Stranded on a Desert Island

Stranded on a Desert Island

Written By George CallahanIt's a silly, simple question. No, it's more than that. It's a question that has tugged at my mind, manipulated my intentions, and directed my actions for a long time. I'm not here to crowd-please or coddle the spaces of others, but the...

Comfort Is A Lie

Comfort Is A Lie

Written By George CallahanThe man looks around at his life. Not much to worry about. Not a lot of sweat. No real adversity. "Perfect," he thinks. "I'm comfortable." Isn't life supposed to be this way? Free of pain. Free from worry. Free from adversity. This must be...

3 Lessons of a 100 Mile DNF

3 Lessons of a 100 Mile DNF

Written By George CallahanI was 8 minutes shy of the 30-hour cut off. It was not how I imagined finishing my first 100 mile ultra marathon. I pictured gritting my teeth, conquering, and smiling across the finish line of that point-to-point race from Cleveland to...

The Pain Cave: You’re On Stage

The Pain Cave: You’re On Stage

Written By George CallahanYou've been there, or heard other runners talk about it. Eighty miles in, chopping away at the distance, trudging uphill and falling downhill toward a distant finish line. Feet aching, knees swollen, hamstrings twitching into a cramp. The...

Bleed For It

Bleed For It

Written By George Callahan It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and watch it all go by. I’ve done it. You’ve done it. People around you and I do it every single day. There it goes, right now, while you read this. What is it? What is all this going by? Opportunity. Not...

Why Run An Ultra Marathon? The Taller Peak…

Why Run An Ultra Marathon? The Taller Peak…

Written By George CallahanI know what it's like to fall asleep while running. I've rested my hands on my knees as I trudged up a rugged trail, 90 miles from the starting line, wondering where the race had gone wrong. Stumbling over roots and rocks in the dark, I...

White Knuckles

White Knuckles

Written By George CallahanThe blue sky turned grey, the concrete turned to ice, and our wandering eyes, exploring the Virginia mountainsides, turned to the road. The snow fell in clumps and the temperature dropped; the higher our four wheels drove, the whiter my...

The Timing of Chaos

The Timing of Chaos

Written By George CallahanHumans instinctually amass resources. It’s hammered into our ancient DNA to acquire and protect. It’s hunger and thirst, wealth and ease; it’s each of these with a propensity to the stimulation of our mind’s reward—pleasure—centers. We’re...

Torture Your Faults

Torture Your Faults

Written By George CallahanMornings are hard. Cold weather is hard. Late nights are hard. Saying no to fun is hard. Nobody asked you to Be Your Own Culture, to chase something intangible and pursue an imagined ideal. You don't have to do whatever hard thing you're...

Don’t Uber Through Life: An Ultrarunner’s Reflection

Don’t Uber Through Life: An Ultrarunner’s Reflection

Written By George CallahanAt mile 70, I said I'm done. I didn't want to go on. The race hadn't gone the way I wanted, and my torched hip was bleeding doubts into my mind. My crew didn't argue, there was no thinking; it was "I'm done" and we were walking away from the...

My Dirty Hat

My Dirty Hat

Written By George Callahan“I thought about buying a new hat, a fresh and clean one, but it wouldn’t be the same. It’s my hat. It knows my struggles on the trail and my successes. I’ve trained and raced with it. It’s tasted sweat and dirt and lots of stream water on...

Motivation Is Not Real: Run Without It

Motivation Is Not Real: Run Without It

Written By George CallahanTo an outsider, the ultra marathon community appears to lean on motivation. To the outside world, motivation drives an ultra marathon runner to explore possibility, their own iron wills, and the limits of their bodies. Ultra marathon...

Ask Yourself One Question

Ask Yourself One Question

Written By George CallahanMost people, even many hardened by the pursuit of the experience and sensation that is ultra marathon running, lack fulfillment. What is fulfillment, anyway? I’ll let you answer that yourself; most people have a decent idea of what their...

So Long, And Thanks For The Suffering

So Long, And Thanks For The Suffering

Written By Michael MoranI chose to do this. Nobody forced me to run 50 miles. Pouring sweat into a paper cup of Gatorade three quarters of the way through the race, I felt like I was about to cave inward. The weight of the last few months, the heat, my wet and muddy...

Instinct For Meaning: My Journey to 100 Miles

Instinct For Meaning: My Journey to 100 Miles

Written By George CallahanMeaning is heavy. You’ve felt it. Haven’t you? It’s the highest good of your existence, that place where your passions and curiosities interact musically with the history and future of our world. A chill up your spine, tears in your eyes,...

Are Ultra Marathons Bad For You?

Are Ultra Marathons Bad For You?

