Ultra Running & Motivational Quotes Collection

by Damon on August 18, 2012

“Standing on the starting line, we’re all cowards.” Alberto Salazar

“I find that when I run a long race I get to meet some new people including myself. And that’s the guy I’m trying to figure out.”

“Speed is sex … distance is love.” David Blaikie

“It’s not the races you enter that count. It’s your runs in training and sticking with it. It’s how you adjust to injury and how you recover that makes you a good runner.” Dave Hladysh

“Any idiot can run a marathon. It takes a special kind of idiot to run an ultramarathon.” Alan Cabelly

“The 10-K is a race. The marathon is an experience. The ultra is an adventure.” Bryan Hacker

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryun

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.” George Sheehan

“It’s not the races you enter that count. It’s your runs in training and sticking with it. It’s how you adjust to injury and how you recover that makes you a good runner.” Dave Hladysh

“A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of fame and money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.” G. K. Chesterton

“The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” Pierre de Courbertin

“To try is to live; not to try is to die. That is the real essence of life; the doing of something, irrespective of success or failure.” Mark Long

“The essence of ultrarunning isn’t so much the avoidance of pain and trouble as much as adjusting to their inevitable appearance..” Ann Trason

“There are times in our lives when we are drawn uncontrollably to some dangerous source of misery.” Suzi Thibeault, in a letter to David Horton during his conquest of the Appalachian Trail: 2144 miles in 52 days, 9 hours, 41 minutes

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” William Faulkner

“The heart controls the mind and the mind controls the body.” Jim Lampley

“Your belief determines your action and your action determines your results, but first you have to believe.” Mark Victor

“Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I’m on my bike… six hours a day. What are you on?” Lance Armstrong

“When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught to fly.” Patrick Overton

“When you’re afraid of failure you’re more likely to do it.” Gordy Ainsleigh

“Even now I keep thinking it was nothing at all, truly nothing, a task anyone who wants to can do!” Jo Wells (run across Canada)

“Sweat is the cologne of accomplishment.” Heywood Hale Broun

“It only gets so bad, then you just deal with it.” Ann Trason

“You can never step into the same river; for new waters are always flowing on to you.” Heraclitus

“Do not fear failure. Fear does not exist in objects or situations that confront you. It is an obstacle to action created by your mind, created solely by false ideas of weakness that have been taught to you by others. Whenever you are afraid, you have frightened yourself. Once you understand that you create your own fear, then you can learn to eliminate it. The will to excel is of far greater strength than any inborn talent. But you cannot do it half way. Excellence is never achieved by moderation.” Dr. Michael Colgan, OPTIMUM SPORTS NUTRITION, page 465 defeated runner image

“It’s a line you have to cross to understand.”

“The fear of not finishing is often greater than the fear of pain.” Laurie Dexter

“Find the joy in the journey – the finish line will come soon enough.”

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.” Bagehot

“When you are 99 miles into a 100-mile running race, your brain is not the same brain you started with.” Paul Huddle

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic.” Tim Noakes

“Pain is a given – suffering is optional.”

“Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”

“Rewards are on a level with the effort, and the effort is extreme.”

“You can do infinitely more than you have already done.” Sri Chinmoy

“Even the strongest have their moments of fatigue..” Friedrich Nietzsche

“There is no reason to attempt such a feat of idiocy, other than the fact that some people, which is to say some people like me, have a need to search the depths of their stamina for self-definition. (I’m the guy who can take it.) It’s a contest in purposeless suffering. But for reasons of my own, I think it may be the most gallant athletic endeavor in the world. To me, of course, it’s about living.” Lance Armstrong, in his autobiography, “It’s Not About the Bike”, on the Tour de France.

Fear not what you see with your own eyes! Have confidence in achieving your goals. Everyone gets intimidated at the start line. Everyone sees first a seemingly impossible challenge… But most just overestimate the challenges ahead. Even specific psychological research explains built-in human timidity. Recent research by psychologist Dennis Proffitt of the University of Virginia indicates that people consistently overestimated the slant of shallow hills showed to them, judging 5-degree slants to be about 20 degrees. At the same time, people accurately mimicked the angle when asked to demonstrate it with a flat board. Proffitt sees a good reason for this mental disconnect. People’s instinctive mind needs to move legs to match the real inclination of the hill, but the conscious brain has to decide how much energy to expend. A mental mechanism that causes the eye to overestimate the potential task ahead helps prevent person from overexerting himself. “You want to see your relationship with the world and what you can do,” says Proffitt.

“In my failures, I saw the darkest part of myself, where I was weak, where expectations did not meet reality. Until you face your fears, you don’t move to the other side, where you find the power.” Mark Allen

“No matter how well you know the course, no matter how well you may have done in a given race in the past, you never know for certain what lies ahead on the day you stand at the starting line waiting to test yourself once again. If you did know, it would not be a test; and there would be no reason for being there.” Dan Baglione

“What we are all really looking for is an experience that lets us feel the rapture of being alive.” Joseph Campbell

“Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.” Sir Winston Churchill

Ultra distances are unparallel as a setting for personal achievements. Duration and demands of such events provide multiple opportunities to meet “that other guy” – yourself.

Fear is one of the least tolerable human emotions. To confront it regularly (and by doing it, to admit its presence) you need inner strength, outside supportive stimulae, honor and dignity. Because the alternative is not to be in the race, or turn your anxieties and fears into something more easily manufactured and accepted – excuses, blames, criticism, rage – even before the start or during the race.

