Ultramarathon: When Runners Can’t Get Enough


Runners are the kind of people who are always looking for new challenges. They explore new possibilities and put their endurance to test. From running short distance race, they progress to longer distances such as half marathon or marathon races. And when these distances aren’t enough, they crave for something much longer. The Ultramarathons.

From 50 kilometres to 280 kilometres, ultramarathons happen as frequent as the regular distances races nowadays. Significantly, more and more runners have joined the bandwagon of ultramarathons for various reasons. The fulfilment and the feeling of satisfaction at the finish line counts the most, when the runner receives his finisher’s medal, a personalised finisher’s shirt and that most coveted limited edition trophy.

With ultramarathoners Doc Marc Molina, Amos Adalim, Mike Lafuente and foreign participants during one of our 5-minute breaks while trekking Mt. Sto. Tomas, TNF100 3013. Photo Credit: Chin Ann

With ultramarathoners Doc Marc Molina, Amos Adalim, Mike Lafuente and foreign participants during one of our 5-minute breaks while trekking Mt. Sto. Tomas, TNF100 3013.
Photo Credit: Chin Ann

I have done quite a handful of ultramarathons after I got into running. In fact, I completed my first ever 50-kilometre trail ultramarathon just over a year after I completed my first race in March 2011. At some point in the life of an ultramarathoner, a DNF (did not finish) can be inevitable. And humbly, I have my own share of the DNF – not just one, but two. I felt quite a bit wrecked when I had my first DNF. I ventured into ultratrail running via TNF100 Baguio. Being an underprepared participant with less knowledge on trail running, and an ultradistance at that, I was perfectly clueless of the basic essentials to bring on top of the mandatory gear.

But with so much ardent and strong will, I took on the challenge of the trail to somehow feel the thrill of it. It was tough. I felt I could dislodge a joint with every step. And I had to endure the crippling numbness of my quads and calves.

The humbling experience from these DNF’s have taught me valuable lessons to become a better endurance athlete and an individual. I have learned that first, you have to set a realistic goal. And in order to achieve such goal, you have to train and prepare for it. Ask around for tips and ideas when books and online materials seem too technical to absorb.

The picturesque hanging bridge at KM55 of TNF100 (100km category in Tuba, Benguet.

The picturesque hanging bridge at KM55 of TNF100 (100km category in Tuba, Benguet.

Ultramarathons are windows that allow us to see the world’s finest real paintings all for ourselves. On a personal note, these races make me appreciate more how beautiful nature is, how these majestic views of the unexploited part of the world can be so refreshing to the mind and invigorating to the runner’s tired soul. It is through these mighty long runs where friendships and warm camaraderie are forged between and among the runners. And even when there’s almost nothing left, no one fails to share of what is there to share, no matter how small. Just when you need a hand, a good Samaritan comes along to make you get back on your feet again.

The thin morning air feels like a razor slitting down your air pipes with each breath creating a cloud of fog as you let out a gust of air from your lungs. Midday comes and the sun rays are burning your skin. It’s becoming more humid by the minute that makes you jump for joy at the sight of a running fresh spring water, or a fresh coconut water that a vendor sells right off his wooden push cart.

As the race progresses, the energy that was at its highest during the early part has started to wane. But runners have their built-in ultra-stimulant. They take turns in giving each other a push to keep going.

My finisher's trophy after crossing the finish line at the 5th Bataan Death March (2013). Photo Credit: Phillip BF Photography

My finisher’s trophy after crossing the finish line at the 5th Bataan Death March (2013).
Photo Credit: Phillip BF Photography

In ultramarathons, cliché as it may seem, but there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing yourself cross the finish line.

And behind our success and triumphs as ultramarathoners are our support teams who have selflessly accepted the tedious and challenging tasks of making sure we stay properly hydrated and nourished, well pampered, and always in high spirits.

Ayala Triads contingent at the 2013 T2K, with members of support team Coach Zaldy and Fiona.

Ayala Triads contingent at the 2013 T2K, with members of support team Coach Zaldy and Fiona. Photo Credit: Aquizzed Snaps Photography

Ultramarathons are a way for us to see how far we can go, and how further we can get to, know our limits and even surpass them. They help us see more of ourselves – know are weaknesses and what we are capable of. They help us realise that there’s so much more to gain than what we have paid for. They teach us how to make the most beautiful smile amidst the excruciating pain. They show us that life is still and will always be full of surprises. And more than the distance, the medal, the trophy and the finisher’s shirt, they give us one big reason to live despite the difficulties in life.

Ultramarathons. When runners can’t get enough.

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2 Responses to Ultramarathon: When Runners Can’t Get Enough

  1. Zalds says:

    Reblogged this on Runner 205.

    Like

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