Why do people do Ultras?

Hi, just wanted to let you guys give your story on why you choose to run Ultras. For me personally, anything over an hour feels very long and pretty boring. Can't imagine a 100-miler. When I run 10 miles I find it really tough mentally around the 4-mile mark knowing I've been running for so long and I'm not even half way! Can't imagine getting to the 10-mile mark and only being 10% of the way...



  • JindaleeJindalee ✭✭✭
    Well, you answered your own question. Some ppl do it for the challenge ( mentally and physically) to see how far they can push their body and mind.
  • senidMsenidM ✭✭✭
    For some of us running is actually a form of meditation, which is something when involving such as yoga fills me with abhorrence, but in running just happens.

    Often you finish a run and can't really remember parts of it, you were switched off at the time, which is what happens when you meditate, or so I am told.

    Might sound a bit odd to some, but I think may be a more common experience for those of us that run longer distances, and may be one of the reasons that running is supposed to be good for your mental health as well as physical.
  • I think it's interesting, what is it that compels people to go beyond a Marathon? I've never heard anyone say they find a Marathon to be too short, and I would have though it's enough of a challenge running 26.2 miles, but evidently not as so many people go so far beyond this distance.

  • Why do people go beyond 5k? That's enough isn't it?
  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Marathons aren't too short. But for me they are ran at an uncomfortable pace. I quite enjoy slogging out a longer run but at a slower speed.
  • To see if I can do it and also because my ultras are all offroad it's a lovely way to see and explore our beautiful country...without checking my pace every 30 seconds

  • Credit to all who are able to run such distances. The training for it must be immense.

  • HankstaHanksta ✭✭✭
    I'll be attempting my first ultra on Sunday .

    There's several reasons I'm doing one .

    It's generally accepted it's totally different to marathons , as most are on trail or at least mixed terrain , so a new challenge in that respect .

    I won't be clock watching and worrying about hitting my goal pace .

    I want to find out IF I can make it physically and mentally .

    As its my first it inevitable I'll make mistakes

    Map reading , hydration, pace , kit ect.

    But isn't this what it's all about ?

    Going out of your comfort zone ?

    Pushing boundaries ?

    There are choices , some may try to stick to a distance and push by way of improving times , others may want to go further

    Or even both .

    I enjoy flat out parkruns , 10k , half and full marathons . All have their challenges

    I might hate ultra running and never do another , BUT you do t know until you give it a go .
  • Good luck with that Hanksta. Hope it goes well for you.

  • SideBurnSideBurn ✭✭✭

    I do ultras because I find them easier than 5k, 10k and 1/2 Marathons! More sociable and less recovery time.

    It is also interesting to find out what happens to you; I have actually had an argument with myself and settled the argument by lying to myself! I convinced myself that there was a checkpoint at the top of a hill when I knew there wasn't and was devastated when there was no one there. I pacified myself with a bag of chocolate brownies!

    And then ran the last 10 miles! Great day

  • I just move back from the shorter trail ultras to normal 1/2 marathon and marathon.

    Only to give it a try if I can beat my 10 year old PB on these distances.

  • David J 27David J 27 ✭✭✭

    Good question. I'm not sure an Ultra is "harder" than a half marathon. Almost a different sport. Different strains on mind and body. Less immediately intense more of a cerebral slow burner. Much more enjoyable and I find a half marathon more "boring" as its non stop, pace, mile counters, miles gone/miles to go, continuous mental pressure - whereas the ultra is a nice day out in the country, taking it in more, stop/start, run/walk, snacking/drinking, mind drifting in and out, huge sense of mutual support with other competitors ....

    Not sure training is immense. Maybe I should do more ....?? I do much the same training but a long run (all dayer) every 3 or 4 weeks. Have to not batter the old body too much.

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    Ultras , as with other distances bring with it their own community . Sometimes people just find a niche , a group , a distance that they are happy with & want to remain at . Others want to push the boundaries and explore physical limits, challenges , terrains , places .

    I think some people just have a natural curiosity that makes them want to go beyond each step they reach ..., I include myself in that bracket .

    My start in running was never a planned one , it was a simple 5 mile charity run but somewhere in that run I found it was something I enjoyed along with the need to know just how far I could go.

