How did they do that? Time and again you see someone on the television screen or in a running magazine, who has conquered the most enormous of challenges. This should be your number one source of ultra marathon inspiration and support. Once you have run an ultra marathon, you join a very small band of runners. Less than one per cent of all runners ever complete an ultra marathon event, so getting the story direct from them is a great source of inspiration.
These runners are also a great source of knowledge because they have actually done it. Among your friends, colleagues and even your running buddies, there will be people who, albeit with good intentions, will give you advice that is just plain wrong.
You know the people I mean. The guy who advocates drinking gallons of water before you set off on the race and can’t understand why you spent so much time answering the call of nature; the friend who tells you about a wonderful new bag to carry your essentials in, and it has the most uncomfortable straps in the world. The chances are they have not done what you are about to, and their ‘knowledge’ comes from heresay or misinformed articles. Check out the blogs and podcasts of the people who have done it.
For the actual training and event it is great to have a back-up team, although too many racing ‘crews’ are the bane of a race organisers life. Knowing that you have a drink waiting for you at mile 20, or a snack will be handed to you at the three hour point is a big psychological boost. It is also nice to see a friendly face urging you on.
And knowing that someone will be there at the end of the race is the best boost of all. It will keep you going during the difficult patches, because you do not want to let them down, and as you approach the finish line, your moment of complete joy at your achievement will mean more if it is shared with a friend.
For more trail and ultra running inspiration, watch the videos at UltraRunTV.