Compared with the emotions involved in running a traditional marathon, Thomas Wong says, in which one feels a predictable cycle of pain and elation over the course of a few hours, a zen-like "nothing" overtakes his mind during an ultra. "Hope," he says, is the only "driving force."
"It’s kind of like a long walk in the woods," says Bodington, "except you’re running and you’re focused and you’re with a group of like-minded people"—and many are put on by volunteers. There are minimal crowds and no schwag bags. More often than not, trees outnumber bystanders. For its devotees, the ultra is a refreshing return to the basics.Good stuff!