Friday, September 10, 2010

Ultra Marathons

While I'm still in recovery and out of the workout loop, I'm thought I'd write about something I have little business writing about: ultra marathons.

I have several friends who run ultra marathons. One of these friends, Bob Becker, is the race director for the Keys 100 Ultra Marathon, a 100 mile ultra marathon from Key Largo to Key West that takes place in May. The event also contains a 50 mile ultra from Marathon Key to Key West that I may attempt one of these years. I crewed for a 100 mile runner, Bill Andrews, this last year and found the experience interesting and rewarding.

Bob is an experienced ultra runner, having run Badwater, Marathon des Sables and many others. Later this month, Bob is going to Greece to give a second go at running the Spartathlon, a 153 mile race from Athens to Sparta, a run based on the theoretical route that Pheidippides ran in seeking the Spartan's assistance in the Athenian's battle against the Persian empire on the plane of Marathon. Bob tells me this is a very hard ultra marathon in that there are cut off times throughout the course. If you fail to get to a particular race station in sufficient time, your race is over. This will be Bob's second try at this event. This year is the 2,500 year anniversary of Pheidippides' run, so it has special meaning. The race is September 24-25. Don't you just love a race that lists multiple days for it's occurrence?

Another ultra runner friend, Mandy Miller, has started a website call Ultras 4 Mortals. The site is dedicated to all things ultra running. Like Bob, Mandy has an impressive resume in both ultra running and triathlons. If you are an ultra runner, or like me, interested in attempting an ultra one day, check out her website. As Mandy points out, while "ultra" means far beyond the norm, those that run ultras are normal runners that go the extra miles to do the extraordinary. There are already some interesting posts up on the website. Be sure to check it out.

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