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To Bone and Back is a challenge

June 27, 2011

The Morning News — Leslie Mielke "Team Cook" in the To Bone and Back relay last Saturday was made up of (at back from left) Mark holding Abigail, Sharla, Kimberlee, Melanie, Krystal, Suzanne and Merralee. In the front row from the left are Joshua, Brittany, Elizabeth, Emily and Rebecca. Melanie is not pictured; she was running.

IDAHO FALLS – The ultra-relay race, To Bone and Back, was last Saturday. In this event, runners race to the small farming community of Bone, 20 miles from Idaho Falls. The teams then complete the race by retracing their path to Idaho Falls. Bone is east and south of Idaho Falls.
A small bone is exchanged between teammates at each checkpoint.
Reasons for running vary.
“It’s a blast,” said Allison Boyer from Firth. “It’s an endorphin rush to the max.
“It’s awesome to be around so much positive energy,” she said. “You get to know new people and there’s not a better group of ladies than those my team, “Hard Women for Hard Times.”
This is Boyer’s fifth year running To Bone and Back. She trains all year.
“I get serious about it in January,” she said.
“When I graduated from high school, my dad and I ran in a six-mile race,” said Boyer. “I want to run as long as he did and he ran until he was 70.”
Team Cook was made up of seven sisters. They called themselves Seven Farmer’s Daughters.
“We decided it would be a good thing to do for our family reunion,” said Sharla Cook from Firth. “Next year, we may plan a dinner.”
The team was composed of sisters Sharla, Kimberlee, Melanie, Brittany and Krystal from the Idaho Falls area. Suzanne came from Colorado Springs, Colo., and Melinda lives in Gardnerville, Nev.
“I couldn’t run five minutes when I started running three months ago,” said Melinda.
“I trained when the kids were asleep,” said Melanie.
Melanie was up at 4 a.m. to run Pollen Hill.
Their mother, Merralee, said she thought about joining them about “that long” as she held her thumb and her first finger about one-quarter inch.
“I’m not a runner,” she said.
Since To Bone and Back is a 40-mile race with eight 5-mile legs, someone had to run an extra leg. Melanie drew the short straw. She ran the uphill distance, leg 2, and leg 3.
Team Cook completed the race in seven hours, five minutes.
“We didn’t break any speed records but it was a really fun thing to do together,” said Merralee.
Each team in the race had a support vehicle that followed along the route.
Whole families spent the day together, shouting encouragement and hauling the runners to the next exchange point.
This is the 21st year running To Bone and Back. Summit Orthopaedics in Idaho Falls was the sponsor.
A number of races were available. They included:
* 2 person. Each person runs 20 miles, often trading off each five miles.
* 4 person. Each person runs 10 miles, alternating five mile legs.
* Co-ed
* Men’s Open
* Women’s Open
* High School (8 in high school)
* Masters (8 all over 50)
* Family (all related)

There is also a five-mile only race, a solo race with two categories—male and female.
The Ultra Marathon is a 40-mile solo race in two categories—male and female.
This year, three relay teams, composed of 24 local servicemen and women from the Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion 148th Field Artillery, ran in Baghdad, Iraq. They ran the same distance as the runners in Idaho.
“We sponsored them and sent them race shirts,” said assistant race director Neal Russell.
The soldiers’ families who live in Rigby also competed in To Bone and Back Saturday.

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