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Jodi Semonell runs during the 100-mile race of the Hitchcock Endurance Experience. Semonell was the top female finisher in that race and went on to win a 200-mile race in Phoenix earlier this month.

When Omahan Jodi Semonell went into last weekend’s 100-mile race, all she wanted to do was finish.

There was a 200-mile race three weeks later that she needed to recover for.

But as she toed the starting line, her competitive nature took over.

For the fourth year, Semonell was the top female finisher at the Hitchcock Experience Endurance Run at the Hitchcock Nature Center, which is about 10 miles east of Omaha’s Florence neighborhood. She finished with a time of 23 hours, 2 minutes and 9 seconds.

“Once I got there and started, adrenaline kicked in,” said Semonell, 47.

The ultramarathon, in its fifth year, was held Dec. 14 at Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa. Runners also could opt for a 50-mile race, a half-marathon or a 101K (62.7 miles).

The races are organized by the Greater Omaha Area Trail Runners group, also known as GOATz.

Jacob Gallagher won the 100-mile race in 19 hours, 54 minutes and 46 seconds.

Of the 60 runners who signed up for the 100-mile course, 28 finished. Runners had to complete a 12.5-mile loop eight times around the nature center trails. The route has plenty of hills and some rough terrain.

For the 50-mile race, Jake Hegge of Onalaska, Wisconsin, finished first in just under eight and a half hours. Constance Garro of Omaha was first among the female runners, finishing more than four hours later.

Kaci Lickteig and Brian Labenz were the winners of the half-marathon.

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New this year was the 101K. Runners completed the half marathon and then came back later in the day to tackle the 50-mile race. All 10 participants registered for the feat finished. Nick Eitzmann of Lincoln finished in just under 14 hours. Jessica Walhof, of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was the first female finisher in about 16 hours.

Semonell has run the race all five years. In past years, she has battled bronchitis and pneumonia and trudged through heavy, slippery snow.

This year, she faced a strong, cold wind.

“You definitely had to cover your face,” she said. “Your eyes were watering. It’s painful wind.”

Other than that, the race went as expected. Semonell felt prepared since she has run the course before and regularly trains on the trails at Hitchcock.

This was her 10th 100-mile race. She sticks with them for the challenge.

Semonell will tackle a 200-mile race in Phoenix, Arizona, in early January and another 200-miler in Tahoe next fall. But Hitchcock was her first experience with the 100-mile distance.

“It will always have a special place in my heart,” Semonell said. “Seeing new faces, people who have never run 50 or 100 miles before, going at it for the first time, I just love to see that. I’ll keep showing up every year because this race is so special to me.”

This was Gallagher’s first time running Hitchcock. The Coralville, Iowa, native wanted to do a cold-weather race that was closer to home.

Gallagher, 25, said he had a good day on the course, sticking with proper nutrition and managing the hills. He struggled with his headlamp during some portions of the race. That made navigating the narrow trails and hills tricky at night.

“It was a really good experience,” he said. “You kind of know you’re in the lead, but it’s such a long race. You don’t know what could go wrong.”

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