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Six Days in The Dome

Distance runner Traci Falbo runs clockwise as she cranks out laps on Tuesday evening, August 5, 2014, en route to setting set a new world indoor track and American track record after covering 242.093 miles in the 48-hour event during a multi-day ultramarathon race at The Alaska Dome in Anchorage.
Bill Roth
David Johnston of Willow runs clockwise in The Alaska Dome as he cranks out laps while competing in the 6-Day ultramarathon event on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.
Bill Roth
Distance runner Traci Falbo runs clockwise as she cranks out laps on Tuesday evening, August 5, 2014, en route to setting set a new world indoor track and American track record after covering 242.093 miles in the 48-hour event during a multi-day ultramarathon race at The Alaska Dome in Anchorage.
Bill Roth
Co-race director Joe Fejes, an attorney from Georgia, second from left, cranks out laps with an international field of distance runners during the multi-day ultramarathon event at The Alaska Dome in Anchorage on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.
Bill Roth
Roy Pirrung eats a meal on the track while competing in the Six-Day ultramarathon event at The Alaska Dome in Anchorage on Tuesday, August 5, 2014.
Bill Roth
Toni Louhivuori of Finland puts ice on his shin while taking a break during the Six Days in The Dome ultramarathon event in Anchorage on Tuesday evening, August 5, 2014.
Bill Roth
Bill Roth

As she circled the track inside the Alaska Dome on Wednesday morning, Traci Falbo had been running nearly non-stop for 48 consecutive hours, her only respite a handful of naps that, combined, didn’t amount to an hour of sleep.

Yet, inexplicably, having already covered more than 200 miles, Falbo accelerated her pace.

She covered a lap of the 413-meter track, unofficially, in 2 minutes, 23 seconds. Soon, she clocked a lap in 2:15. And then she reeled off a couple of 2:06s.

“Traci! Traci! Traci!’’ fellow ultramarathoner Ed Ettinghausen chanted as Falbo passed him.

Runners and spectators applauded and shouted encouragement each time Falbo passed the start-finish line, where an electronic timing mat logged her progress from the timing chip attached to her ankle bracelet.

Falbo’s effort exacted its toll. Her upper body listed increasingly to her right as she ran. Her mouth opened wider as she gulped air. With about four minutes left in her 48-hour run, she collapsed into the arms of her husband, Mike, at the start-finish line. She was spent, physically and emotionally, and she cried, seemingly from both exhaustion and elation.

Read more: Traci Falbo literally ran until she dropped, and seized 2 ultramarathon records