Don’t get emotional about the race location and its environmental conditions – you are here not to battle against the terrain, the weather, and the nature but to accept them in your struggle. Hills and surf, wind and hail, jellyfish and heatwaves are indifferent to you and the rest of humanity; they just are. Accept (or surrender) to the conditions as overpowering equalizers, or as additional challenge, and this may make you accept or even enjoy it.

Get into habit of finishing your events (be it a race or a training session) unless you’re getting injured. This is especially important when things don’t go as planned. Don’t force yourself and don’t give up, just adjust to the new circumstances and finish what you have planned. Overcoming mental and physical adversity in racing and training is not only a boost to your self-confidence but also a conditioning exercise.

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go. ” T.S. Elliot

During the race many external factors will assist you with the mental aspect of racing, by motivating you and giving you encouragement. Other competitors, support crews, bystanders will help you but most of the motivation will have to come from the within you. Success will be achieved by backing up your body’s effort with your willpower. Without resolve and strong will, you may not be able to stand up even to the moderate assaults by fatigue and low morale. Regardless of your preparation, training, and past experience, time will come when during the race a grave moment of self doubt, pity and weakness will overcame you. Will you quit or make another step thinking “this shall also pass”? Will you succumb or overcame it?

Remember, even as race clock runs and distance covered grows, and you become progressively more exhausted and fatigued, there is still time and distance left to step back and recuperate, to survive the lows and to pick up again. Here lies the attraction and the evil of ultra distance racing – a paradox of having more time to focus and dwell on personal suffering and distance remaining, as well as multiple opportunities to redeem yourself through decision to continue racing. It’s a delicate balance with significant personal ramifications: to stop the movement (and achieve an instant and deserved liberation from pain with a corresponding gain of long-term suffering from the failure to finish) or to embrace the next installment of pain (and knowledge that it will be not a last one on a way to the finish)? Some may have to face these decisions too often for a human being – every step, paddle, stroke and revolution. And that is a mystery of ultras and humans racing them – that so many make it to the finish line.

What will you do when your RFP (Relentless Forward Progress) grinds to a stop?

Thoughts by UltraMentor:

“Natural ability” is not a result of personal genetics or some other extraordinary gift. It is a result of long-term, committed devotion and desire to the goal that propels normal and ordinary abilities to the greatest levels. Yes, one may be born with a great performance machine of the body, with long femurs, large lungs, sturdy knees, and insensitivity to lactic acid and pain, but such gift set of abilities is wasted unless desire and passion, commitment and drive, are all present. With them, even ordinary ability can be elevated to the magnificent level. Without them, even extraordinary gift is useless.

“Satori” is a state of being in which everything and everyone else moving in slow motion, while individual experiencing it has absolutely no distractions and knows exactly what to do as if actions were performed automatically without any significant mental or physical effort. In endurance sports, it’s a common state, triggered by the focused and trained mind presiding over a highly conditioned and trained physical body. Athlete is totally immersed in the moment, as time becomes irrelevant, with near moments of the past and future being very far away. You may have entered satori already in the past. It may have been your fast 400 meter sprint on the running track that seem to last forever, with every stride being a separate life; or while running or cycling long, with miles, hours or even days seem to compress and disappear.

“The body moves naturally, automatically, without any personal intervention. If you think too much, your actions become slow and hesitant. When questions arise, the mind tires; consciousness flickers and wavers like a candle flame in a breeze.” Taisen Deshimaru, Japanese Swordmaster

“At the peak of tremendous and victorious effort, while the blood is pounding in your head, all suddenly comes quiet within you. Everything seems clearer and whiter than ever before, as if great spotlights had been turned on. At that moment, you have the conviction that you contain all the power in the world, that you are capable of everything, that you have wings. There is no more precise moment in life than this, the WHITE MOMENT, and you will work hard for years, just to taste it again.” Yuri Vlason

Overheard at the races…

“This run is so tough, I won’t even have to lie about it when I get back home. ”

“All you have to do is not quit.”

“To those who know (why we do ultras), no explanation is necessary… To those who do not know, no explanation will suffice.”

“Yes, I still believe that the Western States course is one of the most beautiful places upon which I have vomited.”

“Should have a pretty good group of people like you there: i.e., their calves are bigger than their brains.”

“It’s right around the corner.”

“It’s going to hurt a lot worse before it gets any better.”

“A’ole makou e ho’ohikiwale kela!” (rough translation: “We wouldn’t want it to be too easy!”)

“The first 15 miles are exercise, then it’s a sick compulsion!”

“Ultrarunning is like drinking beer, keep going until you pass out or throw up.”

“This is the best you will feel all day.” (heard at the start of the race)

“Anything said after 30 miles is forgiven.”

“It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.”

“The key to running 100 milers is to go easy for the first 100 miles.”

“The races are an amusement. The training is the life force, the essential element in my life that happens with or without races. Races are merely an excuse to buy flashlights.”

“I like to tell people that the difference between a runner and other people is that most people consider walking to be a form of exercise, runners consider walking to be a form of rest.”

“Good judgement is the result of experience and experience is the result of bad judgement.”

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“If you look up, you’re going down!”
- Eric Steele

“Pushing your body past what you thought it was capable of is easy; the hard part is
pushing yourself even further … past what your mind wants to let you. That’s what
ultrarunning is all about; introducing you to a self you’ve never known.
– Rex Pace

“Battling to maintain the delicate balance between hyperfitness and physical collapse.”
- Megan Liberman,

“Pain is a wonderful thing and now I was feeling wonderful, really wonderful!!!”
- Unknown trail runner on Mt. Baldy

“Is this level of athletic competition the ultimate distraction from real life?
Or is it a form of prayer?”
- Norah Vincent on the Olympics

“It’s astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes it’s toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I’ve got to keep control.”
- from “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”

“Ultras, where the athlete pays and the spectator gets in free.”
“Keep the rubber side down.”
“Don’t out-run your stomach.”
“Those of us who finish near the back make the rest of you look good.”

