10. Best of All Worlds - It combines my three favorite things: Running, being in "The Woods", and Eating!
9. Nutrition, Hydration, Electrolytes - It's more than just running. You ultimately have to manage these things well in order to do your best. But, if you can have this element "dialed in", on any given day you have the ability to beat The Best, when they don't. I hate NASCAR, but I love that element.
8. "Youth"! - In a sport where the average competitor is 40+, It's fun to be "the young guy" again! :D
7. Resiliency (& Forgiveness) - The ability to run a hard 50M race, then be able to come back the next day and run an "easy 14" without consequence.
6. Race Reports - In what other sport does the individual competitor provide their blow-by-blow account? It's a fascinating perspective into their race; even more so if you were right next to them for it!
5. Sustainability - of pace, of training, of The Body. Success - both short and long-term - in ultra running depends on sustainability. Of the stride, of fueling, of training. To learn sustainability is to learn to love the feel of effortless running; sometime relearning, for some, learning for the first time.
4. Race Dynamics - the marathon comes close, but only in ultra running can you be at death's door and be Resurrected. The ability of both body and spirit to "turn the tide" makes the battle - of the competition, and of Self - so rewarding. And it's a microcosm of life.
3. It's a "Pure Sport" - challenging oneself, and challenging your competitor by giving them your best. Your best is achieved only through your competitor giving their best.
2. Mentorship & Stewardship - having guys like LB and AJW - who are not only mentors to us "young road guys", but models for stewardship - of the competition, and of the arena - and of the competitive spirit. Seeing and hearing them battle at AR50 last week, then the bantor and camraderie afterwards, was one of the highlights of last weekend. And lest we forget The Queen - who teaches all of us that you don't have to be 20 years old and a guy to be a fiery competitor!
1. The Camaraderie & Community - pre-race, post-race and in-between. Top guys hanging at the finish to ask us middlers how it went; and the post-race festivities. The true spirit of running, as a sport, is through community - of communal sacrifice, support, and celebration.