Types of Ultramarathons

An ultramarathon is any race of longer than the standard marathon, or 26.219 miles (42.195 kilometers), and there are two general forms to the race. One involves a prescribed course, and the other a prescribed amount of time. In the former, the runner who reaches the finish line first wins, while in the latter, the runner who achieves the greatest distance is declared winner.

There are standard and non-standard ultramarathons. The generally accepted standard ultramarathon distances are 50, 100, 150, 200, and 1,000 kilometers, and 50, 100, 200, and 1,000 miles. The standard times are 24 and 48 hours, and 6 days. Runners are permitted to run or walk, and take breaks as necessary, with the only penalty being the time lost from their own performance. However, racers can be disqualified if they do not finish the race under allotted times.

There is no limit on an ultramarathon’s length; one of the longest certified ultramarathons is the Sri Chinmoy 1300-Miler, also called the Ultimate Ultra, run annually in New York’s Flushing Meadow Park on a 1-mile course.  Another lengthy ultramarathon is the Trans America Footrace, a run from Los Angeles to New York City in 64 consecutive days.

I will be competing in the North Face 50 mile Endurance Challenge  in New York’s Bear Mountain State Park in May 2014.  I will be posting blogs on my training experiences along the way.

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