An Ultra is anything beyond the marathon distance of 26.2 miles. In this case, the Desert Rat Ultra this weekend was 50K - fifty kilometers, or 31 miles.
Originally, the idea to feature in my novel a ridiculously long foot race through the mountains came from crewing for a runner a few years ago. Lee Burton accomplished multiple Leadville 100 races. Yes - 100, as in miles. My husband and I served as crew and pacers, assisting Sharon Burton in shuttling food and clothing to aid stations. It was an amazing experience.
Then our oldest daughter took an interest in running. Interest? More like obsession. She quickly had a couple half marathons under her belt. Starting last fall, she began training for a marathon. Scratch that. As she gained strength and confidence, she decided only an Ultra would do. My husband and I, as experienced Ultra crew, offered to come along to watch.
Her husband provided the main support, giving her the time and encouragement to train all those months. He met her at two aid stations during the race, which can be an incredible boost for a tired runner. She made it in better time than she expected.
I was happy to participate, in a peripheral way, in the Desert Rat Ultra near Fruita Colorado. With my memory refreshed on what is involved in a mega-race, I'll be ready to finish that novel first draft. More importantly, I am very proud of our daughter, who has become an adventurous athlete.