All of us as runners need motivation from time to time. I can’t think of anyone more motivational, or any better athlete for that matter, than the guy known as, “The Ultra Marathon Man.” If you haven’t heard of Dean Karnazes already, here’s a little bio quoted from Ultramarathonman.com: “His most recent endeavor was running 50 marathons, in all 50 states, in 50 consecutive days, finishing in the NYC Marathon, which he completed in three hours and thirty seconds.” -Impressive right? And thats not all. He’s ran across Death Valley in 120 degree weather and a marathon to the South Pole at -40 degrees Fahrenheit, among many other races. Just where does he get all that motivation is what I’m wondering.
I’m not sure where he gets the motivation to do his crazy “ultramarathons” but it’s awfully inspiring. Just what is an ultramarathon though? Well, according to good ol’ Wikipedia, it is any type of marathon event LONGER than a marathon. Specific right? (lol) There are two kinds of ultramarathons, ones with a specified distance and time, which is most often 62.14 miles,or, the other types consist of double marathons, 24 hour races, and races that last for multiple days! And most ultramarathons include crazy terrain. As crazy as this seems, Im kinda interested in trying one- scratch that- I will do one. Of the 70,000 people in the world who do one every year, I can’t let them put me to shame.
The international Association of Ultra Runners (IAU) organizes the world championships for the many ultramarathon events. Our country isn’t the only country that does it, other countries have their own governing ultrarunning organizations. In case you’re motivated enough to try one, here is a list of the largest ultra marathon runs.
So, just what can we learn from Dean Karnazes? A lot of things. Especially how to push ourselves to the limit. There is a great segment in his new book that I find inspiring as to why he chooses to run such limit pushing runs. In his book. “Ultramarathon Man“ he says, ”Why was I So compelled to push beyond all plausible limits of physical endurance to complete an endeavor that seemed so obscure and, some might say, irrational? I wasn’t entirely sure myself. It’s not that extreme athletes lack introspection; most whom I’ve encounter are quite reflective. It’s just that question of “Why?” is not a simple one to answer…
More often than not, the person asking “Why?” is looking for a brief psychobabble cliché to adequately explain the phenomenon, something like: “I run because when I was kid, my father chased me out of the house and down the street with a belt in hand.” To those who asked me “Why?” I would frequently offer up some shallow explanation like “I enjoy running.” What I guess I should have said was, “Go out and run fifty miles, then you’ll have your answer.” Because I was still searching for mine(p.86).
Now that’s some ultramotivation.
Please leave some comments about your “ultimate” runs, or some great motivational stories.