While most Pulaski County residents were getting ready to call it a day and settle into a warm bed last Saturday night, locals Joel Reed of Waynesville and Melissa Martinez of Crocker were just getting ready for the second half of a 100 mile race.

Martinez, 46, an avid runner and member of Waynesville’s F.R.O.G. FITNESS GROUP, began the 36 Hours of Jack 100 mile race in Carthage, MO at 6am Saturday morning with one intention... to finish the race and give God the glory for it.

This 15.6 out-and-back course located on the Ruby Jack trail was the site of a 36-hour endurance event that attracted people from all over the state. The runners participating chose from the 5k, 15k, 25k, 50k, 100k, 200k and 100 mile distances offered and did as many laps as they needed to complete the mileage.

Martinez said, “Only seven people completed the 100 mile race so the course got a bit lonely after the other runners had finished the shorter distances and left the course. By that night, and after having run more than 12 hours already, the temps began to drop (got down to 23 degrees) and it was a battle to stay warm, hydrated and focused since the course became very desolate as the aid stations were 4-5 miles apart. Thankfully, that’s when my dear friend Joel was allowed to come beside me and pace me from mile 55 to 100. I was also joined by my son, Luke Martinez, at mile 77 which was the highlight of the night. These two young men were essential to me in reaching the finish line and a total blessing.”

For her efforts, Melissa is now the Missouri State record holder for the 100 mile and plans to do it again next year saying, “God has blessed me with an ability to run and to share the Message which I will do until He calls me home.”

You can check out FROG FITNESS GROUP on Facebook if you’d like to become a member or get more involved or contact Melissa at 573-433-6684. They do free weekly training runs and offer a free 5k Donut Run the third Saturday of every month sponsored by Walker Real Estate in St. Robert. The group also presents the Frog Hill Half Marathon/10k/5k and does other community events.

Martinez said, “FFG has people of all ages and abilities-from walkers to occasional runners to ultrarunners-and is open to everyone. This is an encouraging group that truly loves to motivate and help one another reach the goals they have set for themselves. We are truly blessed.”