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The Unspoken Rules of Being a Badass: A Runner's Guide

What makes an Ultra runner different?

I love Ultra Running. Period. Ever since I ran my first Ultra, I got hooked to ultra distance running. We all get that crazy look from our family members, friends and colleagues.

My folks back home think that I have gone crazy….in a good way!

Would like to hear out from RIF members, What makes Ultra Runners different?



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6 Responses to “What makes an Ultra runner different?”

  1. Naresh Kumar says:

    I love Ultras for,

    Challenge: Puts you to test, physically and mentally. Pushing my limits to a point where nothing is left. It helps you find in yourself a strength you never knew existed.

    Camaraderie: I have met some of the finest souls on this planet while running Ultras. Selfless, kind and always willing to help a fellow human.

    and of course for the beer at the finish line. :)

  2. Navin Sadarangani says:

    I believe it’s about going beyond pain. An ultra runner has to be beyond the mere physical ability of getting the race done. It’s probably 99% mental and only 1% physical. One who can bear the most pain will probably be the one out there in the front, the one who can go beyond the distance of the rest. The picture above is good testament of what an ultra runner can endure!

  3. beth says:

    I found the person deep down that I always wanted to be.

    P.S. thanks for posting my nasty feet again. haha

  4. Naresh Kumar says:

    Nasty Feet?? Those are the feet of the warrior!! You rock Beth!!

  5. Lisa says:

    I read this great quote from Matt Fitzgerald’s Iron War that I think sums up how ultrarunners are different. He’s talking about triathletes but this definitely applies to ultrarunners as well.

    “The athletes entire conscious experience of reality boils down to a desire to continue pitted against a desire to quit. Nothing else remains. The athlete is no longer a student or a teacher or a salesman. He is no longer a son or a father or a husband. He has no social roles or human connections whatsoever. He is utterly alone. He no longer has any possessions. There is no yesterday and no tomorrow, only now. The agony of extreme endurance fatigue crowds out every thought and feeling except one: the goal of reaching the finish line.”

    I think the key points are “utterly alone”, “only now”, and “the goal of reaching the finish line”. Because I do think we are community but we are also okay with spending A LOT of time alone and I know a lot of people who don’t get that. But you have to be in a good place with yourself to do that and I think ultrarunners find that. Also, running for a 12 or 24 hours or more takes planning but ultrarunners focus on the now. And finally, they are able to ignore pain, discomfort, exhaustion to get to the finish.

    It’s not that they are so different from other runners or athletes because anyone can do this with hard work. What makes them different is that they CHOOSE to do this when others don’t.

  6. Dallas Smith says:

    Read once where a young singer was introduced to Frank Sinatra. He was even skinnier than Sinatra. Sinatra took one look and said, “You look bad. Why don’t you eat something.”

    Ultrarunners look like that – gaunt and hungry, like they could eat everything on the table. And then eat the table.

    I look that way too, hungry and lean. Actually that’s true: I am hungry and lean. Some might assume fromm that, that I’m an ultrarunner too. But I don’t claim it. Although – I’ll confess – I’ve done it. And will likely do it again. Still, I don’t much claim it.

    Because I discovered something dangerous, and in keeping with Lisa’s post.

    An ultrarunner is willing to utterly destroy himself for no other reason than to finish a race of no possible value to anyone in the whole round world – except maybe himself.

    This accomplishment, his finishing, is of no particular value to other humans. It does not cure cancer, or reverse the sea rise, or stop the ice caps from melting. It accomplishes nothing. It’s his goal and his quest, and nobody else’s.

    So the question is: if an ultrarunner can demonstrate so much strength and endurance – some might even say character – to accomplish a thing of, at best, infinitesimal value, what could he do in a case where something needed doing badly.

    Bathed in that fire, he’d do a lot.


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