Could I really run an ULTRA???

by Ali
(Ilfracombe, UK)

Mid Life Running - what a totally appropriate name for the website. Traditionally Mid Life Crises come in the shape of new leather jackets and inappropriate sports cars (for us blokes, at least). Mine was at the age of about 46/47, when a "friend" told me he reckoned he could get me from half marathons to full marathons no problem. I was skeptical, but went along with it and, sure enough, did the 2014 Sauternes Marathon - followed by a tough AONB (hilly) Marathon on the lovely North Devon coast and then that was it! Small, amateur marathons, larger metropolitan marathons; an impromptu "friendly" 26.2 miles/6 pints/6 pubs/6 hours marathon. Even a very boozy Beaujolais Nouveau Marathon.

Whatever next.....?
I'll tell you whatever next - an Ultra. Any distance over 26.2miles apparently classifies as an Ultra, so it seemed the natural next step. This summer, on the hottest day of the year so far, I found myself lining up with 42 other nutters to run 30miles around Street and Glastonbury (a week before the festival really gets going). 3 months short of my 50th birthday and there I am!
I put my target time on the entry form as 4hrs 40mins. Fair enough, it's 4 miles further than a marathon. Oh boy! Heat, hills, overgrown footpaths, heat, few water stops, poor/stolen route markers, heat, sheer distance, getting lost (and did I mention heat?) - all conspired against me so I was out for 7hrs 14mins!!!! I still came in 16th and would have been 8th if I hadn't got lost for the third or fourth time (but then they all say that, don't they!?).
On the plus side - I did it! 34 miles (I did mention getting lost!!). Definitely an ULTRA. Also, a great bunch of people to run with - and because you are running slower, for a greater distance, you actually have more of a chance to get to know them. The biggest plus? I can say I'm an ultra runner and never do another one, ever!

Today I have seen a website for an interesting 50km near Bath, the day before my 50th birthday, so who knows....?

Comments for Could I really run an ULTRA???

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Jun 21, 2017
by: Nicole

Ali, all I can say is "Chapeau" as they say here in France :). To do an ultra is a mammoth task and it makes me tired just thinking about it. However you certainly have inspired me so who knows.....Seriously well done!

Jun 22, 2017
by: Caroline Cull

What a wonderful achievement! As I read your account I was filled with wonder and amazement - I couldn't do that in my wildest dreams but it sounds such fun - particularly liked the sound of the pub run!!!!

Jun 24, 2017
by: Phillip

I have to admit that I had trouble finishing your post because I was doubled over laughing at the 6 pints/6 pubs/6 hr marathon. I ran my best marathon at age 49 (over a decade ago) in just under four hrs and I could barely walk for a week after that. I ran in 45 degree weather and the thought of trying to do that on a HOT day, and going several miles further, it just would not have happened.
I say BRAVO!!

Jul 13, 2017
by: Anonymous

Doing an ultra is a natural progression if doing regular marathons. You must be careful with the never again statement though, I said the same after my 1st 30 mile run, but then came a few more and a 73 mile run, Cumbria Way Ultra. Again I said never again but have just finished 10 marathons in ten days event. So I bet it won't be long till your next one, the very nature of ultras, as in smaller events make them really special. Congrats on your run and enjoy the next one.

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