Fort Jackson Lt. trains for 48-hour 'Death Race'

By Renee Standera - email

COLUMBIA (WIS) -- Forget about the Ironman. Army Lieutenant Sophie Hilaire is diamond strong.

"I've got my short legs, one leg is longer than the other, I'm knock-kneed, I've got collapsible arches," says Hilaire. "I'm still not this great athlete by any means."

Yeah, right. The Fort Jackson soldier holds the women's world record for running a marathon in full battle gear.

In 2009, she finished the Philadelphia Marathon in four hours, 54 seconds, carrying a quarter of her body weight.

Her next challenge is in June. "It's called the 'Death Race,'" she says. "And honestly, that's what drew me to it.Nothing really draws you in like the 'Death Race.'"

And the name fits. Of the 39 people who competed in the event in Pittsfield, Vermont last year, only 9 finished the 48-hour competition.

One of the challenges is carrying a bucket of rocks weighing 20 percent of her body weight up a Vermont mountain.

It's an extreme goal for a former Cleveland catholic school girl who claims she showed up at West Point out of shape. "I thought 2 miles was a long way to go. But, you know, you run a few marathons and then 26.2 doesn't seem so bad."

"Once I started working out, I came to find if you train, you actually see results."

That mental toughness is just as important as Lt. Hilaire's physical preparation. "Over 48 hours they're just going to throw so many things at you, and you need to know if you're going to break down or just keep going."

But Lt. Hilaire doesn't think what she's done is anything special. "Honestly, I feel like if I can do it, anyone can do it."

Sophie isn't the only one in her family to go to West Point. Her younger brother and sister followed big sis to the military academy as well.

Lt. Hilaire is raising money for the Children of Fallen Soldiers Relief Fund, which provides scholarships to kids whose parents were killed in action.

Click here if you would like to donate in her name.

Count on WIS News 10 to let you know how Hilaire does in the 'Death Race.'