“We take these risks not to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping us.”

“I refuse to tip-toe through life only to arrive at death safely.”

“I decided to go for a little run.”
- Forrest Gump

“The best conditioned athlete is a long distance runner”.
- John Thompson of the Georgetown Hoyas

“Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off the goal.”
- Luis Escobar

“You can never run a hill too hard, you will collapse before hurting it.”

“BTW, I still think the WS trail is one of the most beautiful places that I have vomited.”
- Mary Gorski, 1999 WS attemptee and 2001 finisher

“Every man dies, but not every man really lives.”
- William Wallace (as played by Mel Gibson in “Braveheart”)

“The way to heaven leads right through the depths of hell.”
- Peter Bakwin (from Andrea Feucht)

“There is no satisfaction without a struggle first.”
- Marty Liquori

“I wasn’t a truly genuine trail ultrarunner until March 7, 1992 at the
Wild Oak 50 near Harrisonburg, Virginia. It was a rainy day and
simultaneously, while I was piddling on the run, chewing on an energy
bar and washing it down with Mountain Dew, my nose was dripping and I
farted. That was the ultimate defining moment in my trail running
career, if not my entire life.”
- Bob Boeder

“Don’t fear moving slowly forward … fear standing still.”
- Kathleen Harris at KUTS ’03

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not
to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is
against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit.”
- George Sheehan

“If you run hard, there’s the pain — and you’ve got to work your way through
the pain … You know, lately it seems all you hear is ‘Don’t overdo it’ and
‘Don’t push yourself.’ Well, I think that’s a lot of bull. If you push the
human body, it will respond.”
-Bob Clarke, NHL Hall of Famer

“I would rather exercise than read a newspaper.”
- Kim Alexis

“Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the
experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination
to do so.”
- Douglas Adams

“Find the level of intolerance you can tolerate and stay there.”
- David Horton

“I don’t remember this bit”
- Ross Walker (while scaling a cliff about 25K into an “easy” 20K trail run)

“The thing I don’t like about Western States is that you show up at the
starting line in the best shape of your life and a day later you are in
Auburn in the worst shape of your life.”
- Andy Black, on Western States

“Perhaps the genius of ultrarunning is its supreme lack of utility. It makes
no sense in a world of space ships and supercomputers to run vast distances
on foot. There is no money in it and no fame, frequently not even the
approval of peers. But as poets, apostles and philosophers have insisted
from the dawn of time, there is more to life than logic and common sense.
The ultra runners know this instinctively. And they know something else that
is lost on the sedentary. They understand, perhaps better than anyone, that
the doors to the spirit will swing open with physical effort. In running
such long and taxing distances they answer a call from the deepest realms of
their being — a call that asks who they are …”
- David Blaikie

“You’re not puking and nothing’s broken so get going.”
- Vivian McQueeney to her husband, Scott, in the middle of the climb to
Whitney Portal during Badwater 2000

“The luxurious ache of tired but not weary limbs.”
- Michael Fairless, ‘The Roadmender’.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong
man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The
credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred
by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes
short again and again, because there is no effort without error and
shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the
great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy
cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and
who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that
his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither
victory nor defeat.”
- Theodore Roosevelt, Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

“Come on, you sons of bitches – do you want to live forever”
- Gunnery Sergeant Dan Daly, USMC, Belleau Wood, June 1918

“Just go out there and simutaneously piss in your shorts, fart like a
foghorn and drink from your mud-caked bottle. While you’re at it let
some liquid dribble down your chin onto your shirt, look up at the
starry night and laugh like a raving lunatic. Fook em all. You’re doing
what you love to do and no one can stop you.”
- Michael Musca, as told to Will Brown

“You guys just shuffle from concession stand to concession stand!”
- Helge Zimmet, said to Karen Claire at Way Too Cool

“There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
- Ben Zander, according to aspiring ultrarunner Sophia Lewis

“Running fast requires conditioning your body, absorbing proper mechanics to
the point where they’re second nature, and then forgetting the details and
letting it rip. It may sound funny to someone who hasn’t been there, but
the more you can let go, the faster you can go.
Look at films of Mohammad Ali in his prime and you’ll see how he had that
little wrist flick on the end of his jab; if he had to think about doing
that, he couldn’t have done it. People have things inside them they don’t
know about until it comes out. When somebody asks me how fast a human being
can run, I tell them that however fast they think it is, it’ll be faster.”
- John Smith, UCLA track coach

“I gazed in envy at ultra runners whose quadriceps had the kind of definition
that tells you Secretariat is somewhere in their family tree.”
- Liz Zelandais, writing about the Dam 50k Run/Relay

“The difference between me and Rick Hogan is that I always leave the
rattlesnake for the next guy.”
- Andy Petterson at Old Dominion, referring to a snake killed by Rick
near the Peach Orchard aid station

“The moon was out and I saw some sheep.
I saw some sheep take a walk in their sleep.
By the light of the moon, by the light of a star,
They walked all night from near to far.
I would never walk, I would take a car.”
- Dr. Seuss

“You can be out there having your worst day, but at the same time the person
next to you is having their best day. So there’s really no room for crankiness
in the sport. At least I try to minimalize it”
- Suzie Lister, after ’98 Western States

“When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the
darkness of the unknown, we must believe that one of two things will happen.
There will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught to fly.”
- Patrick Overton

“Well, there *used* to be a trail here somewhere … ”
- Kent Street

“Do you think we were supposed to turn back there?”
- Skip Eastman at Mackenzie River 50

