navigated ourselves from one side to the other trying to make our way as fast as we could. I can't tell you how many times I fell off of slippery rocks and into the water. Finally, I had to jump off of a tall rock ledge and swim as I had navigated myself too high on the rocks and had no other option. A beautiful waterfall met us at the end of this long trek. Today I spent the whole day running alone. The climbs were steep and technical and the beach running was long and strenuous. The Howler monkeys yelled at me as I climbed past there playground and it was on this section that I saw my first snake. It had a small mouth so I figured I was safe. I finished at a remote beach called Ventanas. I had had a long day.

Day 4: 37.5k This day was another difficult day of climbing straight up into the Rain forest. At the top I could see the Talamanca Mountains on one side and the Ocean 3000 ft. below. Jaclyn and I ran together on this day and actually finished together. It was a long day and it was very difficult mentally as well as physically. The race personnel were not allowed to tell us how far we had to go at any point. They were instructed to either say that we were "almost there", or that we had only "3k" to go. Many times after telling us that we were "almost there", we would run for 3-4 more hours. It was brutal and frustrating at times. I think that is why I loved it. I was pushed to the limit everyday and I love that aspect about doing difficult adventures. The down hill took us over an hour to go a half of a mile. Jaclyn and I continually fell and the terrain was brutal and dangerous. The last several miles were very hot and we were so happy to be finished that day. A man in a truck gave several of us a ride to our campsite. We camped next to a river lagoon that was filled with lots of crocodiles.

Day 5: 47.4k We were loaded onto a boat in the wee hours of the morning and brought down the croc infested water to our starting line. This day was suppose to be "all runnable". Yeah right. We started this run up a hill and ran into the Osa Peninsula which is one of the most verdant and desolate places in all of Costa Rica. This area is described by National Geographic as "one of the most biologically intense places on earth". The Osa abounds with plants, mammals, insects and over 350 species of birds. We crossed 30 to 40 water crossings this day and Ligia and I ran together and finished together. This was the hardest day mentally for me. Ligia and I kept each other moving forward and the heat and humidity was very oppressive. We ran past a mangrove forest. Mangrove trees grow in the water I believe, and many snakes and crocodiles live among these trees. We finished at Drakes Bay tired and happy to be done with day 5.

Day 6: 23.7k Today was our last day. We started up a hill (duh), that totally kicked my butt and then descended onto a river which was at least knee high of crystal clear water. We proceeded to climb up a cliff next to a water fall which was wet and slippery. Bill helped me up as I was a little unsteady. After climbing a fixed metal ladder, we made our way up to a road that rims the border of Corcovado National Park. We climbed up and then down and our final descent brought us through the jungle and beach and then to Drakes Bay once again.

What can I say about TCC? It was brutally hard, it was hot and humid and the mountains and terrain were unforgiving. It was the hardest thing I have ever done and the greatest thing I have ever done. I learned a lot about myself and I liked what I saw. Would I do it again? You betcha. The race director, Tim and Rodrigo said it was the hardest race they have ever put on. I believe them. I am so blessed to have experienced this. I finished 3rd woman. The two women who beat me are in their early 30's. I am almost 20 years older than they are. I think I was 9th overall. I feel good about how I did. For the record this is what I did right. I drank water and used Nuun in my hydration pack. I took at least 2 succeed caps per hour. I ate every half hour as I know that calories =energy. I used no nsaids. I got a painful massage every night. I ate well. I kept hydrated and I kept positive. I felt great the whole race!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Two Wolves

Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt,resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

Back to Reality

I went out for a slow, short jog today and I felt really good. Everything seems to be in working order and so I am anxious to be out on the trails again. I am attempting to write up a race report to share with you all, but my day to day recollection is sketchy at best. Unfortunately, I didn't journal my race as I had planned and it's hard to remember everything that I would love to share with you. In a few days, I will have something that resembles a race report and that will have to do.

I feel excited and anxious today, as I have a race hidden up my sleeve that I would like to enter. I am keeping it a secret for now. Matt knows, and he is somewhat interested himself. We will see..... I wanted to thank Drymax socks for supplying me with the greatest socks ever! I also wanted to give a thumbs up to Nuun electroyte tabs too!! Oh, and a huge shout-out to Succeed tabs and Nathan also! All of your products Rock and helped me finish TCC in one piece!

The weather sucks today. Lots of cold, cold rain. How I long for heat again. Have a great Monday!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Home at Last!!

