What you’re about to read will sound ultra crazy. It kind of is, and kind of isn’t. To me, it’s ultra amazing. It’s called, an Ultra Marathon.
By definition, an ultra marathon, also called ultra distance or ultra running, is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometers. Becca Joyner, from West Michigan, is an ultra marathoner. She has run several in her life. Yes, that’s ultra crazy! But ultra amazing!
At the time of this writing, Becca is currently running, “The Last Annual Vol State Road Race”. This is a 314 mile race from Dorena Landing, MO to Castle Rock, GA. You read that right, 314 miles!
To show the magnitude of this amount of miles, I’m currently in a, “Keeping Up With Becca” challenge. Several of my running friends, and myself, are trying to see how many miles we can amass while Becca is doing her Ultra. She is destroying us!
This is a race with no aid stations, and no cheer stations. Just miles and miles of road. Empty road. This takes sheer grit and determination. And some serious ultra crazy!
Becca and I have a mutual friend, Amy, who decided to be part of her crew. To help encourage her, and support her along the race. The idea of supporting someone is full of life lessons. How to comfort, support, and do whatever it takes to be there for the journey. It means going, “the extra mile” like this.
I asked Amy to try and describe what she has witnessed with Becca tackling this ultra.
To all the Vol Staters, I am in awe. They come in every shape, size, color, and age. They come to the start line with all the determination and belief that they will be climbing the final sandy accent in Georgia. To watch them is to see hopeful pursuit of something that not many are even willing to try. From the “elites” to the everyday mom or dad, you get it all at Vol State and no one is treated better then the other. There is something to be said of kindness and resolve these days.
Becca specifically has had to overcome some lingering demons from last years vol state. Her feet and ankles were wrecked. Trench foot, blisters on her heels and balls of her feet, ankle issues that made her wonder if she would ever have a normal cadence again. The fears of all of that happening again made her very cautious every time it has rained, and it has rained. A lot.
I am truly in awe of the women I have seen this week (and of course it is not finished yet!). She had been through every emotion possible and I know will come out a better human on the other side of this, as she does every time. Being part of this journey with her, I will treasure. There is nothing like an ultra that will bond people quicker. I am thankful to know her and that she has allowed me to be her friend.
Ps, the winner, Bob Hearn, came back through the course this afternoon, speaking and encouraging everyone who is left on it. That is ultra running❤️
In the midst of the race, I shot a text to Becca. What do you say to someone doing something like this? I simply said, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14 You that you are NOT doing this alone. You have a swarm of people praying for you, and cheering you on! When I need to dig deep, I am reminded of the Lord fighting for me. In this case, it’s a bit tough to be still, but you get the idea, He will see you through!
She wrote, Thank you so much, you made me tear up. There have definitely been some low points over the last few days, and I’m sure more will come up. I’ll do my best to remember your advice. Thank you for taking the time today.
I tell you this to say that just a little encouragement goes a long way. It came at a God-appointed time, as Becca was climbing 3,000 feet in 2.5 miles. Gulp! She sent me this picture.
As I looked at that picture, a thought came to my mind. “Oh my…WOW! There is a rich lesson in this, the fight to climb. The struggle in reaching the next mountain, after pulling yourself out of the valley. Take a moment to soak it in. Breathe. Cry. Laugh. Emote!!!!“
I believe when you take on something ultra tough, you will find something ultra amazing. Whether getting in shape, taking a class, or running an ultra. Becca has, and continues, to find it.
Do something ultra. Go make a difference. ALWAYS run by faith!
What is something “ultra” you have done? How did you feel when you tried and or, finished? Drop a comment below!