Adventure Icon: Nikki Kimball

Endurance Predator

    Photo: Photograph by Tim Kemple

[38, BOZEMAN, MONTANA]
Fun? The race? Fun? Yeah, there were parts of it that were fun. One time, five of us were running along the singletrack and saw this wasp nest, and there was nothing we could do but run through it. (You can't go off-trail, because the jungle's too thick.) These hornets were as long as your little finger—huge. You just heard swearing in five different languages. It was hilarious in a warped kind of way. It's not always painful. I was 27 when I started entering trail races. I'm a slow runner, but I can run for a really long time. It's like hiking at a faster pace. You get to see so much more country, and race organizers are always holding these things in amazing places. It's very social for me. I never took the racing seriously until the press noticed that I had a six-year winning streak. I think each person has a finite number of world-class performances in them.

Starting in 1999, Kimball went seven consecutive years without losing an ultramarathon, including the U.S. national championships. She just returned from winning Brazil's 150-mile Jungle Marathon.

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