Ultra Marathons: Ultra Crazy?

Roughly the length of the Keys 100 Run

An “ultra marathon” is generally described as any race longer than the traditional, or “normal” marathon distance of 26.2 miles. I have decided that I will do the New York Marathon in 2012. I gave up my spot in 2011 due to knee surgery and then not having enough time to train. I realize that running even one marathon is a bit crazy, but it is something I will do just to prove to myself that I can do it and survive, preferably with my toenails intact.

But this weekend was the Keys 100. This is a hundred mile race (there is also a 50 mile option, as well as a six person relay team option) from Key Largo (or Marathon, for the 50-milers – we really should re-name Marathon “Ultra Marathon”) to Key West. One hundred miles of Overseas Highway. On a good day, in a car that would take two-plus hours.

This weekend was particularly hot, so I would have trouble running a couple of miles, let alone 100. I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t have this race when there is a chance of it being cool out.

Running 100 miles takes a long time. In 2009 the winner of the race ran for sixteen and a half hours. In 2010, a the best time for a woman was eighteen hours and thirty seven minutes. Eighteen hours. Straight. Running.

It looks like about 45 people finished this year’s 100 mile race, which started at 6:10AM on Saturday. That means the first person that finished was coming in to key west about midnight, while the last people to finish were coming in about 1PM on Sunday afternoon.

While I admire that kind of stick-to-it-ness, and the ability to not care if you have toenails, I can’t say it is something I would be interested in ever doing. Should I change lose my mind and decide to do something this crazy, please reference this post and remind me that I am nuts and do not have the patience to anything of the sort, and that I really like getting pedicures.

What is the craziest sport/athletic thing you have done? I’d love to hear about it. I’d also love to hear from any ultra-runners.

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