Claire Suddath of TIME Magazine did an interview with Chris McDougall, author of the new book, Born To Run. I think they both did a good job of capturing the ultra spirit (plus a funny story of Jen Shelton puking up beer and jalapeno pizza). You can read the full story here.
[Prize money] is actually one of the big debates in ultra-racing right now; some of the top competitors want there to be prize money but the second money gets into it, the sport is ruined. Right now, there's a certain sense of amateurism and purity to the sport. I was crewing for ultra-runner Jen Shelton during one race and she was gunning to win, but she ate a jalapeno pizza and pitcher of beer five hours before the start, so at mile 40, she blew up and was retching on the course. When she lifted her head up, she realized that two of the guys she had been competing with were standing there waiting for her. She was 40 miles out in the woods alone and they wanted to make sure she was okay. They took her to an aid station and once she was cared for, they took off [for] the finish line. You get a sense of real camaraderie out there because ultimately it's about everyone pulling together.Classic!