Two days after a gruelling 50-mile trail race in Squamish, Coquitlam's Serene Lee and Nicholas Khoo are still grinning and already planning their next running feat.
"It was crazy but we did it, and we're so happy," said Lee.
New to trail racing, the couple competed in the Squamish 50 on Saturday and crossed the 80-km finish line after 15 hours and 43 minutes with cramping legs, plenty of scrapes and bruises and dusty feet — but still smiling.
That may be because they far exceeded their fundraising expectations for SAINTS Animal Rescue, an end-of-life care facility, bringing in almost $4,000 for the organization.
"The only downside to the entire race was that we didn't cross the finish line in under 15 hours," said Khoo. "We really did not know how technical it was coming down, and it was so dusty…we were tripping and falling. That took up some time."
But the couple — who spent the early part of their career in the Singapore Armed Forces and now own Suds 'n' Scissors dog grooming in Coquitlam — kept running, determined to reach each of the aid stations, and credit their support team, the friends and family cheering on all the participants and their fellow racers for their success.
"I strongly believe that 'giving up' is not in the dictionary of endurance sports," Lee said. "This being our first trail [race] we are just so blessed to be running alongside such an incredible field of positively charged athletes. It's contagious."
Khoo and Lee will take up to two weeks off of training before they lace up their runners again with plans for a 10-km race and half marathon in Vancouver, and possibly a full marathon in Victoria, this fall. Early next year they have a hiking trip booked in New Zealand and may throw in a "runcation" to do a marathon in Las Vegas in between.
"So yeah, never stop running, never stop exploring," Lee joked.
They'll also keep their online fundraising page open in the hopes of raising more money for SAINTS.