Ultramarathon

Western States Endurance Run

An ultramarathon is any sporting event involving running longer than the traditional marathon length. 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 km, 100 km, 50 mi, and 100 miles. Other distances/times include double marathons, 24-hour races, and multiday races of 1000 miles or even longer. The format of these events and the courses vary, ranging from single or multiple loops (some as short as a 400-meter 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 5 to 15 km 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 and 6 days (known as multi-day events). Timed events are generally run on a track or a short road course, often one mile or less.

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