Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog Symposium Post! Is there too much emphasis in the (trail-running) media on ultra distances?

This month's question got me thinking: Is there too much emphasis in the (trail-running) media on ultra distances?

My short, quick answer is "Yes, but of course there is." I think the media likes to put emphasis on the ultra-distances because they have the elements of what a good news story should have; an interesting narrative, in overcoming personal or technical obstacles, unforeseen circumstances (blisters, a fall, weather), maybe a personal revelation and a mighty victory over all hardships at the end. Who doesn't want to read about that?

But, in reality, the emphasis on the ultra-distance can take the spotlight away from just as spectacular shorter distance races. Unless the race is for the world championship, anything under 26 miles doesn't get the same attention as those who go really really long and hard. Personally I've found the same elements that can make an awesome ultra-distance media story can be found (in smaller amounts) in the shorter distances. Sheesh, take my last 13km trail race through the mountains of Wentworth. Plenty of hardship, overcoming adversity, laughs and life lessons taught there, and all in 2.5 hours (!) but there's something about people pushing those extreme boundaries that captivates an audience and thus garners more attention. 

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