“Ow.”
- Stan Jensen at 1995 AC100

“Look Mabel, here comes one who’s running!”
- Unknown

“You’ll be wistful for the “wall” of the marathon,
when you hit the “death grip” of the ultra.”
- Bob Glover

“Why couldn’t Pheiddipedes have died at 20 miles?.”
- Frank Shorter, 1970

“If you see a fork in the road, take it!”
- Yogi Berra

“You can’t be a schmuck and have great friends.”
- Buzz Burrell

“If you can see the light coming out of the other ear, you’re an Ultra runner.
- Unknown

“I was starting to hurt, but then I burped and took a crap and am feeling
much better”
- Unknown, heard during the 1997 AR 50

“My doctor told me that jogging could add years to my life. I think he was
right. I feel ten years older already.”
- Milton Berle

“A 50K on trails is easier than a marathon on the road.”
- Unknown

“I swear, I’ll never do this again.”
- Unknown

“If you can’t see over it, walk it.”
- Unknown

“You’re better than you think you are and you can do more than you think you can!”
- Ken Chlouber at Leadville

“It all comes down to knowing how to handle situations that are thrown at you in
an ultra.”
- Kevin Setnes

“These nuts got guts.”
- Jeff Stegeman, writing for Durango paper 7/10/98 about Hardrock

“We’ll tell you when to start and we’ll tell you when to stop. In between, don’t
think, just keep running.”
- Ken Chlouber at Leadville

“A man must love a thing very much if he not only practices it without any hope of
fame and money, but even practices it without any hope of doing it well.”
- G. K. Chesterton

“If you under-train, you may not finish, but if you over-train, you may not start.”
- Tom DuBos credits Stan Jensen with this one

“The best long distance runners eat raw meat, run naked and sleep in the snow.”
- Alaska Airlines advertisement honoring Iditarod dogs (from Dana Roueche)

“There are times in our lives when we are drawn uncontrollably to some
dangerous source of misery.”
- Suzi Thibeault, in a letter to David Horton during his conquest of the
Appalachian Trail: 2144 miles in 52 days, 9 hours, 41 minutes

“Common sense is necessary … more so than high tech. Race to the
finish not race from the start, pace yourself, run your own race and
don’t get sucked into someone else’s, walk when you need too, run when
you can, eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we will hurt.”
- Kevin Sayers

“I love running cross-country … You come up a hill and see two deer going:
‘What the hell is he doing?’ On a track, I feel like a hamster.”
- Robin Williams, film star/comic/runner

“When you are 99 miles into a 100-mile running race, your brain is not
the same brain you started with”.
- Paul Huddle

“Your talents are wasted as an engineer, Stan. Your calling is
elsewhere.”
- Alex Feldman’ AC97 report

“Nobody should ever run a race where they are lapped by the sun.”
- friend of Alex Swenson, referring to 100 mile races

“O.K. when you come over the top of Casey Peak look straight down from the
top of the mountain and you’ll see a tiny blue square down in the valley
[Casey Meadows], that’s the tarp at the aid station. Run to it … there’s
no trail just run down through the boulders but don’t go too far off to
the left or you’ll end up trying to go down a cliff.”
- Jim Pomroy, R.D. Elkhorn Mountain 100K 1997

“The Barkley, of course. It was 20 hours longer”.
- Mark Williams, when asked whether Hardrock or Barkley was harder

“Any idiot can run a marathon. It takes a special kind of idiot to run
an ultramarathon.”
- Alan Cabelly

“Last is just the slowest winner.”
- C. Hunter Boyd

“… so as we walked along the river toward Rucky Chucky, I said the
words that most men say to a pretty woman as they walk along the river
under a starry night on their first date: “If you were a real hardass,
you’d stick your finger down your throat and clear your stomach and if
you won’t do it, I will.”
- Stan Jensen, pacing Sarah Lowell at WS’97

“Rewards are on a level with the effort, and the effort is extreme.”
- an unidentified “Utah runner”, from Red Fisher

“Don’t work towards freedom; let the work be the freedom.”
- Dogen Roshi, philosopher

“Oh man! They should just put me out to stud!”
- Len Kuentzm just after finishing his first 50-miler

“Anybody running beats anybody walking, and anybody walking beats anybody
sitting.”
- Tom Bunk

“Despite what seems like the extraordinary nature of these events, in the
end, they make you even more human.
- Joel McNamara

“Decide before the race the conditions that will cause you to stop and
drop out. You don’t want to be out there saying, Well gee, my leg hurts,
I’m a little dehydrated, I’m sleepy, I’m tired, and its cold and windy.
And talk yourself into quitting. If you are making a decision based on
how you feel at that moment, you will probably make the wrong decision.”
- Dick Collins

“The Quitter”
When you’re lost on the trail with the speed of a snail
And defeat looks you straight in the eye
And you’re needing to sit, your whole being says quit
You’re certain it’s your time to die.
But the code of the trail is “move forward don’t fail”
Though your knees and ego are scarred.
All the swelling and pain is just part of the game
In the long run it’s quitting that’s hard!

“I’m sick of the pain!” Well, now, that’s a shame
But you’re strong, you’re healthy, and bright.
So you’ve had a bad stretch and you’re ready to retch,
Shoulders back, move forward, and fight.
It’s the plugging away that will win you the day,
Now don’t be a loser my friend!
So the goal isn’t near, why advance to the rear.
All struggles eventually end.

