The urban dictionary defines “more cowbell” as ‘an extra quality that will make something or someone better.’ My raceday cowbell was patience, and I needed a lot more of it, especially to see those changes through, even when they appeared to be ineffective midrace. We all have a cowbell we need more of in order to progress in running, and in life. What is yours?
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I have known Krissy, Hal, and numerous others through the sport, for many years, but the totality of our interactions would likely barely rate ‘acquaintance’ status in most other walks of life. Yet somehow whenever the trails of our lives do intersect, that limited time spent at the junction yields a sum of experience much greater than the timepieces would seem capable of producing.
The Lakeland 50, held in the Lake District of Cumbria, England, is a tough race. The first seven miles were undulating, but nothing too challenging. Then mile eight happened.
The line of ultrarunners that have come forward over the years to speak openly about their battles with depression is long and illustrious; and that darkness is often confusing when held against the light of their accomplishments and the boundless energy and enthusiasm permeating this sport. And it is impossible to ignore the implications; it seems no kind or amount of success or communal recognition affords illimitable immunity.
We’re all essentially on David Byrne’s road to nowhere, often wondering, ‘How did I get here?’ A choose your own adventure novel where we’re constantly being forced to decide which page to turn to before continuing a story of which we desperately want to sneak a final paragraph peek.
Seeing a DNF (did not finish) next to your name can be disheartening for a runner. For me it was my first 100-mile race, the H.U.R.T. 100, a race in the rainforest-plush mountains above Honolulu in January. After doing more of a death march than a run, I had to drop at mile 67. Little did I know the impact it would have on my life.
What sets El Camino de Lavaca apart from other ultra stage races is its cultural objective, specifically the “Painted Churches” around which the pilgrimage was planned. The point, according to John T. Sharp, its creator and director, is “existential discovery, historical appreciation, religious reflection and self-actualization.”
Friendly cows, a river crossing, navigating a beaver dam, does this experience sound like a pleasant Saturday? This and more were part and parcel of the third annual River’s Edge Ultra which snakes in and out of the North Saskatchewan River valley just west of Edmonton, Alberta.
The course of the 33rd annual Hunter S. Thompson Fear & Loathing 50-Mile, an ultramarathon that roughly follows 49-Mile Scenic Drive through the city streets of San Francisco. It starts and ends at Twin Peaks, one of the highest points in the city with stunning views. The only rule of this particular race is to “not get hit by a car”.
The Superior 100 Mile Trail Race was founded in 1991 and is one of ten original 100-mile trail races in the United States
At all of the White Oak Running Company races, the race directors want to focus on each runner’s experience and make sure that they have all they need to have their best day. The fourth running of the Patapsco Valley 50K was by far our best day.
The run-up to Oregon’s Mountain Lakes 100 was a roller coaster ride of wild fires, closed access roads, inaccessible trails, and the very real possibility that the race would be a no go.
My husband and photography partner Rick Mayo and I went our separate ways after the start of the Hawk Hundred, a 100- and 50-mile trail race hosted by the Lawrence Trail Hawks, to capture photographs of the runners in various states of suffering and euphoria.
Are you the kind of runner seeking races that run past flaming pieces of art, kissing booths, tutus, epic sunrises, dust storms, costumed dancers and people offering you champagne, rum, cigarettes and whiskey? If you answered YES, you belong at the Burning Man Ultramarathon.
Confucius say: “Man who moves mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” The mountain Sandra Villines moved was the female world record for the North American transcontinental run. That record had been immovably standing since 1978, when South African Mavis Hutchinson ran from Los Angeles to New York City in 69 days.
I’m not an ultrarunner; heck, I’m not really even a runner. I own the gym CrossFit Hyannis and most of my time is spent coaching and throwing around barbells, not throwing myself down mountains.