Photo by J. Andres Vargas

We arrived home early this morning from Costa Rica and boy, is it good to be home! If I could be anywhere else though, I would be running in the Rainforest or running along a beautiful beach in CR right now.

It will take me a few days to write a race report. I don't feel that writing down my experience will really give this race the glory it deserves. It exceeded all my expectations and I really learned about how mentally strong I am. I learned a lot about my self during this race. I learned that I really do like the person that I have become. I realized just how blessed I am to be fortunate to have my health and the inner strength to take risks. When you are out there stripped of make-up, perfume, and God Forbid, earrings, (I lost my earring somewhere in about 2 feet of mud!), you really get a chance to see what you are made of. Sometimes you like what you see, other times you don't. Dirty, smelly, and sans makeup or earrings, I realized I like what I saw. I realized that I have become so comfortable in the skin that I walk around in everyday, that I was covering up who I really am deep inside. I am thankful that my life has made me strong and powerful. My former husband, Blake, years ago told me that I would make it in life because I was a survivor. I don't recall what I thought of that statement then, but I have heard his voice telling me that when I have dug deep during a tough race or experience and it makes me feel good. I heard myself repeating "you're a survivor, Kelly", many times as I navigated through the Jungle or ran endless hours in large rivers all the while falling down only to get up and fall again.

My friend Heather told me that she remembers her Dad telling her as a kid when they would be experiencing something really beautiful or memorable, this saying. He would say, and I quote, "I wonder what the poor folks are doing?" He wasn't saying it because they were financially rich, but that they were just so blessed. I found myself crying this morning when I told my daughter Chelsea that story of Heather's dad. I never met Heather's Dad, but I heard him up on a tall jungle mountain as I saw beauty like you can't even imagine. I felt so rich with happiness that it was just so overwhelming. I never met you, Heathers Dad, but your saying has blessed me and made me rich.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

An email from Kelly to family and friends

hi everyone,
well, the race is over and i am so happy to be finished with this adventure. the coastal challenge was the hardest race i have ever done. they didn't tell us that we would be swimming and bouldering, and running up steep muddy rainforest trails. actually they were not trails, we had to navigate straight up through the jungle looking for course markers. the heat and humidity was outrageous. we saw snakes, alligators, and lots of monkeys. they kept telling us that they had plenty of anti-venom in case we got bit by a snake. that was reasurring. one day we swam for 2 hours through a large river with our packs on before running for 7 hours more. on that day, i ran alone for 8 hours in the rainforest. it was exciting and exhausting all at the same time. camping in the middle of nowhere is interesting too. there was no downtime and the spiders in our make-shift cold showers were as big as softballs. i came in 3rd. the two women who beat me are in the 30s, so i can't complain. if you thought i was skinny before, well baby, look at me now!! wow, what 6 days in the jungle does to the bod!! thanks everyone for all the support. i love you all.
hi mom, i miss you and you have been constantly on my mind. i wore the angel pin you gave me and it worked!! i love you.

Caleb, Chelsea, and Courtney, i hope everything is going good. i love you guys so much. we will see you soon. email me if you can and let me know how everything is going.

love to pat, wally and angie shawn and friends. can't wait to tell you all about this race. they said it was the hardest one they have ever done. i believe them.

kelly and momma

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Kelly's still in top 3 position!

Sending updates by Kelly's sister, Shawn

The Coastal Challenge 2009 – Day Four Race Update – 2/4/09
The Coastal Challenge Cruises Past Midway Point

Overcast Skies Provide Slightly Cooler Conditions During a Climbing-Focused Route
Montero Builds Lead in Men’s Expedition Category While Jurek Drops to Third Overall; Greenhill and Madrigal Battle For the Top Women’s Expedition Spot

By Matt Draper, TCC Web Staff

PALMAR SUR, Costa Rica – By Thursday, competitors at the 2009 Coastal Challenge (TCC) wondered what could possibly be in store for the remaining two days of the race. Since starting on Sunday, more than 70 competitors have run, trekked, slogged, and coasteered across hundreds of kilometers of Southwest Costa Rica. They have burned upwards of 20,000 calories, and have probably developed just as many blisters.

Wednesday’s course, the fourth of the six-day competition, continued the challenge with a steep route that moved from Playa Ventanas to Palmarsur and featured climbing and bushwhacking on single-track trails. While Javier Montero of Costa Rica finished first for the fourth straight day in the men’s Expedition Category, the women’s Expedition Category proved the most captivating as American Jaclyn Greenhill and Costa Rican Ligia Madrigal continue to race neck-and-neck for first.