It’s simple to cry that your finished; and die.
It’s easy to whimper and whine.
Move forward and fight, though there’s no help in sight
You’ll soon cross the lost finish line.
You’ll come out of the black, with the wind at your back,
As the clouds start to part; there’s the sun.
Then you’ll know in your heart, as you did at the start.
You’re not a quitter. You’ve Won!!
- by Gene Thibeault

“You can sleep when you die.”
- Roger Rehwald (seen on a T-shirt)

“Ultra-runners don’t compromise … they cope.”
- Bob Sharpley

“Exercise is for people who can’t handle drugs and alcohol.”
- Lily Tomlin

“As long as you keep making RFM (Relentless Forward Motion), you will
finish.”
- Stacey Page

“Find your limits and exceed them.”
- Lynn Strickland

“Road sucks!”
- Skip & Tracey

“Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue.
Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions
independently of logic.”
- Tim Noakes

“Beware of the chair!”
- Unknown

“I never knew I could DNF and still have so much fun.”
- Gregg Heinrichs

“For all the hardship, I was still excited to be on the trail, testing my
endurance, feeling especially alive as strength and fatigue flowed
alternately through my limbs.”
- Colin Powell

“No doubt a brain and some shoes are essential for marathon success,
although if it comes down to a choice, pick the shoes. More people finish
marathons with no brains than with no shoes.”
- Don Kardong

“The runner need not break four minutes in the mile or four hours in the
marathon. It is only neccessary that he runs and runs and sometimes
suffers. Then one day he will wake up and discover that somewhere along the
the way he has begun to see the order and law and love and truth that makes
men free.”
- George Sheehan

“… slowed my pace to the point that I could have been rear-ended by a
sleepy snail.”
- Dave Olney

“If a frog had wings, he wouldn’t bump his butt.”
- Keith Woestehoff

“When you’re afraid of failure you’re more likely to do it.”
- Gordy Ainsleigh

“Succeeding makes you forget the failures.”
- Harry Cordellos, blind athlete (2:57 at Boston in 1975)

“Science can be useful, or it can just get in the way.”
- Karl King

“I want to thank the rest of you for making me look normal.”
- Gordon Ainsleigh

“Far away, there in the sunshine, are my highest aspirations. I may
not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in
them, and try to follow where they may lead.”
- Louisa May Alcott

“Nothing ever fatigues me, except that which I dislike.”
- Jane Austen

“Runners can get through the weary and lonely hours only if they are at
peace in themselves.”
- Ayers

“The greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.”
- Bagehot

“No matter how well you know the course, no matter how well you may
have done in a given race in the past, you never know for certain
what lies ahead on the day you stand at the starting line waiting
to test yourself once again. If you did know, it would not be a
test; and there would be no reason for being there.”
- Dan Baglione

“If I can’t go faster I’ll go longer.”
- Doug Barber

“Self-destructive is doing something to hurt yourself. It is doing
permanent damage to yourself. I have done neither. As for being
obsessive, I am. I love to run.”
- John Barltrop

“The longest hill must end in a valley.”
- Henry C. Beeching

“Don’t worry – you’re supposed to walk the uphills.”
- Shelley Black

“Speed is sex … distance is love.”
- David Blaikie

“The road to excess leads to the place of wisdom, for we can
never know what is enough until we have experienced too much.”
- William Blake

“In ultrarunning, the pain is inevitable, but the suffering is
optional.”
- Al Bogenhuber

“If someone says, ‘Hey, I ran 100 miles this week. How far did you
run?’ ignore him! What the hell difference does it make? …
The magic is in the man, not the 100 miles.”
- Bill Bowerman

“You can’t die from a stomach ache. The worst that can happen is that
you’ll throw up. Then you can eat some more and start running again.”
- Jack Bristol

“A man’s reach must exceed his grasp, or else what’s a heaven for?”
- Robert Browning

“Go fast enough to get there, but slow enough to see.”
- Jimmy Buffett

“I like those people. They are calmer and cooler, I think. Personality-
wise, they are rich. An ultra runner is not somebody who is normally
going to wish you bad. On the contrary if you are down an ultra runner
will help you.”
- Michel Careau

“Vincit qui patitur: he conquers, who endures”
- Percy Cerutty

“If it hurts, make it hurt more”
- Percy Cerutty

“I think the novelty has worn off.”
- Jack Chapman

“The only way to define your limits is by going beyond them.”
- Arthur Clarke

“The number of miles I have run since I was a toddler would have
taken me around the world several times, and I still cannot define
precisely my joy in running. There is no sacrifice in it. I lead
what I regard a normal life. In my case, I thoroughly enjoy
running 100-odd miles a week. If I didn’t I wouldn’t do it. Who
can define happiness? To some, happiness is a warm puppy or a glass
of cold beer. To me, happiness is running in the hills with my
mates around me.”
- Ron Clarke

“Follow me–I know the way”
- Herman Cohen, as he led at large group astray at Nugget 1994

“If you think you won’t finish, you won’t.”
- Dick Collins

“Champions are born with the right stuff, but still must suffer the
stresses of training to achieve full potential.”
- David Costill

“The purpose of training is to stress the body, so when you rest it will
grow stronger and more tolerant of the demands of distant running.”
- David Costill

“Speed and strength are of diminishing importance at greater and greater
distances.”
- David Costill

“The most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle.
The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.”
- Pierre de Courbertin

“You can’t get lost on this course!”
- Joe Dabes

“A runner’s creed: I will win; if I cannot win, I shall be second;
if I cannot be second, I shall be third; if I cannot place at all,
I shall still do my best.”
- Ken Doherty

“To describe the agony of a marathon to someone who’s never run it is
like trying to explain color to someone who was born blind.”
- Jerome Drayton

“How many days does it take to run a hundred miles?”
- Skip Eastman

“The only way to be who you want to be is by being what you haven’t yet
been.”
- Sally Edwards

