Meet The People Who Run Insane 100-Mile Races Because Regular Marathons Aren't Hard Enough

ultra marathon runner

Photo: ‘Ultra’ screenshot

Some people spend their lives working to complete a marathon.But for others, the thrill of completing 26.2 miles doesn’t suffice, so they enter gruelling, borderline-crazy 100-mile races called ultra-marathons.

‘Ultra,’ a short documentary by Milos Balac and Ben Teitelbaum, follows three runners in their quest to complete a 100-mile ultra-marathon in Philadelphia.

Are these people crazy?

What makes someone want to spend 20+ straight hours running?

Do people actually do this?

[*Disclosure: Balac is a friend of the author.]

Carol is a 30-year-old aspiring ultra-marathoner living in New York City

She gets up at 5:00 a.m. to run 10 miles in the morning, and then heads out for another run after she gets back from work

But the dedication has taken a toll. She has a broken toe, and meets with a sports medicine doctor who tells her that attempting to run 100 miles isn't exactly recommended

Another runner, Shannon, has had far more serious medical issues. Four years ago, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer

He took up running when his doctor told him to sweat out the toxins from chemotherapy

Now he sees this guy, who's also a doctor, of sorts...

Some of it looks pretty uncomfortable

Shane, a 23-year-old aspiring Navy SEAL, is the quietest in the bunch, but he might also be the best

He came in second in last year's Philly ultra-marathon, and hopes to break the 22-hour mark (!) again this year

For a little perspective: running 100 miles is like running from NYC to Philly

Although 100 miles is more impressive than 26.2, ultra-marathons don't have the pageantry or fanfare that accompany marathons. Runners simply gather at 6 a.m., and then start

One of the big misconceptions, according to Shane: runners start fresh and then run until they can't go anymore

Runners can stop to eat, drink, and take medicine. There's even a food and drink station

At the 25-mile Mark, Shannon stops

Your foot is filled with dozens of tiny bones, and Shannon believes he broke one right in the centre

Remarkably, he continues the race, but at a slow pace

Six hours later, he's only made it 18 miles, so he quits

The body just isn't made to run 100 miles

A couple minutes later, Carol has to stop as well

She says the pain was just too much, and that she never really got into a rhythm. If it's possible to be sad because you *only* ran 50 miles, she is

So when the night comes, Shane is the only one left

And it only gets lonelier

19.5 hours in, and he still has 12 miles to run

In the middle of the night, he nears the finish line

And just like that it's over. No cheering fans or true finish line, just the satisfaction of completing one of the most insane races in the world

Watch the entire thing here

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