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Going the (Ultra) Distance

When I packed up my enormous backpack full of crappy gear and unpalatable food in the spring of 2003. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was that as my friends drove away from the Springer Mountain parking lot all that was left for me to do was to walk. And walk, and walk...across the country.
hike Pope


I’d never really backpacked before and had really only done a smattering of day hikes in the previous 2 years. As someone who had been sedentary and overweight her entire life the task ahead of me was almost unfathomable. But I had taken up running 6 months prior and had shed 40 lbs. I had gained the confidence that I could at least probably cover 10 miles or so a day. It turns out that I did much more than that. I completed the Appalachian Trail in 4 months and immediately began planning a thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail, a trail whose existence I hadn’t even known about prior to somewhere in Virginia. From the PCT I went on to thru-hike the Continental Divide Trail.
climb Robinson


With the Triple Crown under my belt I looked for new activities to keep me occupied, especially during the winter months. Running 8 or 9 miles at a time wasn’t really meeting that need to cover distance anymore...and that’s when I discovered ultra-running. Simply stated, an ultra-marathon is any race that is longer than the standard 26.2 miles of a marathon. However, there are other differences as well. Normally they take place on trails. While many are around 31 miles long, there are extremely long ultras that cover distances of 50 to 100 miles (or more).

Amazing! Be sure to read part two of this post

7 Responses to Going the (Ultra) Distance

  1. Glen K Van Peski November 6, 2014 at 10:05 pm #

    Anish – I haven’t yet completed a long trail, and am only at 50k ultras, but like you, I believe the backpacking and distance trail running complement each other. I dream of doing a 100-miler, I just don’t know if I have one in me as the years tick by.

  2. Brian Frankle November 7, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    If anyone has a 100 miler in them, its you Glen. A key element to running a 100 miler is simply a good attitude/optimistic outlook, and you have that in abundance.

  3. Steve Bremner (@yardbird1964) November 7, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    I’ve run over a 100 marathons and many many ultras, but I have yet to do a long distance trail. I hope to get started when I retire.

  4. Brian Peterson November 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

    Glen you have a 100 in you. You don’t know unless you try. Pull the trigger and register for one.

  5. Glen K Van Peski November 7, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

    Thanks Brians. I’ll keep working my way up. 55k in Moab this year, then work up to a 50 mile, see where it goes from there. Will NEVER be in Anish’s league, but that’s okay!

  6. FarWalker November 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

    Anish, thank you for sharing!

  7. Harriett Lane November 10, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    I love this post. Great Article Anish…thanks for sharing!

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