We caught up with MUIR Athlete Catra Corbett to catch up on the inaugural Cocodona Virtual Experience, the virtual edition of the 257 miles race that took place across Arizona.
If you haven’t heard of Catra Corbett by now, you should know that she’s one of the most – if not the most – prolific runner in ultra-running.
But the word ‘prolific’ only begins to describe Catra’s running style. She’s raced the [ultramarathon] Triple Crown: Tahoe 200, the Bigfoot 250, and the Moab 240, and she’s completed more than 100 runs over 100 miles.
Even more impressive, Catra rarely deals with injury, which she credits to her plant-based diet and discipline in strength training.
When you see her, it’s hard not to grin because she’s always bursting with color: from her bright hair in pink or purple or blue, to her signature trucker visors, to the melange of tattoos on every limb, to cute cheetah print skirts.
Catra is truly one-of-a-kind in the already-fringy sport of ultra-running not just for her outfits and her massive mileage, but because of her success as a recovered drug user. Once addicted to meth, Catra turned to running. She’s now a ray of shining inspiration for others struggling and the strength of the human mind and body.
Catra lives in iconic trail and climber destination Bishop, California with her two beloved dachshunds, TruMan and Baxter. With the High Sierras in her backyard, she runs every single day. She’s even known to include the ‘Dirt Doxies’, aka TruMan and BaXter, on her adventures.
Between runs, she was able to share her take on The Cocodona 250 Virtual Experience:
Georgia: What is the Cocodona 250 Virtual Experience?
Catra: Well, you get to choose your route and you have between May 3rd and June 6th to complete 257 miles, so 5 weeks.
G: That’s an incredible distance to cover, even over 5 weeks. How long did it take you? What was your plan?
C: I completed the race in 129 hours and 46 minutes, that’s 5 days 9 hours 46 minutes.
My goal was to run the most miles I ever have in a training week. My plan was to run 50 miles a day. I ran 70 miles the first day, and then a little over 40 for the days after.
I wanted to use this as training for fastpacking the JMT [John Muir Trail] in July. That’s between 270-300 miles with only one resupply point. I’ve done it 13 times, but I’m excited to do it again.
G: Where did you run?
C: I knew it was going to be hot, so I planned runs that would be cooler or that I could get to my house – one of my aid stations.
I ran 20ish miles each day on the Buckley Ponds trails. There are some nice loops you can do there, where you can run shorter loops when it’s hot so you can get to the car for aid. But I did try not to do all my miles there because I’ve been doing a lot of virtual races and I’ve just run those trails so much.
I stayed on trails near my house near the canal as well where I can use my house as an aid station or go to town to get Starbucks or have dinner.
I had a mountain day where I ran 24 miles in the Sierras with my friend, Julia. That was really nice because I’m going to be running the Bishop High Sierras 100k this weekend. Phil [my partner] is running it and it’s his comeback race [after injury] so I want to be there for him.
G: Did anyone run with you? Did you have pacers?
C: Phil ran with me occasionally because he’s doing it too, and then my friend Julia ran with me in the mountains one day.
G: What kinds of breaks did you take? How did you recover between running sessions?
C: After getting in my miles, I made sure to eat right away, keep drinking water, use my compression boots, and take a hot epsom salt bath. That’s how I’m able to do this.
G: Is it true that you signed up your dauchsund, BaXter, for the Cocodona Virtual Experience as well?
C: [laughs] yes. He needs to run 7.5-15 miles everyday, so I go out with him to make sure he gets his miles in.
G: I hope he’s enjoying his race. How does he fuel?
C: He gets breakfast and dinner and I feed him carrots for snacks.
G: How did you feel when you finished?
C: Well that’s a funny story! I got to mile 250 and was so excited to be done. I went home and after a little down time I saw that the race was actually 257 and I was like, wait...what?? So I had to go back out at 9:55pm and finish the last few miles.
I’d also been listening to true crime podcasts all day so going back out at night was a little unsettling. These were actually my fastest miles because I was a little scared. It’s so dark between the trails.
I was excited to be done with my miles after that, but I wasn’t really done because I’ll be running with BaXter everyday to get his miles in.
G: You’re the Queen of 200’s. How does this race compare to the in-person races?
C: This has been much harder. Figuring out where to run, when, and trying to get things done at the house in between running made this race much more mentally difficult than an in-person race where all the logistics are figured out for you and all you have to do is run from aid station to aid station.
I was really looking at this race like training and a good challenge for myself to try to run the most miles I ever have in a week. So it was really a challenge for training.
G: You mentioned fastpacking the JMT in July. Do you have any other plans coming up?
C: Yes! I’ll be running the Bishop High Sierras 100k this weekend, the Bigfoot 200, and then yes, fastpacking the John Muir Trail.
G: That’s really exciting! Thanks so much for your time, Catra, and we’ll be cheering on BaXter in the meantime.
You can follow along on Catra’s adventures through her Instagram @dirtdiva, where she does an amazing job sharing her adventures.
You can also read about Catra’s story in her autobiography Reborn on the Run.