The following is an excerpt from Renee Melly’s 2016 race report.

I woke up this morning, and my first thought was, “It’s only a marathon.”  Crazy because, before Desert RATS, the longest race I had ever competed in was a half marathon.  The thought of a full marathon was too daunting, and yet now, it was “only’ a marathon.  Funny how all things are relative.  Today was amazing because the 11 of us who had started this journey together were all participating in this final stage together…no one opted to sit this one out despite the aches and pains.  At every other stage this week, I experienced moments when I was mentally strong but physically weak…or physically strong but mentally weak.  Today was the first day both worlds came together, and I felt completely strong…mind and body.  There were even moments when my eyes would unexpectedly fill with tears because I knew nothing was going to stand in my way of finishing…not a mountain, not the heat, not the threat of a cutoff time, not my mind nor my body.  This was it!  Six days, 150 miles…and I was going to get a finisher’s medal, and I was going to do it side by side with some amazing people that I met along the way.

All the things that terrified me about this race, in the beginning, were now fueling me in the end.

Post-Race

There is a great sense of pride in accomplishing something that at the onset you weren’t sure was even possible.  You walk around with a quiet confidence and a belief that you can do anything you put your mind to.  What a powerful, humbling and inspiring feeling!   As I boarded the plane to return home, I stopped briefly before stepping through the door, and, for the last time, looked at the mountainous desert in the backdrop and silently thanked it for such an amazing experience.  I knew that I was returning home a better version of myself. For one moment in time, I experienced the impossible…and, because of that, I will forever be a Desert Rat.

Click here for the full story. Renee overcame obstacles and finished the race in 47 hours and 39 minutes.

Gemini Adventures has been putting on races and events in beautiful places that test people’s stamina since 2003. Check out their upcoming Mountain RATS races September 8th in Eagle Colorado. There will be half marathon, marathon and 50K trail races set up in conjunction with Eagle’s Septemberfest celebration with beer and live bands. Register now with the code: EODISCOUNT to receive 20% off.