Saturday, June 10, 2006

Pushing the limits: Athletes drawn to ultramarathons (Marin Independent Journal)

Mike Sweeney and Dean Karnazes are featured in a great article about ultra events in the Marin Independent Journal. Mike is interviewed during the Ruth Anderson 100k, where he placed third overall. Journalist Rick Polito does a great job of getting into the heads of ultra athletes to find out why endurance sports are growing in popularity.

(Mike Sweeney at the 2005 Badwater Ultra; photo courtesy of Luis Escobar)

One of my favorite quotes from sports pyschologist Joel Kirsch -
"That more people are being inspired and more people are "doing things that have never been done before" is to be expected. "More" is part of the human condition. "I think its part of the species to ratchet it up," Kirsch says.
Be sure to check it out when you have a chance.

- SD


  1. Love your blog Scott! I'm training for my first marathon, and I've been looking for good motivational material. Ran across your blog yesterday and I've been working my way through all of the back posts ever since. Great stuff!

  2. That artcile is a great find Scott. For me a very much newbie to ultra's (Way Too Cool this year was my first) the thrill of ultras is in exploring new places and ultra-distance events simply give you lots more miles of new places to discover. That, and it's fun.
    Cheers, Paul

  3. Welcome new runners! Congrats to both Chris and Paul for going long. Thanks for letting me know you stopped by.


  4. Scott, great article on the surge of ultrarunning popularity. I come to your site because I would never see these articles otherwise. Thanks!! Of course, since the Ultramarathon Man was quoted numerous times in the article, I have to comment...
    He says: "They just want to cross the finish line," says Karnazes, pointing out that the "the handful of us who race against each other" is a minority. Again, Dean acts like he is out there competing at the highest levels of the sport when in fact he has claim to two (2) actual victories -- Badwater 2004 and the Outdoor World Championships 2000 (no event listed). This is from his own website and I apologize if I missed one. His other accomplishments are noteworthy for sure, but he is not "competing" against the so-called "minority" in any of them. Yes, this is childish criticism from a decidedly unaccomplished ultrarunner, but I can't help myself. I did like his comment about Oprah running marathons though. Keep up the great work Scott.

  5. Ha! That has to be the first time I have ever heard somebody say "only a Badwater victory". ;-)

    I get your point about the fame-to-win ratio with Dean. I think if he claimed to be "the best" (which many lazy reporters seem to want to classify him as), it would be wrong. But I think he's right to say he's in the top tier of ultrarunners. There are only a dozen or so people capable of the finish times he has logged. Just look at his 10 Western States finishes, including a masters win, a top five finish, and 10 sub-24 hour finish times. There's only a "handful" of people clocking those kinds of results.

    All a matter of opinion, I guess. Thanks again for your comments, Ryan; everyone is thinking it, but you're logging your opinion for the record in a considerate way. It's great dialogue!

    I hope your training is coming along. I really enjoy your comic blog.


  6. Scott,
    Thanks for your insights on Dean, you are correct. Very few people can do what he has done. I guess I should just give him the kudos he deserves for bringing our sport into the public eye and for marketing himself better than the rest. Thanks also for keeping my comments in perspective, many in the blogosphere would not be as kind as you are:). Glad you are enjoying the comics blog ha ha! I'll let the guy that created and runs the blog know he has a fan in the ultra world! P.S. Kudos on your blog getting mentioned in the latest Trail Runner. That is an amazing amount of site traffic. Shameless semi-celebrity connection: The guy running in the PowerBar ad below your snippet is a friend of mine from college. Take care.

  7. I would like to congratulate you on a great blog as a 67 year old who has decided to turn to ultra events it is great to read this blog.


I LIVE for comments! Please add your thoughts, let me know you stopped by, etc., and be thoughtful of others. Always best if you sign your name, of course.

Latest Excursions