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There are two types of ultramarathon events: those that cover a specified distance, and events that take place during specified time (with the winner covering the most distance in that time). The most common distances are 50 kilometres (31.069 mi), 100 kilometres (62.137 mi), 50 miles (80.4672 km), and 100 miles (160.9344 km), although many races have other distances. The 100 kilometers is recognized as an official world record event by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body of track and field.
Other distances/times include double marathons, 24-hour races, and multiday races of 1,000 miles (1,600 km) or even longer. The format of these events and the courses vary, ranging from single or multiple loops (some as short as a 400-metre (1,300 ft) track), to point-to-point road or trail races, to cross-country rogaines. Many ultramarathons, especially trail challenges, have severe course obstacles, such as inclement weather, elevation change, or rugged terrain. Many of these races are run on dirt roads or mountain paths, though some are run on paved roads as well. Usually, there are aid stations every 20 to 35 kilometres (12 to 22 mi) apart, where runners can replenish food and drink supplies or take a short break.
Timed events range from 6, 12, and 24 hours to 3, 6, and 10 days (known as multi-day events). Timed events are generally run on a track or a short road course, often one mile (1.6 km) or less.
The International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) organises the World Championships for various ultramarathon distances, including 50 kilometres (31 mi), 100 kilometres (62 mi), 24 hours, and ultra trail running, which are also recognized by the IAAF. Many countries around the world have their own ultrarunning organizations, often the national athletics federation of that country, or are sanctioned by such national athletics organizations. World records for distances, times, and ages are tracked by the IAU.
Ultra Marathons are run around the world with more than 70,000 people completing them every year.
Several ultra distance events are held in Africa.
The Washie 100 starts at 17h00 in Port Alfred on the first Full moon Friday in every July of the year, is run through the night and finishes at the Buffs Club in East London, South Africa. This race has attracted many international runners, over the years, as well as famous and legendary runners from all over the world, as well as the races own "legends", in their own way of course. Every runner that completes a Washie 100 is a legend in his or her own special way, as there is no prize money handed out as prizes, only trophies for EVERY COMPETITOR who finishes. These trophies, as well as a tracksuit for all novices (runners who completed their first journey), are handed out at a usually very emotional prize giving, on the Sunday morning (of the same weekend) at Buffs Club in East London at 09h00.
Interesting Statistics on the Washie 100 (Which can be found on www.washie100.co.za)
- Butch Duffy, a South African and also Buffs Club runner, has completed 23 Washie 100 Journeys in 2013, and has entered for his 24th in 2014.
- Eric Wright, a South African who runs for his Club in Gauteng, has completed 24 Washie 100 Journeys in 2013, the most Washie's done by any runner to date, and has entered for his 25th in 2014.
- The record for the Washie 100 was set by a South African, Manie Saaiman in 1982, during his 2nd Washie 100, with a time of 13:13:28, a record unbeaten by anybody for 30 years.
- The record now stands on 13:07:05, claimed by another South African, Johan Van De Merwe during his 1st Washie in 2012. Johan won the race again in 2013 but finished the race 13 minutes later than his own record in 2012. Johan has entered again for his 3rd journey in 2014, hopefully being success full at improving his own record set in 2012.
- The ladies record is held by a South African, Rae Bisshoff, set in 1998 in a time of 14:53:06 during her 1st (and only one ever) Washie 100 journey.
- The race was won by a lady once, and that was in 2008 by a South African, Vanessa Wayland, in a time of 16:19:52, in her first of only 2 Washie 100 journeys.
- The lady that has done the most Washie 100's to date, is Ina Henning, a South African who completed her 12th Washie 100 in 2007.
Australia and New Zealand are host to some 100 organized ultramarathons each year. Additionally a handful of runners have run the entire length of New Zealand, a distance of around 2,200 kilometres (1,400 mi).
In Australia, the Westfield Ultra Marathon was an annual race between Sydney and Melbourne contested between 1983 and 1991. Greek runner Yiannis Kouros won the event five times during that period. Australia is also the home of one of the oldest six-day races in the world, the Cliff Young Australian 6-day race, held in Colac, Victoria. The race is held on a 400-meter circuit at the Memorial Square in the centre of Colac, and has seen many epic battles since its inception in 1984. The 20th Cliff Young Australian six-day race was held between 20 and 26 November 2005. During that event, Kouros beat his existing world record six-day track mark and set a new mark of 1,036.851 kilometres (644.269 mi). The Coast to Kosciuszko inaugurated in 2004, is a 246-kilometre (153 mi) marathon from the coast to the top of Mount Kosciuszko, Australia's highest mountain.
