Former Tri-Cities resident completes 130-mile run in snow, freezing temperatures
PASCO, Wash. – While most Washingtonians avoided an outdoor run this weekend, Matthew Shepard, did the opposite.
“130 miles, like that’s definitely within my realm of abilities and I thought, really difficult, that sounds fun,” he said.
Shepard, a 33-year-old Kamiakan High School alumni, who now lives in Alberta, had been planning to run the Columbia Plateau Trail, for weeks.
The trail starts outside of Pasco and ends in Cheney. It features 130 miles of trail, railroad trestles, old tunnels and spanning views of the Snake River.
“What a fantastic place to be and you’re looking at rocks touching things that somebody might’ve not touched for 50 years,” he said.
The ultramarathon, elite runner has conquered races much further than the Columbia Plateau Trail but, he hasn’t always been a runner. Shephard said he fell in love with the sport in his early 20’s when he was a part of the US Military.
Shepard started the 130-mile run on Saturday morning, with his friend Brandon Lott. The two trekked on through snow, freezing temperatures and rocky terrain.
“The snow added a layer of cushion to the difficult rock but it also made it hard to see the bigger rocks you ended up kicking a lot of rocks a lot of tripping.” Shepard explained.
The runners took break occasionally, and Shepard had a friend follow him in a car with supplies.
The runner said overall, the run went smoothly besides a few obstacles here and there.
“We got lots of rock ahead of us; the jungle of tumbleweeds,” Shepard documented the run on his Instagram.
Shepard said there wasn’t a point where he felt like quitting but, the wind did pose a challenge.
“My face was just really red and all the little snow pellets were just stinging and I was having a hard time,” the runner said he fashioned a face covering to prevent wind burn.
Then, after 40 hours and 48 minutes, Matthew finished the grueling 130 miles. He said it’s the first known and recorded completion of the entire trail by one person.
“I was just singing and celebrating and just kind of having a good time on that last bit so when I crossed the finish line it was actually pretty anti-climactic. We got in the truck and we’re like lets get something to eat,” Shepard said.
The runner encourages anyone to get started in the sport. You don’t have to be fast, or crush hundreds of miles at once; just start slow.
“Get out, put one foot in front of the other, and when you’re tired, walk and then when you’re not start running again. It’s little bits at a time it really does add up and then consistency,” he said.
You can follow along with Matthew’s running journey on Instagram, his handle is @go_shep.
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