HomeRunningHero Tales – iRunFar

Hero Tales – iRunFar

Certainly one of my worst races was the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile in 2017. That day, I paced myself imprudently. My headlamp died, so the darkness I skilled was each literal and metaphorical. I tumbled off a few footbridges at midnight, and, as a consequence of an premature muscle imbalance, my torso folded in half like a comma from mile 80 onward, which gave individuals pause (1).

I chased aggressive splits early in that race and fell behind in fueling. Upon realizing my error, I attempted to make up for the deficit too shortly and in soda kind. I discovered an essential lesson that day: In massive portions, Mountain Dew is a Mountain Don’t.

In the end, once I emerged from the darkish forest cloaked in mud after 100 miles of working, I appeared extra like a swamp creature than a woman. However I made it to the end line. I in the end survived, so the style of this reminiscence is a tragicomedy.

Sabrina Little at Rocky Raccoon 100

Sabrina Little finishes her hero’s journey … and the Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile. All pictures courtesy of Sabrina Little.

Operating Heroes

If we’re being trustworthy with ourselves, our sport is odd. Generally we run on paved loops for days at a time, which is conceptually easy but tough to execute. Different instances, there are streams and mountains to cope with, or hours spent in solitude. Generally we use maps and try races with negligible completion charges, and infrequently there are extra squirrels than spectators.

However ultrarunning is odd in an fulfilling, adventuresome approach. And since these races are sometimes equal components race and journey, we’re positioned to study from a number of the nice adventurers of literary historical past. We are able to study not simply from different athletes but additionally from heroes. Listed below are three of my favorites.

Dante Alighieri

The e-book: “The Divine Comedy”

The journey: In what can solely be described as a hellish cross-country course, Dante descends to the Underworld earlier than ascending by means of Purgatory, into Paradise. It sounds very hilly there, and the occasion ends on an enormous climb. Additionally, it’s oddly colder at decrease altitudes, and there are precise demons. However Dante proceeds by means of a means of non secular rehabilitation all through the journey and is remodeled upon completion. Marathons are a non secular journey certainly.

On the outset of the journey, Dante is misplaced in a darkish wooden and sees three animals a leopard, a lion, and a she-wolf. Wild animal encounters occur to all of us. Be secure on the market, mates! Nevertheless, this specific mixture of beasts is startling, and I’m wondering what sort of flora helps that fauna.

What we are able to study: In case your journey might be robust (Inferno robust), at all times convey a good friend. Ideally convey Virgil, who reads the course map forward of time and appears to know the place he’s going.


The books: Homer’s “Iliad” and Odyssey”

The journey: After serving to the Greeks win the Trojan Warfare, Odysseus units sail for dwelling, to Ithaca. This e-book has been out since oral historical past, so here’s a plot spoiler: Odysseus’ journey is stuffed with unanticipated obstacles. Possibly you possibly can relate.

Odysseus loses a lot of his legion on the island of Cicones, then once more within the land of the Lotus-Eaters, and he finds himself trapped in a cave lair of Polyphemus the Cyclops. People, keep away from mid-run cave naps, for varied causes!

There’s an enchantress and a trek to the underworld a steep, mid-race descent into precise hell. And there are pure risks to cope with, like thunder, lightning, and violent situations at sea. It takes Odysseus a full 10 years to make it dwelling, that means he most likely begins the race within the open class and finishes as a grasp.

What we are able to study: We are able to take many classes from Odysseus. First, don’t eat unidentified vegetation (particularly lotus) in your journey. Second, know your self. Odysseus is aware of he might be turned apart by the Sirens, so he tethers himself to the mast of his ship to remain the course. I’m not suggesting you utilize twine to decide to your objectives, but it surely doesn’t harm to have safeguards in place that will help you keep the course by means of moments of weak point. Third, we would take into consideration the believable impacts that working can have on our mates and households. Our adventures are non-compulsory, in contrast to Odysseus’ trek dwelling. However Penelope bears all the family duties whereas Odysseus travels. We’d take into consideration the influence of our prolonged adventures on the individuals we love.


The e-book: “Beowulf”

The journey: Beowulf’s story includes extra aggression than the common ultra-adventure story. Beowulf travels from his dwelling in Geatland to Heorot, to assist King Hrothgar’s males defeat a monster named Grendel. His mission is profitable! However there are different battles to battle first Grendel’s mother and in the end a dragon, the latter of which offers him a deathly blow.

What we are able to study: Use your energy to honor the individuals round you combating for goals which can be greater than your self. And, basically, keep away from swamps.

Extra critically, in “Beowulf,” a hero is humanized. Beowulf is ascendent in his early years. He is a superb fighter and notoriously courageous, and he’s named the king of the Geats. However, as with all adventurers, his energy wanes with age, which is a supply of vulnerability for him. This isn’t a enjoyable lesson, however from Beowulf, we study that every one heroes ultimately lose, irrespective of their energy.

Sabrina Little running the Rocky Raccoon 100

Sabrina Little rising from the tragicomedy of her Rocky Raccoon 100 Mile.

Closing Ideas

Ultrarunning is an odd sport, in that it straddles each competitors and journey. However this makes most of the nice hero tales instructive and relatable.

We are able to study from, and deeply recognize, the misadventures and vulnerabilities of nice heroes from the previous. And maybe in studying about varied journeys by means of the Underworld or being pursued by a monster and that monster’s indignant mother our misadventures appear delicate by comparability.

Name for Feedback

  • Which hero’s story do you relate to in your working essentially the most?
  • What hero’s classes have you ever discovered by means of ultrarunning?


1. This can be a comma joke.

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