Years ago, my coach suggested I run an ultra marathon. “That would be insane!” was my instant response. I just assumed it would require superhuman endurance and 24/7 training. But a seed had been planted and, when I needed a new challenge, my thoughts turned to tackling an ultra. Honestly I have never been the same since! You can usually find me plotting the next one because, believe it or not, running the ultra distance was fun. Yes, there are months of self-discipline and hard training. And yes, they are tough and grueling – but there is a huge amount of fun to be had before, during, and after the race.
Here are 6 reasons why ultra marathons are ultra fun to help get the most out of them:
Our bodies thrive when we physically work them and our minds are stimulated by the extraordinary challenge of running further. And who doesn’t enjoy the personal achievement from tackling something that seems impossible? You get to experience what your body is really capable of, and what you can put up with. This is an invigorating, liberating and very rewarding experience. It is living to the fullest and we feel more alive than ever before.
Unique to ultras is the shared camaraderie of it all: the good-natured joking and gabbing of fellow runners, the encouragement and support of strangers, the shared seriousness of a daunting challenge, and the festive atmosphere at the finish. Ultras enrich our understanding of the human spirit. They bring interesting people together and are like big parties with old and new friends.
The slower pace
I run them slower and have more energy to enjoy the journey because I am not so ruthlessly focused on pace. The slower pace, often with friends, sometimes walking and taking rest breaks, can be quite liberating.
The beauty of it all
Spending hours in beautiful surroundings, the ever-changing scenery, the interesting roads, the breath-taking views and always experiencing something unexpected … what’s not to love? The slower pace allows you to fully experience and enjoy the beauty all around.
The buzz of the ultra
There is a state of nirvana unique to ultras. When you’re out in the elements for the length of time it takes to run an ultra, you get this voice in your head telling you to stop … and if you don’t, that’s usually when you are lifted on a wave of euphoria unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before – it is the ultimate runner’s high – the buzz of the ultra.
The finish…aaah….the finish. There is nothing quite like it. The atmosphere is amazing: cheering, caring, festive and embracing. And sharing race stories afterwards is a treat and the highlight of the day.
Ultras are life-changing experiences. If you haven’t yet taken the leap, take it! Plan a race, enter and enjoy the most exhilirating ride of your life.