In an ultramarathon, you won’t have to worry about the old training adage that “speed kills.” Depending on the distance you’re running, it’s very likely that your pace might never hit single-minute digits. Instead, you’ll probably be more concerned with your nutrition strategy, foot-care issues (such as blisters) or making sure that you’re maintaining a pace sufficient enough to stay ahead of any time cutoffs imposed by race directors.I completely agree. One of my favorite things about ultras is seeing all the familiar faces. And I certainly worry more about food/hydration than splits!
Like the 10K of years gone by, most ultramarathons have a casual, extremely welcoming vibe where beginners and veterans alike feel right at home. Due to the small size of the starting fields, the races have become large social gatherings. If you run ultras frequently, you can’t help but see a familiar face at your next race.
On a side note, my thanks to Stan Jensen of Run100s.com (also the owner of the coolest ultra license plate ever) for adding my race write-ups to his page of race reports. If you haven't been to this page, it's a great place to learn about courses before you go (for example, there are 7 write-ups each for the American River 50 and Miwok 100k, and over a dozen for Western States).
To all you running the American River 50 tomorrow, good luck and godspeed. I'll be in Boston on Monday, braving what appears to be a cold and damp race. But the hot tub afterwards will feel all the better!