“Great spirits often encounter violent opposition from mediocre minds.”
- Albert Einstein

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far
they can go.”
- T.S. Eliot

“Do the thing and have the power”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Adopt the pace of nature; her secret is patience”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The people that I have met are not foolish; they are aware of how
tired and cold and hungry and frightened and hurting and discouraged
and disoriented and how possibly injured they will become. They know
they will face great physical, mental, emotional, and possibly
spiritual challenges as they make their way to the finish. This is
what they are racing against. This is their challenge. This is what
I admire.”
- Carolyn Erdman

“The race continued as I hammered up the trail, passing rocks and trees
as if they were standing still.”
- Red Fisher, Wasatch ’86

“If at first you don’t succeed, you can always become an
ultramarathoner.”
- Bruce Fordyce

“A race is just a race, but a friend who paces you is a friend for life.”
- Joseph Franko

“Trails with high passes and girls with nice asses.”
- Doug Freese

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep.”
- Robert Frost

“Whatever you think you can do or believe you can do, begin it.
Action has magic, grace and power in it.”
- Goethe

“If Klingons were runners, they would be Ultrarunners.”
- Bryan Hacker

“The 10-K is a race. The marathon is an experience. The ultra is an
adventure.”
- Bryan Hacker

I cannot do everything, but still I can do something and because I
cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I
can do.”
- Edward Everett Hale

“I’m tired.”
- Jussie Hammalainen

“A man’s got to know his limitations.”
- Dirty Harry

“Drink, drink, drink! Pee, pee, pee!”
- Ed Hart

“The gulf between what we feel we are doing and what others perceive us
to be doing will remain the most ultra of all distances, one that no
amount of miles or words can finally bridge.”
- Hart

“Why would anyone want to do this a second time?”
- Sue Haupt

“The more of us that do it, the harder it is for them to dismiss us
as just a bunch of really weird people. Especially when we otherwise
appear so normal.”
- Dan Hawthorne

“There’s a lot to be said for LSD — long, slow distance in this case.”
- Joe Henderson

“Why am I doing this?”
- Don Herres

“It’s not the races you enter that count. It’s your runs in training
and sticking with it. It’s how you adjust to injury and how you recover
that makes you a good runner.”
- Dave Hladysh

“Run hard, run long!”
- Jay Hodde

“Boredom and fatigue are very similar experiences.”
- Al Howie

“It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.”
- Dolores Ibarruri

“Because I can.” (when asked “Why do you run 100 mile races?”)
- Tom Johnson

“We (ultra runners) alternate between depression and stupidity.”
- Don Kardong

“Grizzly bears eat people without the benefit of music.”
- Don Kardong

“If you run 100 miles a week, you can eat anything you want – Why?
Because: (a) you’ll burn all the calories you consume; (b) you deserve
it; and (c) you’ll be injured soon and back on a restricted diet anyway.”
- Don Kardong

“Security is mostly a superstition; it does not exist in nature. Life
is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
- Helen Keller

“All the disruptive arguments among my friends as to whether or not I
was sane when I took up marathon running have been entirely resolved
since I ran my first 50-miler.”
- John Kendall

“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced”
- Kierkegard

“If you can’t fly, then run.
If you can’t run, then walk.
If you can’t walk, then crawl.
But whatever you do, keep moving.”
- Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Enjoy your pain, you earned it!”
- Pauli Kiriu

“You run an ultra largely on concentration … not letting your form
drag and continuing to run. Your body quits and the mind takes over.
It’s not like a marathon where you think, maybe I can gut it out.”
- Georgs Kolesnikovs

“My advice is that you should use your brains more and train less.”
- Yiannis Kouros

“There is another type of strength. It is being able to extend your
energy for a very long distance.”
- David LaPierre

“If one could run without getting tired I don’t think one would often
want to do anything else.”
- C.S. Lewis

“Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we will find
the way.”
- Abraham Lincoln

“You’ve got to be a little bored to be doing really good training.”
- Marty Liquori

“Just remember this: No one ever won the olive wreath with an
impressive training diary.”
- Marty Liquori

“The endurance athlete is the ultimate realist.”
- Marty Liquori

“Fatigue makes cowards of us all”
- Vince Lombardi

“Fear is a part of everything you do … You have to take great risks
to get big rewards.”
- Greg Louganis

“You hear about how runnin’ ultras is all mental; well, I sure wish
it’d hurry up and get mental, ’cause it’s feelin’ awfully physical
right now.”
- Ken Loveless

“I never met a carbohydrate I didn’t like.”
- David Lygre

“Running is a big question mark that’s there each and every day.
It asks you, ‘Are you going to be a wimp or are you going to be
strong today?’”
- Peter Maher

“It’s the pain of the consequences that’s all out of proportion.”
- Kenny Moore

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. The winds will blow
their freshness into you, and the storms, their energy. Your cares
and tensions will drop away like the leaves of autumn.”
- John Muir

“No matter what hurts at the beginning, by the end of the race
something else will hurt worse.”
- Bob O’Connor

“Pain is good. Extreme Pain is Extremely Good …”
- Navy Seals

“Never judge a day by the weather.”
- Dave Nelson

“That which does not destroy me makes me stronger”
- Nietzsche

“Whoever fights monsters should see that in the process he does not
become a monster. When you look long into the abyss, the abyss also
looks into you.”
- Nietzsche

“It just doesn’t get any better than this.”
- Chris Nymann

“Never look back, someone might be gaining on you”
- Satchel Paige

“The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we
obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that
gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble,
that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection.”
- Thomas Paine

