Took A Poll: Ultra Marathoner

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Over the weekend I took a poll.

QUESTION: If you walk AN ENTIRE 50k, can you call yourself an Ultra Marathoner?

This is something that has been boggling my mind for some time.  I think some people misunderstood the question as if you walk at all, but that is not what was meant.  This question was all about if you literally walk the whole thing. But anyways, I asked, and you answered with some shockingly surprising answers.  Shall we start with the positive first, because that’s always a good thing, right?


FOR THOSE THAT ANSWERED YES…..

“Yes, but no good runner should keep the volunteers out there that long.”

“I would say I DID an ultra, but I didn’t RUN it.”

“People walk every distance, so sure.”

“As long as you finish in the time limit.
I know a fair few folks that do multi-day races and they never run a step and still cover way more mileage than me in the same event.
I’ve done many 50k’s and as a mere mortal, in ultras, I walk the ups and run the downs and flats.Ultras aren’t tied to that hackneyed pablum of “if you walk you didn’t do it!”
I’ve been doing ultras for over 20 years and i can tell you, at some point everybody walks.”

“50k is 50k no matter how fast you do it.”

“Absolutely.  I don’t know where the premonition came that someone can’t walk during a half, full, 5k, or ultra.  What about Jeff Galloway?  Is he not a “real runner”.


Let’s talk about Jeff Galloway for a minute.  He introduced the RUN, walk, RUN training method.  Again, the question for this poll was about WALKING THE ENTIRE race, not using the interval method to see you to the finish.  The run, walk, run method was mentioned in other responses too.

“If you run/walk that is fine, and some walking is fine, but walking the entire ultra seems kind of pointless.”


FOR THOSE THAT ANSWERED NO…..

“If you walked a marathon, you can’t say I ran a marathon.”

“It’s mocking the sport.  A lazy approach.  Why even sign up?”

“You did an ultra, but you can’t say you are an ultra marathoner.”

“No, ultra walker.”

“Great question! Tough one. I think if you walk any distance race, you should call yourself whatever you want, but indicate that you walked.  The racer in me says “NO!”, but the other side loves that you moved.”

“If you are honest about your time/pace, then maybe. But, it’s really hard to call yourself an ultra marathoner when you walked it. It’s a running sport, not a walking sport.”

“Historically, marathon cut off time are around 6:30- 14:52/mile.  In military, the standard for a Ruck March (12 miles) is 3 hours-15:00/mile, except you have 35-65 lb gear.  Walking the whole way doesn’t count. Once you get slower than 15:00/miles you’re not really racing, you’re just participating.  It degrades the integrity of the race.


So there you have it.  I asked. You answered. Now bring  on the debate.  This was so 50/50 and unexpected.  If you did not get to answer, or after reading this you now have thoughts, please feel free to share.

QUESTION: If you walk AN ENTIRE 50k, can you call yourself an Ultra Marathoner?

 

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One thought on “Took A Poll: Ultra Marathoner

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  1. 1st, I’d like to note that I haven’t been a runner in years, so I do not have expertise, rather my opinion. When it comes to events/races, I always get emotional. I used to work triathlon events for a few years. I, along with a lot of my fellow workers, were always so inspired. I remember clearly on more than one occasion getting emotional at the stragglers…the walkers who didn’t think they could do it, the first timers, the older generation etc…I didnt mind waiting for them to finish. We would all cheer them along. I get the more elite althetes saying you can’t walk to be labeled as such an athlete, although as a person who has pushed themselves hard to do some of these races & at my best was one of those stragglers, I disagree with them. They may not have come in top anything in the competing aspect, but they accomplished a goal by crossing that finish line. If you’ve ever seen or felt the emotions of that accomplishment, it becomes a lot easier to understand the point of view that even as a walker, you still completed the race! ❤

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