Once the domain of mythical tribesmen and super athletes Ultra Marathons used to be something that most normal runners couldn't even fathom. Times however have changed and so has the perception of what a 'normal' runner can achieve. Which thankfully has lead to a huge rise in the amount of Ultra Marathons out there, ranging from 50ks to the nigh on insane 268 mile Spine Race. Meaning there has never been a better time to sign up for your first ultra.
If you're still not convinced we have a few reasons which might just persuade you.
You love running right? Well an Ultra is just a lot of running. Sure that might sound silly and a bit obvious but it's one of the best parts about training for and running a ultra. It gives you a great excuse to spend more time doing the things you love, namely running and eating.
The dirty secret of ultra distance running is that everyone walks*. In fact it's often the fastest and most efficient way, especially if your tackling steep technical ascents. And when you are running, it will be at a much slower pace than you'll be used to on the shorter courses. None of that matters though, as long you keep moving forward.
*While everyone walks it's amazing what the top athletes can run up!
Let's be honest we've all bragged about our running at least once. Even if it's just wearing a race t shirt or discretely moving the conversation on to last weekends marathon. We're all guilty and adding an Ultra to your belt is just more bragging rights.
It's often joked that ultra marathons are eating competitions first and running races second. Which is comically close to the truth, while you might be able to do alright in a 10k with nothing but a cup of tea inside of you, being out on the trails for hours on end requires a ton of fuel. What's more it needs to be good stuff, or at the very least things that don't upset your tummy too much. You won't be too surprised to learn that we are big fans of flapjacks, among other things, for this very reason.
Going over marathon distance is definitely doable but that doesn't mean it's not tough. You'll find yourself out in all weathers, with sore feet and a grumbling belly (read point 4) wondering why you're putting yourself through this more than a few times during your training. But if you stick with it and take recovery as seriously as you take training you'll come out the other end more resilient than you could ever of dreamed of.