You know you are an Ultra Runner when… ?

I asked the question on Facebook and I got an incredible response. In actual fact, the answers keep coming in, so, I will try to add and update on a regular basis.

But here goes… ‘You know you are an Ultra Runner when… ?’

Look at some of the names who have posted too. A few Talk Ultra interviewees crop up.


Holly Rush you consider running to your friend’s house for lunch and she lives 30 miles away…

Carl Wibberley A marathon is a training run.

Ben Wittenberg You sell your road bike to buy a Fenix gps.

Wayne Sylvester 26.2 sounds like an aid station.

George Knights you can count your toenails on one hand.

Chris Beaven You’re diagnosed with atrial fibrillation…

Ceri Careful Roberts When you’ve vomited all over yourself, then get going again.

Dave Douglas One minute you swear you’ll never do it again, the next your’e looking at a bigger challenge!

Brock Currie Instead of memorizing what street you need to turn right on, you need to remember what city the street is in.

Nick Molina half of the dishes you take out of your dishwasher are water bottles.

Todd Fultz When you substitute (in conversation) hours ran, instead of miles ran…..

Scott Harris you take the time to read all the comments nodding approvingly at each one.

Carter Swampy You have wiped with a $15 pair of socks.


Karin Walder when you Change your Garmin to a Suunto because the Garmin only lasts 8 hours.

Tony Villano When you’re reading posts from Talk Ultra.

BE Murphy The length of the Adelaide Hills just because it is beautiful…

Sam Robson How do you know you’re an ultra runner and not a trail runner though? Or a mountain runner? Or a mountain trail runner? Or a…

Scott W. Kummer When duct tape becomes an option!

Sarah Girard Am I an ultra runner when I think of running through nature for 100 km as romantic and beautiful? I have never done more than 46km though.

Иван Димитров when… you run a mountain 100k, then hop on a mountain bike and do the route a second time in hope to make it to the cut-off time…

Gary Robbins You spend three hours listening to a podcast about ultra running…entirely while running…and it wasn’t even your long run.

Catra Corbett waking up at 3am and thinking you have to get ready to run a 100 miler. Realizing you don’t have another race for 3 weeks. LOL.

Nige Webber When you injure yourself and are told not to run for 2 weeks and you interpret that as one week.

Paul PT McCleery When you have to repeat the distance of your next race to everyone !

Jeffrey Wong you take pictures of your disgusting feet and then post them on Facebook: proudly!

James Short Your long run involves a train ride to get home.

Jeremy Spainhour That moment you realize you know more about running injuries than your PT… and you stop going to him.

Tammy Clauser Wuerth When you feel like you’re like giving birth to a baby. Then you say you will never do it again …but after a short break and a little foreplay you are ready to do it all over again:-)

Adam Lloyd When you need 3 shits in one race.

Dreama Lehman when you are not even sore after putting a 90 mile week in!

Russell Thomas when you go to bed before the dog!

Todd Fultz When you find yourself after 4-5 hours running singing to the trees, & every now then you swear something’s singing back!

Helen MacDermott Peeing in a toilet seems … unnatural.

Francis Pardo 1. You are signed up for more than one ultra at any given time. 2. When you think of a race and say: that’s equal to “x” number of marathons.

Ed Kumar When a dark moment lasts 20k or more and you’re fine with it.

Majo Majo You have more shoes than your girlfriend.

Chris Bair When there is no such thing as too much.

Johannes Kind When you run the last 20K on a sprained ankle.

Steve Blythe You check Talk Ultra on FB when you’re out with your wife!

David Mould 26.2 miles is speed work.

Tim Steele Your race outlasts your Garmin and two sets of headlamp batteries.

Ben Brindley When you decide running dusk till dawn is a great idea.

Darren Hutchings People say there’s something wrong with you.

Tim Steele You have more difficulty with the taper than with the race.

Neisa Condemaita When you apply super glue to your blisters so you can keep running.

Paul Beck a 4+ hour training run is your weekly long run, followed up by 2+ hours the next day.

Matthias Kodym you peel off the skin from your heels and think about the next run.

Scott W. Kummer you utter the words “only a 50”!

Paul Wathan you pick 210km with 14,000ft of elevation gain in a race to complete as your first distance over the marathon! 

Mike Saporito 3-4 hour runs are recovery runs.

Mark Connolly You are injured.

Marissa Harris Only a 50 miler, It’s just a day race!

Steve Perkins You finish your first 50 miler then go home to sign up for a 100.

Martin Bell You just keep going!

Dat Le 50K’s become training runs for 100 milers.

Kate Driskell You enter a 50km race 3 weeks before the race, having done no specific training for anything in the last 5 months, having not run further than 9km in the last  five months, have never run a marathon by itself ever, run the race, start at the back and pass half of the field of athletes in the last 5km of the race and run at pretty much the same pace through the whole 50km. Then enter an 80km race in 6 months time to have something to do after you get all of those pesky triathlons out of the way (they’re cross-training anyway, right?).

