Three Kodiak mothers spent part of Mother’s Day running 30 miles. For fun.
Julie Brown, Lindsey Glenn and Betsy Lund — the trio that conquered last summer’s seven summit challenge in 24 hours — were back together for another quest, this time taking aim at the Yeti Ultra 24-Hour Challenge.
The goal was simple: Run five miles. Then take a four-hour break. Rinse and repeat five more times for a total of 30 miles in 24 hours.
The Yeti Ultra Challenge originated in Georgia by Jason Green’s organization, the Yeti Trail Runners. According to Green’s website, he started the virtual challenge in April as a way to help a friend’s print shop in Alabama, which was struggling to survive through COVID-19. The print shop mails shirts to participants who finish the challenge — competitors register and record their finishes on the website. So far, thousands of people from all over the globe will be receiving a shirt by the end of May, which is when the challenge ends.
Locally, Brown is a gung-ho runner and roped friends Glenn and Lund into doing the crazy challenge. To boot, they conquered it on Mother’s Day. Together, they have a combined six kids.
“It was probably one of my most favorite mother day things to do,” Brown said.
Glenn, a Spanish teacher at Kodiak High School, started the challenge at 8 p.m. Saturday, two stages sooner than Brown and Lund because she had Sunday dinner plans and wanted to be “fresh” for Monday online classes.
The three ran four legs together. Kodiak cross country and track coach Ashley Mortenson joined in for four of the six legs, while Kristen Murdoch — a mother of five kids all under the age of 10 — ran with Glenn in the midnight rain.
Glenn finished at 4 p.m. Sunday, while Brown and Lund retired eight hours later. The group trekked all over the island, from Bells Flats to Monashka. Yes, the run in the Flats included a cookie rendezvous at Java Flats.
Glenn is a veteran of nine marathons and said this challenge — 4 miles longer than a marathon — was easier because she could start and stop. She said having other moms to run with made the experience bearable, but also noted that after 15 miles, she was looking for a way out. After the 8 a.m. leg, Glenn returned home to find that her two daughters had cooked cinnamon chip pancakes and eggs.
“I ate some food, had an Advil, and was a new woman after that,” she said.
Brown is a seasoned-marathon runner — a three-time Boston Marathon qualifier — who is up for any run. She became a staple of local races when her Coast Guard husband was transferred to the island three years ago.
“Running is the one thing I know I can do,” Brown told the Daily Mirror in 2018. “I don’t have a lot of ball skills, and I can’t swim worth a darn — I love running.”
Brown also had pancakes with her family during one of the breaks. She said she did not sleep until the challenge was completed, something that Glenn was guilty of doing.
“The midnight run, by the end of it, Betsy and I weren’t forming complete sentences, but we got it done,” said Brown, who noted that when she finished, her East Coast friends were starting their 24-hour gauntlet.
In a way, this was Brown’s bon voyage to The Rock. She will be moving to Port Angeles, Washington, in June and said it is going to be difficult to say goodbye to Kodiak.
“It is a whole different world of running in Kodiak, from trail running to hills,” she said. “There are some really inspiring runners as well — it has been fun.”
And even though Brown is moving, Lund — a triathlon machine — doesn’t expect the extreme challenges to end. The pandemic has taught them all that anything can be done virtually.