Fitness Magazine

When Does Ultra Running Start?

By Jamesrichardadams @jamesradams
Our survey said.... 26.2 miles. Is getting lost for 100 meters on a road marathon course and clocking up 26.27 miles make an ultra runner out of you? Are the Three Forts 27 mile marathon or various trail marathons where the "artistic licence" of race directors, driven mainly by what's practical mean that the total distance is likely to be a little bit more than 26.2 count as ultra running? Well according to about 40% of the 200 people who responded to this survey, YES. Hmmmm, to be honest I am a little suprised. I don't mean to sound like one of those people who tries to make the sport I love sound more exclusive and harder to attain, quite the opposite, so much I have written on this blog is trying to encourage people to take it up more. However I do think that there is a seperate sport in "ultra" running over say marathon running and the step from one to another is not just crossing the 26.2 mile mark. Perhaps it needs a different name? Perhaps I am starting to sound like one of those sad people forever banging on about what "counts" and what doesn't.  No I am not going to become like one of those people. I'll stop that right now. When does Ultra Running start? I think the results are interesting though. In addition to the 40% who say that running 26.3 miles is an ultra marathon another 35% say that 50k is enough. There were only 5 votes in total for "24 hours" and I think they may have all been me. Regardless of what "it" is called I think there something magical about running all day and all night which is kind of what I was trying to get at with the 24 hours option.  So what do you think? Does it even matter?  No it really doesn't.

..but you asked, "when does an ultra start?" ...not stop. So perhaps asking "how long beyond a marathon must you run for before you consider it an ultra?" may have given a different outcome? but then as long as people enjoy running and being out you say, who cares?!

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