Ultramarathoners are crazy.

Seriously.   I have tried  for two years in a row to train for a marathon – and once I hit “half-marathon-ready” status, all of my running form (and other) mistakes catch up to me – and I am forced to stop.

Yet these people train for 50, 100 or more miles.

His cape must be at the dry cleaners.

His cape must be at the dry cleaners.

And they insist they aren’t “super-men/women”

I think they are lying.  By now most people have at least heard of Christoper McDougall’s book – Born to Run about the tribe of the Taramahura.  This is an entire tribe of super-runners.  I suspect, but can’t prove, that all Ultra-Marathoners have Taramahura-Blood in them.  It’s like a form of magic – think Vampire Blood, but no sparkles.

Or maybe, like Charlie Sheen – they drink Tiger’s Blood. (Though I think the only form of ultra-marathon he can do, is one of drinking, partying and drug-use.. So that might be my flaw in this logic.

I’m not going to ask what would possess someone to want to run that far – I get that part.  The fact that you CAN, and others say you CAN’T is enough reason to try to do it.  It is the same thing that possesses people to climb Mount Everest, or Sail around the world – but no expensive gear is needed.

And then there is Dean Karnazes who ran across America.  Little known fact – his grandfather was named “Kalel.”

Of course, once I manage to finish a marathon – we will see what my opinion of these superhumans is..


I run, because I am a runner. Having realized that I have always "been a runner" - even when I went years with out running, I am learning how it has integrated itself in all aspects of my life. When I started running in highschool, my perspective on life changed. Funny that I didn't realize how much it had affected it until just recently.

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15 comments on “Ultramarathoners are crazy.
  1. Hi, I am running my first marathon in February. I have run plenty of halfs and have now picked up my training so this sunday I do a 30km and fingers crossed it all goes well. I have told myself as long as I tackle the training consistently and add mileage slowly then there is really no reason why I cant do it. Funnily enough when I first began running 21km seemed mamoth and now here I am ramping up for 42km! So who knows maybe an ultra is on the cards in a few years time?

    • Robinson says:

      Thank you for reading and sharing! I agree with you on how to build up – I think you will do great!

      If I can actually learn to run without injury – I could totally see it ending up on my radar. First to sign up for AND run the Marine Corps Marathon!

  2. jend1229 says:

    My sister is an ultra runner and I know for a fact she doesn’t drink tiger’s blood. But she does take EXTREMELY good care of her body (she is always stretching) and eats a mostly plant based diet (chicken and fish are her rare exceptions). She would tell you that ultra running has little to do with your body and most everything to do with your mind. Which is probably the sole reason I will never be one!

    You should read “Eat & Run” by Scott Jurek – he is also in Born to Run. In it he tells his story of becoming an ultra runner which is surprisingly normal. It is also a very well written story and enjoyable to read.

    • Robinson says:

      Thank you for the recommendation! I just downloaded it and will look forward to reading it in the next couple of days!

      The interesting thing – is I have an “upcoming” post half written -that is all about diet and wondering what the heck to eat in order to be eating “properly” – so your posting has really great timing!

      But man, if you are shooting down my tiger blood theory… Can you check her closet for a cape next time you are over there? I haven’t given up on my super-hero theory…

      • jend1229 says:

        Oh I am sure she has a cape but then again she is my big sister and they come with capes regardless of their athletic pursuits 🙂

  3. Jim Brennan says:

    At 58 with thirteen marathons and countless halfs and other long-distance races, I can tell you the one truth I’ve learned from a lifetime of running is what running guru Doctor George Sheehan said, “We are all an experiment of one.” My body can’t take 50 mile weeks any longer, but I’ve learned I can run long once a week and cycle and do other arobic exercises and still do my annual marathon. Be wise, it’s better to run for the long haul. Good luck, my friend.

    • Robinson says:

      Unfortunately I missed out on the first MCM from getting hurt, then trying to catch up on my training plan – and then hurt myself from doing to much to soon.

      Last year was the I’ll luck of jamming my foot on a rock. This year I am really trying to pay attention to my body. The last couple months I have kept myself from leaping ahead to quickly.

  4. Kristen says:

    Just wondering, but did you actually read the book Born to Run?

    • Robinson says:

      Yup. Went out and bought five fingers right after… (did too much too soon with them, but that was a whole nother story!). In fact, I have recommended and bought the book for several other people as well!

  5. LOL, one of my favorite parts of this post: “It’s like a form of magic – think Vampire Blood, but no sparkles.” Too funny, GREAT post!!! 🙂

  6. […] The fact that you CAN, and others say you CAN’T is enough reason to try to do it. ~ Robinson Neidhardt […]

  7. […] The fact that you CAN, and others say you CAN’T is enough reason to try to do it. ~ Robinson Neidhardt […]

  8. I was going to second the suggestion of Scott Jurek’s book, but I see you have already started looking at it!
    I don’t think ultramarathoners are crazy, but it’s just a different type of mindset. I have ambitions to run a 50 miler this year, but if someone told me to train to run a sub 20-minute 5km (my PB is around 28 minutes) I would think that idea was crazy.
    Maybe we’re all crazy, which I’m starting to think is highly likely!

  9. Very interesting points you have mentioned , thankyou for putting up. “Curiosity is the key to creativity.” by Akio Morita.

  10. So far, I have run one (small 50km) ultramarathon, slowly, but hope to do a further three this year. I’d agree that finishing one is hugely about your mindset – being really good at it is something that involves the mental attitude plus real dedication. I doubt I’ll every be at the pointy end of races, right now I’m friends with the sweepers, but I do hope to work hard, improve and do some longer ones in future. So far other ultrarunners of all abilities have been so enthusiastic, kind and encouraging that I just want to keep doing more!! I would recommend a trail ultra over a road marathon every day of the week – not so sure about road ultras.

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The Once and Future Runner
Once and Future Runner

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