I’m not a distance runner. I quit high school track in two days. Nevertheless, I’ve been running more this year than I ever have before with the intention of participating in a 5k (~3.1 miles) at the end of May. I can already run the distance, but I’m not in the race to win it… I just want to cross the finish line without dying and finish ahead of anyone over 70 or under 12. While I can see myself being able to finish a 10k by the end of the summer if I keep at it, that’s still only just over six miles. It baffles me how people can run a 26.2 mile marathon.
Then you have the “ultramarathonners.”
An ultramarathon is loosely defined as any race longer than the standard marathon. At the extreme end are the 100 mile races through mountainous terrain, like the Western States 100, a brutal race from Squaw Valley, CA to Auburn, CA. The winner for the last five years has been, a 29-year-old vegan named Scott Jurek that takes in between 5000 and 8000 calories a day, has finished the race in as little as 16 hours, 1 minute, and 18 seconds (that’s averaging a 9:37 mile, only slightly slower than I’ve been averaging for three miles!). The endurance, discipline, and training required for running this type of race is beyond my comprehension.
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