The impressive thing about ultrarunners is their ability to push beyond pain and still perform at a high level. We’ve all got that in us to varying degrees, but it’s how far and how willing you are to go that makes the difference.
For a new runner, that last tenth of a mile in a 5K may feel like an insurmountable challenge, but he or she will push through, finish and feel great. An ultrarunner will do the same thing, but it’s obviously on a much different playing field.
Whatever your ability, there are challenges to be had. Not everyone can do what Junyong Pak or any of these many other amazing runners can do — and not everyone should. It’s not for everyone. I have no desire to do what ultrarunners do, but I certainly enjoy reading about their exploits.
A big part of running is realizing your limitations and figuring out how far you can go beyond them. I’ve stopped running marathons because of injury, but I’m still running regularly and (mostly) enjoying it.
My next big challenge will be the Around Cape Ann 25K in Gloucester on Labor Day, an extremely hilly race I did a decade ago and swore I would never do again. A few weeks after that, I’ll run in the Reach the Beach Relay in New Hampshire, a 24-hour, 200-mile event, and the day afterward, the Lone Gull 10K.
That’s about as crazy as my running gets. It’s not much for an ultrarunner, but it works for me.
Starts and stops:
Celebrate Father’s Day with the annual Rockport Father’s Day Road Race, an event featuring a 5K and 10K taking place this Sunday at 9 a.m. at Rockport High School. Part of the North Shore YMCA Road Race Series, all of the race proceeds go to the Cape Ann YMCA. Visit www.northshoreymca.org/programs/healthy-living/road-races/ for more information.