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Showing posts from October 1, 2017

Hello Burnout, My Old Friend

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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 wo…