October 13, 2016 - 11:30 AM
"SHE'S STRONGER THAN MOST WOMEN AND SHE'S STRONGER THAN MOST MEN"
VERNON - Unstoppable may best describe Vernon woman Shanda Hill, who is now on day four of a race the length of five Ironmans.
Hill, 34, is the first Canadian woman to compete in an extreme race known as the Quintuple Anvil. The event involves a 19 kilometre swim, 900 km bike ride and a 210 km run. Participants have 132 hours, or about five and a half days to complete the race.
Hill started the race on Monday, Oct. 10, in Virginia, U.S.A., and as of this morning, Oct. 13, she had started the running portion of the course. Her boyfriend, Lennard Winslow, says she completed the biking phase of the event with a 150 mile lead on the next female contestant.
“Her spirits are up, her attitude is great. She’s talking about winning,” Winslow says.
While leading in the women’s division, Hill is also ahead of many of the men. As of Wednesday evening, Oct. 12, she was in fourth place overall, and roughly 39 miles behind the man in third place.
“She may catch that guy on the run,” Winslow says.
Athletes race throughout the day and night, and Hill has been grabbing rest here and there, sleeping only for short spells.
“She’s tired, her back is a little sore from leaning over the bike, but she’s getting proper nutrition and she’s been balancing her rest,” Winslow says.
Hill is being supported by her dad, who is set up with their van and a cook stove on the circuit, ready to hand her a bowl of soup or give her a massage as she completes her laps.
“She’s very highly motivated right now,” Winslow says. “A lot of people when they heard she was doing this race would laugh and think she was out of her mind to be doing something like this, but typically people don’t recognize until they start to see someone achieve their goal, that this is a reality.”
Hill has until Saturday to complete the race, but is expecting to finish sometime on Friday, Oct. 14. While she pushes her body to the extreme, supporters have been taking to social media to cheer her on.
“It’s gone totally viral,” Winslow says, adding Hill was even interviewed by the New York Times. “She’s inspiring a lot of people.”
The race takes on even greater significance given that Hill was in a serious accident in 2003 that almost took her out of sports altogether.
Now, the lifelong vegetarian is competing in what many consider to be the most gruelling race in sports.
“She’s built for this,” Winslow says. “She’s stronger than most women and she's stronger than most men.”
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