Issues Facing our Sport


If you’re reading this you probably love ultrarunning. The challenge, the fitness, the lifestyle. The process of setting big goals and accomplishing huge things – and learning so much on the journey. And, of course, the best part is our entire community and its we’re-all-in-this-together ethos.

But as with everything, even good things, there are issues. And in ultrarunning we gots plenty: Long-odds lotteries for race entry, access to public lands, commercialization of the sport, gender equality, performance enhancing drugs, overtraining syndrome/burnout, too much growth, loss of culture, escalating costs of participation, central organizing bodies over-reaching and under-committing – the list goes on and on.

Issues are inevitable, but what is important is that the sport’s participants engage in the debate with open communication and a genuine commitment to understand and respect other’s opinions and points of view. In our digital age this is facilitated by online media such as iRunFar and the numerous podcasts (Trail Runner Nation and Ultrarunner Podcast are two great ones) and blogs that are all driven by a passion for the sport. And, of course, there is social media as a forum for discussing issues too. The more we all communicate –
which entails advocating our thoughts as well as listening to others – the better ultrarunning’s future will be. With so much active engagement I think we are navigating the issues just fine.

At UltraRunning our core mission is to see the sport grow while preserving its culture. And we celebrate and advocate for all ultrarunners – new, young, old, fast, slow and in-between. When it comes to issues we look at them from the point of view of what is best for the sport and for ultrarunners. We see our role as providing truthful and accurate information, and our pages as a platform for expressing diverse opinions and viewpoints. Our best content comes from you – members of our community.

In this issue, ultrarunner Traci Falbo has prepared a thorough overview of a central organizing body of our sport – the Mountain, Ultra, Trail (MUT) Council within USA Track and Field (USATF). Don’t miss her article, which highlights and discusses many important issues. The better informed and engaged we all are on these matters, the greater our future will be.

Let us know what you think, and may your every run be a great one.


About Author

Karl Hoagland has been the Publisher of UltraRunning Magazine since June, 2013. Hoagland is a former investment banker and hotel entrepreneur, having worked at Goldman Sachs, Montgomery Securities and Larkspur Hotels & Restaurants after graduating from Brown University in 1987. Since running the Quad Dipsea in 2003 Hoagland has been obsessed with ultrarunning and everything about it, especially the community and new friendships he’s made. Karl especially likes to take on challenges and strive for improvement. Ultrarunning is the perfect platform for such endeavors, and his big goals are to encourage others and help the sport grow.

1 Comment

  1. Nice article. I’m really interested to hear people’s opinions on the advantages and disadvantages of commercialisation in ultrarunning. What does everyone think is a core set of values for the sport? Would some people object to that last question?