TURNER — Running 31 miles is no big deal for Jasmine Daigle and Billy Nicols. 

“We were shooting the breeze the whole way,” Nicols said about running side-by-side with Daigle during a 50-kilometer trail race two weeks ago.

But Saturday will be a different story, Nicols said. 

Daigle of Peru, 31, and Nicols of Rumford, 55, will line up at 6 a.m. for their first 100-mile trail race. 

“It’s very scary to think about,” Daigle said. 

Maine’s first 100-mile trail race will be held at the Androscoggin Riverlands State Park in Turner May 13-14. The Riverlands 100 begins at 6 a.m. on Saturday and competitors have 32 hours to complete the race. 

“I honestly think we are doing it to push the limit,” Daigle said. “We want to test our own limits, to see how far we can go.”

“It’s more mental than physical,” Daigle said of running 100 miles. “They say the first 50 miles is physical and the next 50 is mental. It’s all a mind game.” 

Daigle said that she and Nicols have picked the minds of runners who have competed in similar races so much that the only thing left to do is to experience it for themselves.

Nicols and Daigle have been told that they will hit highs and they will hit lows during the race.

They have been told they will hit rock bottom — but if they just keep moving forward, they will get through it.

The two met a couple of months ago while training for the race.

“We needed the support,” Daigle said. 

“The trail-running community is just awesome,” Nicols said. “I have met so many good people through trail running.”

Nicols has run the Boston Marathon three times. He qualified for this year’s marathon, but he opted to train for the Turner trail race instead. 

Nicols trains in the morning and Daigle trains at night. 

“A couple of times this winter, it was about 10 degrees out and I was out running at four in the morning,” Nicols said. “This winter was a tough winter. I did a lot of snowshoe running.”

Having a full-time job and being a parent means she has to fit training into her schedule, Daigle said.

“I do a lot of my running at night after I get out of work and put the kids to bed,” she said. 

Daigle started running her last two years at Dirigo High School to cross-train for soccer and the racewalk. 

“I wasn’t always a runner and I didn’t always like running that much,” she said.

Daigle said running in college on an athletic scholarship caused her to burn out and she didn’t run again until she was pregnant with the first of her two children. 

“I ran my first marathon when my youngest turned 1, crossed the finish line and boom, I was hooked,” Daigle said. “I started running again because I wanted to, not because I had to. It makes a difference.”

Competing in a 100-mile race has been Nicols’ and Daigle’s common goal for some time.

“I was running marathons and then we went to a 50K, which is 31 miles, and then I was like, ‘I have to run a 50-miler,'” Daigle said. “I think for two years, I have been eyeing a 100 miles.

“What’s the worst thing that can happen?” Daigle asked. “You’re going to run and not finish? Well, you’re never going to know until you try.”

“You have to be a runner to understand,” Nicols said, adding that getting ready for his first 100-mile has not been a solo effort.

“You don’t do these 100-mile races without the support of your family,” he said. “Your kids and your wife have to be on board, and mine are,” said the father of two.

“Families have to be supportive,” Daigle said. “We are crazy; they know it and they support us,” she said.

“It’s gonna be tough going,” Nicols said of the race.

Lots of spring showers have made Turner’s trail system very muddy.

“Rocks, roots and lots of puddles,” Daigle said. 

Daigle’s said she is nervous about having to run at night. 

“We will have to light our own path,” Daigle said about wearing a head lamp. “I hear stories of people seeing things because they are so tired that they hallucinate.”

Volunteers will staff aid stations throughout the 100-mile course to provide water, nourishment and support. 

“This is the hardest thing both of us will probably ever do,” Daigle said.

Daigle said she has just one goal — and that is to finish.

“I honestly do not care what my time is,” she said. “I just want to finish.”

Nicols said he wasn’t sure he would finish the race, but hopes he does. 

“If something does not work out, I will be in another 100-mile race,” he said. “I will finish one before I am (dead).

“We have been training for six months for this so I can’t wait until this week is over,” Nicols said. “The only way to explain it is it’s like a kid getting ready for Christmas. Well, Saturday is Christmas.”

Jasmine Daigle of Peru and Billy Nicols of Rumford will compete in the Riverlands 100, a 100-mile trail run in Turner on Saturday. 

Jasmine Daigle of Peru and Billy Nicols of Rumford run on the trails at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester on Sunday. The 13-mile run was a training piece for the 100-mile trail run that they will compete in on Saturday in Turner. “We have the physical part down — now we just have to train our minds,” Daigle said. 

Jasmine Daigle of Peru and Billy Nicols of Rumford run on the trails at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester on Sunday. The 13-mile run was a training piece for the 100-mile trail run that they will compete in on Saturday in Turner. “We have the physical part down — now we just have to train our minds,” Daigle said. 


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