What’s the longest ultra-marathon in the world? I’d imagine it would involve some form of country crossing or jogging from one continent to another. Something EPIC. Something LOOOONNNG but also something achievable. A continuous race would need competitors to sleep eventually so no more than a few days would be possible before the race must end. I’m thinking of the Ultra Marathon Mont Blanc.
And, if not continuous, if multi-stage, then bodies would eventually tire and runners would not be able to continue even with some rest. I’m thinking of the Marathon De Sable and five days across the Sahara desert.
But the actual longest ultra-marathon is none of these things. It doesn’t cross continents. It doesn’t cross countries. It doesn’t even cross the street. It’s entirely held around one New York city block. It’s the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race – and it takes place each June for around 50 days as runners run around the same block every day from 6am to midnight clocking up around 60 miles each day.
You can read more about here: Block Run
But even with it’s hyper-local setting and it’s easy to manage support it too has been cancelled by the coronavirus. There will be no race this June.
However, perhaps it does point to the future of racing? There has been a trend for further and more exotic events. The fun run in your local park has been replaced by a extreme triathlons in settings so far away you couldn’t pass on the coronavirus if you had a twenty foot pole.
Instead, could we reverse the trend? Make races smaller and more local? Instead of the London marathon crossing the Thames and running from one end of the city to another, could runners instead run back and forth in front of Buckingham Palace until they reach 26.2 miles?
Equally, what’s the point of most sprint stages at the Tour de France. It’s four hours of flat cycling followed by 20 minutes of excitement at the end as the sprint team battle it out. Just ditch the whole scenic tour of France and go straight to the dash through an industrial suburb of Marseille.
As for Everest? Get a helicopter to drop you at the Edmund Hillary Step and just climb the last 20 metres.
So, while there may be no long distance ultra-marathon this year there’s nothing to stop there being the shortest ultra-marathon such as my challenge earlier this month to try and run around every street. See here.
How did I get on?
In May I ran 10 times on the challenge for a total of 66 miles and average of 12k a run and…
… look at the map! It’s barely filled a page yet I’ve been running further and longer than I ever would have run in a normal month.
So, I suppose the challenge has worked and I’ve managed to remain local and keep within the spirit of the lockdown guidance. 🙂
As lockdown continues for a few more week I’ve decided to carry on and see how much of the page I can fill before the next three week review of lockdown on Thursday 19th June. Well, it was either that or run round the block again and again and again and again and again and again….