Saturday, 17 March 2012
What's the Ultimate Distance for an Ultra?
With this month having a lot of high profile 50ks like Way Too Cool and Chuckanut (both with around 700 runners and high quality fields), I wondered what people think the true test of ultrarunning is, in terms of distance. Obviously it's harder to finish a 100 miler than to finish a 50k, but running a 50k really fast seems to get punished in the general consensus of what's the most 'impressive'. Leor Pantilat is a good example as he is almost unbeatable at 50k and showed last year he can run a 50 miler with a 6:00 CR at Quicksilver 50 with something like 7,000ft of climb (probably the most impressive ultra performance of the year but sadly overlooked in general).
So I've added a poll to my site - what's the true test of an ultrarunner? Running any ultra distance hard and fast is tough but I personally think the shorter distances deserve more respect. There's no time to walk or go easy for a few miles in races under 100 miles for the fastest guys and girls, but in a 100-miler you can slow down for a bit and recover with it barely affecting your result.
UPDATE: Here are the results of the poll:
What's the true test of an ultrarunner (not just finishing, but finishing well)?
- Over 100 miles 9%
- 100 miles 38%
- 100k 17%
- 50 miles/double marathon 32%
- 50k 1%
(percentages don't add up to 100% due to rounding)
I expected 100 miles to win it by more. But I think it shows that any distance for ultras can be considered the ultimate test if you give it your all.