Why You Should Run An Ultra Marathon (PS. It's Not As Hard As You Think)
A slower pace, typically beautiful locations and the opportunity to reconnect with nature makes completing your first Ultra marathon more achieveable than you might think.
The Marathon was once seen as one of the most difficult feats of endurance that one could achieve, a feat exclusively for the fittest most dedicated athletes. Gradually the number of people completing marathons grew to the point where, although still a monumental achievement the hyper elite began to search for their next challenge, one that would allow them to challenge the limits of human endurance.
Now Ultra marathons or Ultra's as their typically called, have grown in popularity to the point where nearly every weekend there is atleast 1-2 of these races taking place and one thing that they nearly all have in common is that they are set in beautiful locations whether it is a national park, along the coastline or through beautiful rainforests! The recent surge in the popularity of ultra's comes back to peoples desire to reconnect with nature, and to experience a level of discomfort which modern convenience has all but removed from our day to day lives. Many ultra-runners say that it is this connection with nature that drives them to come back and complete their second, third, fourth, and maybe even fiftieth in some cases!
Now of course any race thats longer than a marathon is going to be an intense physical challenge, the brightside? In the ultra community just finishing a race is celebrated as a great achievement and outside of the few elite ultra runners nearly all competitors are competing more with themselves than they are the other racers. Whether your race takes you 5 hours or 15 doesn't matter when you cross the finish line of an ultra marathon, the only thing that matters is that you suppressed your bodies desire to quit and kept on moving!
Personally I can attest to the feeling of accomplishment you feel when crossing the line and finish your first ultra. My first (Barely) ultra was the 45km Baileys Centre Great Ocean Run (AKA the Red Rock to Coffs) which traverses along 45km of coastline in Northern NSW. When I crossed that finish line and I knew that I was and forever would be, an Ultra-Marathon runner, a wave of emotion came over me, the realisation that I had achieved a bucket list achievement at such a young age hit me.
A word of warning, completing your first ultra will lead to you developing a sense of confidence in your own abilities you've never felt before and lead you to start thinking BIG, suddenly it may seem like a good idea to run a marathon before work everyday or to hike the length of the country... barefoot, who knows!
Next time your out on a run and your about to head home, remember everything you read here and maybe, just maybe keep on running.
If you want to start running and just dont know where to start, get in touch and DM @Bensbigadventure on Instagram with any questions you might have!