The best race reports tell a story, and the best stories have drama. My son’s kindergarten teacher once sent home an outline for how to write a good story:
- Start with the setting and the characters.
- Identify and define a problem (or two).
- Discuss how the problems are experienced and dealt with.
It’s not exactly that simple, but if you hit those basic elements, you can tell a gripping story. Readers love it when the shit hits the fan.
If you had the perfect race, it can be tough to write a good story, but in those cases, if you let the reader into your head with a totally honest, un-hedged account of your experience, it can still work. Knowing what you went through—your innermost feelings and emotions—is always compelling. An account of the mile markers passed, the gel you had here and the salt tabs you took there before breaking the tape, not so much. I’ve been guilty of writing such prattle myself.
Or if you are a Race Director writing up the report, you can do better than just giving the “three W’s”—the weather, the winners and the wieners at the post-race barbecue.
Here at UltraRunning, we get all sorts of race reports, and they have always been a key part of the magazine. Amongst our team, we read and edit each one at least five times in all—so we really appreciate the good ones. The stories that entertain, inform and educate.
We want to bring the races alive for you, and inspire you to get out there and get after it yourself—to overcome challenges and have life-changing experiences you can only find at ultras. Nothing fits that bill like a great race report and photos.
We appreciate all the great reports that the community sends us, and without them we would be nowhere, so please keep them coming!
In this issue the race reports really deliver. In fact, we had so many great reports we decided to feature six of them—a New York City hundred miler, a 300-mile trek across Tennessee, a classic 135 miler through the desert, two grueling 100 milers in Southern California and a rugged 50k that traverses three distinct ski areas. Be sure to check them all out beginning on page 24.
We are also pairing two gear reviews in this issue—shoes and socks. Your feet should be plenty happy after you go to school on the latest and greatest in both of these categories.
Whether you are training to race your fastest ultra, or just hoping to have your funnest, our columnists have lots of good stuff for you this issue. They cover topics from going pro to just having fun out there, and the piles of miles in between.
May your every run be a great one.