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Liberatore’s story one worth reading outside of Minooka

Published: Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Even the most dedicated readers of the Morris Daily Herald may not be aware of what we’re doing in our sister publication, Minooka-Channahon Life.

The latter newspaper is targeted specifically at people who live in, believe it or not, Minooka and Channahon.

If you live elsewhere, it’s not being made readily available to you, and you may not have great interest in much of its content anyway.

Some stories can make for pretty cool reads even if they don’t happen in your hometown or involve people who live there. Such is the case with one story in particular I wrote recently for Minooka-Channahon Life.

One was about one of the most amazing athletic achievements I’ve heard of involving a local person. Ray Liberatore, a Minooka native, and the son of the longtime Minooka Community High School girls basketball coach, recently competed the Leadville 100 Run, an ultramarathon in Colorado.

I’ve written about a lot of subjects over the years. Never have I written about one who ran 100 miles without stopping for more than a few minutes at a time, as Liberatore did.

Triathletes I’ve spoken with might be in the same ballpark in terms of the amount of energy and fitness required to do what Liberatore dud; I can’t think of too many others who come close.

I certainly can’t share all the details of the story. You can read it online at or find a copy of the Sept. 5 edition of Minooka-Channahon Life.

Space was an issue there, as it is here. I had to leave out some of the details from my conversation with Liberatore and from his first-person account, which he posted online and emailed to friends and family.

Here’s one anecdote from that account that can give you an idea of the kind of conditions the runners encountered late in the race.

“[Liberatore and his pacer, Charles] followed a runner for few miles who was noticeably shivering so we gave her hat, gloves and two garbage bags for extra layers,” Liberatore wrote. “After the race we would find out that she was sliding in and out of consciousness because of the cold, but finished nonetheless!”

Widely varying terrains and temperatures weren’t all that the runners encountered on the course, and particularly during the stretch between Hope Pass and Twin Lakes inbound.

“During this section we would pass a man wearing a pink tutu and about ten llamas … neither of which were illusions,” Liberatore wrote.

Liberatore ended his account by debunking some of the cliched assumptions people might have about why he was able to complete the race.

“I would love to say that it was pure guts and determination that brought me to the finish line but it was simply following the instructions of my coach throughout training and relying on past race experiences to bring me through,” Liberatore wrote.

When our conversation came to a close, Liberatore somewhat downplayed the accomplishment.

As I half-jokingly told him, I strongly disagree with what he said myself, but here it is.

“I would just say that this is something that almost anyone can do,” Liberatore said. “If they have the time and dedication to train properly for it.”

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