Not so long ago, ‘extreme sports’ were widely viewed as the preserve of a minority of barking mad adrenaline junkies or a small band of seriously elite athletes. Now, log on to Facebook and you’re almost as likely to see an old friend or associate’s pictures of his or her latest ‘Tough Mudder’ exploits as as you are their holiday snaps.
Ultramarathons are enjoying a huge boom in popularity
Extreme sports are booming and increasingly becoming more accessible, and the ultramarathon is no exception. Just 11 ultramarathons took place in 2004. More than 200 are scheduled for 2016, with a host of those taking place among some of the most stunning natural scenery in Britain.
An ultramarathon is any foot race longer than the standard marathon distance of 26.2 miles. Distances vary dramatically, from 30 miles to 100 miles or to distances even more daunting. Most, however, are in the 30-50 mile bracket and they are rather more achievable than one might think.
Scenic trails are better for us physically and mentally
Uniquely, the races are run across beautiful, rural and often remote and mountainous courses – satisfying that deep-seated human need to be at one with nature. The softer terrain and more sedate pace makes it far less demanding on the body than a brutal 26 miler across rock hard tarmac – widely acknowledged to be the most damaging of surfaces for any runner.
The terrain also gives the body more of an all-encompassing workout than a road run, strengthening more muscles. And there is pretty strong evidence to support the idea that running in beautiful and often breathtaking natural surroundings gives us a notable psychological boost, in line with what is known as the biophilia hypothesis.
A surprisingly laid-back affair
Ultramarathon runners talk of its drug-like addictive quality, and the unparalleled camaraderie between participants.
There is much less focus on times and more on simply enjoying and completing the course. PBs and clock-watching aren’t really a factor for most. The select few at the front race hard, sure – but the majority trundle along at their own pace, taking in the views and socialising.
Some races are so low-key and laid back that competitors will line up on the start line with a beer in their hand. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?
A huge choice of races in the most stunning regions
European ultramarathons take in some quite unbelievable courses – across glaciers, volcanic rock, and through picture postcard mountain villages, while closer to home there are now an enormous amount of races in the UK taking in some of the most jaw-dropping scenery the British Isles have to offer.
We think ultramarathons are here to stay, and offer a unique opportunity to combine getting very, very fit with taking in some of the world’s most beautiful scenery – not to mention the immense sense of achievement and the colossal endorphin highs that so many ultramarathon runners report.
So why not get some mates together, get yourself some running kit and pencil in that first ultramarathon. We’re fairly certain your first won’t be your last.
KUDOS IS COMMITTED TO CHAMPIONING RUNNING AT ALL LEVELS
KUDOS’s passion are dedicated to supporting running at all levels – no matter how big or small your running club.
We champion the sport so the athletes taking part can develop their confidence, responsibility, humility and teamwork. We always encourage new people to take part or support their running club.
A LEADING SUPPLIER OF MADE TO ORDER RUNNING KIT
A KUDOS running kit is designed to cope with the demands of the sport in matching styles across all garments including full running kits, running team tracksuits, hoodies and jackets.