New Zealand's first ultramarathon was held on a 100 km (62 mi) track. The Kepler Challenge, 60 kilometres (37 mi) through Fiordland National Park, has been running since 1988 and is one of the country's most popular races. New Zealand's Northburn 100 ultra mountain run  is the first 100 mile (160 km) race through the Northburn Station.
In November 2012, Kim Allan planned to run and/or walk 500 kilometres (310 mi) nonstop, without sleep, on the Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile track at the Auckland Domain. Her aim was to beat ultrarunner Pam Reed's record of 300 miles (480 km). According to her Facebook page, she only managed 385.8 kilometres (239.7 mi). She eventually passed the 500 kilometre mark at 86 hours, 11 minutes, and 9 seconds, breaking the 486 kilometres (302 mi) women's record.
In April 2013, a Feilding man, Perry Newburn, set a new New Zealand record by running 483 kilometres (300 mi) without sleep at Feilding's Manfield Park.
Ultrarunning is popular in Europe, and the sport can trace its origins here with early documentation of ultrarunners came from Icelandic sagas, or even the antique Greece from where the idea of the Marathon, and the Spartathlon comes. The history of ultrarunners and walkers in the UK from the Victorian Era has also been documented. The IAU hosts annual European Championships for the 50 km, 100 km and 24 hours. There are over 300 ultramarathons held in Europe each year. Some of the largest events include:
Due to logistics and environmental concerns there are only a handful of ultramarathons held in Antarctica, and travel costs can mean entrance fees as high as $14,000. Ultramarathons in Antarctica include: The Last Desert, a multi-stage footrace, and the Antarctic Ice Marathon – a marathon and 100-kilometer race.
There are several hundred ultramarathons held annually in North America. One of the most popular is the Western States Endurance Run, the world's oldest 100-mile trail run. The race began unofficially in 1974, when local horseman Gordy Ainsleigh's horse for the 100-mile Tevis Cup horse race came up lame. He decided to travel the course on foot, finishing in 23 hours and 47 minutes.'
One of the first documented ultramarathons in North America was held in 1926, and at the time was part of the Central American Games. Tomas Zafiro and Leoncio San Miguel, both Tarahumara Indians, ran 100 km from Pachuca to Mexico City in 9 hours and 37 minutes. At the time, the Mexican government petitioned to include a 100 km race in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam; however, nothing came of these efforts.
In 1928, sports agent C. C. Pyle organized the first of two editions of the 3,455-mile-long Bunion Derby (the first went along U.S. Route 66 from Los Angeles to Chicago before heading toward New York; the 1929 Derby reversed the route). Neither the race nor the accompanying vaudeville show was a financial success.
Since 1997, runners have been competing in the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, which is billed as the longest official footrace in the world. They run 100 laps a day for up to 50 days around a single block in Queens, NY, for a total distance of 3,100 miles (5,000 km).
In April 2006, the American Ultrarunning Hall of Fame was established by the American Ultrarunning Association (AUA). Candidates for the Hall of Fame are chosen from the 'modern era' of American ultras, beginning with the New York Road Runners Club 30 Mile race held in 1958. The Inaugural inductees were Ted Corbitt, a former US Olympian, winner of the aforementioned race in 3:04:13, and co-founder of the Road Runners Club of America, and Sandra Kiddy, who kicked off her ultra career at age 42 with a world record at 50 kilometers, 3:36:56, and who went on to set a string of US and world ultra records.
There are few ultramarathons in South America, but the sport is getting more popular every day. The Brazil 135 Ultramarathon is a single stage race of 135 miles ( 217 km) with a 60 hour cutoff, held in Brazil. This is a Badwater "sister race". Several ultramarathons are held in Chile and the activity is becoming more popular among Chileans. Ultramarathons held in Chile include:
There are six stages in seven days, with almost four marathons run in the first four days, then a 74 km stretch,then a rest day and a final stage of 11 km. It is part of the 4 Deserts Series, which, as the name suggests, is a desert race series. The Atacama Crossing take place in terrain that is rarely flat underfoot, with a harsh climate and an altitude that averages 2500 m (8000 ft). The race uses the town of San Pedro de Atacama as its host town, and in 2012 the race began at its highest point of over 3,000m in the Arcoiris Valley.
