As I have started to entertain ultra-marathon fantasies, I am enjoying reading blogs by and about ultra-runners. In part, it is incredible to see what the dedicated human is capable of. Its also personally inspiring to have role-models setting bench-marks so far above what I will ever aspire to do, people who add that touch of “suck it up, Van Dyke, this 15 mile run you’re doing is nothing!” But in a large part, these blogs fulfill one of the internet’s most important roles: to reassure myself and others that I am no where near the craziest person out there.
As I have begun to tell my friends and family that I dream of doing an ultra-marathon — at least a 50K, someday a 50 mile — I am becoming used to getting looked at like I just declared my intention to amputate my left leg, or extract all my teeth at home. “Really? You seriously want to run fifty times? Are you insane?”
So I’ve decided to have a regularly reoccurring feature where I highlight some runner who, for better or worse, makes me look Normal.
Since it’s timely, I’ll start today with Ian Sharmin. This last weekend, he set a new course record at the Rocky Racoon 100 Mile Edurance Challenge, one of America’s more prominent 100 milers, by running it in 12:44:33. That’s one-hundred miles, in twelve-hours, forty-four minutes and thirty-three seconds. That means his average pace was 7:38 minutes per mile for 100 miles! Sweet baby jesus, that doesn’t seem humanly possible. I once ran a 5K with a pace of 7:08 and I almost puked at the end of those 21 minutes. That’s a very, very fast run for over twelve-hours. You can read about it over at one of those blogs I mentioned, irunfar.com.