Tuesday, February 16, 2016
The Definition of an Ultra-Runner.
Cheryl, in her never ending thirst for knowledge ( and all things running) has purchased and read countless books about these people. You would be amazed at how many Ultra-Runners actually have books out there. You would probably also be amazed that many of them seem to follow a formula that seems to be a defining characteristic in the building of these Elite Machines. Oh sure, there are details and anecdotes that are unique to every human being. But, as a Mathematician, Statistician, and former Fisheries Biologist, I try to find patterns and correlations in just about everything that I find interesting. ( Even when it fails to make much sense.) So let's try to shed some light on these constants that are found in the formula for an Ultra-Runner.
So I have boiled down a few things that I find as common threads tying these people together. First: You have to be old! At least over thirty. Over forty is better.
Perhaps it is a mid-life crisis thing, but it seems that many of the ultra runners don't even seriously begin running until after they turn thirty. Some for health; others for sanity; perhaps it is that moment in life where they feel a change is required, And since most people would Never think of running as "fun", they choose that. Or maybe because a pair of shoes is cheaper than a Gym Membership.
Third: Health nut! Not because they care about any deep political or moral cause. Nor for any longevity or "healthy living" reason. They only reason they do additional exercises or watch what they eat is so they can run faster! Seems dumb, right? Shouldn't running be enough? Doesn't running allow you to eat anything you want? Not to these guys.... Issues like Runners Knee, Plantar Fasciitis, and Tendinitis are all problems that can be helped or prevented with certain exercises. And Eating certain plants reduces recovery and healing times, while also helps to prevent injuries. Running extreme distances takes a toll on ones body simply be being long. Add in their desire for speed and you had better forge a body out of iron.
And lastly, Beards. Mostly because these guys run not for hours; but days! Or even Weeks! In that time, you are bound to develop a lovely Forest Gump type beard. Now I know this is not universal. Besides women, there are a few guys who somehow manage to shave for every camera that takes their picture. ( Scott Jurek and Dean Karnazes are a couple of examples) But if you check out any picture of an Ultra Start line...there are beards....Lots and lots of beards.
So there you go. If you have ever wondered if you have what it takes to become an Ultra Marathon Runner....Check off the boxes. Are you over thirty? Has life dealt you a losing hand more than once? Are you sporting a beard that belongs on Duck Dynasty? Well, you may have what it takes to be an Ultra-Marathoner. Now all that's left for you to do is run...a LOT!