When I started running, I heard a term, Ultra-runner. It fascinated me. Someone who runs races longer than marathon distance. At the time I could not run a full mile without a break so, who were these super-creatures going to 26.3 and beyond?
My goal had always been to see if I had one marathon in me – just one. (I’m sure there are several people laughing, Distance running is as addictive as heroin, but I’ll save that for another post.) As I got closer to the goal of 26.2, I began to question myself-do I have what it takes to be an ultra-runner?
In my quest for an answer, I started surrounding myself with those who had the same questions about themselves and those who had answered it. I noticed something odd, there wasn’t the competitiveness you would expect, even among some of the elite runners. But why not? In some races the top finisher were there cheering the last ones in.
I think it has to do with shared misery and goals. There is a camaraderie among trail and ultra runners. We all have the same or similar goals, so why not help each other achieve them and in the process have a much more fulfilling day? I’ve seen it time and again, one runner has some sort of trouble and another helps them.
The realization hit me, running beyond 26.2 is only the first qualification of being an ultra-runner. The other is a desire to help others go beyond. This desire must be proven over and over, not just once. It must be a part of you character, deep down in the core of your being.
This attitude must extend beyond the trail and into our daily lives. I think this is why the sport seems to have so many good hearted people, not that it attracts them but, it makes them. It changes people into what they need to be in order to survive on the trails and in life.
Having finished my first 50k, I still find myself wondering, do I have what it takes to be an ultra-runner? Have I shown the heart that it takes?