The event, organized by NIGSA, aims to promote the conservation of Chilean Patagonia and contribute to the sustainable development of the region. For each runner, a tree will be planted in the Torres del Paine National Park through the “Corre y Reforesta” (Run and Reforest) campaign run by the organization “Reforestemos Patagonia” (Let’s Reforest Patagonia) which aims to raise awareness of the importance of preserving these areas and contribute to the reforestation of native trees in Chilean Patagonia.
This is only a partial list of events. For a full list, see Ultramarathon Running's Calendar and local countries' ultrarunning websites.
|Canada||Deer Lake 67|
|Philippines||All Women Ultra Marathon|
|Philippines||Bataan Death March Ultra marathon|
|Germany||Berlin 100 Miles[dead link]|
|Switzerland||Biel/Bienne 100 km|
|South Africa||Washie 100|
|South Africa||Comrades Marathon|
|Singapore||Craze Ultra (100 Mile/50 Mile/25 Mile) - Are You Nuts Enough?|
|United Kingdom||Dartmoor Discovery|
|United States||FANS 6, 12, 24 Hour Races Fort Snelling State Park / Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN|
|United Kingdom||Grand Union Canal 145 mile Race|
|United States||Graveyard 100|
|Canada||Haney to Harrison 100k Ultra[dead link]|
|United States||JFK 50 Mile|
|United States||Keys 100|
|Japan||Lake Saroma Ultramarathon 100 km / 50 km |
|United Kingdom||London to Brighton|
|United Kingdom||Marlborough Downs Challenge|
|Japan||Miyakojima Ultra Marathon 100 km etc.|
|Italy||100km del Passatore|
|Japan||River Shimanto Ultramarathon 100 km / 60 km|
|Netherlands||RUN Winschoten, Netherlands|
|Singapore||Sundown Ultra Marathon Singapore 100 km|
|India||The Taj Mahal Marathon 222k Ultra|
|South Africa||Two Oceans Marathon|
|United States||TW 50k Ultra|
|Japan||Trans Okinawa Foot Race 353 km/292 km|
|Brazil||100km Volta ao Lago Caixa (website in Portuguese)|
|Lithuania||Ultramarathon Baltic cup 100 km|
|United States||Way Too Cool 50 Kilometer|
|Malaysia||Putrajaya 100 Miles, Watergate 16 Hours|
|United Kingdom||Barry 40|
|Canada||Self-Transcendence 24 Hour Race Ottawa|
|South Africa||Addo Elephant Trail Run|
|United States||American River 50 Mile Endurance Run|
|United States||Angeles Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run|
|Canada||Arc'teryx Squamish 50|
|United States||Barkley Marathons|
|United States||Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run|
|United States||Bighorn Trail Run|
|United States||Bull Run Run 50 Mile|
|United States||Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run|
|Canada||Canadian Death Race|
|United States||Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run|
|United States||Chimera 100 Mile|
|United States||Elizabeth's Furnace Fat Ass 50K|
|United States||Evergreen Trail Runs|
|Nicaragua||Fuego y Agua 25k,50k,100K & Survival Run|
|United States||Grand Canyon Ultra Marathon|
|Réunion||Grand Raid de la Réunion|
|United States||Grindstone 100 Miler|
|United States||Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run|
|Japan||Hasetsune Cup 71.5 km|
|United States||HAT Run|
|Japan||Hida Takayama Ultra Marathon|
|United States||HUFF 50K Trail Run|
|United States||Hunter Gatherer Ultras & Survival Run|
|United States||Jackson County 50-50|
