Yeah, but Can Your Honor Student Run an Ultra???
It’s election season here in the good old U.S. of A. Which means no rear bumper is safe from being plastered in bumper stickers supporting a certain candidate or cause. But camp out at a trail race or pull into the parking lot at any race expo, and you’ll see cars bedecked in an array of bumper stickers and magnets showing nothing more than a number. You’ve probably driven by them. 26.2, 13.1, 140.3. What do those numbers mean? Just a hint, 100K has nothing to do with their yearly income. Those stickers are like badges of honor to runners and triathletes. As we conquer a new distance, we find a few bare inches on which to advertise our latest achievement. Here’s your non-runner (and tri) guide to deciphering those cryptic numbers.
The 5k. To be tricky, they may also have a sticker that says 3.1 (as in miles). Life would be so much easier if it were metric
10k or kilometers. 6.2 miles to us Americans
The half marathon
The marathon. If you have ever been laughed at for asking how many miles that marathon was to a runner friend, this is why. All marathons are 26.2 miles. If they aren’t someone really screwed up when marking the course.
They have run an ultramarathon. This is any race distance longer than 26.2 miles. Maybe it was a 50k or maybe than ran 100+ miles in an endurance challenge. Who cares? They’re still pretty bad ass.
50k, usually the shortest of the ultra marathons. This is about 31 miles, although for a trail 50k, you may end up a few miles short or long. But who’s counting?
50 miles, not to be confused with the 50k.
100k or roughly 62.5 miles
100 miles. Once again, do not make the mistake of mixing it up with a 100k
Other running accomplishments:
They did the Goofy Challenge at Walt Disney World. These crazy folks run a half on Saturday and then follow it up with a full marathon on Sunday. 13.1 + 26.2 = 39.3
Rim2Rim2Rim. These are some crazy MFers! Not a race, but a challenge, these runners have taken on the Grand Canyon and made it out alive. Running down into the canyon from one rim, up the other side, and back down and up again, this is a 43-48mile challenge with about 11,000ft in altitude change. Not a run to be taken lightly.
They run (and bike and swim)
No they are not into kinky sex (ok, they may be, but that has nothing to do with this sticker). They are a triathlete. If running wasn’t enough, they like to throw in a little bike ride and swim for fun.
The Half Ironman. 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of biking, and 13.1 miles of running. Good times.
You’re messing with an Ironman. 2.4 mile swim, 112 mi bike, and then they finish things off with a full marathon (26.2 mi). Yeah, you don’t want to screw around with this BAMF