“Each time you run you will receive lessons. You have enrolled in
the school of ultrarunning. You may like the lessons or think them
irrelevant and stupid. What you think makes no difference; the
lessons will be presented until they are learned.”
- Keith Pippin

“When you run there are no mistakes, only lessons. The art and
science of ultrarunning is a process of trial, error and
experimentation. The failed experiments are as much a part of the
process as the combination that ultimately works.”
- Keith Pippin

“Once that distance had been passed in training, an important physical
and psychological threshold had been crossed. It was no longer a
question of *if* it could be done. Rather, it became a question of
*how fast* it could be done.”
- Mike Plant (about Dave Scott)

“Self-conquest is the greatest of victories.”
- Plato

“You will get through the tired times, don’t give up. There is lots of
time. Walk and in a while you will be running again.”
- Rolly Portelance

“The mind learns the body can go at least a bit farther even though it
feels increasingly uncomfortable.”
- Pritikin

“Sometimes you should overcome the tiredness and speed up when you’d
normally slow down. Great source of strength and power.”
- Pritikin

“If the bone’s not showin’, just keep goin’!”
- Joan Risse at Angeles Crest, 9/95

“Happy trails to you, until we meet again”
- Roy Rogers and Dale Evans

“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
- Eleanor Roosevelt

“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the
strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them
better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena;
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives
valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the
great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a
worthy cause; who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high
achievement; and who at the worst, at least fails while daring
greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid
souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
- Teddy Roosevelt

“Too much is better than not enough.”
- Kyle Rothweiler

“I had as many doubts as anyone else. Standing on the starting line,
we’re all cowards.”
- Alberto Salazar

“The will to do, the soul to dare.”
- Sir Walter Scott

“Sweetness and release can only taste the way they do after one
deserves them.”
- Shapiro

“The body is given out on loan – don’t waste it and expect to use it
tomorrow.”
- Shapiro

“Ultra runners are daffy about practical matters.”
- Shapiro

“A dozen extra steps becomes a tremendous aggravation when you are
pushing your edge out hour after hour.”
- Shapiro

“Enjoy the training and memories of race day, endure the race.”
- Shapiro

“I have met my hero, and he is me.”
- George Sheehan

“Have you ever felt worse after a run?”
- George Sheehan

“Success rests in having the courage and endurance, and above all,
the will to become the person you are. . . ”
- George Sheehan

“It’s very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole
idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that
the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants
you to quit.”
- George Sheehan

“Some think guts is sprinting at the end of a race. But guts is what got
you there to begin with. Guts start back in the hills with 6 miles to go
and you’re thinking of how you can get out of this race without anyone
noticing. Guts begin when you still have forty minutes of torture left
and you’re already hurting more than you ever remember.”
- George Sheehan

“I won’t last forever, but I’m damn well going to know that I was here!”
- George Sheehan

“Nothing is more certain than the defeat of a man who gives up.”
- George Sheehan

“That which does not kill us, cripples us for life”
- Fred Shufflebarger

“Let him that would move the world first move himself”
- Socrates

“Start slow, then taper off”.
- Walt Stack

“ARRRGH — what in God’s name ever possessed me to think this would be a
good thing to do?”
- Charles N. Steele

“I never met a hill I couldn’t walk.”
- Larry Stice

“I will not follow where the path may lead, but I will go where there is
no path and I will leave a trail.”
- Muriel Strode

“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
- Alfred Lord Tennyson

“I have to find another port-a-tree.”
- Ellie Thayer

“If you start to feel good during an Ultra, don’t worry – you’ll get
over it.”
- Gene Thibeault

“It’s the quitting that really is hard.”
- Gene Thibeault

“Above all, train hard, eat light, and avoid TV and people with negative
attitudes.”
- Scott Tinley

“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
- Thoreau

“Finish with a smile on your face.”
- Joe Trask

“It hurts up to a point and then it doesn’t get any worse.”
- Ann Trason

“People think ultra is some kind of spaghetti eating contest for people
with no talent to do anything else. But there’s a lot going on. I break
it down into the physical, the mental and endurance. Physical is the
only gender-specific area; men have more muscle mass, the strongest man
is always going to be stronger than the strongest woman. But I think
physical is only a small percentage of ultra. The mental part includes
preparation, strategizing, problem solving. How do you deal with 22
miles through snow, then overheating? How do you avoid allowing someone
to lure you into running their race? You have to learn how to run over
rocks downhill without trashing your quads; it’s like skiing or dancing.
And then endurance. An ultra is not about pain – I think a marathon is
about pain, about intensity – but it’s about hanging in through
tiredness and about staying nutritionally fueled. There is some evidence
that women may use fat more efficiently. And you have to want it, you
have to have the passion, you have to be willing to take the risks. You
can never be sure you’ll finish.”
- Ann Trason

“There’s no tangible reward in anything I do, certainly not in running
Western States. It’s just an interesting challenge.”
- Tim Twietmeyer

“Run slowly, run daily, drink moderately, and don’t eat like a pig!”
- Ernst Van Aaken

“When you weigh as much as I do, the downhills are glorious!”
- Kelly D. Wason

“Any race you can walk away from, is a bad race”
- Coach Pete Waters

“You move from doing things to show other people you could, to
where you do things to look into yourself, into your soul, and
see who you are and what youre all about.”
- Scott Weber

“There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you
lose, you win.”
- Elie Wiesel

“Too much knowledge can hold you back. Ignorance on the other hand, now
that was something that could get you to the finish line.”
- Mark Will-Weber

“You’ll have no trouble keeping up. Remember, I’m a 35 minute miler.”
(when discussing a training run)
- Mark Williams, first of 253 people to finish Barkley 100

