Whilst watching the marathon at the European Athletic Championships on August 1st I began to wonder why people are drawn to the marathon. There must be a certain type of runner. The word ‘marathon’ is used to denote something that is an enormous effort and watching in Barcelona was no exception.
However, one of our runners, Becky, recently undertook a 100 mile event for the second time. So, I asked Becky what draws her to this incredible challenge and what it is all about:
‘There are some of us for which 26.2 miles simply isn’t enough of a challenge, and we want to push the boundaries even further than that, some of the events lasting 48 continuous hours.
Ultra distance running and walking isn’t necessarily for the elite athlete. Typically entrants for these events are from all walks of life, many of them retired, typically in their 60’s and 70’s who have switched to ultra distances as they no longer have the speed in their stride to be competitive at the shorter distances. For the ‘big one’ the 100 miles we are allowed 48 hours to finish, so the challenges can often be walked or run, but the slower you go, the longer you spend on your feet. Some of the more athletic entrants are very competitive whilst others take every bit of the 48 hours allowed for the event, and suffer the consequences of 2 consecutive nights without sleep – the challenge for them is simply to complete the distance within the time allowed.
100 miles is as much as mental exercise as it is a physical one. Mentally, like any large problem you have to break the event up into manageable, palatable chunks. There are checkpoints every 6 miles so this helps to break it up for you. The golden rule is to never look at the whole thing. Be grateful that it is only 6 miles to the next checkpoint rather than depressed there are still 80 miles to go when you’re tired.
The reward when you get to the end is a badge and a certificate, but the biggest reward is the feeling of satisfaction. For me it was a personal battle of me against the distance, and I won’
More info at www.ldwa.org.uk
SE Fitness delivers walking & running groups for all fitness levels – starting with the absolute beginner. For more information go to www.sefitness.com or ring 07788 628 755