Ultramarathoners Kate Coward and Kari Gibbons of the Twin Cities are more than halfway through their “Double Arrowhead,” an attempt to cover the 135-mile Arrowhead race course twice.
The two left Thursday to do the route in reverse -- Tower, Minn., to International Falls -- and then officially started the race Monday morning.
According to a freelance photographer documenting the Arrowhead 135, Coward and Gibbons arrived at the Melgeorge's Resort checkpoint at Mile 72 at about 9:15 Tuesday morning.
Photographer Scott Rokis wrote in an e-mail to the Star Tribune that the subzero weather was unexpectedly harsh, but Coward and Gibbons are doing well.
He wrote: "They arrived at MG checkpoint around 9:15 this morning. Both are smiling, story telling and moving well. I'm not sure when they'll leave. I've got great images of the frost build up last night and this morning. Kate must've been in 7 layers. Two cars registered the temps at -25 and the snow mobiles had -28. Far colder than anyone expected. Most were planning for -14 at the worst."
The photo above (Gibbons, left, and Coward) was posted on the women’s Facebook page devoted to their odyssey after the two arrived Sunday at International Falls from Tower. (Gibbons posted video at a halfway point.) Their hope is to be the first women to complete a double.
Here, too, is an excerpt from a Facebook post by Coward early Monday:
"It went by fast! Kari and I have some truly incredible hours, enjoying the trail, woods, solitude, and feeling grateful we can do this. Couple of warm soft days were pretty taxing. Last 72 miles was a big push starting at 5am Saturday with a short stop halfway and then onward to IFalls in time for the Arrowhead 135 racers meeting. There is so much we want to share but no time now. Still trying to recover and be ready for the 7:04 start this morning. Lower extremities sore and achy, but all else good. Going to get colder here with a -13 start - perfect conditions!"
Track the women and other racers here: http://trackleaders.com/arrowhead18.
More on the Arrowhead is online at arrowheadultra.com.