Written By George Callahan "Boy, That's a Long Distance" I remember the first time someone asked if I ever wanted to run a marathon. My longest run to that point had probably been a lung-searing 5 miles. I set down the greasy pizza I was eating: "No way! Marathons are...

Shawn Livingston: Be Somebody’s Pacer

Shawn Livingston: Be Somebody’s Pacer

FREE "Be Somebody's Pacer " Sticker! No Credit Card Required!⬇️Read Below⬇️ about Be Somebody's Pacer  Written By George CallahanWoke The Monster “He’s a lazy, lying, lost, hopeless drug addict,” Shawn Livingston...

Ultra Runner Candice Burt: Read the Fine Print

Ultra Runner Candice Burt: Read the Fine Print

Written By George CallahanMile 92 When I reached mile 92 (shortly before the above picture was taken) of my first 100 mile race, the Burning River 100, I was told I wouldn’t finish. I was almost hoping to miss cut-offs by this point in the race, for someone to pull me...

Afraid to Run That Ultra Marathon?

Afraid to Run That Ultra Marathon?

Written By George CallahanWho Is Fear? Fear is a jester. He dances around the hall of greatness and mocks passersby, planting doubts and insecurities in the minds of those peeking in. He sings of their shortcomings; he jokes about their failures. His greatest trick is...

Creation Trail

Creation Trail

Written By George CallahanI smell the trees and taste the sun. Have you ever tasted the sun? The hairs on my arms stand at attention as a strange nostalgia envelops me. I haven’t been here before, but its like the ghost of every other explorer who’s helped to pack the...

Gravel

Gravel

Written By George Callahan Rugged shoes stand before a yellow gate; it reads: Those who know the song. “What song?” I wonder. I step from the parking lot and pass the yellow gate onto the crushed limestone of a logging trail. The trail is worn and rutted and damp, and...

Victims Die Slow

Victims Die Slow

Written By George CallahanCasting Call The Victim strolls through life, uninhibited by his own tragic state, unaware of the folly of his existence. When life goes well, he laughs and sings and is captivated by his circumstances. Life is glorious and wonderful; all is...

One Breath Of Air

One Breath Of Air

Written By George CallahanPeople fear what is inside them. I'm not asking you, I'm telling you. You probably fear what is inside you. All of your hopes and dreams, your wildest ambitions and most profound daydreams, the talents and skills and experiences you possess,...

Grounded By Home Trails

Grounded By Home Trails

Written By Michael MoranI’m not lost. I’m grinding to the top of a pine-lined logging road, only 2 miles from the trail head and I know exactly where I am. I’m not a thousand miles away, reading an upside down topo map tea stained with sweat, wondering if I have...

Let’s Cut Back On Tolerance

Let’s Cut Back On Tolerance

Written By George CallahanThere are moments in a person’s life when he or she says, “Why am I tolerating this?” He knows he deserves better treatment at work; his skills are undervalued and underutilized. She sees her care and affection wasted in an emotionally absent...

Be Your Own Culture

Be Your Own Culture

Written By George CallahanWhen a person embraces mediocrity and settles into a complacent existence, he or she admits an unpreparedness for life and an unwillingness to reach the highest fulfillment of his or her time on Earth. This person lives in the culture of the...

Cape Cod 50K: A High Five and a Seashell

Cape Cod 50K: A High Five and a Seashell

Written By Michael MoranCape Cod 50K: A High Five and a Seashell By the time I reached mile 28 of the Cape Cod 50k, I had already gone cosmic. I fell on a root, experienced a full body charlie horse, got up, smiled with deep satisfaction, and held my arms out by my...

Barbed Wire

Barbed Wire

Written By Scott WaldropScott is the Road Runner's Club of America's North Carolina State Representative, an RRCA and New Balance Raleigh Run Coach, and is one of 22 ambassadors for The Herren Project, an organization with the mission to support, inspire, and empower...

Synthetic Trance

Synthetic Trance

Written By Erik Hamilton Back in my day --because all good stories begin this way-- I was a child of the 80's. I wanted it all: the loudest guitars, the longest and biggest hair, the fastest car. Too young to have any of this, I was glued to my drum set, Lego bricks,...

Training and Expectations

Training and Expectations

Written By George CallahanMost people running their first, or second, or third ultra marathon carry expectations into the race. They had training expectations; they planned the miles and hours they'd have to train, running and strengthening and stretching their way to...

My Top 3 Ultra Marathon Tips [Mental Hacks]

My Top 3 Ultra Marathon Tips [Mental Hacks]

Written By George CallahanMy Three Tips and Tricks for ultra marathoners The top three Tips and Tricks I used in the beginning of my ultra marathon running journey, the three Mind Hacks that led me to my first 100 mile finish, my first 50 mile victory, and conquering...

