Commentary

The Road to the Starting Line

For the uninitiated, for those who marvel at the idea that 50 or 100 miles of continuous running is possible, the phrase “I could never do that” is often an instant, almost involuntary reaction. “I could never do that” precedes a second common reaction, “I can barely run a 5k.” Despite how frequently I hear this reaction, it still gives me pause and makes me wonder: Why, after all, are people so fixated on finishing an ultramarathon, when the road to the starting line is where most of the journey takes place?

Karl Hoagland

How Do You Like Your Drama?

Drama. It’s essentially people facing challenges with uncertain outcomes. In good drama there’s always conflict and a “crisis” to be overcome… or not. The best drama elicits strong emotional responses from those watching it unfold. Drama in many forms is everywhere in our entertainment- and stimulation-obsessed society. With modern-day conveniences and technology it’s hard to

Errol and Tropical John at the start of the 1994 Western States.

The Old Guard And The New

By now it’s old news to many about that fateful day in August of 1974 when Gordy Ainsleigh’s horse wound up lame and he decided to take to the trails on foot against the mounted riders of the Tevis Cup 100 in California’s Sierras. He completed the 100-mile trail course with nary any fuel or

On Not Finishing

I’m not going to give my story or my excuses, or place blame or defend myself. I didn’t finish. Those are the only words it needs. I didn’t finish, and I went home crying in the middle of the night, showered crying in the middle of the night and fell asleep crying and cramping in the middle of the night. When I woke up, I told my family and apologized. I was embarrassed and ashamed and exhausted, physically and emotionally.

Ann Trason

Ask Ann: Prize Money in Ultrarunning

Ann, With new “championship” races popping up and new race series on the scene, what are your thoughts about prize money in ultrarunning? Is it a good thing? Should it increase?   Dear Alan, The growth of the prize money and “championship” races is definitely a hot topic in the beloved ultrarunning community. It is

Karl Hoagland

The Ultra Community

One of the greatest things about our sport is its spirit of collective effort. At ultramarathons it’s as if we are racing with, not against, each other. Maybe it’s because running so far is so daunting that people “pull together” to overcome the challenge. Or maybe it’s simply that the nature and values of people attracted to this sport selfselects for friendly, helpful people.