Ok, so you’re on a backpacking trip with the plan to cover a 24-26 mile loop over the course of 2 nights/3 days and all the sudden some lady with absolutely no gear comes passing you and you’re at mile 15. What the heck?!
My dear friends let me introduce to you an Ultra Runner!
First off what is an Ultra Runner?
We are the crazy people who run distances farther than 26.2 miles (marathon). We tend to run that distance as our weekly (YES WEEKLY) long run. So when you’re on the trails here are some tips to know you’ve spotted one such rare beast called an Ultra Runner.
1: We are only wearing trail running shoes, shorts and a shirt (maybe) and sometimes a hat or sunglasses.
2: Our gear consists of as little as nothing, whatever fits in those tiny ass running short pockets, maybe a handheld bottle with a small pouch that doesn’t even fit most phones, or a hip belt or pack UP TO 12L. And my friends that’s a big ass pack. Oh and we may or may not have poles with us- but I can guarantee you that our pair weighs much less than one of yours – this also means we’ve been known to be stupid enough to not have enough with us – so we love you when you save our asses by offering your extra food or water!
3: We are running…..out in the middle of nowhere, up that crazy mountain, through that big river (ok sometimes we might power hike, walk, or even crawl…but we gotta get home. Remember – we don’t have sleeping gear!)
4: We are miles into our day before you’ve even taken down camp – and that extra cup of coffee you brewed- we’d love to chat for a minute and help it not go to waste.
5: We eat WHILE we move – but hey, if you invite us to sit with you for lunch and we have time we probably will!! Because SITTING!!
6: Your 26 mile multi-day backpacking loop is our long training run – PLEASE keep sharing your trips! We read these to plan accordingly and they can save our lives- especially when you talk about where water is available!!
7: We are probably covered in mud or trail dust – no we usually aren’t really THAT tan.
8: We have a watch, but not just any watch. It’s a fancy GPS mile recording, heart rate tracking, Strava linking, performance checking, backtracking fancy ass watch (they make really awesome ones that are great for any type of back country trips!)
And sometimes we hike…. 9: When we do backpacking trips we cover more ground than most and start as soon as it’s light, they are just power hiking training trips – simply because we honestly don’t know how to slow down or not get up and going (example: backpacking with my 23 mo old this coming summer we plan to cover 90 miles or 14 miles per day on average). 10: You’re on a multi day trip and see us on two different days but we had dinner at home and slept in bed in between and still covered the same miles you did – while I love my bed I am jealous you get to sleep under the stars – it’s just really hard to run and carry sleeping gear. Don’t be intimidated. Sometimes a chatty walk break about craziness is exactly the boost we need to make it home. So flag us down, wave, say hello, help take that crazy picture (because it’s not real if it isn’t documented right?) and know we love these trails just as much as you.