“The Expedition group continues to change pole position, and the women’s category has really developed into a good-natured battle between Jaclyn and Ligia,” said Tim Holmstrom, race director. “It’s also been fun watching Scott (Jurek) run alongside TCC staples such as David (James) and Javier (Montero). Javier appears to be in top form, and Leonardo (Soresi) from Italy came on strong today to keep things interesting.”

Montero finished atop the field in five hours and 21 minutes, and has more than an hour overall lead. Soresi finished second (5:27) and James took third (5:32). Soresi made the day’s biggest push, finishing second after spending the majority of the race in the middle of the pack.
“Yesterday I gained confidence running with Scott Jurek,” said Soresi. “He told me I could do better than I thought, and he was right. The first two days I didn’t push myself.”

“From the first uphill to the last distance, it was a rollercoaster,” Soresi continued, referring to the Wednesday’s up-and-down course. “Costa Rica has canopy tours. Today was like a canopy tour of running.”

Madrigal finished first in six hours and 29 minutes. Greenhill and Ridgway tied for second (7:07). After four days of racing, Madrigal is on top (25:22), followed by Greenhill (25:53). Ridgway is third at 26:45.

Bill Butcher of the U.S. and Javier Sanchez of Costa Rica tied for first (9:09) in the Adventure Category. Adrienne Gordon of the U.S. came in first in the women's field (9:35). Team "No Artificial Ingredients" from Costa Rica again placed first in the team category.

Thursday’s course was titled “The Revenge of the Borucas” because of its location in what used to be the home to the Borucas Indians.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Kelly still in 3rd place after Day Three

Here is the recap for those who are following Kelly's World’s Expedition Run™run in Costa Rica. (posted by her sister, Shawn)

The Coastal Challenge 2009 – Day Three Race Recap – 2/3/09
The Coastal Challenge Kicks Into High Gear on Day Three

Tuesday Sent Competitors on a Literal Marathon Journey That Zigzagged From Beach to Forest to Road; Costa Rican Javier Montero Pulls Away From Field


While the Adventure Category of The Coastal Challenge (TCC) is listed as an abbreviated version of the 230-kilometer Expedition Category, there were no short routes on day three. Expedition racers tackled a 53-kilometer course and adventure racers battled a near 30-kilometer route, which, in addition to being the longest of the event, challenged competitors with blistering sand, cool rivers, and dusty roads before ending at the pristine coastline of Playa Ventanas. Javier Montero of Costa Rica finished first to add to his three-day lead in the men’s expedition category.

Defending Champion Montero finished first (6:30) for the third straight day, widening his overall lead. A pig farmer from a rural village in the central Costa Rican mountains, Montero trained for the race by lifting weights and running mountain trails. Montero, speaking through a translator, said that the hot, hard asphalt during the road stretch took a toll on his feet. He added that the best part the day was the river, because it was something new and required swimming and scrambling.

David James, who took the early lead on the waterfall trail, fell behind Montero during the flat beach section, and finished second . Scott Jurek of the U.S. came in third. After three days of racing, the overall results leave Montero in first, followed by James and Jurek.

American Jaclyn Greenhill (6:09) finished first in the women’s expedition category and retains the overall lead. Ligia Madrigal of Costa Rica finished second after getting lost in the waterfall section; despite taking an alternate, longer route to the finish line, she made up time on the road section to remain second overall, just 7 minutes behind. in a tight rice with Greenhill. Kelly Ridgway of the U.S. is third after finishing No. 3 on Tuesday.

Though a few competitors dropped from the Expedition to the Adventure category after day two, the entire field of 76 racers competed on day three on a course titled “Taste the Coastal Acid” that moved from Playa Dominical to Playa Ventanas. According to competitors, the course – despite intense heat and humidity – was epic.

“Even though it was really hot today, I enjoyed the beach and loved hearing the sound of the surf,” said Canadian Jackie Mack who is competing in the Adventure category. Mack, just 20 days away from hip replacement surgery, was exhausted but in good spirits before eating dinner at the day three campsite, located in a grassy field about 200 yards from Playa Ventanas, or “windows beach.” (The beach was named Ventanas because of the caves that cut through its coastal rock to provide a view of crashing surf.)

Bill Butcher of the U.S. finished first in the men's adventure category (4:08), while Carla Cesaroni came in first in the women's field .
Team "No Artificial Ingredients" from Costa Rica again placed first in the team category.

