Why Ultramarathons Rock

You crushed a slew of 10Ks and conquered a couple half-marathons. No big deal, right? If the toil and agony of preparing for your first marathon wasn’t challenging enough for your iron-clad spirit, try a  tango with the beast—the ultramarathon. Yeah, 30-50 miles of rugged trails and endless flats sounds like a worthy journey to see what you’re really made of.

Sure, these ultra-races are pretty intense, but the fact is that there’s much more appeal to these runs than the extra distance.  So to help you know what to expect before you hit the course, we’ve listed a few of the reasons why ultra-races are all the rage these days.

#1: It’s not all about time
Though some ultra-marathons are time-based, the main idea behind the ultra-race is to complete the course. Many ultra-marathons are up to 50 miles, but an ultra-marathon is technically any race that is longer than the standard 26.2 miles. While some people are motivated to set a personal record for time, not having to worry about completing the race within the time limit makes the ultra-marathon a lot more fun than the standard 26.2.

#2: You can run and walk as you please
Since the ultimate goal of the ultra-marathon is to complete the course, participants are encouraged to walk, jog, and run, especially with uphill segments of the course. Though you can walk or slow down at times, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll be out on the trail for several hours, so be sure to bring along an mp3 player so you can stay motivated and help the time pass.

Unfortunately, as any marathoner will tell you, the inconvenience of earbuds that constantly fall out is practically unavoidable while you’re on the trail, which is why Far End Gear designed their innovative BudLoks Earphone Sport Grips. These soft silicone grips gently lock into the bowl of your ear, keeping your earbuds in place even on the longest marathons. Each pack of BudLoks comes with three different sizes of grips for a near-custom fit, and they’re compatible with most types of earphones, soon to be available in for Apple Earpod and Kindle Fire Earphones too.

#3: Ultra-marathons can be safer than standard marathons
Having the freedom to run, walk, or stop makes the ultra-marathon quite a bit easier on the body than standard marathons. While most marathons are set in city streets, ultra-marathons are set in parks, meaning less wear and tear on your joints due to the softer terrain.

#4: You’ll experience some beautiful sights
The increased distance of an ultra-marathon means that many courses cut through gorgeous parks, deserts, and countrysides, giving participants a chance to experience Earth’s natural splendor. Since time isn’t a factor, you can slow down, take a couple pictures, and appreciate some unbelievably breathtaking sights.

#5: They’re great for people of all ages
Considering that most participants aren’t running for time, ultra-races draw people of all ages to the trail.

#6: The gratification is unparalleled
Finishing an ultramarathon is nothing to scoff at, no matter how long it takes. Factor in the sense of euphoria from “runner’s high” about halfway through, and it’s easy to see why completing an ultramarathon leaves you feeling on top of the world.

#7: Oh, the food!
Forget the energy bar and trail mix—ultra-races have feeding tables about halfway through the race where participants can scarf down everything from pizza and pasta to cookies and coffee. While the race isn’t timed, be sure to make it to the food station before all the grub is gone.

After you complete your first ultra-marathon, come back and tell us what you liked the most about the run by posting in the space below.