Ten Years of Running Ultras



The HUFF 50K was last weekend. The HUFF-Huntingdon Ultra Frigid Fifty was my first 50K back in 2005. I have officially been running ultras for ten years!
Here is the race report I wrote about my first ultra experience.

A month after the HUFF I was off running for three months with an inflamed IT Band. I had really over trained for the HUFF.   I got healthy, overcame my IT band, and have been running ultras ever since.

What’s changed over the last ten years?

There are more women in ultras now than back in the day. Sometimes there would be 3-4 women in a race.  I sometimes say *everyone* knows me, but many times I might be the only female out on the trail.

There were far less races back then.  The internet did exist, but runners communicated on websites called “forums”.  When you registered for a race, you printed out the entry form and sent the race director a check.

Big names I remember: Dean Karnazes, Pam Reed, Akos Konya-anyone remember him? Back then Anton Krupicka was uninjured and won Leadville in 2006.

I remember when the Western States Live Tracking of runners had little pin markers showing where a runner was on the course.

My running career has had its ups and downs. I finished races. I DNF’d races. I gained a bunch of weight.  I lost a bunch of weight. I had a podcast. After a few years of barely finishing races, I decided to train smarter.  I spent less time in aid stations. I actually formulated a race plan.  I got more confident in my ability as an athlete. I asked for advice from running friends, and got better at looking at splits and times.

New races have started-like many new 100 mile races! Races have folded. Remember Sunmart, 12 Hours of Big Bear Lake,  Crown King Scramble (actually resurrected now), Kentucky Arches, Olander Park?


Remember the OLD Garmin? I think this was the Garmin 102


Running watches are much smaller now.


Finally there are some colorful running clothes out there. It’s been years, but there is something besides


Tights from Athleta.com

black tights for runners! Tops have become more stylish and colorful too.


Nutrition has also evolved over the last ten years. There are many more products on the market now. One of the first fuels I used was Perpeteum. I am probably similar to many ultrarunners, a product will work for a few years, then suddenly the stomach no longer likes it and it’s time to move on. Currently I am using the Tailwind fuel.

Ultra running is considerably more popular these days as folks have moved from the marathon to the ultramarathon. Races have gone to lotteries for entry. But more Fatasses have sprung up also, where the runner just needs to show up and doesn’t expect bling and social media coverage.

What do you remember about running ultras “back in the day”?



One thought on “Ten Years of Running Ultras

  1. Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home

    I”ve been running for 25 years, and the only thing I knew about ultras “back in the day” was that very few people ran them. It’s been interesting to watch the evolution of running, the increasing popularity of distance running, and the whole costume phenomenon.

    I won’t run an ultra ever–I have no desire plus my inner competitor likes to race and ultras just don’t fit the bill in that department! But I love reading everyone’s adventures..


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