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Meet the Adventurers of the Year: Ultra Runner Diane Van Deren

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Going the Distance: Ultra Runner Diane Van Deren

On February 15, 2009, a dozen runners toed the starting line of the Yukon Arctic Ultra, a 430-miler across frozen tundra in the dead of winter. With 30-below temperatures and seven-hour windows of daylight, it’s said to be the toughest race in the world. Not a single woman had ever completed it. But, then, there is no woman like Diane Van Deren.

Twelve years ago Van Deren, a former pro tennis player, had a kiwi-size chunk of her brain removed to treat epileptic seizures. The lobectomy was successful, but since then she has noticed a strange side effect: She can run without pause for hours.
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Last week we announced the 2009 Adventurers of the Yearselected for their extraordinary achievements in exploration, conservation, action sports, and humanitarian work. Now, for the first time ever, you can vote for the Readers' Choice Adventurer of the Year. To help you get to know them, we are going to highlight a different adventurer daily. You can only vote once, so make sure to check out each adventurers' profilevideo, and photo gallery, before firing up our voting machine.