As marathons continue to gain popularity, so do ultramarathons and here in New Zealand we have some of the most spectacular races in the World. Are you ready to step up to the ultra distance?
While from the outside looking-in races over the standard 42.195kms may appear daunting, in reality they are far more achievable (and enjoyable) than many would believe. With this in mind here are six reasons why we think you should consider an ultra-marathon.
1.) Journey into the Unknown. Many people have run both marathons and half-marathons, and if you are reading this article you are probably one of them. You need a new challenge. What better way to challenge yourself than by running and racing over a distance that is further than you have ever gone before? Click here for a full list of upcoming ultramarathon events in New Zealand.
2.) Reconnect with the Act of Running. Ultra running requires a complete change of mindset, no longer is it about splits and ticking off the kms at a certain pace. Ultra running is about covering the distance in the most efficient and sustainable way possible, and in doing so it reconnects you with the act of running that can be lost racing wover shorter distances.
3.) Make a Whole New Group of Friends. Ultra runners are rare breed, quite different to your track and road runners but they are generous and welcoming to a fault. Afterall, if you are going to spend hours on end out running you may as well do it in the company of other like-minded individuals.
4.) Escape the Urban Jungle. Most major marathons throughout the World are run on roads within large built-up urban areas, in training you are constantly exposed to noxious car exhaust fumes and lets not forget the huge toll running on asphalt and concrete footpaths take on our feet and joints. Ultra-marathons on the other hand are more often than not trail races and are located within some of the most spectacular natural settings you will encounter.
5.) Race Yourself, Not Others. It's easy to get caught-up in the race when there are 2,000 runners blasting down the course with you. The smaller fields, longer distances, and variable conditions of an ultra shift your competition (and mindset) from others to yourself. Plus, if it's your first ultra, you'll be setting a PB no matter how long it takes to finish!
6.) Harness the Power of the Mind. You are capable of far more than you think. The mind is an incredibly powerful tool, and it is generally the only thing standing between you can achieving something amazing.
This article was adapted from that which originally appeared on competitor.com - 'It's Time To Run Your First Ultramarathon'
4 weeks post-IMNZ and 4 weeks prior to IMOZ I went from going very good to going very bad. In all honesty, I did not nail a single session for 3 weeks, but I always believed come race day I would be ok as long as I listened to my body...Ironman Australia Race Report by Mark Bowstead