15 Jun

Above and Beyond?

ChrisMaybe it’s my age. I’m 42 - let’s not dance around it. But increasingly, it seems I am surrounded by runners not just targeting half marathons and marathons, but going beyond. By beyond, I mean into the realms of the ultra-running world.

It is not something I ever seriously considered taking part in. But even if I am not quite ready to sign up for some 50 mile slog, it’s starting to make a faint bleep on my radar.

At the start of every year, I always think I’ll be able to have a fresh attack on my 5k and 10k PBs. But I had a moment of clarity when out running the other night. Both PBs are now ten years old. Yup, a decade has passed and the training isn’t getting any easier. Maybe it’s time to accept that ship has sailed.

Perhaps it is time to re-align my focus? I still have realistic ambitions to improve my half marathon and marathon bests. After all, those PBs are only four and two years old respectively. Come on reader, cut this middle aged man some slack!?

But I have also found myself drawn to the conversations taking place with some of my running partners who are tackling ultras – any race that goes beyond the 26.2 mile distance. Some are even moving into Ironman triathlons. Crazy talk, I know. One step at a time.

Like I say, it’s not something I have committed to yet. But I must admit, I have caught myself viewing some of these events online more and more. I can’t be alone. Last year there were over 120 ultra- races open for entries in the UK alone ranging from 30 miles to 100 miles.

With the thirst for PBs less and less likely to be quenched, I can understand the appeal of these events for the ageing runner. Surely the further the distance, the greater the challenge and the lesser the emphasis on times.

Time waits for no man, but I think my times could be set for a long wait.  


  1. Jon Aston said...

    As a 51 year old runner I am finding a real love for ultra running, they suit me better than shorter and faster paced races. I find that I have the mental and physical ability to keep going and although will never a fast runner manage to hold my own often finishing before runners who would easily beat me at marathons or half marathons. In ultra it is not a case of who starts fastest but who slows the least. There is also a great camaraderie amongst the ultra running community with no elitism, at least not that I have seen. I would urge anyone to give it a go. Maybe one day we will see ultra running at major athletic championships or event the Olympics.