"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

That's CRAZY! (But just how crazy is it?)

On one level I tend to view ultramarathoners as the marathoners of the 1970's.  Very few runners participated in marathons back then.  The "average Joe", like you and I, just didn't run 26.2 miles. Races were limited to major events with elite racers.  It was viewed as being harmful to the body and beyond the normal limits for which one should push.  Fast-forward to current day.  Over 500,000 runners will finish at least one U.S. marathon in 2011, and annually the distance gains more and more popularity.  Training runs routinely hover between 20 - 25 miles without breaking a sweat. What a change!

So, from this perspective, is it highly possible that by the year 2030 Ultras will have experienced the same type of growth and acceptance.  Today, most of us look at them and ask, "how is that even humanly possible?"  However, as elite athletes continue to demonstrate just how far the body can be pushed, and inspire us to push just a bit farther, I actually do believe that distances beyond 26.2 will soon be very common. 

There are many new books out right now on the subject, and several individuals from which to learn.  I personally like Dean Karnazes, or "Karno", as he is known.  I recently read his book entitled Run: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss.  A truly fascinating read that highlights his training, (70 mile runs overnight to meet up with his family on vacation the next morning as they drive to the destination), his past runs, (badwater, leadville 100, the 4 deserts challenge, 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days, or the 200 mile treadmill run in 48 hours), and his future challenges (to run a marathon in every country during the course of one year - over 185 marathons).  I promise, you will love this book. 

Of course, on a different level, this is just insane! Running 50, 75, 100+ miles in one run.  Across extreme geographies and temperatures.  Could ol' "Average Joe" Holcomb ever do something like this? Who knows. But I do know that you have to try in order to find your answer.  So, today I am officially announcing my first attempt at going beyond 26.2.  I have decided that at some point this summer I will celebrate my 43rd birthday with a 43 mile run, (better to start this year than to wait until I'm 50! Too bad I didn't start when I was 8).  Anyway, I hope to incorporate it into my Marine Corp Marathon training, or possibly run just prior to the start of training.  Then, and only then, will I fully appreciate at what "level" ultramarathoning should be viewed.

Make TODAY a great day, and see you on the trail.


  1. I like your ambitious goal Padre! Maybe one day you'll be able to compete an Ultra Marathon!

  2. Lauren, I think you need to seek some help for your Dad:)