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A great day for an Extreme Run

By Staff | May 7, 2017

Makayla Brainard leaps into the arms of boyfriend Jeff Yanda after finishing the Extreme Trail Run on Saturday. Yanda had already crossed the line and was the first male runner to finish the race. Brainard was the first female to cross the line. Both are from West Des Moines. Photo by David Swartz

Near the end of Estherville Lincoln Central’s cross country course at the Estherville Golf Club, high school runners annually have to tackle a hill known as “Big Bertha” about a quarter mile before the finish.

The Estherville Chamber of Commerce’s Extreme Trail Run has one final hill that puts Big Bertha to shame.

However, it didn’t stop more than 80 competitors in the third annual race on Saturday from taking on that challenge.

For a course just over 3 miles, participants tackled a few man-made obstacles before heading deep into the bowels of Fort Defiance State Park near Estherville, which features some rugged terrain at times.

For the length of the course, times weren’t typical of a normal 5K race. Jeff Yanda of West Des Moines was the first to cross the finish line in 22 minutes, 35 seconds, more than 3 minutes faster than the next competitor.

Going through the tires proved more challenging to some over others.

Yanda said he had heard about the race from someone else who enjoys these extreme kinds of runs.

“We don’t have any areas like this around Des Moines,” he said.

The next two guys to finish the course came in with times of 25:44 and 26:08.

The first female to finish the race was Yanda’s significant other, Makayla Brainer, also of West Des Moines. She was greeted with open arms by Yanda as she finished in 28:22. The next two females to cross the finish line had times of 29:34 and 30:25.

The race was split into two groups, a competitive group and those who wanted to run the course just for fun. Those in the competitive group were required to tackle all the obstacles on the course, which included crawling under plastic filled with water, tackling a wall and going through tires.

Climbing the final hill was tough for all ages. Photos by David Swartz

For those who feel they missed out on the fun, there’s always next year.