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September 18, 2020

Finishing an ultra can be a very emotional experience. Over the first six episodes of hosting Run to the Hills we have interviewed a number of runners already and asked them how they felt on finishing.

In Episode 06 I interviewed Kristian Delacour about his recent 'Fastest Known Time' on the Caledonian Way in Scotland which is a 234 mile path from Campbelltown to Inverness. I asked Kristian how he felt at the finish and he said, 'A mixture of disbelief and elation' and I think that often sums up our emotions.

So from my own experiences and talking to many friends it is clear there can be a variety of emotions at the finish line including 

  • Joy
  • Relief
  • Contentment
  • Pride
  • Overwhelmed
  • Grateful
  • Exhaustion
  • Queasy
  • Weariness

I remember as I finished my first ultra, the 53 mile Highland Fling in 2007, tears started rolling down my cheeks as it hit me that I had now become an ‘ultra-runner.’  For the previous 6 months as I trained and prepared I wondered whether I would be able to complete an ultra and now as I reached the finish line I could call myself an ultra-runner.

Over the years I have been through a number of emotions at the finish line and it never ceases to amaze me the depth of feeling I have on finishing an ultra.

Last year for my 60th birthday I wanted to do a race that I knew would push me to the limit and so I entered the 5-day Dragon’s Back. I trained and prepared as best as I could I knew I would have to get most things right to be able to complete the 196-mile journey down the spine of Wales.

After I finished, I sat in the changing room about to have a shower when I suddenly burst into tears. I think felt relief and pride that I had been able to complete this race that had dominated my mind for the best part of 2 years.

A fellow finisher came over and put his hand on my back and said, ‘let it all out!’ It struck me again just how much these races mean to me and I know I’m not the only one!

So, whether you have completed many ultras or are planning to run one soon be prepared for being emotional at the end of an ultra.  It is an amazing achievement and one that will bring out many emotions.