Tim Tollefson, 32, was injured and undertrained going into the Transgrancanaria Ultra Marathon last spring. “I expected a death march, but it turned into more of a death march than I ever could have ever imagined,” he said.

The 125K race climbs more than 26,000 feet in Spain’s Canary Islands. Tollefson was only running it to achieve the final qualifying points he needed for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc(UTMB) later that summer, but at the 50K point, he realized that finishing at all was going to be difficult. “There were times when I was coming down a treacherous section of the trail and a devil on my shoulder was telling me to throw myself off the cliff because then it would all be over,” Tollefson said.

Every step was excruciating.

“During the race, I’d completely sworn off ultras. The only reason I was doing the race was to get the points for UTMB. I thought, this is a stupid sport. Why am I finishing if I am just getting points for something I’ll never do?”

Read the full story at the REI Co-op Journal.

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