---- — ALBION (AP) — For the second time, a group of runners plans to run almost four times the distance of a marathon on the trails and paths of Chain O’ Lakes State Park.
The second running of the Indiana Trail 100 takes place Saturday and Sunday in the park, located south of Albion on C.R. 75S, just east of S.R. 8. It is Indiana’s only 100-mile ultra-marathon.
Almost 300 runners from all over the United States are expected to take part in either the 50- or 100-mile race, said Mike Pfefferkorn of the Indiana Trail 100 organizing committee.
But that’s only the tip of the iceberg of who will come to Noble County for the race, Pfefferkorn said. Every racer has someone along to support him or her, often one or more family members, sometimes other racers
And there will be about 100 “pacers” along to assist racers, guiding them along the trail, providing a distraction from pain or discomfort so racers stay focused, Pfefferkorn told The News Sun (http://bit.ly/1rtcL2Q ).
In all, at least 600 people will be in Noble County this weekend because of the race, Pfefferkorn said.
The event really is a family event because loved ones are along to support their runners, Pfefferkorn said. And pacers are welcomed. “We like pacers because they’re helpful to keep the runners out of trouble,” he said.
A trail has been marked through the park which requires a number of laps to complete a 50-mile route, Pfefferkorn said. Runners in the 50 mile race will have 15 hours from the 6:30 a.m. start to complete their run, while 100-mile runners will have 30 hours.
Those hours include overnight, so runners need to have headbands with lights or other means to see. Both races start at 6 a.m. Saturday. The terrain can be rough or uneven in places.
Pfefferkorn and fellow ultra-marathoners Jerry Diehl, Don Lindley and Tom Landis had run trails at Chain O’ Lakes for about 10 years and wanted to share it with other runners and give back to the park and Albion community, Pfefferkorn said.
When the idea of bringing a 100-mile race to Indiana came up, all of them thought of Chain O’ Lakes, Pfefferkorn said. “We couldn’t think of another place we’d rather have it.”
It takes a special kind of person to run almost four times a 26.2-mile marathon in a 30-hour period, or even the 50-mile race in 15 hours, Pfefferkorn said. Some want to challenge themselves, to prove something to themselves.
You learn something about yourself on such a long race, Pfefferkorn said. “You go through some real highs and lows.” When you accomplish something like this, you know you can face other challenges, he said, adding, “There is a carryover.”
Ultra-marathoners have a motto that sums it up, Pfefferkorn said: “We don’t have to; we get to.”
Funds from the race are used to support the state park, Pfefferkorn said. Last year’s race resulted in the donation of a Kubota rough terrain vehicle for doing work with various projects around the park
A donation to the park for this year’ race already is in place, Pfefferkorn said. It’s an all-terrain wheelchair from Innovations in Motion in Angola, which can be used so people with physical disabilities can go around Sand Lake.
Pfefferkorn sees the race growing year by year, and hopes it continues to benefit both the park and the Albion community.
He said he’s humbled by the support of the Super Town of Albion Revitalization Team and the event’s various other sponsors.