    Once I got to ultra distance and trail it was a whole new place I found myself being part of and it suited me . Along with the enjoyment of the trails I see and the people I've met the feeling of pushing your body beyond once what you never thought you'd see yourself do is a damn good feeling image
  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    I totally agree with David image

    It's a whole experience that has you thinking , replaying , remembering and good memories . It's a journey almost , and yes there are good & not so good parts but probably for a lot of us it's that part of the challenge we like ... Pulling ourselves out of the slumps , pushing on and getting to the next aid station that makes it the challenge .

    Half marathons & marathons pass by too quickly , almost no interaction with other runners , everyone chasing Pbs & milliseconds ... I did only 2 HMs & 3 marathons but was almost disappointed when it finished & was over !
  • I enjoy them! I enjoy the training, going out for 25+ mile solo runs, preferably on trails. I love knowing I can cover those distances. I get a lot of satisfaction from completing both the training runs and the races. I like pushing myself, seeing how far I can run. I enjoy the camaraderie, the way people support each other. On good days I'm "in the zone" and feel like I'm practically flying along the trails, and even on bad days there's a certain satisfaction in coping with e.g. bad weather.

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    Good luck at Northants ultra Hanksta
  • Thanks guys you've given me a new perspective to look at Ultras. They're more like an adventure/journey than a race, even though they're still classed as "races" that's not what they're about. Sure, completing it in 20 minutes less than you did last year is nice but it's not the main aim of competing. A 5k is all about the time, not much satisfaction in merely completing it, but an ultra is something you could boast to the grandkids about.

  • SideBurnSideBurn ✭✭✭

    You've got it!

     "but an ultra is something you could boast to the grandkids about" (and mighty bored they will be image)


  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    I'd like to think that when I'm

    Old , grey & not moving fast ( more than I am nowimage that I'll be able to think " I did that - I ran 30,40,50,100 miles " and my daughter can tell her children " grandma ran 100 miles that day "... And they might just think me a little bit coolimage
  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    I pop down the supermarket for my kudu these days, but long, long ago in a galaxy; no, no, hang on that's another story... in our deep and distant past we had to persistence hunt (this is from BBC Earth with Mr Attenborough commentating, but you might want to drop out of the clip at 5:55 if you don't want to witness the kill). If you don't want to watch it, basically, its a bloke tracking and running down a kudu for about 8 hours ultimately achieving his goal and feeding his family for a further few days.

    The theory says we evolved and survive to this day because of this type of activity, its within us. I certainly identify with that bloke, I don't kill any kudu, but I do get a medal and kudos for my efforts. I'm not an elite runner, but my family  and friends are impressed, my bucket list has ticks on it, and I absolutely love those hours out there in that zone, me with the elements (not versus, usually) it does feel like it satisfies some very basic instinct within me.  

  • when ultra runners talk about races they discuss distance not time.  I like that.

  • David J 27David J 27 ✭✭✭

    Training run planned tomorrow. Solo 25 mile around NE Lakes. Weather promising. All off road. hills, paths, lakes, waterfalls. I plan to stop for tea and cake around 15 mile mark. I am like a kid on Christmas Eve. Smile just thinking about it. The ultras are a great excuse for the training ????

  • MrSoftMrSoft ✭✭✭
    Some ultra runners always go on about how other runners are obsessed with times, yet the ones I know will bore you telling you how many marathons/ultras they have done.
  • lowrezlowrez ✭✭✭

    I'm collecting continents, majors, alphabets in every language, 100 marathons, sub tectonic plates, EU capitals, US states, all points below sea level, blah, blah blah...

  • loulabellloulabell ✭✭✭
    David - that sounds like heaven ! Perfect day
  • David J 27David J 27 ✭✭✭
    Loulabell - yep ???? - bit hillier, lot hotter and more painfully technical than expected but just a fab day out. The ice cold ginger beer at half way hit the spot.
  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    Oh and a touch of madness helps image 

  • Yep. I kept my mate company for 3 miles of the Brum - London canal 145 mile ultra. Complete loony.

    Obviously wound him up by saying you only do them as you can't run fast anymore image

  • Haha you ran with him for 2.07% of the total distance. Lazy :P

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