My First DNF: Umstead 100

My First DNF: Umstead 100

Written By George CallahanUmstead 100, My First DNF: Excuses I'm not one for dramatizing a DNF, let alone my first DNF, so I'll get right to it. My first DNF came at the Umstead 100 Mile Endurance Run on April 6th, 2019 not because I wasn't physically prepared, or I...

You DNF Months Before Your Race

You DNF Months Before Your Race

Written By George CallahanWhen you toe the line for your first ultra marathon, or any race after, there will be someone running with you that no one else can see. His bib has no number. It simply reads "DNF." He's right there when you start the long journey down the...

Run 100 Miles With No Pain

Run 100 Miles With No Pain

Written By George CallahanIf a person hasn't experienced physical pain in union with mental and emotional pain, an ultra marathon could be a worthwhile lesson in pain management. What is pain? A physical sensation? An emotional state? A mental yearning for comfort?...

Bel Monte 50 Mile Race Report

Bel Monte 50 Mile Race Report

Written By George CallahanWe didn't expect snow, and we didn't expect my sister's SUV to be anything less than AWD, but (just like an ultra marathon) weather in the mountains of Virginia is fast-changing and can be hard to predict. My first mountain ultra marathon,...

5 Things Your First Ultra Will Teach You

5 Things Your First Ultra Will Teach You

Written By George CallahanYou've signed up. You've decided the Wicked Trail is meant for you; you want to experience your first ultra marathon and all the joy that comes with conquering, and the eradication of complacency that comes with the pain. Are you ready? Have...

Light 2 Light 50 Race Report

Light 2 Light 50 Race Report

Written By George CallahanUltra marathon running isn't about winning, unless it is. Ultra marathon running is subjective; a person's journey through the darkness, down the Wicked Trail, is driven by his or her own passions, fears, and desires. This journey into pain...

Light 2 Light 50: One Week Out

Light 2 Light 50: One Week Out

Written By George CallahanMy third ultra marathon, in my home state of North Carolina, has nearly arrived. The Light 2 Light 50 Miler will take place one week from today; I haven't run an ultra marathon since my 29-hour Burning River 100 nightmare in July, six whole...

3 Reasons To Practice Fasted Running

3 Reasons To Practice Fasted Running

Written By George CallahanFasted Running: Welcome to the Wicked Trail For thirteen miles, I felt invincible. During the final three miles, I wasn't sure I'd finish. I felt like I did near the end of my first 100 mile race, of course with much less lower body-body...

The Best Ultra Marathons Aren’t What You Think

The Best Ultra Marathons Aren’t What You Think

Written By George Callahan"What's the best ultra marathon?" Is it the most remote or adventurous like Marathon des Sables, the most challenging like Badwater or the H.U.R.T 100? Rather, is the best ultra marathon simply your first 100 miler, the one that breaks you...

Ultra Marathon DNF: Yes, You Failed [But It’s Ok]

Ultra Marathon DNF: Yes, You Failed [But It’s Ok]

Written By George CallahanMediocrityI was perusing some online ultra marathon running groups last weekend and came across a post about DNFs in ultra running. DNF stands for "Did Not Finish;" the participants name is not published and no belt buckle is awarded. The DNF...

Blame Yourself Blindly: Ultra Runner’s Mentality

Blame Yourself Blindly: Ultra Runner’s Mentality

Written By George CallahanThere are people in this life that are walled in. They're stuck in the parking lot, but they don't realize it. Over the wall, this wall that surrounds the parking lot, they can see mountaintops covered in tall trees. They see trails winding...

5 Ways to Be Your Own Culture

5 Ways to Be Your Own Culture

Written By George CallahanA Quick "Be Your Own Culture" Testimony"I decided to truly embrace this mantra, this mantra of the Wicked Trail, after I bought my husband one of your hats and saw how much he loved it. I wanted to be the inspiration for a renewal of his...

How Ultra Marathon Runners Find Time to Train

How Ultra Marathon Runners Find Time to Train

Written By George Callahan"I'd love to sign up for an ultra marathon! I just can't find the time to train or be away from my responsibilities. It's just not for someone like me." Find the time.  Where are you looking for time? Early in the mornings and late at night?...

Zero-Drop Shoe Transition

Zero-Drop Shoe Transition

Written By George CallahanI ran my first marathon in Brooks Glycerin 15s. I ran my first ultra marathon in Brooks Glycerin 15s. I ran my first 100 mile race in Brooks Glycerin 15s. Each of these three races were within 5 months of each other. Moral of the story: I...

