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Local trail revisited

Courtesy Photo Dave Holland runs through water during his Maah Daah Hey run over eight years ago. Holland ran the 97-mile course during April 11-12, 2003.

I've never continuously ran 97 miles at one point in time, though it would be pretty exciting if I could actually accomplish this feat.

A couple weeks ago, I did a story on Chad Brackelsberg, who I thought had been the only person to run the Maah Daah Hey Trail.

I later found out that someone had run the trail just over eight years ago. His name was Dave Holland, who started his run on April 11, 2003. It took him 32 hours, 23 minutes.

"Anyone that gets into this trail knows it's going to go long," Holland said. "It's a challenge, it's like climbing a mountain."

Holland was a former Dickinson State cross county and track coach from 1999-2002. This 97-mile run turned into a 105-mile run due to nighttime conditions.

"The problem is that you can't see more than 20 feet or so, depending on how bright your flashlight goes," Holland said. "You can't tell if a trail is going to end 50 feet away from you. There are a lot of different ones to choose from that all long the same at night."

The 105 miles that Holland ran was around similar mileage that Brackelsberg ran the trail.

When Holland started running he didn't tell many people about the run until it was over. I experienced the same thing when Brackelsberg did his run. They do it so the runner doesn't get jinxed.

"I think there was always a part of me that doubted that I would finish," Holland said. "I think we all had that type of fear."

Brackelsberg ran the trail in 25 hours, 56 minutes. To Holland's credit, this was marked the longest distance he had ever run.

"I hadn't run anything close to that," Holland said.

The two runners had little differences in how to prepare for the daunting task of the run. Due to Brackelsberg's experience with ultramarathons, his regime was something he was used. Holland tried a different approach.

"It's more about the hours of activity," Holland said. "We worked from week to week. You need to be to ready to exercise, so then you are ready for 24-30 hours of running."

Holland and Brackelsberg want the trail succeed and have more people run it every year. Holland came close to actually making it into a race.

"I spoke with a company a couple years ago that attempted make this a race," he said. "It was too difficult logistically for them, because there aren't any stores close to it. They would have to haul everything there."

Regardless on how each runner finished, I know that I look highly upon these men for running this course. It's something that most people would never attempt.