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Endurance racing: Second Leg, Ultra-Marathons
Today there are ultra road races (Nashville Ultra), trail races (Mountain Masochist 50 Mile), a race that crosses Death Valley (Badwater), and a race covering some of the most beautiful parts of my home state of Colorado, aptly named the “Hardrock 100.”
For those mountain goat runners out there, this race climbs up and over a 14,000-foot mountain peak, hitting above 12,000 feet an unlucky 13 times!
Among some of the other interesting races are an Alaskan race run in—brr!—February, (Susitna 100), and there’s even a 3,100 mile race that covers a half-mile loop in Queens, NY repetitively for months (Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race).
As you can imagine, ultra-marathoners are competitive folks, and so they’ve established a “Grand Slam” of ultras. You know, just in case running 100 miles once is too easy. The Grand Slam is achieved through running the original big four trail races in one season: the aforementioned Western States 100, the Leadville Trail 100, the Vermont 100, and the Wasatch Front 100.
If you’d like to learn more about long-distance running, and even get an inside scoop on the experience of some of these races, the library holds several books you’ll want to investigate. While researching this post, however, I found lots of books on marathons (search the subject “Marathon running”) and blogs by ultra-marathoners, but an order of magnitude fewer books on ultra-marathons. I suspect the athletes are just too busy running!
- Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall
- Corbitt : the story of Ted Corbitt, long distance runner, by John Chodes
- The Extra Mile: one woman's personal journey to ultra-running greatness, by Pam Reed
- Racing the antelope : what animals can teach us about running and life (republished as Why We Run), by Bernd Heinrich
- Ultra-marathon Man: confessions of an all-night runner, by Dean Karnazes
- Ultrarunning Magazine