When something bad happens, you have three choices: let it define you, let it destroy you, or let it strengthen you.

The heart of the difference is not ability or even talent, but desire

The purpose of life is to discover and develop your gift. The meaning of life comes from sharing your gift with others. - David Viscott

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Why I run ultras

We often try to answer the question: why? Many give a shot at putting feelings to words. This email from Allen Boyce (used per his permition) of our PNW community stands out as he put on paper what I might have not been able to say:

I must say how hard it is to relate to the rest of world what an ultra trail run is like: what makes it a special event?…the pages sent out over the past few days say it all à even if only we can relate to the stories, the pickle juice and gu. It is overwhelming on the Trail – the smiles, the tough moments, everyone cheering each other on and wishing each other well all along the way ….there is a camaraderie of the trail that lifts even the most competitive in these events to some greater cause to see each person do well ..it brings out the best in all of us, pulls everyone together in an “individual common cause” wishing each other the best through it all….it is a great, great thing …all that is left to be said is the thank you that can’t say enough to the Aide Station folks...

Lisa Bliss' documented Badwater run by Glenn Tachyama is here.

Official Mt Hood race pictures are here and from a 50M runner Matthew Nahorniak are here


  1. Wonderful words! : )

  2. well put. but I have to admit the advice you gave me a couple of weeks ago to push or not push was the only thing going through my mind on Longs Peak. I did push but not so hard as to miss all the beautiful sights around me. Thank you for helping me put it all in perspective.

  3. Your friend couldn't have said it any better! Very nicely stated. And a belated congrats on your venture as an RD. It sounds like it went really well! Awesome! It must be so rewarding to provide a memorable experience for others like that. Good on you.

  4. Yes, delicious pickle juice!

  5. Hi Olga,

    This blog entry comes at a good time for me. Went straight to my heart. Thanks!

    Congrats on directing a successful set of races! It sounds like everyone had a great time!


  6. I can imagine how difficult putting the experience into words must be. But you do a really good job of that. Enjoyed the words from your friend.

  7. Those are some great pics of Badwater. Congrats on a successful race. Trying to explain why you run ultras and everything involved is like trying to describe the love a parent has for their children. Sometimes you just have to live it to understand it.

  8. Very cool.

    I guess, as humans, we want everything explained to us. We want neat and tidy answers.

    I have yet to run an ultra event. It's certainly different from a marathon...but I had several people ask me 'why'? I could not explain it...except to say that there is no rational explanation. I think 'why' is the maybe the wrong question...'cause there's no explanation except 'because'.

    It's a 'heart' issue that one understands once you do it.

  9. Good words!! and thanks for sharing the Pics too

  10. And all this time I thought it was because you're crazy!

    Seriously, I think runners, and particularly ultra runners, attract such a wide variety of people, you know, but similar spirits. It's truly the greatest group of people I've had the privilege of spending time with - they have courage, faith, work ethic, and many wear their hearts and dreams on their race belt. I'm continually amazed at how a group of runners who routinely get together can be content with random talk, humor, and total silence as well. We can discuss serious issues, without looking at the person next to us, and just sharing from our heart, which is so wonderful.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts (and Allen's) with us!

  11. All my answers, long winded and elaborate, can be distilled into one sentence: Cause I love it.

    Heck it ain't even a sentence.

  12. Thanks for the comment Olga! You are amazing as well and glad to you stumbled upon my blog, so I could likewise for you. Congrats to you! And keep up doing what you love!!