Hello Burnout, My Old Friend

This is not a pipe either
Everyone is mystified why modern ultra Bobs & Betties burn out after 3 years. Every new crop of young champions rise, burn brightly, then fall out of the heavens back into darkness, as everyone stares at their phones. Jason Koop has some sharp observations on this.

It boils down to race proliferation, #FOMO, social media, and sponsors wanting max exposure.  If you look at Ann Trason’s peak career, or Tim Twietmeyer you’ll see they didn’t race all the time. Or maybe some races didn’t make it into the database.


Ultras have changed mightily in thirty years. What used to be low-rent is now high dollar on both ends of the spectrum. We’ve gone from aluminum lawn chairs and a stopwatch to blowup arches and timing chips.


Here’s the arc: hot young Bob or Betty wins a name ultra. They become a social-media influencer. Winning is a stoke, kid you not. And they race. And race. The season never stops.


Eventually exhaustion sets in. The runner in question begins to realize its hard work. In some cases its a hard crash. One day they wake up and they can’t move. As I told a lawyer-friend late one night long ago: “you’re giving blood, and all they’re doing is writing a check.”


Tim Olsen realized he was in the shit at the 2014 Hard Rock. Scroll down for the pic of him crashed on that skanky sofa middle of Colorado nowhere. Geoff Roes disappeared from ultras a year after his 2010 dark-horse WS100 win. And on it goes.


The smarter ones already have a Plan B: a steady job, hosting seminars, camps, speaking gigs, becoming an LLC to market self. Because career longevity is literally less than three years, and team slots aren’t reserved for taking home 4th place.



Prize money, yo.

Comments

John N. said…
It's Geoff Roes and you made a poor choice for burnout. I suggest you do some more research.

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