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Racers, Volunteers Prepare for Ultramarathon at Worlds End

WORLDS END STATE PARK — A group of ultramarathon runners are gathered in Sullivan County this weekend and the predicted rain is merely another level of ch...
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WORLDS END STATE PARK -- A group of ultramarathon runners are gathered in Sullivan County this weekend and the predicted rain is merely another level of challenge to an already intense race.

How do you get ready for a race that covers 19 hours and 62 miles through the hills of Sullivan County? Volunteers are filling water jugs and organizing food for the Worlds End Ultramarathon.

It is the second year for the race at the state park near Forksville.

About 50 people signed up for last year's race. This year, that number is 300.

Competitors can choose between 50 and 100 kilometer courses.

Eli Burakian of Vermont plans to take his first shot at completing a 100 kilometer course. He explains that running on rugged trails is not really about speed.

"I am a very slow runner, but I can keep going for a long time, so it really plays into my strong suit, hopefully I can just keep on moving," Burakian said.

Competitors say Pennsylvania trails are known for sharp rocks and that makes running here a challenge.

100k racers have from 5 a.m. to midnight to make it across the finish line.

Organizers expect only half will succeed.

Race director David Walker is a veteran ultramarathoner. He says the sport attracts a special kind of runner.

"They will give you a jacket, a head lamp, food. You get injured, they will help you up and carry to the next aid station," Walker said.

And in his world, rain is a good thing.

"The worse weather there is, the more challenging it gets."

Eli's goal is simply to finish the 100 kilometer race.

"One foot in front of the other, you know, none of us do this because it is easy. We do it because it is a challenge."

For this ultramarathoner, the real prize will be seeing how far he can push himself.