Well said, Andrea. This is a stone that has been
grinding my heel for a long time. This is a problem
created in part by the fact that we have too much
leisure on our hands and too much narcissism in our
psyches. Ultras definitely aren't the quiet little
off the wall episodes that they were 20 or even 10
years ago, and it would be naive to have hoped that
they could have remained that way. The question now,
IMHO, is what shape do we want them to take from here.
One thing I see happening is the emergence of small,
minimally publicized training type runs with no fees
collected and no aid and no awards offered. I hope to
see more of these in the future. To me, they epitomize
the true spirit of running in general and ultras in
particular. We'll always have the marquee events, but
we also need to remember from whence we came.
From: Feucht, Andrea L. [mailto:andrea@...
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 1:09 PM
Subject: [hr100] RE: [ULTRA] Ultras/media (Badwater)
The other example of "big money, big commitment" belt-notch pursuits is
You will get the Dick Bass types who are approaching 50 (or 60) and have
lots of income to throw around. They see something on TV about how climbing
Everest (or doing Hardrock) is the biggest thing out there. Then they find
out that to have a chance at Everest (Hardrock), they have to do some other
smaller thing first, i.e. Mt. McKinley (Western or Leadville). So they pay
some guy, perhaps a Guy Cotter/Conrad Anker-type (Scott Weber) to tell them
how to train, how to prepare for the first step. They spend lots of money
buying gear, and a bare minimal amount of time training for McKinley
(Western/Leadville). They show up and they finish, or maybe they don't and
they either give up or try again the next year, starting over again. Then
they start preparing for the REAL DEAL: Everest (Hardrock). They hang
around other mountaineers (ultrarunners), trying to pick up knowledge for
their attempt. They go really early to the Himalaya (Silverton) to get
acquainted with the locals, see the environment, and get out on the actual
course to acclimate. When the time actually comes, they are outfitted with
the latest, most expensive gear they could possibly find, fueled by tons of
high-tech food, and assisted by the best crew money could buy - Sherpas (or
their unwitting family, for Hardrock). They go out there, and they are
successful. They now stop everything related to this new venture in their
life, for they have now done "the biggest thing out there". They write a
book about it, and get interviewed by all their hometown media. Life goes
on for them. Maybe they don't finish. They'll probably be back again, to
start the cycle all over the next year.
I see this happening to Hardrock, primarily because, compared to Everest, it
is EASY. Much cheaper, much less equipment to buy, and lesser chance of
death (therefore much more acceptable to the spouse and family).
That's my take. If I'm wrong, then ALL the better.
Andrea, in ABQ
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Scott McQueeney [mailto:scottm@...]
> Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2001 10:58 AM
> To: ULTRA@...
> Subject: Re: [ULTRA] Ultras/media (Badwater)
> You have a good point there. It would be tough to show up at
> Badwater with
> no drop bags or crew, old worn out shoes taped together, and
> drink out of
> the streams (unfiltered). We all know that is possible at HR.
> But...here comes the but...then why is the Ego Challenge so
> popular when
> complex logistics are required along with big $$$. I might
> just be making
> your point here I don't know. I just don't see media coverage
> as the only
> criteria for creating a frenzy to run a particular 100/135.
> If so then both
> HR and BW should be exploding with new entrants. I know a lot
> of people
> that have wanted to run HR for years (me included) but are
> waiting for the
> right time/money/training to come together. Same for BW. Time
> will tell...
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