I admire ultrarunners. The stories I read always involve high levels of comraderie, cool equipment, intense situations, and an awesome post-race social atmosphere. In my running career, I have run 5 marathons, 3 halfs and numerous 5 and 10 k's, yet I have never taken on the challenge of an ultra.
Reason? I believe it's partly due to geography. Trail running in my part of the world did not blossom until recently, and those who had an interest had to travel to another zip code to experience a great trail. Eventually, Cincinnati runners discovered local parks that could provide a decent trail running experience, Mt Airy Forest and East Fork Lake are two good examples.
Over the last few weekends, I have made the 30 minute commute to Mt. Airy for some nice 10 mile trail runs and have really enjoyed the adventure of cruising along the single-track route, dodging root and rock, trying not to sheer an ankle or take a tumble. The experience is serene, quiet and tough! The goal: The Stone Steps 50K in October.
The race is several loops through the rolling park trails, with one major climb per loop up a huge and steep hill of stone steps. It is not pretty! But...it is a nice view once you reach the top.
Anyway, if all goes well over the next few months, I will take the plunge and give the Stone Steps a try. Wish me luck, because I know if I complete one of these things, I'll be itching for another.