Why the quotes around the word run? Well the reason is that the huge majority of the people that participate in these races rarely run the full distance – they stop and walk and indeed even stop and sleep.
Now don’t get me wrong there is nothing whatsoever wrong with that – I mean the human body was not built to run such distances. And it takes a certain aptitude and strong mental capacity to be able to participate, let alone complete these races.
In recent years these races have been classified separately as Ultra Running. There are a few definitions but the most common is any distance longer than a marathon. These distances come in many forms, such as 50K, 100K, 100 miles, 6 hours, 12 hours to even 72 hours!
To many this may be churlish but why call a sport something it isn’t? Is Ultra Running a suitable name? I think not, wouldn’t Ultra Run/Walk be better?
Okay yes many people walk marathons, half marathons and even 5Ks and I am not proposing to call these Run/Walks. Why? Well by far the majority of the participants will run these races. Yes some ultra ‘runners’ may run the full 50K or even 100K but the vast majority won’t. And as for the 72 hour race – well maybe that should be called Ultra Run/Walk/Sleep – okay that is maybe taking it a bit too far!
So what do you think? Should we rename this endurance running sub category?!?