• 2nd Lt. Kristina Tudor, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.,  runs the final yards toward the finish line of the 103.1-mile Ozark Trail Endurance Run, held Nov. 3 near Steelville, Mo. Tudor was the second female to cross the finishing line, completing the course in 27 hours, 22 minutes.

    Soldiers compete in 'brutal' 100-miler

    2nd Lt. Kristina Tudor, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., runs the final yards toward the finish line of the 103.1-mile Ozark Trail Endurance Run, held Nov. 3 near Steelville, Mo. Tudor was the second female to cross the finishing line, completing the course in...

  • 2nd Lt. Paul Mark Ballesteros, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., competes in the Ozark Trail Endurance Run Nov. 3 near Steelville, Mo.

    Soldiers compete in 'brutal' 100-miler

    2nd Lt. Paul Mark Ballesteros, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., competes in the Ozark Trail Endurance Run Nov. 3 near Steelville, Mo.

Two Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers can tell you there are marathons; there are ultra-marathons, and then there are races like the Ozark Trail 100-Mile Endurance Run.

2nd Lts. Kristina Tudor and Paul Mark Ballesteros both Chemical Basic Officer Leader Course students in Company A, 84th Chemical Battalion, completed the grueling, 103.1-mile course near Steelville, Mo., on Nov. 3.

In a race where nearly half the participants didn't complete the course, Tudor -- an experienced ultra marathoner -- was the second female out of 12 to cross the finish line with a time of 27 hours, 22 minutes.

Ballesteros finished with a time just under 30 hours, 43 minutes. He was 30th out of the 48 male runners who completed the course. It was his first ultra marathon.

"That guy has some guts," Tudor said of her teammate.

Both runners had one word to describe the course, which meandered over the steep, wooded hills of the Mark Twain National Forest:

"It was brutal," Ballesteros said. "It was on a trail full of roots and rocks. One misstep and you could be down a cliff."

"I thought it was absolutely the most brutal thing I've ever done," Tudor said. "After the race, both our feet were tenderized."

Tudor described the run as a "continuous effort" event, meaning participants could complete the trail in any fashion they chose in a given time limit.

"To be an actual finisher, you had to do it in less than 32 hours," she said. "Each runner has to plan how they are going to accomplish the race in the time allowed. You can rest when you want, eat when you want, drink when you want. You can start out at anything as slow as a 13-minute (per mile pace), and depending on your level of fitness, you can drop that down to an eight- or seven-minute pace. A lot of that depends on the terrain."

Fitness was not an issue for either runner heading into the race.

Tudor, 26, ran cross country and track for the University of California at Riverside, where she was introduced to ultra-marathons.

"A friend told me about these extreme races, and I looked them up. I was interested because they were different and focused on testing the limits of the human body, which is very intriguing to me. What easier and better way than to do that on your own two legs? It just fascinated me," she said.

Since then, she has looked for races beyond the traditional 26.2 mile marathon.

"I've done a few 50-milers and 50ks, which are 31 miles, and some 12-hour runs. This was my first 100-miler," she said.

Ballesteros, 25, was a track and cross country runner for the University of Guam, and a former professional cyclist before starting his military career.

"I got into this because of Kristina," he said. "We were just eating in the PX one day, and she said 'Hey, I've got this race, it's a 100-miler,' and I was intrigued, I was like '100 miles? Let me try that out." At first, she didn't want to believe me, but I told her I was sure and then we started to train."

Both Tudor and Ballesteros said training simply involved running whenever they had the chance.

"Ideally, you want to run anywhere between 100 and 120 miles a week -- if you're a professional athlete and you have the time," Tudor said. "With both of us in BOLC, we just did what we could. We would run during PT, and run after class, depending on our schedule."

"And then we would do a long run on the weekends," Ballesteros added.

Ultra distance runners also require a support crew, and Tudor and Ballesteros turned to their CBOLC classmates, 2nd Lts. Chad Lucero, Josh Cooper and Roxanne Wegman.

"They took a week to help us out, driving us to checkpoints to give us food, water and any help that we needed. I think they were working as hard or harder than we were," Tudor said.

Now that they've run a 100-plus mile race, both runners are looking at other long-distance events. Ballesteros said he wants to compete in a 55-mile cross-country race starting in his hometown in the Philippines. Tudor is currently trying to organize a run from Fort Leonard Wood to St. Louis.

"My next goal, hopefully before we graduate, is to run to St. Louis. We still have a couple of three-day weekends, so I think we can do it. Depending on the route, it's 130 to 135 miles," she said. "Right now it's still in the planning stages. I'm recruiting some classmates to help plan the route."

when you want, eat when you want, drink when you want. You can start out at anything as slow as a 13-minute (per mile pace), and depending on your level of fitness, you can drop that down to an eight- or seven-minute pace. A lot of that depends on the terrain."

Fitness was not an issue for either runner heading into the race.

Tudor, 26, ran cross country and track for the University of California at Riverside, where she was introduced to ultra-marathons.

"A friend told me about these extreme races, and I looked them up. I was interested because they were different and focused on testing the limits of the human body, which is very intriguing to me. What easier and better way than to do that on your own two legs? It just fascinated me," she said.

Since then, she has looked for races beyond the traditional 26.2 mile marathon.

"I've done a few 50-milers and 50ks, which are 31 miles, and some 12-hour runs. This was my first 100-miler," she said.

Ballesteros, 25, was a track and cross country runner for the University of Guam, and a former professional cyclist before starting his military career.

"I got into this because of Kristina," he said. "We were just eating in the PX one day, and she said 'Hey, I've got this race, it's a 100-miler,' and I was intrigued, I was like '100 miles? Let me try that out." At first, she didn't want to believe me, but I told her I was sure and then we started to train."

Both Tudor and Ballesteros said training simply involved running whenever they had the chance.

"Ideally, you want to run anywhere between 100 and 120 miles a week -- if you're a professional athlete and you have the time," Tudor said. "With both of us in BOLC, we just did what we could. We would run during PT, and run after class, depending on our schedule."

"And then we would do a long run on the weekends," Ballesteros added.

Ultra distance runners also require a support crew, and Tudor and Ballesteros turned to their CBOLC classmates, 2nd Lts. Chad Lucero, Josh Cooper and Roxanne Wegman.

"They took a week to help us out, driving us to checkpoints to give us food, water and any help that we needed. I think they were working as hard or harder than we were," Tudor said.

Now that they've run a 100-plus mile race, both runners are looking at other long-distance events. Ballesteros said he wants to compete in a 55-mile cross-country race starting in his hometown in the Philippines. Tudor is currently trying to organize a run from Fort Leonard Wood to St. Louis.

"My next goal, hopefully before we graduate, is to run to St. Louis. We still have a couple of three-day weekends, so I think we can do it. Depending on the route, it's 130 to 135 miles," she said. "Right now it's still in the planning stages. I'm recruiting some classmates to help plan the route."

Page last updated Thu December 6th, 2012 at 11:12