11 Jan 2012, 9:43pm


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We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves…The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, ‘You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.’ The human spirit is indomitable

Roger Bannister

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 outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.

Roger Bannister

 Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’. The answer is usually: ‘Yes’

Paul Tergat – Kenyan marathon runner

Relax enough, and your body becomes so familiar with the cradle-rocking rythm that you almost forget you’re moving. And once you break through to that soft, half-levitating flow, that’s when the moonlight and champagne show up. You have to be in tune with your body and know when to push it and when to back off.

Christopher McDougal

In essence, an ultra is a binary equation made up of hundreds of yes/no questions. Eat now or wait? Bomb down this hill, or throttle back and save the quads for the flats? Find out what is itching in your sock or push on? Extreme distance magnifies every problem (a blister becomes a blood soaked sock, a declined power bar becomes a woozy inability to follow trail markers) so all it takes is one wrong answer to ruin a race.

Christopher McDougal

How come nearly all the women finish Leadville and fewer than half the men do? Every year more than 90 percent of the female runners go home with a buckle, while 50 percent of the men go home with an excuse.

Christopher McDougal

After 20 hours of nonstop running, an ultrarunner can get too mind numb to replace flashlight batteries, or comprehend trail markers, or even, in the unfortunate case of one Badwater runner in 2005, distinguish between an imminent bowel movement and an occurring one.

Christopher McDougal

Way before we were scratching pictures on caves or beating rythms on hollow trees we were perfecting the art of combining our breath and mind and muscles into fluid self-propulsion over wild terrain. And when our ancestors finally did make their first cave paintings, what were the first designs? A downward slash – lightning bolts through the bottom and middle – behold, the Running Man.

Christopher McDougal

Don’t fight the trail, take what it gives you. If you have a choice between one step or two between rocks, take three.

Caballo Blanco

Beyond the very extreme of fatigue and distress, we may find amounts of ease and power we never dreamed ourselves to own: sources of strength never taxed at all because we never push through the obstruction.

William James

Eat as though you were a poor person.

Coach Joe Virgil

I always start these events with very lofty goals, like I’m going to do something special. And after a point of body deterioration, the goals get evaluated down to basically where I am now – where the best I can hope for is to avoid throwing up on my shoes.

Ephraim Romesberg

You don’t stop running because you get old – you get old because you stop running.

Jack Kirk (age 96) aka ‘the Dipsea Demon

Poetry, music, forests, oceans, solitude – they were what developed enormous spiritual strength. I came to realise that spirit, as much or more than physical conditioning, had to be stored up before a race.

Herb Elliott – olympic champion

I stood up, I knew I was unfit now but surely I could get fit in ten months. I knew it would be a long slow process so I started with a compromise. I walked up the hill and then ran the rest of the way home.

Charlie Spedding, Olympic bronze medalist

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