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Ultra Running Matters

ultra running matters blog post

Ultra Running Matters

If you like the deep concepts and thoughts of my ultra running blog posts, you might like to read the short, fantastical novels I’ve written. Tap here to check them out. There’s a couple affiliate links on this post. If you use them, Wicked Trail Running might earn a small commission.

I often wonder what things in life really matter. 

Work, profit, and accumulation seem so frivolous and wasteful at times. 

Technology is driving creativity and intellect to extinction. 

Reason and discussion are dead where most people engage in them—online. 

Abundant curiosity has been replaced by rampant attention-seeking. 

Patience is a rare commodity in such a have-it-my-way society. 

It is a truly special person that can reject it all: wasteful accumulation, technological obsession, online diatribe, the dopamine faucets that are social media, and ultimate and final preference of conditions. 

Who is that person? 

Can we ask them what things in life really matter? 

Can you and I be that person? 

I’m afraid of where many of us are, and what we’re not looking at: the void of insignificance summed up above. That’s what those modern illnesses point us to: a void of insignificance. 

You and I are in danger of being completely insignificant, if we allow our lives to revolve around all of those things (or any of those things). It is a dreary life whose surface-level desires and achievements are blasted on social media, who seeks a dopamine rush by work, profit, and accumulation. It is hardly a life at all whose curiosity and patience are rarely pondered and appreciated, engaged. 

There is something special about depth, private achievement, curiosity, creativity, and patience. 

I believe ultra runners are special, too. 

But can even an ultra marathon runner—a human who has leaned into the thorny hug of discomfort and fatigue—become un-special? 

Maybe it doesn’t matter. Maybe I’m thinking too hard about specialness. 

I’ve written before (and it’s one of my favorite Wicked Trail quotes): “You are not special. Earn it.” But I’m talking about a different kind of special. Rather than deserving and entitled to experience something, I mean special as in worth emulation. 

In that case, I think ultra runners are special. They are worth emulation. Anyone can benefit from that thorny, painful hug of discomfort and fatigue. Ultra running is adventuring up metaphorical mountains, curiosity about our capabilities inside fatigue and discomfort, and rejecting the easy death of unlimited comfort. It is nature, community, and effort. It is an example. It is a “silent campaign of long miles, heavy reps, and patience in discomfort.” 

There is little profit and accumulation in ultra running. We abandon technology at the starting line (except maybe my favorite watch) in favor of rugged adventure. We have real discussions with ourselves and other runners. We dispel reason and take a few more steps, even when the night is thick and hopeless. We’re purely curious and perfectly patient. 

Ultra runners are that special person. 

I believe it. 

It’s why I still crave these races, these adventures, that fatigue. 

Why else would I volunteer to run for hours and hours and hours? Miles and miles and miles? 


So ultra runners are worth emulation. 

Let’s keep it that way. 

You and me. 

Let’s not waste our lives for work, profit, and accumulation of physical goods. Let’s not obsess and become possessed by technology. Let’s keep the real conversations—perhaps the heated, spirited ones—for when we meet in person (let’s look each other in the eyes). Don’t seek attention; feed curiosity (and I think seeking attention dampens one’s curiosity). Let’s make patience popular. 

Isn’t that ultra running? 

Isn’t that why we run these races? 

So that we can look at ourselves in the mirror and know we are alive? 

Can I say that I am alive? 

I know there are people I want to be like. And so as I grow older, I want others to want to be like me. Call it vanity, call it pride, call it haughty. 

I call it pursuing what really matters. 

Here’s what I think matters, based on the intangible gifts ultra running has given me: patience, curiosity, creativity, and extremes. I think we should practice waiting, crave exploration and novelty, express ourselves onto the world, and go as far as we can down the path we choose. 

That’s as neatly as I can package this box, this treasure chest in my mind from running distances up to 100 miles. 

I think we should all open the blinds, let the sun in, and lay our intangible treasures out. Let’s leave them somewhere we can access them every single day. Let’s not forget to be special individuals, individuals worth imitating. 

We’ve certainly taken more than a few painful steps in the right direction. 

But the easy, mindless world wants to bury us in deep, suffocating mud. 

Tattoo your favorite Wicked Trail quote on your spirit and never let your life become insignificant. 

That’s ultra running, and I think it really matters. 

Stay on it. 

If you like the deep concepts and thoughts of my ultra running blog posts, you might like to read the short, fantastical novels I’ve written. Tap here to check them out. There’s a couple affiliate links on this post. If you use them, Wicked Trail Running might earn a small commission.

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