|United States||Javelina Jundred[dead link]|
|United States||Kesugi Ridge Traverse|
|United States||Kettle Moraine 100 Endurance Runs|
|Papua New Guinea||Kokoda Trail|
|Canada||Knee Knackering North Shore Trail Run|
|United States||Leadville Trail 100|
|United States||Lean Horse Ultramarathon|
|United States||Massanutten Mountain Trails 100|
|United Kingdom||Mourneway Ultra Marathon|
|United States||McNaughton Park Trail Runs|
|United States||Miwok 100K Trail Race|
|United States||The Mountain Ultra[dead link]|
|United States||Mountain Masochist Trail Run|
|Japan||Muraoka Ultra Marathon 100 km/88 km/44 km|
|United Kingdom||North Downs way 50,100|
|Australia||North Face 100|
|United States||Oil Creek 100 Trail Runs - 50K, 50 & 100 miles|
|United States||Old Dominion 100 Miler|
|United States||Old Pueblo 50 Mile Endurance Run|
|Hong Kong||Oxfam Trailwalker|
|United States||Pillar Mountain Run, Kodiak, AK|
|United States||Pinhoti 100 Mile Endurance Run Alabama|
|United States||Quad Dipsea|
|United States||Resurrection Pass Ultra Trail Races|
|United States||Rio Del Lago|
|Japan||Shin'etsu Five Mountains Trail 110km|
|United Kingdom||South Downs way 100|
|Canada||Sinister 7 100 mile|
|United States||StumpJump 50k|
|Switzerland||Swiss Alpine Marathon|
|United Kingdom||Thames Path 100km|
|Japan||Trans Japan Alps Race (TJAR) 415 km|
|United States||TransRockies Run, 6 stages, 125m|
|Japan||Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji 168 km / 88 km|
|France||Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc|
|United States||Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run|
|United States||Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run|
|United Kingdom||West Highland Way Race|
|United States||Western States Endurance Run|
|United States||Wickham Park Marathon, 50M, 100M, 200M|
|Malaysia||Borneo TMBT Ultra Trail Marathon 50K, 100K|
|Turkey||Lycian Way Ultramarathon|
|Japan||Yatsugatake (Mount Yatsuga) Nobeyama Highland 100km Ultra Marathon|
|Italy||Tor des Geants|
|Morocco||Marathon des Sables|
|Canada||6633 Ultra: The Arctic, Canada|
|United States||Badwater Ultramarathon|
|South Africa||Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon|
|United States||Arrowhead Winter Ultramarathon|
|Spain||Al Andalus Ultimate Trail|
|United States||Beast of Burden Winter 100 Miler|
|Finland||Rovaniemi 150 Arctic Winter Race|
|Finland||The Lapland Extreme Challenge Race, 900 kilometers (15 days)|
|Turkey||Runfire Cappadocia Ultramarathon|
|Antarctica||The Last Desert|
|Canada||Bruce Trail||Ontario, Canada 800 kilometers in (10–15 days).|
|United States||The Bunion Derby||Los Angeles to New York 3,455 miles (3 months).|
|Hungary||Lake Balaton Supermarathon [dead link]||(4 days)|
|United States||Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race |
|United States||Self-Transcendence 6- & 10-day|
|Japan||Trans Japan Alps Race (TJAR)||415 km/7–8 days|
|Europe||Trans Europe Foot Race|
|France||Paris-Colmar||450 km march (Racewalking).|
|Year||Location||Champion (m)||Champion (f)|
|1987||Torhout||Domingo Catalán (ESP)||Agnes Eberle (SWI)|
|1988||Santander||Domingo Catalán (ESP)||Ann Trason (USA)|
|1989||Rambouillet||Bruno Scelsi (FRA)||Katherina Janicke (West Germany)|