Steel Town Runner …the Barkley Marathons doesn’t seem like such a crazy idea!


Running through the pain

Inactivity would normally have me climbing the walls. Irritable and just ‘out of sorts’. A daily fix of exercise not only eases the mind but it most definitely does provide energy, be that physical or mental. I’m an addictive sort of person and since I got into sport seriously some 25 years ago, the need to fulfil the endorphin rush has been something I just can’t avoid.

In my early cycling days getting up at 5 or 6 am to cycle 30-50 miles before work and then do the same after work seemed ‘normal’. In actual fact, in season I would also do a mid week race and more than likely a race at weekend. When I gave up cycling in 2002 I guess I was pretty much burnt out both physically and mentally. Working 10-12 hours days and then adding 2 bike rides just meant that life was out of balance. Twelve months of RnR and a variety of sports allowed me to move into Triathlon. Of course it was meant to be fun (and it was) but that OCD kicked in and before long I was training twice a day and even sometimes three times a day, working full time and trying to be around for my family. I represented GB for Duathlon at the 2005 Worlds in Australia and went on to do multiple Ironman races.

In 2007 I was reading a book whilst relaxing on a beach in France. Another busy season behind me I had decided I need something new. Something challenging. Little did I know that ultra running would be what lay ahead. Running had been something I hated. It was triathlon that had opened up my mind to the sport but even then cycling was my ‘sport’. In a Duathlon or Triathlon I would nail the bike and survive the run. What I always liked with endurance sport is the element of unknown. The fear of not finishing. When I stood on the start line of an Ironman in 2007 I was sure I would finish. From that moment on I realised a new challenge awaited. Dean Karnazes provided that new challenge. Little did I know that reading ‘Confessions of an all night runner’ would lead to the passion I now have for ultra running.

The ‘fear’ has never gone away. I never stand on an ultra marathon start line complacent or assuming a finish. Running is brutal. It tires the body, it hurts the body and it fatigues the body like no other sport. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative. It’s what makes the sport great. The ability to overcome and succeed. I am not a great runner. Never have been and never will be. I can however perform well at Age Group level and I have had some successes but I know my place. Does that matter? Of course not. What’s important is taking part and achieving goals or targets. I met my partner, Niandi, through running and we have both had great pleasure travelling and racing with a common bond. I have had so many fantastic run experiences. I have made some incredible friends and I have witnessed and experienced new places. I have cried through personal joy and pain and I have cried at others joy and pain.

In 2011 I wanted to somehow pass on this passion. My good friends Tom Wiliams and Martin Yelling had started a podcast in 2010 called Marathon Talk. For this show I had helped them out with interviews in the ultra world. As 2011 progressed I knew that an ultra running podcast was just what the community needed. I was aware that other podcasts existed but they had a similar format. A little chat, an interview and then goodbye. I wanted to create an audio magazine. Something with variety, a longer show that could be taken on long runs but ultimately a show that expressed a deep passion for our sport at the grass roots and elite level. Talk Ultra was created.

Fast forward to September 2012. In the last month I have been to Sierre Zinal, Trofeo Kima and just last weekend UTMB to cover the race for Vibram. The sport is now rewarding me with experiences of a completely different nature. I am now reporting on, writing about, photographing and mixing with the stars of the race circuit and a world I love. Just one year ago I would never have thought this possible. But I guess the OCD I have that I brought to my own personal running is now being brought to the sport in a completely different channel and I am being rewarded.

The downside of all this is that my own personal running has taken a step back. Running twice a day has just not been possible. In actual fact, sometimes running just once a day can be a challenge. Ironically, my usual bomb proof physique and lack of injury over 25 years in sport has now all come to a head. Earlier this year I was getting some knee pain. I knew from experience that it wasn’t the ‘knees’ but more everything that connected to the knees. I typically tell all my coaching clients ‘get it sorted, don’t mess about’. Of course like a true Pro I did exactly the opposite… Just finding the time to see my Physio didn’t seem possible. Of course after months of running and racing with an element of discomfort all came to a head and after running the Lakeland 50 I finally had some tests done. As expected, the knees are feeling the pain but the problems are elsewhere. Core and some muscle imbalance are at the root of the problem. All helped by increasing sitting editing and recording a podcast. How ironic!

Anyway, back to the start. I am 16 days cold turkey. I have missed my runs but because of the connection to the sport through the podcast, writing and photography I haven’t missed it ‘that much’. I remain confident that all will come good and I will be back on the trails soon. But I have a new perspective. The joy of running, the joy of being on the trails and the joy of being in the mountains with wide open and empty vistas are what appeals. This all became completely apparent when I did 5 hours on trails with Salomon runner, Linda Doke at the Glacier de Zinal. We had the most incredible time running, chatting, taking photos and enjoying the trails for what they are; an escape!

I will always want that escape. If the escape is following and reporting the sport from the side of the trail, so be it.

Don’t rule me out yet though. One way or the other I will carve a niche on trails. It may just be in my own time at my own pace. I can live with that!