Sandy Braley, Stinker Fuel Management Specialist, ran in the Big Sur Marathon on May 1, 2011. It was 26.2 miles of the most beautiful coastline in the world. “I started running when I moved to Idaho in 2003. My first event was the Turkey Trot Relay in 2003, a 4-person team event with each person running a 2-mile leg. I could barely run the 2 miles. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and encouragement from friends at the start and finish lines. I signed up for 5K then 10K events and eventually the City of Trees ½ Marathon. I never thought I could finish a ½ marathon and really never expected to do a full marathon. In 2007, I signed up for my first marathon and started training. When I had reached 18 miles in training, I quit for personal and health reasons. I didn’t run much for over a year. In 2009 I started to train more consistently again, and last year my friends encouraged me to try a full-marathon again. They would go with me. We chose the 2011 Big Sur International Marathon on the California coastline for the scenery. We had no idea it would also be one of the most challenging race courses around.
The first ½ of the marathon was energizing, the second half-was perfectly grueling. Crossing the finish line was one of the most difficult things I have ever done physically and mentally. Would I do it again? Absolutely!