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Lebanon Native Participates in Australian Expedition Race: Places 18th in a field of 57 teams from around the world

DAYTON, Ohio, November 5, 2007 – Sara Dallman, a native of Lebanon and a Miami Valley Hospital (MVH) employee in Dayton, recently returned from a grueling eight-day expedition race in the Australian outback. Her team of four placed 18th in a field of 57 race groups from around the world.

Dallman, a 38-year old physical therapist in MVH’s Sports Medicine Center, was a runner in high school and college, and later pursued both marathon and triathlon events. The unusual nature and tough requirements of expedition racing intrigued her from the start.

“I liked the fact that it’s tough. I want to push my body and see what I can do.”

The Australian XPD event takes racers through rugged countryside, the reef and the rainforest as they try to be the first team to trek, bike, kayak, and snorkel through an 800 km journey. Some of the race checkpoints were even underwater. Racers must travel with what they can carry on their backs. They are allowed to pre-pack trunks with food, water and supplies but have limited access to them.

Dallman says, if her team ran out of water, they could purify river water and use that. “But if you run out of food, you go hungry. That happened a couple of times.”

Dallman was proud of placing 18th as some teams in the race are professional athletes. The first place winners finished in five days while Dallman’s team raced for eight straight days and nights. Many teams, she says, simply do not finish at all.

Even though the course was treacherous, Dallman says it was also spectacular and beautiful. She believes it was the best way to travel through Australia. “You get to see things the average tourist never sees.”

Dallman trained a minimum of four days a week for the expedition race. Some days she trained up to 18 hours going from the bike to running, back to biking and running again, then to paddling. “It was common to have an eight-hour training day. Every few weeks I’d build up mileage, then taper down, then build up again.”

During the XPD, going without sleep was the hardest part for Dallman. At one point, Dallman’s team of two men and two women raced for 36 hours without sleep. They often survived on 20-minute naps, and the sleep deprivation was the hardest part for Dallman. The team would tell each other stories and jokes in an attempt to stay awake as long as possible.

Even though the event was so hard, Dallman has found a new, challenging sport that she loves. She plans to do a similar race in the U.S. in 2008.

Meanwhile, she is hard at work at MVH where she treats outpatient physical therapy patients. Her patients range from high school athletes to adult recreational sports enthusiasts. Dallman works a four-day week schedule, often seeing patients every half hour for up to 11 hours.