My friend Tony asked me on a run recently how long I planned on running ultras and what drove me to do them. He runs ultras as well, as do many of our friends. I think many of us would point to the love of running trails and the friends we get to run with as the primary reasons we do what we do. For me, it is a combination of several things. First, I love trails and the scenery they provide. Put me on a mountain trail, and I guarantee my mood will improve. There is something about trails and mountains that just lights a fire within me. Second, I am lucky enough to have an unbelievably fantastic group of friends to run with. On any given day, I can find someone who is willing to join me for a run. Our group is awesome. Having friends like I have makes running feel easy. In addition to these factors, I love the challenge (both physical and mental) of running ultras. As I’ve said before, ultras are a great metaphor for life. You will have many highs and a few lows. Generally, if you can wait out the bad patches, things will get better. Finishing an ultra gives me the confidence to tackle almost anything. I always feel great (although the body may disagree) after finishing a race.
So, back to Tony’s question about how long I intend on running ultras. My answer – as long as my body allows me to do it and as long as the enjoyment is there. Frankly, I don’t see an end in sight. I’m having a blast doing what I’m doing and have no desire to stop. I love my friends, I love the trails, and I love the ultra community.