Okay, I am not a runner. Heck, it is hard to even keep up the pace of these racers when they are walking. But, if I were ever to have motivation from someone to take on the extreme challenge of ultra endurance running, Jackie Simonsen would be the lady to do it. An incredible woman she is and she demonstrates an attitude that most would beg to have. At 2:09 this afternoon, with a temperature around 109, she stopped running for only three or four minutes, never leaving the side of the road, to get watered down, put some Vaseline in her sun-dried and cracked nostrils, and to chat with me while her crew took care of her as if they were a finely-tuned machine that had completed Badwater a million times in the past.
This is Jackie’s rookie year, but you would never guess it. She is demonstrating a super consistent pace and has an upbeat personality that just makes one delighted at her progress. Supporting her on this endeavor is her absolutely organized crew. When Jackie had some tough times last night, her crew saw her though it, took care of her body, and by morning she was again her usual self and as upbeat as ever. Running behind her this afternoon as her pacer is 14-year-old Joel. Jackie met Joel at the gym where she is a personal trainer. Joel is the weightlifting champion in Junior Olympics and does his training at the gym. Looking like he hadn’t run a mile, he enthusiastically ran behind her, chatting with her and keeping her motivated. Joel, my hat's off to you! You are one incredible young man and an inspiration in your own right.