|1990||Duluth||Roland Vuillemenot (FRA)||Eleanor Adams (GBR)|
|1991||Faenza||Valmir Nuñes (BRA)||Eleanor Adams (GBR)|
|1992||Palamós||Konstantin Santalov (RUS)||Nurzia Bagmanova (RUS)|
|1993||Torhout||Konstantin Santalov (RUS)||Carolyn Hunter-Rowe (GBR)|
|1994||Yubetsu/Saroma/Tokoro||Aleksey Volgin (RUS)||Valentina Shatyeyeva (RUS)|
|1995||Winschoten||Valmir Nuñes (BRA)||Ann Trason (USA)|
|1996||Moscow||Konstantin Santalov (RUS)||Valentina Shatyeyeva (RUS)|
|1997||Winschoten||Sergey Yanenko (UKR)||Valentina Lyakhova (RUS)|
|1998||Shimanto||Grigoriy Murzin (RUS)||Carolyn Hunter-Rowe (GBR)|
|1999||Chavagnes-en-Paillers||Simon Pride (GBR)||Anna Balosáková (SVK)|
|2000||Winschoten||Pascal Fétizon (FRA)||Edit Bérces (HUN)|
|2001||Cléder||Yasufumi Mikami (JPN)||Yelvira Kolpakova (RUS)|
|2002||Torhout||Mario Fattore (ITA)||Tatyana Zhyrkova (RUS)|
|2003||Tainan||Mario Fattore (ITA)||Monica Casiraghi (ITA)|
|2004||Winschoten||Mario Ardemagni (ITA)||Tatyana Zhyrkova (RUS)|
|2005||Yubetsu/Saroma/Tokoro||Grigoriy Murzin (RUS)||Hiroko Sho (JPN)|
|2006||Misari||Yannick Djouadi (FRA)||Elizabeth Hawker (GBR)|
|2007||Winschoten||Shinichi Watanabe (JPN)||Norimi Sakurai (JPN)|
|2008||Rome||Giorgio Calcaterra (ITA)||Tatyana Zhirkova (RUS)|
|2009||Torhout||Yasukazu Miyazato (JPN)||Kami Semick (USA)|
|2010||Gibraltar||Shinji Nakadai (JPN)||Ellie Greenwood (GBR)|
|2011||Winschoten||Giorgio Calcaterra (ITA)||Marina Bychkova (RUS)|
|2012||Seregno||Giorgio Calcaterra (ITA)||Amy Sproston (USA)|
|Year||Location||Champion (m)||Champion (f)|
|2003||Uden||Paul Beckers (BEL)||270.087 km||Irina Reutovich (ru) (RUS)||237.052 km|
|2004||Brno||Ryōichi Sekiya (JPN)||269.085 km||Sumie Inagaki (JPN)||237.154 km|
|2005||Wörschach||Anatoliy Kruglikov (RUS)||268.065 km||Lyudmila Kalinina (RUS)||242.228 km|
|2006||Taipei||Ryōichi Sekiya (JPN)||272.936 km||Sumie Inagaki (JPN)||237.144 km|
|2007||Drummondville||Ryōichi Sekiya (JPN)||263.562 km||Lyudmila Kalinina (RUS)||236.848 km|
|2008||Seoul||Ryōichi Sekiya (JPN)||273.366 km||Anne-Marie Vernet (fr) (FRA)||239.685 km|
|2009||Bergamo||Henrik Olsson (SWE)||257.042 km||Anne-Cécile Fontaine (FRA)||243.644 km|
|2010||Brive-la-Gaillarde||Shingo Inoue (JPN)||273.708 km||Anne-Cécile Fontaine (FRA)||239.797 km|
|2011||cancelled Brugg, then Taipei (commonly known as Taiwan)|
|2012||Katowice ||Mike Morton (USA)||277.543 km||Michaela Dimitriadu (CZE)||244.232 km|
|2013||Steenbergen||Jon Olsen (USA)||269.675 km||Mami Kudo (JPN)||252.205 km|
|50 km Road||2:43:38||Thompson Magawana (RSA)||12 April 1988||Claremont, South Africa|||
|50 km Track||2:48:06||Jeff Norman (GBR)||7 June 1980||Timperley, United Kingdom|||
|100 km Road||6:13:33||Takahiro Sunada (JPN)||21 June 1998||Yubetsu-Saroma-Tokoro, Japan|||
|100 km Track||6:10:20||Donald Ritchie (GBR)||28 Oct 1978||London, United Kingdom|||
|100 miles Road||11.46.37||Yiannis Kouros (GRE)||7/8 Nov 1984||Queens New York, USA|||
|100 miles Track||11.28.03||Oleg Kharitonov (RUS)||20 Oct 2002||London, United Kingdom|||
|100 miles Indoor||12.56.13||Donald Ritchie (GBR)||3/4 Feb 1990||Milton Keynes, United Kingdom|||
|6H Road||92.188 km||Tomasz Chawawko (POL)||7 Mar 2004||Stein, Netherland|||
|6H Track||97.200 km||Donald Ritchie (GBR)||28 Oct 1978||London, United Kingdom|||
