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Lundy’s in it for the long haul

Cool woman still eager to hit the trail after finishing Tevis and Western States in 2009
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Kevin Lundy is worried his wife Diana will never stop running. Diana Lundy, 57 of Cool, is taking on the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run for the sixth time Saturday and has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. She said she may be in the running for the award given to the oldest woman to complete this year’s race. Diana runs as many shorter organized ultraruns as she can during training months, but logs less solo training miles to keep her body from wearing down. “Every year you do it, it’s always a new adventure. Even though the course is similar it’s never the same,” Diana said. “I probably do less (training) than some people. I want to be running into old age. My goal is always to make it to the starting line.” Diana has not only made it to the start and finish of five Western States, but also competed in the Tevis Cup 100-mile Endurance Ride. In 2009, she was the second woman to complete both Western States and the Tevis Cup in the same year, and the only woman to do so since the course was corrected to a full 100-mile course. “I’ve always loved horses. My love of horses exceeds running,” Diana said. “I do ride endurance rides with a couple of girlfriends. We trained together and rode it together. That was a challenge.” The Lundys moved to Cool for the trails. Diana said her husband, who has completed Western States four times, is her ultimate running partner. She was competing in marathons when they met, but it was Kevin who got her interested in trail running. Surgery on his Achilles has prevented him from competing in the race the past few years. Although, he will make a cameo appearance as part of Diana’s crew and pace her in the final stretch. “He is my crew for Tevis and Western States. I couldn’t do it without him to be honest,” Diana said. “He is the best running partner.” Kevin, who is a retired geologist, always has something interesting to tell Diana about the trail. He said falling asleep at night and running off the trail has been one of Diana’s biggest dilemmas in past years. In 2009, she had stomach problems for the last 30 miles of the run. This year, Diana hopes to complete the race without either of those obstacles and place third or fourth in her age group. “I just want to do it once and have a decent run without being so sick,” Diana said. “I’ve never had a super good run there. It’s hard to imagine your body can tolerate that. If you do the right training, you’ll be amazed at what your body can handle.” Endurance horse trainer Janine Esler, of Granite Bay, trained Diana’s horse and rode with her in the 2009 Tevis Cup. Esler said that while she may look like a proper southern belle, Diana’s determination makes her unstoppable. Diana buckled in the Tevis Cup just five weeks after completing Western States. Esler said that many people don’t realize how much riders have to get off of their horse and run during the Tevis Cup. “She is amazingly tough,” Esler said. “She barfed nearly 40 times from Michigan Bluff. Most people would have stopped. Her toe nails were still black and some were missing from Western States. She had vertigo terribly. No matter what her body is doing, her mind is going forward.” Kevin said Diana has that kind of determination in all of her endeavors. “She is a success at everything she does,” Kevin said. “She put herself through school, nursing school. She worked her way up to a Lieutenant Colonel (in the military) until the political climate changed. Then she was in management at pharmaceutical companies. Now she is just continuing to do the recreation challenges. She is just a phenomenal person all the way around.” Diana said that for others looking to complete Western States, gradually working up to the distance is the best approach. “I think I would say if that is your dream, pursue it,” Diana said. “A lot of people don’t do enough of the shorter things. Work up to them slowly. Put in the training time. If you are only going to pick one (100-mile endurance run), pick Western States.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.