Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Running Through The Wall

I recently re-read one of my favorite books, Running Through the Wall: Personal Encounters with the Ultramarathon

It's a great collection of short stories about ultramarathons. Each story is told by a different person, and it's the wide range of perceptions and approaches towards running ultras what makes the book so fascinating.
It occurred to me to check out how many of those people have a blog. I wanted to see if they are still running, and how their recent stories compare to the ones in the book. So without further ado I googled the names. The following are the results. 
First I found the blog of the editor of the book, Neal Jamison. He is an active ultrarunner, with several challenging races coming up this year. He just started the blog in February, and I think it rocks already. Way to go, Neal!

Then there is Sophie 'Shining' Speidel, a 45-year old ultrarunner and a mother of three. I'm always interested to see how people who are the same age as myself are coping with megachallenges. (By the way, Neal published her current interview in his blog.)

Keith Knipling is a scientist who is running ultras and excels in analyzing them in detail. He also provides a few useful tips for clueless Mac users like me. The blog is divided into recreation and research. Keith ran three 100-milers in consecutive weekends last summer (the Virginia triple).

Deb Pero goes through "miles and miles of trail and canvas". She is a talented artist, specializing in plein air type of loose oil paintings. There seems to be mostly photos of her awesome paintings in this blog, so it's recommended for very artistic runners only. 

Greg "Loomdog" Loomis is a top ultramarathoner who is competing like there's no tomorrow. In addition to race reports, he also provides great photos from his adventures, so his blog is well worth visiting every now and then. 

Sue Johnston loves mountains. 100 miles is her favorite distance, and Hardrock is her favorite race. Long stories and lots of photos.

Catra Corbett is running and cross-fitting constantly like a Duracell bunny. She also happens to collect tattoos passionately. Her infamous birthday challenge consists of running her age in hours, and she's not nearly as young as she looks! There's lots of glamorous photos with fortune cookie wisdom. A fun site to visit. 

Sadly, I learned that gifted sports writer Marc Witges passed away at Tucson Marathon in December 2006, just before reaching the finish line. His blog is still available as he left it before the race. He was only 40 years old, but he had suffered from the consequences of a car accident for a long time. He concluded his chapter in the book: 

"Still, I know that I am one of the luckiest people around, and I will continue to run, read, learn and work hard every day to improve my physical and mental functions. Life is never going to be the same for me after the brain injury that I suffered 15 years ago. But, I'll still try to live one day at a time, one run at a time, to the best of my abilities."

Marc had completed double and triple Ironmans, Sri Chimnoy 700-mile, Hardrock 100, and more. Maybe he wasn't one the luckiest runners, but he certainly was one of the bravest. 


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