|6H Indoor||93.247 km||Denis Zhalybin (RUS)||7/8 Feb 2003||Moscow, Russia|||
|12H Road||162.543 km||Yiannis Kouros (GRE)||7 Nov 1984||New York, USA|||
|12H Track||162.400 km||Yiannis Kouros (GRE)||15/16 Mar 1985||Montauban, France|||
|12H Indoor||140.844 km||Aleksander Korotkov (RUS)||21/22 Feb 2004||Lohja Citymarket, Finland|||
|24H Road||290.221 km||Yiannis Kouros (GRE)||2/3 May 1998||Basel, Switzerland|||
|24H Track||303.506 km||Yiannis Kouros (GRE)||4/5 Oct 1997||Adelaide, Australia|||
|24H Indoor||257.576 km||Nikolai Safin (RUS)||27/28 Feb 1993||Podolsk, Russia|||
|48H Road||433.095 km||Yiannis Kouros (GRE)||2/3 May 1998||Basel, Switzerland|||
|48H Track||473.495 km||Yiannis Kouros (GRE)||3–5 May 1996||Surgeres, France|||
|48H Indoor||426.178 km||Tony Mangan (IRL)||16 Mar 2007||Brno, Czech Republic|||
|50 km Road||3:08:39||Frith Van Der Merwe (RSA)||25 March 1989||Claremont, South Africa|||
|50 km Track||3:18:52||Carol Hunter-Rowe (GBR)||3 March 1996||Barry, Wales United Kingdom|||
|100 km Road||6:33:11||Tomoe Abe (JPN)||25 June 2000||Yubetsu-Saroma-Tokoro, Japan|||
|100 km Track||7:14:06||Norimi Sakurai (JPN)||27 Sept 2003||Lupatotissima, Italy|||
|100 miles Road||13.47.41||Ann Trason (USA)||4 May 1991||Queens New York, USA|||
|100 miles Track||14.25.45||Edit Berces (HUN)||21/22 Sept 2002||Lupatoto, Italy|||
|100 miles Indoor||14.43.40||Eleanor Robinson (GBR)||3/4 Feb 1990||Milton Keynes, United Kingdom|||
|6H Road||82.838 km||Ricarda Botzon (GER)||7 July 2001||Kiel, Germany|||
|6H Track||83.200 km||Norimi Sakurai (JPN)||27 Sept 2003||Lupatoto Verone, Italy|||
|6H Indoor||80.600 km||Marina Bychkova (RUS)||7/8 Feb 2003||Moscow, Russia|||
|12H Road||144.840 km||Ann Trason (USA)||4 May 1991||Queens New York, USA|||
|12H Track||147.600 km||Ann Trason (USA)||3/4 Aug 1991||Hayward, USA|||
|12H Indoor||135.318 km||Eleanor Robinson Adams (GBR)||3/4 Feb 1990||Milton Keynes, United Kingdom|||
|24H Road||247.076 km||Lizzy Hawker (GBR)||23/24 Sep 2011||Llandudno, United Kingdom|||
|24H Track||254.425 km||Mami Kudo(Kudou, Kudoh) (JPN)||12/13 Dec 2009||Soochow, Taipei|||
|24H Indoor||240.631 km||Sumie Inagaki (JPN)||29/30 Jan 2011||Espoo, Finland|||
|48H Road||368.687 km||Mami Kudo(Kudou, Kudoh) (JPN)||8-10 Apr 2011||Athens, Greece|||
|48H Track||397.103 km||Sumie Inagaki (JPN)||21–23 May 2010||Surgeres, France|||
|48H Indoor||372.415 km||Irina Reutovitch (RUS)||22-24 Mar 2002||Brno, Czech Republic|||
For reliable and updated information, see IAU(International Association of Ultrarunners) annual report of current world records on its newest "World's Best Performances" page in "statistics".
In 2009, Christopher McDougall's book Born to Run was released. Written from both anthropological and scientific angles, this book is a story of an entire people of ultramarathoners. While other books had previously been written specifically about ultramarathons, McDougall made conclusions about humanity's roots in long distance running that were just controversial enough to excite the masses who had never heard of the sport. It quickly became a national bestseller and a Forbes and Washington Post book of the year, helping spread the idea of ultramarathons.
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