The Case For 200 Mile Endurance Events

And Why YouCan Do It!

I’m just wrapping my head around ultra running and maybe trying a 50k. 100 miles? Crazy! 200 miles? Insane!”

“It took me a long time to believe I could even attempt running 100 miles. But 200? There’s no way!”

“Why would anyone want to run that far? What’s the point?”

“I can’t ever see myself trying a 200 mile event. Just the time required to train and all that lack of sleep…and the pain – geez!”

After learning about a 200+ mile endurance event, have you or a friend ever thought and said something like this? I know I did!

But I’m going to make the case for you, that might change your mind. 

In fact, mountain running(200 miles or more in alpine settings) had such a dramatic impact on me, I’m now devoted to these events, after 30 years of ultrarunning.

The Case For Two Hundys 

  1. Training time same as ultra.
  2. Kinder to your body.
  3. Advantage to planners and problem solvers.
  4. Scenery is spectacular.
  5. Community is endearing.
  6. Abundant life lessons learned.
  7. Sense of accomplishment on another level.

Training Time

You will be walking/hiking for 50-75% of the time. An average finish time for a 200 is ~90 hours. That’s 2.2 mph (inclusive of stoppage time); moving time average is closer to 2.5-2.7 mph. Hikers average 3 mph; backpackers 2 mph in mountain terrain. Your training will involve a mixture of LSD (Long Slow Distance) running, efficient walking and hiking, acclimatization (if required) and hill training.

The hours you dedicate to the above can be equal to, even less than you would have done running for an ultra. And…

It’ll Be Kinder To Your Body

Less running = less pounding on the joints, muscles and tendons and less injuries, faster recovery. As a bonus, you’ll be working in the temperate to aerobic heart zone (60-80% max) so burning fat efficiently! Double bonus: you’ll learn to climb like a billy goat. Who doesn’t want to be a GOAT?!

Failure to Plan, is a Plan to Fail

You’ll be confronted with numerous obsticles during a multi-day event. Issues with gear, blisters, exhaustion, sleep deprivation, nutrition, hallucinations, navigation, weather, altitude, hypothermia, hyperthermia – it’s a Rubric of problems to be solved, all while the clock ticks and you ebb and flow from euphoria to despair. However, for those that prepare, many issues can be minimized or eliminated, thus providing a competitive edge to the planner over the swift; tortoise over the hare.

Spectacular Scenery

Your friend asks you, “The scenery must be phenomenal on your ultra run?”, and you responded, “Honestly, I really don’t know. I spent all my time looking down so I wouldn’t fall!” Moving slower enables you to enjoy more of your surroundings. And 200s are hosted in some of the most scenic places in the world – so oh boy, will you want to take in the views! You’ll traverse deep into places that few ever get to venture and witness. 

The Community

Ultra running has been my form of organized community – my ‘tribe’, for decades. I’m as passionate about our culture and it’s benefits as I am about the running. The community in 200s harkens back to my early days of ultrarunning, when it was a relatively unknown niche sport with a tight knit and deeply supportive and loyal community. The highest priority was always our fellow tribe mates. This still exists in ultrarunning, but has been diluted with the tremendous growth in the sport’s participation and associated focus on competition. With 200s there are fewer participants, under long periods of duress spent together and thus, a natural inclination to look out for your fellow runners as a pinnacle priority. That single aspect is most palpable and endearing. 

Life Lessons

There’s a long list of “whys” for becoming an ultrarunner. But inevitably, we all have takeaways about community, environment and most importantly, ourselves – which benefit us greatly outside the sport. The 200 community is a PhD in all of the above, taking the learning to an entirely different level. It’s in a word – exhilarating.

Sense of Accomplishment

There is this mental, emotional catharsis that takes place. Accomplishment, coupled with life lessons, is a potent one-two punch for feeling alive and living life to the fullest. Go no further than partaking in a two hundy for you to experience this uplifting sensation like never before. Every time I complete an event I feel more able to confront whatever comes my way each day.

Why YouCan Do It

Okay, hopefully I’ve peaked your interest. And yet you’ve a “but”, right? You don’t believe you could ever pull this off, as enticing as it might sound. Read on faithful follower. I’ve a secret to reveal…

A-N-Y-O-N-E

Yup. Anyone. Can. Run. A. 200. Miler. 

If you’ve a mind or already have run an ultra, then you are already 3/4 of the way towards competing in a 200 miler. What do you have to do to make it a reality?

  1. Believe in yourself. It’s 50% of running a 200 miler.
  2. Train for and run an ultra. It’s 25% of running a 200 miler.
  3. Learn how to a) acclimatize, b) sleep strategy, c) use trekking poles, d) walk efficiently and 5) climb hills.

That’s it. Seriously. Oh, and go find an event that fulfills your dreams here:

Not sure you’re quite ready for a two hundy? Here’s an opportunity to have a go at the sport of mountain running at a shorter distance (Passage au Malatrà®(30k) and Tot Dret® (132k)). I’m offering two free registrations for two lucky sweepstakes winners who will be selected next month. It’s easy and free to participate. Just follow me on my Instagram account at https://linkinprofile.com/dieselsan and you’ll be automatically entered. 

Bob Crowley is an entrepreneur and athlete who has been ultra running since 1989. He’s “head yeti” for the Trail Animals Running Club (TARC), one of the largest trail running clubs in the world. He’s competed in the Western States Endurance Run, Hardrock 100 and is approaching 100 ultra event completions. Recently he’s transitioned to mountain running and has run the Tahoe 200 and Moab 240 events and will attempt to complete the Tor des Géants® in the Italian Alps in September. He’ll be sharing his journey of preparing for and participating in the TOR throughout the year via his Instagram account at https://linkinprofile.com/dieselsan