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Robyn Metcalfe finishes endurance race in Madagascar

Pam LeBlanc

Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 24, 2014

You think your latest long run seemed long, hot and dry? A visiting lecturer at the University of Texas just spent a week racing across Madagascar.

Robyn Metcalfe, who teaches in the School of Human Ecology in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Texas ran through rain forests, along cliffs, through deserts and over savannas during RacingthePlanet’s Madagascar 2014 race earlier this month.

By finishing the race in 55 hours and 7 minutes, Metcalfe completed the 4 Deserts series of footraces put on by RacingthePlanet.

She also placed first in her age group and cut 15 hours off her previous race time. Officially, she placed 145th out of 189 athletes who crossed the finish line. (Several dozen others withdrew before finishing.)

A lifelong runner, Metcalfe and her husband Bob, a fellow at the University of Texas’s Cockrell School of Engineering, have two children.

During the race, competitors pass 30 checkpoints spread over 250 kilometers. They carry all their gear in a backpack. About 80 percent of the athletes are male.

Metcalfe, 66, is director of The Food Lab at UT, which explores the future of our food system. The lab’s projects include the “Food Challenge Prize,” a book, and “The Miracle of Feeding Cities,” a documentary film. She is also the author of “Meat, Commerce and the City: The London Food Market, 1800-1855.”