“We threw competitors a curveball with a waterfall traverse at the beginning of the course,” said Rodrigo Carazo, race designer, who set up day three so that competitors were forced to cross several rivers. “Today was another difficult trek into remote areas of Costa Rica that visitors would never see or experience on any type of tour.”

Day four’s “Revenge of the Borucas” course will offer a respite from today’s marathon-length distance, but will feature a trampoline of ascents and descents.

Check out daily pics, route books, and the leaderboard at

About The Coastal Challenge
The Coastal Challenge is the “World’s Expedition Run™,” releasing runners over approximately 230 kilometers of exotic and wild Costa Rican mountainous regions and rugged coastline. For six days, runners embrace the spirit of adventure, discovery and camaraderie within a long distance running competition while navigating wide river crossings, rainforests, jungles, windswept highlands, beaches, and rock outcroppings. It is an expedition run of epic proportions introducing competitors to the hospitality of the local Tico culture while pushing the limits of their will and endurance. For more information visit or

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kelly's in Third Place after Second Day

(Posted by Kelly's sister, Shawn)

Day Two of The Coastal Challenge Pushes Competitors up Hills and Through Mud

The Field Battles Through Steep Climbs and Muddy Forests Before Heading Further South Along the Costa Rican Pacific

By Matt Draper

Playa Dominical, Costa Rica (February 2, 2009) – What a difference a day makes. Following a relatively short, 33-kilometer first day, competitors at the 2009 Coastal Challenge (TCC) encountered a mountainous day-two route that featured more than 2,200 meters of elevation gain over 39 kilometers. With temperatures hovering in the mid-90s, the field of 70+ competitors battled sun and sand in a course that moved from the misty, muddy rain forests of Savegre Valley to the sundrenched sand of Playa Dominical. The competition is also heating up as the top three male competitors continue to jockey for the lead in the expedition category.

"We designed stage two to give competitors their first taste of wild Costa Rican terrain," said Rodrigo Carazo, race designer, who forewarned competitors at the pre-race briefing that day two would test their determination. "We started them (competitors) on a climb through dense rain forest to give them a taste of the hills, and then challenged them with a lot of technical trail running through mud, grasslands, and streams.”

Competitors, who camped in the rain in a lush valley on Sunday night, woke around 3:30 a.m. Monday before starting at 5:30 a.m. in order to spend as little time as possible under the hot afternoon sun. Regardless, the field shared the same sentiment in terms of the day-two course: it was cruel, tricky and, most importantly, fantastic.

“The course was pretty hard and I wasn’t happy with it,” said American David James while smiling at Carazo. “I got my shoes stuck in the mud and the trails were difficult in the woods.”

James, a TCC veteran, finished third on Monday with a time of five hours and 12 minutes. Defending Champion Javier Montero of Costa Rica again finished first (4:29), while Scott Jurek of the U.S. came in a close second (4:34). The same three men finished in the top three spots during day one, setting up what appears will be a back-and-forth battle until Friday’s finish.

Ligia Madrigal of Costa Rica finished first in the women’s expedition category with a time of five hours and 59 minutes. Madrigal, who gave birth just eight months before the event, created her own brand of cross training for this year’s TCC; she often woke around 4 a.m. to get in a few hours of running before spending the rest of the day working and taking care of her baby.

“I got seven hours of sleep last night and it made all the difference,” said Madrigal, who, because of her role as a new mom, hasn’t had more than a few hours of sleep since giving birth. “The course was amazing and the views were incredible. You could see the mountains, the water, everything.”

Americans Jaclyn Greenhill (6:09) and Kelly Ridgway (6:18) placed second and third, respectively, in the women’s expedition category. Ridgway, a first-time TCC competitor, said at one point she thought she lost her shoe and sock in the mud, but could only find her shoe. “I couldn’t find the sock anywhere, and then realized it was still on my foot but covered in mud!” She also had rave reviews about the course: “If I die after this race I will have truly lived.”

Bill Butcher of the U.S. finished first in the men's adventure category (4:08), while Carla Cesaroni came in first in the women's field.

Team "No Artificial Ingredients" from Costa Rica again placed first in the team category.

Day three of the 2009 TCC will move the field from Playa Dominical further south to Playa Ventanas. The route, titled “Feel the Coastal Acid,” will be the longest trek of the competition, stretching 52.5 kilometers.

