CIRCLEVILLE, W.Va. – A competitive fire burns deep inside of Amy Compston, who went into this weekend’s West Virginia Trilogy intent on either winning the three-stage race or at least being near the top when it ended on Sunday.
She was in position to do just that after Friday’s 31-mile race, finishing second among the women and 20th overall.
Next up was the 50-mile race on Saturday with challenges even taller than the surrounding West Virginia mountains on top of Spruce Mountain – the highest point in the Mountain State.
The compassionate side of Amy Compston wanted to make sure her husband, Chris, could complete the grueling 50-mile race, too. He told friends early that morning he wondered if he got to run on Sunday (in the third stage) if he didn’t make the cut on Saturday. He was having doubts and needed the push.
Amy told Chris before the race that they were either going to finish together or be disqualified together. They came through a checkpoint at mile 25 together as 32 family and friends cheered wildly for them.
“She told me about 10 seconds before the race started that she thought God wanted her to run with me,” Chris said “I said you better listen then. I would have never made it without her.”
It was another triumphant story from the Amy For Africa runners who two years ago, during Amy’s first 50-mile run in Nashville, found support from her adoring husband who ran the last 14 miles alongside his wife.
She needed him on that warm November day in 2013 and he needed her on a crisp October morning in West Virginia.
You can’t make up this kind of fairytale story.
Chris and Amy came across the finish line during the 50-mile stage of the West Virginia Trilogy with time to spare in 13 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds – well ahead of the allotted 14-hour time limit.
Amy wasn’t among the top five women finishers on Saturday, but she could have been. Instead, she was there for Chris, pushing him every step of the way. It wasn’t all hugs and kisses on the trail that takes runners to elevations of 5,000 feet. Assorted rocks and stumps are also there to make it difficult.
The runners started at 6 in the morning, about an hour before daylight, as they went off with small lights strapped to their heads.
AFA had a strong support team ready to cheer but the first time anybody could see the runners was at 25 miles. Nobody knew about Amy’s decision to run with Chris until they saw the duo together coming through a creek and up a small hill.
Amy announced it as she ran up the hill. “We’re going to finish together or be disqualified together.”
Runners had to check in before 12:50 p.m. to keep running. Chris and Amy made it with an hour to spare. At the next check-in they remained about an hour ahead of the needed pace but still had a monster hill to climb among the almost 17 remaining miles. Even then it was becoming obvious that Chris and Amy Compston would not be denied probably the sweetest finish in the six years of the Trilogy’s history.
They met every challenge that the second day of the Trilogy had to offer and walked away from the finish satisfied and more in love than ever, if that was possible.
However, the competitive side did come out at times – like when a woman passed Amy for the fifth spot.
“That one hurt a little,” she said.
“I told her I was so sorry,“ Chris said.
Amy Compston has always been competitive since she was a little girl winning blue ribbon after blue ribbon. But during the last three years she has laid a Christian foundation in her life that adds maturity, compassion and so much more positive to her life.
That side was clearly on display Saturday.
Whatever she does now comes with a question: How does this glorify God?
She continues to find the right answer.