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Maxine Colvey finishes 8th in gruelling 12 hour race, in Rhode Island

Nevada's Javalina Jundred - 100 Mile Race is next on the docket.
Maxine Colvey Finishes 8th at Anchor Down | Oakville endurance runner Maxine Colvey (pictured 2nd from the right) ran for just under 12 hours in Rhode Island, last weekend. | Maxine Colvey
Maxine Colvey Finishes 8th at Anchor Down | Oakville endurance runner Maxine Colvey (pictured 2nd from the right) ran for just under 12 hours in Rhode Island, last weekend. | Maxine Colvey

You may have seen her out for one of her 4-hour weekend runs, making a quick sprint through Kerr Villiage, or maybe even running the 5km on a Saturday morning at the River Oaks Park Run. But, this past weekend, Maxine Colvey was south of the border running in the World-Famous Anchor Down Ultra Marathon in Bristol, Rhode Island.

“Anchor Down Ultra is a very special race; there’s something in the atmosphere there that lets you feel like you’re let in on a secret,” she says with a joyful tone. 

“It’s one of the harder ultras, but it presents as an easy one. You look at the course map, and you have 2.4 miles which is, I think, just over 4 kilometres per loop”.

But that 2.4-mile loop is repeated over and over in 6-hour, 12-hour, or 24-hour races.

By now, Maxine is considered a veteran by the competition’s qualification standards, despite consistently being one of the youngest competitors in Ultra Running. 

“In 2018, I ran the 24-hour Anchor Down, and I placed 2nd in the Female Division and came in first in the Open Division (which is the 0-39 age group),” beams Colvey. That year she ran 87.5 miles.

This year was a little bit different for her as she was using it as a tick on a checklist while she prepares to head to October’s Javelina Jundred.  

“You know, I set out with the goal of just running until the clock ran out,” states Colvey. “I didn’t really have any distance goals. I was using it as a benchmark training for the Javelina 100,” where she intends to complete the entire 100-mile desert run.

This was an opportunity to test her fuel and gear and get some time on her feet before the real monster in two months.

Running overnight presents several challenges, according to the 30-year-old. 

“The sleep deprivation is tough,” she says. “Running through the dark is exhausting and can be very lonely, but I was out there, and I accomplished my goal.” 

Starting at 7:00 p.m., she ended her final loop at 6:35 in the morning. With no time left to sneak in one last final lap of the loop, she managed to get in 44.1 miles this time out.

Endurance running presents several problems for the human body to try to deal with, but the mental end of things makes it all possible. Maxine found herself dealing with “intense nausea” throughout the night and was running on a minorly sprained ankle she had injured in the weeks leading up to the race. In the end, she was able to push through.

Ultra Marathons are a subject that brings about some interesting facial expressions in the running community, as most people wouldn’t dream of putting themselves through the physical and mental gauntlet of running anything beyond the 42.195 km of a “regular old marathon.” For Max, it was something that just required a little spark.

“In 2014, I ran my first Tough Mudder”, which at the time was a 10-mile obstacle course race,  where she instantly fell in love with obstacle course racing. After her first race at Barrie’s Mount St. Louis Moonstone, she developed a friend group of like minded-individuals whom she began travelling great distances to spend time and compete against.

At the 2016 World’s Toughest Mudder Competition, the distance was cranked up to 60 miles. She finished just outside the top 10. “That really just spurred on my love for Ultras and my love for endurance events.”

By 2018, she had started running in formal Ultra Marathons, starting with the Big Turtle Ultra in Kentucky. Since then, she hasn’t looked back, running anything and everything from 50 km to over 100 miles.

In hindsight, she looks back on her most recent race with a critical eye. 

“I wouldn’t say it’s my best performance!” she laments, the stomach and ankle issues hampered her ability to run at her normal throughout the night. “I was able to run the first few hours pretty solidly, but I had to taper it down to a speed walk.”

Ten hours in, things started to turn around for Colvey, and she was no longer slowed by the intense nausea that had been hanging over her. The ankle issues persisted, but she dug deep and pushed through mentally.

Perseverance is not in short supply with Maxine, as she took every opportunity during the COVID-19 Pandemic to stay on top of her passion, even if that meant not being able to compete internationally.

Running was something that you could still make part of your daily life if you were so inclined, according to Max, and she made full use of every virtual opportunity that was available online. 

“I was able to do some fun things,” she says. “I went on a couple of self-supported 50kms, one with friends." I did some virtual races. I placed 5th in a virtual tough mudder called the Equinox Ultra, put on in 2021. So I think just adapting and finding things you can do is really what held it together.” And held it together she has, as she has her sights set on a bigger prize in Nevada.

Until then, she will keep up her routine of running around town and training close to home.

“I have my set routes in my neighbourhood, but often like to try new things and run down new streets, just to see new houses. Running in Oakville is really fun, just to look at the houses and run along new trails along the water.”

The Javelina Jundred will take place on October 29th.