Check out daily pics, route books, and the leaderboard at

Monday, February 2, 2009

A note from Kelly to her family

Here is a portion of a letter Kelly has just written to us. I thought I would post it here as well, so you can read about her experience. ~shawn

I just finished my second day and I am now in 3rd place. The heat and humidity is staggering. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. It is also the most incredible thing I have ever done. What can I say about the first two days? Heat, humidity, mud, snakes, swamp, lots of no trails. Just straight up the rainforest. At times it is a little scary, but it is simply amazing. I told one of the race directors today, that if I died after this race, it would be okay. My life would be complete. It rained alot yesterday and the humidity was horrible. We got up at 330 am today and the heat and humidity was horrible. It is like being in a steam room 24-7. This race is not for everyone, that is for sure. It is hard to stay organized and putting the tent up in the pouring rain is quite comical.

I miss you all. Please don´t worry about me. I am having the time of my life. Tomorrow is a very hard day. It is hard to imagine running in this terrain again. I am feeling good though. The people here are great. Matt is rafting down a river today and I hope he is having fun.

You may view daily photos here)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kelly's in Second Place first day of the run --(posted by her sister, Shawn)

2009 Coastal Challenge Opens With Heat, Rain and Pain

Fifth Edition of The World's Expedition Race Launches Competitors Across Lush Terrain in Southwest Costa Rica

By Matt Draper

Savegre Valley, Costa Rica (February 1, 2009) - The first day of the 2009 edition of The Coastal Challenge (TCC), a multi-day expedition race from Feb. 1-7, doused competitors with heat and humidity while pushing them through more than 33 kilometers of dirt roads, rain forests and rivers in Southwest Costa Rica. Seventy-five racers from nine countries traversed a gauntlet of hills under a scorching sun before crossing a rainy finish line at the Rafiki Lodge in the Savegre Valley. The 2009 course, coined "The Rainforest Run," marks the fifth edition of TCC and is set along Costa Rica's Pacific coastline.

"We were thrilled to have intense heat, cooling rain, and a challenging route that brought competitors to an oasis in the middle of the rain forest," said Tim Holmstrom, race director, alluding to the pool and tropical lodge at the finish line where competitors relaxed before setting up their tents. "From grueling trail paths to the final water crossing – where competitors could either cross by swimming or using a hand trolley – this was far from a typical long-distance run."

Rising before dawn, competitors, volunteers and staff embarked on a bus ride to the race start at Quepos, a small, palm-tree lined beach town nestled along the coast. At exactly 10 a.m. CST, the field stampeded through town before battling forested hills, dusty valleys, and tropical rain forest.

Costa Rican Javier Montero, the 2008 TCC champion, finished first in the men's expedition category with a time of two hours and 49 minutes. Americans David James (2:51) and Scott Jurek (3:01) finished second and third, respectively.

“I felt fully immersed in the jungle” said Jurek, a first-time TCC competitor and one of the world’s premiere ultra runners. Jurek said he found the “bushwacking” portion of the course challenging, and noted that the jungle was deafening in terms of the noise coming from insects.

In the women's expedition field, Jaclyn Greenhill of the U.S. cruised to the top spot in a time of three hours and 47 minutes. Kelly Ridgway, also from the U.S., finished second (3:58), while Costa Rican Ligia Madrigal (4:03) took third. The expedition run - the cornerstone of TCC - pushes competitors over 237 kilometers in the ultimate test of will and determination.

Greenhill, who was soaking in the lodge’s natural pool after finishing, said she most enjoyed the water section and “cow-patty trails” of the first stage. She also noted she was traveling with her mother, Janet, who is participating TCC’s adventure tours.

Javier Sanchez of Costa Rica and Bill Butcher of the U.S. finished tied for first in the men's adventure category (4:09), while Adrienne Gordon of the U.S. and Carla Cesaroni of Canada tied for first (5:35) in the women's field. The adventure category offers a shortened, yet extremely challenging 125-kilometer route along the same terrain and landscape of the expedition run.

Team "No Artificial Ingredients" from Costa Rica took first in the team category. Also of note is Team Project Athena, a non-profit organization founded by five female adventure athletes who have each survived life-affirming struggles. Athena formed to grant the adventure-oriented wishes, or "Athenaships," to women who have experienced medical or traumatic setbacks. Athenaship recipient Sara Jones, a two-time cancer survivor, leads Team Project Athena at this year’s TCC.

With the first leg of the race complete, competitors turn their attention to day two, a daunting 39-kilometer stretch that will feature 2250 meters of elevation gain. The course will move from the Savegre Valley to Dominical Beach, leading competitors through more hills and several bodies of water. Tomorrow's route also features the week's first cutoff.

Check out daily pics, route book, and the leaderboard at