Going into this year’s North Face Endurance Challenge Championship, Clare Gallagher was among the favorites. For one thing, she knew the course; in 2017, she finished second in this 50-miler that winds through California's Marin Headlands, up into the Muir Woods, and back down to the finish on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Having already won major races like Western States and the Way Too Cool 50K in 2019, the 28-year-old appeared to have momentum coming in.
Unfortunately for Gallagher, it was one of those days. She had been battling a cold for a week, and ended up having what we can politely refer to as stomach issues. Nonetheless, she held on to finish in the top ten. Since sports narratives would be boring if we only told stories of glory and triumph, we caught up with Gallagher to learn more about her rough day of running in the northern California hills.