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In Awe: The Journey to 250 Miles

In Awe: The Journey to 250 Miles Jess Turner

As I sit to reflect on why I wanted to run Cocodona 250, there’s not a clear and concise answer. Yes, I was one of the lucky few who got a charity bib and got to raise funds for at-risk youth in my community. Even so, why not just run a half marathon or marathon and fundraise for them? I could have picked a race that had less mileage, but something about Cocodona left me in awe thinking about the journey of 250 miles. So, why 250 miles?

The Mysterious Allure of Cocodona 250

In 2021, I remember being glued to the livestream of Cocodona 250. I was in awe of the runners that even considered taking on that challenge. Being a new race, there were so many unknowns. The weather was less than cooperative that first year with excessive heat in the desert. I was scheduled to volunteer at the finish line on the third day. I just wanted to be a part of the event in some way. The winner, Michael Versteeg, had come in just before I was supposed to start my volunteer shift. It was so early in the morning that there wasn’t much of a crowd. 

Volunteering at the Finish Line: A Front-Row Experience

We sat at the finish line for the next few hours waiting for the next finisher to come in. Then we noticed people gathering around the finish line. We knew the next runner was set to come in any minute as we watched Peter Mortimer get closer to the finish line. Soon there was an energy that encompassed the finish line, one that I won’t forget. We could all feel this energy of what a runner may have gone through to get to the end of a 250 mile race.

To be able to witness a finisher come across the finish line left me in awe. When Pete made it to the finish line, the energy was incredible. Someone got him a chair and he sat at the finish line and told stories of the course to all the onlookers who had taken seats on the ground around him, much like a kindergarten teacher reading to all the kids in a class.

From Spectator to Participant: The Desire for a Life-Altering Experience

I was hooked. I wanted to experience all of these things. From the depths of despair that were described, to the elation of the finish line. I wanted to have a life-altering experience like this. I knew I would come around to signing up for Cocodona 250, I just wasn’t sure when.

Waiting for Surgery, Planning for Cocodona: Commitment and Dedication

I had suffered a foot injury in April 2021. After many different conversations with doctors and after prolonging surgery until May 2022, I found myself watching Cocodona’s second year’s livestream from the hospital bed awaiting foot surgery. I decided then as I waited for my foot surgery, that I would run Cocodona in May 2023. Whatever it took to get my foot healthy again was my goal. Would I be able to pack on the miles to take on such a long race? I knew it was going to take dedication to get the start line healthy and properly trained.