By Spencer Markle
The emergence of Pamela Chapman Markle as a prolific runner of 100-mile races is as sudden and surprising as it is unlikely. Pamela never ran in a foot race of any distance before the age of 55; not even a 5k. Her first race ever was the 100-mile Rocky Raccoon Ultra in Huntsville, Texas, in February 2011.
“I had been running in the evenings after work to quiet my mind and something just told me to try a race and see what happened,” she explained. “I enjoyed the peace and solitude of running alone, so participating in a marathon with thousands of other people didn’t appeal to me so I settled on a 50-miler.
“I went to the website for the Rocky Raccoon to sign up for the 50 and it was full, so I chose the 100-miler, which still had slots remaining,” she remembered.
With little understanding of the hydration, nutritional and electrolyte demands of a 100-mile ultramarathon, Pam entered the race. The temperatures dropped to the teens during a record-breaking cold front. Severely hyponatremic and vomiting, she suffered a stress fracture of her right tibia by mile 80 and limped home (literally) with a finishing time of 28:45.
It was the hardest thing she had ever done, but she was hooked.