Patience: Why Ultra Marathon Runners Need It

Patience: Why Ultra Marathon Runners Need It

Written By George CallahanUltra Marathon Patience, or lack thereof... You seek excellence and pursue challenge; your goals and passions breathe life into your days. Any bystander would say you have WHAT IT TAKES to run an ultra marathon. Is there anything missing?...

Become An Ultra Runner: The First Step

Become An Ultra Runner: The First Step

Written By George CallahanImitiation I have a quick story to share that will frame the main point I'll make about becoming an ultra runner. This story starts long before my first ultra marathon, long before I'd run 50 and 100 miles. I worked in a restaurant on a...

How to Run 100 Miles: Action

How to Run 100 Miles: Action

Written By George CallahanHow to Run 100 Miles. Hint: It's Easier Than You Think "People don't do that," I thought. "Nobody can run 100 miles! How do you run 100 miles?" When I first learned of ultra running, this was my initial reaction. Who what when where why and...

Dismantle Your Wall

Dismantle Your Wall

Written By George CallahanThe Wall. You've Hit It. Fatigue is the ultimate mental battleground. Your body is pulling one way and your tapering will is pulling another. Feelings against your goals: which comes out on top? Mile 5, or Mile 20, or Mile 80. Exhaustion, or...

“UltraRunners Are Crazy.” Or Maybe You Are…

“UltraRunners Are Crazy.” Or Maybe You Are…

Written By George Callahan"UltraRunners are crazy." He peers through the trees. "I don't see them." "They're out there, I saw them!" "Wait. Yes! I see them, too! Up that ridge; there! They're climbing the mountain, into the trees..." Wiping the condensation from his...

5 Ultra Marathon Workouts You’re Not Doing

5 Ultra Marathon Workouts You’re Not Doing

5 Ultra Marathon Workouts to challenge your mindThe following 5 ultra marathon workouts are not for the faint of heart. They're not for people who are new to fitness (although, scale accordingly and give them a try! Why not?). These workouts are designed for those who...

How NOT To Train: My First 100 Mile Run

How NOT To Train: My First 100 Mile Run

Written By George CallahanI can do this, I thought. Four months is plenty of time to train adequately for my first 100 mile ultra marathon...   When Planning Fails I signed up for my first 100 mile ultra marathon riding the high of having just finished my first...

Go Farther So You Can Go Further

Go Farther So You Can Go Further

Written By George CallahanOpinion and Visual The mantra of the ultra marathon runner: Go Farther So You Can Go Further. This idea holds little value to most; physical exertion is understood as punishment. It's painful. Physical training, all of the sweat and blood and...

You’ll Regret Not Running An Ultra Marathon

You’ll Regret Not Running An Ultra Marathon

Written By George CallahanRegret is a festering negativity, a self-blame for mistakes that have come and gone. Leave regret behind: run the ultra marathon. Do you fear the regrets that hide in the back of your mind? Do you refuse to look at them for fear the pain will...

The Mind of an Ultra Runner

The Mind of an Ultra Runner

Written By George CallahanThe Mind of an Ultra Runner Ultra marathons, these mythical beasts of endurance, are spoken of in hushed tones between crazy friends or coworkers, people who find peace in pain and loneliness. The mind of an ultra runner... I was stopped...

Ultra Marathon Training Groups Are Overrated

Ultra Marathon Training Groups Are Overrated

Written By George Callahan"I'm looking for an ultra marathon training group!" I can’t train alone; I don’t want to! I want someone there to push me, to encourage me, and to motivate me to keep moving. My training group, my training partner, supports me. I would never...

Burning River 100 Race Report: My Wicked Trail

Burning River 100 Race Report: My Wicked Trail

Written By George Callahan***Note: This race report represents the Burning River 100 as a point-to-point course, before it was changed in 2019. HOWEVER, this race report is about expectations, experience, and pain more than the course, so read on! Especially if this...

Tapering Before My First 100 Mile Ultra Marathon

Tapering Before My First 100 Mile Ultra Marathon

Written By George CallahanI’m tapering for my first 100-mile ultra marathon. Not only in the traditional sense… Tapering for an endurance race is expected. Moreover, tapering for an ultra marathon is encouraged. A taper is a reduction in training volume or intensity,...

Your First 100 Mile Race: Are You Ready?

Your First 100 Mile Race: Are You Ready?

Written By George CallahanYour First 100 Mile Race always comes with a lot of questions... “What’s your weekly mileage?” “Are you ready? “It’s going to take how long?” “Why would you ever do that to your body?” “I could never do that.” Not enough. Probably not. At...

Cowards Are Realistic

Cowards Are Realistic

Written By George CallahanThe Common ManBe realistic. Think of the consequences. Proceed with caution. Be like us. The common man wants you to live in a box, the box of culture and society. Stay inside the lines. No adversity, no pain, and no fear. Live like everyone...