For many runners, a marathon is the pinnacle of any sporting event they can participate in. This is largely true in cases where the marathon is a worldwide broadcasted event, like the annual Boston Marathon. However, long-distance runners can push their boundaries even more by participating in an Ultra marathon.
Traditionally, an ultra marathon distance is more than 26.2 miles or 42 kilometres. A marathon event can be considered an ultra marathon if it’s more than the stated distance, and that’s where runners from every experience level can be a part of some wild and wondrous benchmarks that they can aim to accomplish.
Ultra marathon races can be classified into two categories:
As the names suggest, time-based ultra marathons are defined by a specific time the participant has to complete the race in. Similarly, distance-based ultra marathons are defined by their distance, with no time constraints for the runners.
The shortest time-based ultra marathons are usually set at 6 hours. The record for the fastest ultra marathon run is held by Thompson Magawana from Russia, who completed the marathon in a record time of 2:43:38!
The most common ultra marathon races are usually fixed with a distance of 50 miles or 100 miles. However, there is no limit when it comes to pushing the envelope here too, as there are 1000 km long ultra marathons, and the longest ultra marathon titled the “Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race” is 3100 miles long!
Ultra marathon runs require a certain level of endurance and training to complete the distance. Long-course endurance is something that the runners have to work hard for attaining for participating in ultra marathons. These events are conducted on softer terrains such as woodlands, or dirt tracks. It’s because it is less straining on the runners’ joints and feet. So, what benefits does the training for an ultramarathon might impart, you wonder? Let’s take a look:
Long hours of solitary running on a trail is a very peaceful concept for runners, and usually the biggest attraction of the sport. While the idea of running over 30 miles in a stretch may induce anxiety in some, for runners, it is a very welcomed idea. It helps them in being in touch with their surroundings, having holistic movements to release endorphins, and underappreciated solitude of embracing one’s self.
Long-endurance building exercises are a rewarding tool in not only controlling the calories in the body, but also maintaining a certain weight with a proper diet. Moreover, regular endurance training can also improve the health of the heart.
One of the most lucrative benefits of ultra marathons for runners is that its training isn’t as dependent on equipment than a normal marathon training. Runners can train for an ultra marathon with the ultimate goal of finishing it on their own time rather than heavily train to meet certain time-quotas, as usually the case in normal marathon training.
While ultra marathons may not be as mainstream as standard marathons, they certainly are one of the more enticing events for runners, especially ones who want to break free of the barriers of their endurance levels. So, are you ready to participate in an ultra marathon? All you need to do is put on your shoes, tighten the laces, make a dynamic playlist, and get those legs moving!