As the popularity of endurance events including the marathon, Ironman and adventure racing has exploded, more athletes are venturing into ultrarunning.
Squamish author Margreet Dietz, a five-time Ironman finisher and a 3:07 marathoner, is among them and has written a book to inspire and encourage those tempted to try it, with some practical advice too: A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km.
After finishing a 50-mile run on the trails in British Columbia in August 2010, Dietz decided to prepare for a 100-kilometre (62-mile) ultra three months later. The century distance is drawing an increasing number of runners worldwide. “It is the universal ultra distance,” Marathon & Beyond magazine editor Richard Benyo says in the introduction to A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km.
Vancouver’s Lucy Ryan has run four 100km ultras, finished eight Ironman triathlons and Ultraman Canada—which consists of a 10km open water swim, a 421km bike ride, and an 84km run—in the past four years. In 2005, the mom with a fulltime job had never run farther than a half marathon. “Running 100km gives you a ‘day off’ from regular life. It’s like a vacation of the mind—no thoughts of finances, work, what thekids are up to, etcetera—just pure survival. How often do you get to do that?” Ryan says in A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km.
The International Association of Ultrarunners’ flagship 100km World Championship is recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). This year the 100km World Championship is held in Winschoten, the Netherlands, the location of an ultrarun that dates back to 1976.
There now are hundreds of 100km races around the world, on trails and roads. Some run from A to B, others on fixed circuits such as the Fast Trax 100km in Edmonton, Canada, which consists of 10km loops. Runners can participate on their own, or on a team. In Oxfam Trailwalker events, which are point-to-point races held in a dozen countries, teams of four also commit to raising money for development projects.
Jen Segger, professional endurance athlete and owner of Challenge by Choice Coaching, advises in A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km, “Choose to race your first 100km in an area that you have always wanted to see and experience. I select races based on location.”
In the U.S., you can find a 100km race in nearly every month of the year, such as the Miwok 100km Trail Race in May. Europe has more than enough on offer, such as the Biel 100km in Switzerland in June. In Australia, there’s The North Face 100 in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, and many others.
“There’s something special about 100km,” says UltraRunningmagazine editor Tia Bodington in A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km. “Sixty-two miles pushes you over the edge into the realm of philosophy; you have to dig deep to get it done, but you’re still showered and in bed by midnight.”
A 100km event marked Bodington’s own foray into ultrarunning in 2000.
As A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km author Margreet Dietz was finalizing her physical preparations for her century race, she started to ready herself mentally too. She knew that there would be moments during the day when she’d be asking herself why she had entered. An experienced endurance athlete, Dietz knew she’d better have at least one good answer, which turned into one for every kilometre. This book on ultrarunning offers plenty of inspiration, practical tips, and the key reason to run 100km—because you can.
“The book is a very good read—very intuitive for someone who is a veteran of ultramarathons or for those who are attempting their first century distance,” according to Nadeem Khan, director of communications, International Association of Ultrarunners.
A Hundred Reasons to Run 100km by Margreet Dietz is available in paperback (132 pages) through https://www.createspace.com/3450183 and Amazon.com, and in electronic format for Amazon’s Kindle and through Apple’s iBookstore [Editor's note: to receive a$3 introductory discount for the $15.95 paperback, please go to Margreet Dietz's online store and use the code 24WNDLF6].
This is the fifth book by Margreet Dietz, who is also the author of Running Shoes Are a Girl’s Best Friend, Powered From Within: Stories About Running & Triathlon, A Work in Progress: Exercises in Writing, and Sunshine on a wooden floor (poems). More info http://www.margreetdietz.com/.
About the author:
Margreet Dietz was born in the Netherlands in 1970. A professional journalist since 1996, Margreet reported for Bloomberg News from Brussels, Toronto and Sydney, and worked as a copy-editor at The Australian Financial Review in Sydney and at The Vancouver Sun.
Her articles on business and finance have been published in newspapers worldwide, while her features on running and triathlon have appeared in endurance sports magazines in Australia and Canada since 2006.
A runner since 1996, Margreet also couldn’t resist the lure of triathlon. After finishing her fifth Ironman in March 2005, she realized running was her main passion. Still aiming to improve her marathon PB of 3:07, she finished her first 50-mile trail race in August 2010 and her first 100km road race in November 2010, winning the 40-49 division in both.
She’s now training for the 2011 BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 1 and the Tenderfoot Boogie, a 50-mile trail race from her hometown of Squamish to Whistler on May 14.