Ultramarathons … The “frontier of human potential.”

Posted: September 8, 2009 in Marathon

After recently reading Chris Ballard’s column – Defying Death Valley – in the Aug. 31, 2009 issue of Sports Illustrated,  it reminded me of an article I wrote SEVEN years ago about Ultramarathons.

I remember getting the assignment and thinking… Ultra-WHAT?

The race I wrote about – The USA 24 Hour Run Championship – was in Ohio. I did the entire article based on phone interviews with the competitors. As each one told me their story, I just remember thinking … “these people are all nuts!”

Truth be told, I still think that. However,  I am now starting to gain an appreciating for what makes ultramarathoners do what they do. It’s a battle of human spirit and the will to overcome. The desire to push yourself beyond the limit of what you thought was possible and the exhilaration that comes with such an accomplishment.

I can certainly relate.

A year ago, I never thought I would be able to run a 10k, this Saturday I will be running a 20-mile training run. Go figure.

I now wish I had gone to the Ultramarathon race in person to write the story. Man, what  great detail and personal stories of triumph the runners would have been able to share… After my article went out, I was flooded with emails from runners wanting me to write about their ultramarathon experiences. I also got emails from race organizers wanting me to write about their race.

That article was my first and only foray into the world of ultramarathons.

I remembered the final quote pretty well, but went back and found the article to make sure I got it right.

“People don’t even think about thinking if it’s possible. It’s an opportunity for self-exploration and seeking out the frontier of human potential.”

It reminds me a little bit of Steve Prefontaine’s line:  “Most people race to see who is the fastest, I race to see who has the most guts.”

FULL ARTICLE: http://shorttext.com/lx7xwr53i


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