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Three runners complete run across state of Idaho

by MAX OSWALD
Sports Reporter | June 14, 2023 1:00 AM

Three avid marathon runners from Post Falls ran 67.7 miles across the state of Idaho in just two days. The three’s trek started in Newport, Wash., and ended at the Montana state-line on Highway 200 just past Clark Fork.

Immaculate Conception Academy cross country coaches Tom and Mark Latham, who happen to be twins, have always talked about running 50 miles in one day when they turned 50 years old. The two were not sure how to go about it originally, but after talking to a former athlete they coached, Christian Kuplack, they forged two ideas together and a new goal was formed.

Kuplack, Tom Latham’s son’s best friend and one of the top runners in North Idaho in 2018, was discussing ideas for a cross country fundraiser with the twins and that’s how the 67.7 mile idea took off.

Before the event, the three runners were actually planning on doing the 67.7 mile route in 24 hours, but got a bit nervous about that idea the week prior. Tom and Mark had run 100 miles in three days before, but Christian’s longest run was only a marathon. The trio decided it would be smart to split the run into two days. There was a support crew consisting of the runners’ family members who would be helping them throughout the journey.

Tom and Mark would also still fulfill their original plan of running 50 miles in one day at age 50. The three ran 15 miles on Friday evening, camped outside, then started up again Saturday and finished the remaining 52.7 miles. The run was originally planned for Thursday and Friday, but the weather forecast threw a wrench in those plans.

The trio started their journey from the Safeway parking lot in Newport. Tom said the three runners passed beautiful scenery along the Pend Oreille river with near perfect temperatures. In just two and a half hours, the three completed 15 miles and arrived at Adventist Church near Priest River to set up camp for the night.

There was only one problem after day one, and the three recognized it late Friday night, the bridge was closed on Dufort Road. The runners’ pre-parked support van was parked on the other side and they would not be able to access it. Saturday morning, the three decided to drive to the other side of the bridge about 4 miles away. Don’t worry, they would make up the 4 miles by running back and forth on a railroad bridge.

Saturday afternoon the three finally hit Sandpoint, where they ran downtown, across the Cedar Street Bridge, and of course, across the Long Bridge. The Cedar Street Bridge was the halfway point; the trio stopped to take a photo and talk with some friends and family.

Just before The Idaho Club, the group felt as if they were wearing down a bit due to the hot and humid weather but continued on. They stopped for water about every 4 miles. Thankfully, family members started showing up and were honking their horns, cheering and playing music. Tom said it gave the three the energy they needed to finish.

To provide some additional help and encouragement, family members began to join in on the run in Hope and Clark Fork during the last 10 miles.

“Clark Fork through the Cabinet Gorge was one of the most beautiful spots I have ever had the opportunity to run. I want to go back to that spot and run it again. The sun was setting, there were billowy white clouds in the sky, and the family cheering just made the whole event almost unreal,” Tom said.

As the three runners approached the finish line, family members made a human chain across the road for them to run through. Even though the trio could barely walk at this point, they made it to the end. Mark even finished the last 15 miles with a bag of ice in his sock.

“I would have to say that it was one of the top experiences in my life,” Tom said. Another family member suggested the three do runs like this every summer. Latham agreed, just not to 67.7 miles part.

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Photo by MAX OSWALD

The 'Run Across Idaho' support crew. All pictured are family members of the three runners.

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Photo by MAX OSWALD

A family member of one of the runners wears a 'Run across Idaho' support crew t-shirt.