Cycling, running, and obstacle course racing are dominated by white-collar workers. And while disposable income makes competing more feasible, researchers are also starting to discover a psychological pull that draws these people to masochistic events.
Ultrarunning is as tough on the mind as it is on the body, so the sport's best have developed mental strategies to reframe their darkest moments. Their techniques can help us all get more from our training.
For the first 93 miles of last weekend’s Western States 100, 26-year-old Jim Walmsley was on pace to shatter the course record. Spectators following Walmsley’s progress—both along the trail in Northern California and via social media—were dumbfounded: Western States is considered one of the most competitive ultras in the world, and this was Walmsley’s first-ever 100-mile race. Then, just seven miles from the finish, he disappeared.
For some, an ultramarathon can be close to a religious experience. For all, it will undoubtedly be one of the most ridiculous things you can put your body through, as evidenced by our organ-by-organ breakdown.