Why am I training for an ultra marathon?

Training - December 20, 2017 - Posted by Rob Bathgate

Why am I training for an ultra marathon?

Marcel is a Foundation Run member training for his first ultramarathon. He’s sharing his thoughts and tackling it one run at a time.

What on earth made me decide to run a 102km ultra? Given free time you’ll find me writing poetry or playing the piano. Ultra marathons are my wife’s thing, not mine.

Out on the trail the other week, Debbie and I got talking about why I’m doing this. I thought I’d share some of my reasons. Everyone has different motivations for running. Mine are practical and personal.

I needed a new fitness goal

Work was stressful and I was missing too many of my lunchtime exercise classes. I could see myself getting a bit lazy, enjoying a few too many beers, kicking back on the comfy couch of my 40s. I didn’t want to blink and find I’d spent half a year building girth instead of grit. I needed a new challenge to bust me out of my routine.

I wanted a scary challenge

If I was going to embark on something that takes me away from my other passions, I didn’t to mess around with a muddling distance. I wanted to leap straight to an audacious goal.

A hundred kilometres, that’s what scares me. I know I could finish 50km or even 60km, but 100km? Pure terror. That’s why I need to do it.

I wanted to put my body to the test

I’ve had a few niggles with my knee in the past. It would be easy to announce that, forever more, I cannot run because of my knee injury. I never want to fall upon injury as an excuse, not unless it’s an actual 100% hard core reason.

I’d seen my wife go through the Foundation Run programme to ace her first two ultras, so I knew this would be a safe, supervised way to rehabilitate and put my body to the test.

It’s paying off big time so far. I’m running stronger than ever. I’m like the Bionic Man: better, stronger, faster than before.

I wanted to share in my wife’s mad adventures

Most of what I’ve learned about mental toughness and determination has come from watching Debbie train for ultra marathons.

I wanted to share her journey. It’s cool having something to do together. We’re both on the same path. Our kids are bored silly with our running talk at the dinner table. It’s wonderful.

Some couples go surfing together. Others play Scrabble. For this year, at least, Debbie and I are that mad couple who do ultramarathons.

It’s also our wedding anniversary

This is the hook upon which I hung the entire enterprise. Debbie had not long finished the 62km Tarawera Ultra. She was on the fence about what to do next.

I said, “It’s our 20th anniversary in July. What if we celebrate our 20th year by both training and running the 102?”

She said, “Are you crazy?”

I said, “I married you, didn’t I?”

It seems an appropriately bonkers way to mark two decades of marriage. Highs, lows, hard work, tears and triumphs. A fitting and satisfying analogy. And hey, it’s only 5.1km per year of marriage. Piece of cake, right?


Follow @FoundationRun

Training - December 20, 2017 - Posted by Rob Bathgate