“Anything worth doing is worth doing to the extreme.”
- Bruce Wise

“Long May You Run”
- Neil Young

“If I can see it, I can run to it.”
- Randi Bromka Young

“If you get tired on a trail run, lie down in the middle of the trail in
such a way that no one could pass you without waking you up – it will
insure your finish line position.”
- Glen Zirbel

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
- Angeles Crest motto

“May the road rise up to greet you, and the wind always be at your back”
- Irish proverb

“26 miles 385 yards is where racing ends and ludicrous extremes begin.”
- from “Runner’s World”

“For yesterday is but a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well-lived makes
Every yesterday a dream of happiness,
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
Such is the salutation of the dawn.”
- from “The Sanskrit”

“The pain is temporary, The pride lasts forever.”
- Unknown

“If you can’t learn anything from losing, don’t lose.”
- Unknown

“Always enjoy yourself. Never give up. Don’t think of being tired.
Keep on going until you cross the finish line. Don’t be upset if you
don’t win.”
- Unknown

“Stick a fork in me, I’m done.”
- Unknown

“It used to freak me out when I threw up, now I don’t even slow down.”
- Unknown

“Your biggest challenge isn’t someone else. It’s the ache in your lungs
and the burning in your legs, and the voice inside you that yells
‘CAN’T”, but you don’t listen. You just push harder. And then you hear
the voice whisper ‘can’. And you discover that the person you thought
you were is no match for the one you really are.”
- Unknown

“The second 50 is done with the mind.”
- Unknown

“Well, dear, I hope you know what you’re doing.”
- Unknown

“I run distance because I want to be in good shape when I die.”
- Unknown

“Look honey, here comes one that’s still running!”
- Unknown

“Adversity introduces a man to himself.”
- Unknown

“Running is a four weather sport.”
- Unknown

“What doesn’t kill me sure does make me hungry.”
- Unknown

“Not bad for an old guy.”
- Unknown

“Opportunity is often passed up because it is disguised as hard work.”
- Unknown

“Everywhere is within running distance … if you have the time.”
- Unknown

“The finish line is just ahead.”
“The aid station is just ahead.”
“Trust me … this is the last hill.”
“You’re almost there.”
“The trail is well marked.”
- Unknown

“If we do what we did yesterday, we’ll be OK. If we do something new
we’ll be competetive. If we are always looking for new and innovative
ways of doing things then we will be the best.”
- Unknown

“There are clubs you can’t belong to, Neighborhoods you can’t
live in, Schools you can’t get into, But the roads are always open.”
- Unknown

“It’s easy to imagine how you will act when things go according to plan,
that’s why you must always prepare yourself for what you will do when
they don’t.”
- Unknown

“The finishing line isn’t given; it is earned.”
- Unknown

“God, I must be crazy.”
- Unknown

“It’s not the beginning or the end of a race that counts, It’s what
happens in between.”
- Unknown

“I get to eat *anything* and don’t have to worry about putting on
weight?”
- Unknown

“Fear, like pain, may only be God’s way … of hurting us.”
- Unknown

“In an ultra you should eat like a horse, drink like a fish, and run
like a turtle.”
- Unknown

“His IQ drops 50 points every time he laces up a pair of running shoes.”
- Unknown

“The race isn’t always to the swiftest, but to those who keep on
running.”
- Unknown

“If you can’t run fast, run far.”
- Unknown

“Frank Hanson promises nothing in his runs, and by God he delivers.”
- Unknown

“If you want to play the game you have to train.”
- Unknown

“Action cures fear”
- Unknown

“Those who say it can’t be done are usually interrupted by others doing
it.”
- Unknown

“To achieve all that is possible, we must attempt the impossible – to be
as much as we can, we must dream of being more.”
- Unknown

“Been there, done that, don’t need to do it again.”
- Unknown

“At some point it doesn’t get any worse.”
- Unknown

“Positive mental sickness.”
- Unknown

“The greatest of all victories is to be victorious over yourself.”
- Unknown

“Lead, follow or GET OUTA the way!”
- Unknown

“Respect the distance or it won’t respect you.”
- Unknown

“I didn’t go out to fast, I just died too soon.”
- Unknown

“Anyone who thinks the sky is the limit has a limited imagination.”
- Unknown

“Some people dream of worthy accomplishments while others stay awake and
do them.”
- Unknown

“Nothing beats experience.”
- Unknown

“The amount of time the body needs to recuperate is not a sign of
weakness but a fact of life.”
- Unknown

“Mental fortitude is more important than physical endurance.”
- Unknown

“A pounding heart is a sure sign you are putting forth your best effort.”
- Unknown

“A runner thinks less in terms of beating others, than in simply running
the best he has within himself.”
- Unknown

“The duration of an athletic contest is relatively short, while the
training for it may take many weeks of arduous work and continuous
exercise of self-effort. The real value of sport is not the actual
game played in the limelight of applause but the hours of dogged
determination and self-discipline carried out alone, imposed and
supervised by an exacting conscience. The applause soon dies away, the
prize is left behind, but the character you build is yours forever.”
- Unknown

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must
outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in
Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the
slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether
you’re a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better
be running.”
- Unknown

“There is no future if we only repeat the past.”
- Unknown

“All things in moderation.”
- Unknown

“All things in moderation, including moderation.”
- Unknown

“MOST things in moderation”
- Unknown

“No brain, no pain”
- Unknown

“The first 50 miles are run with the legs, the second 50 miles with the
mind.”
- Unknown

“90% of ultrarunning is 100% mental.”
- Unknown

“Nobody is going to finish this damn thing for me, but me.”
- Unknown

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

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