Dr. Sean Lehmann of Carson City completed 73 miles in his attempt to finish the Wasatch 100-mile endurance run.
The run proved to be too much for half of those who entered the two-day masochist's event held recently in the mountains over Salt Lake City.
Lehmann ended his run at mile 73 after running 25 hours and 44 minutes and gaining and losing more than 40,000 feet of elevation.
"The constant cold rain did me in," said a disappointed Lehmann. "Still it's the longest run I've ever taken, but leg cramps that started at mile 23 only got worse as the hours turned the day into night and back into day again.
"My hat goes off to those who made the full 100, especially in this weather. These people are incredible. I'm almost sure some of them have had the legs of horses surgically grafted onto their anatomy."
Lehmann and 220 others began in the run at 5 a.m. The race is known as the Grand Daddy of ultra-runs and the world's toughest endurance run. Runners from across the nation participated in the event.
Race officials said the more than half of the runners who failed to finish was the highest in the event in recent memory. Nate McDowell of Corvallis, Ore. won the event in an amazing 19 hours, 53 minutes, an event record.
Betsy Nye of Tahoe City won the women's event in 26 hours, 34 minutes.
"Either it was snowing on one 9,500 foot ridge at four in the morning, or I was hallucinating," Lehmann said. "It was cold, muddy and wet.
"It is obviously disappointing after having trained most of the summer. Most people think I am nuts to have run the race, but I've always enjoyed pushing myself and this seemed to be the ultimate thing, at least for me."
The experience of numerous marathons and the demanding grind of medical school helped prepare him for the event, Lehmann said.
Each runner may have a support person with them after mile 40. Lehmann credits friends and family members for getting him through.
"My wife, Michelle ran a portion of the course with me and has helped me through months of training," Lehmann said. Michelle is also a marathon runner.
Lehmann said the most frightening aspect of the race was the threat of lightning strikes along the high mountain ridges. "That and after having come up short, having to face those who knew I was running," he said.
Asked if he will run another 100-miler, Lehmann said, "Yeah, about as soon as the Carson City freeway is finished."
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