Editor’s Choice: Running for Time

    Cover19.5SMPhil McCarthy
    © 2015 42K(+) Press, Inc.

    Imagine an ultra with no cutoffs, no sweep vehicle, and no DNFs! This is what you get with fixed-time ultras. According to runningintheusa.com, there are 190 fixed-time races in the United States in 2015, so they are out there, and they are worth a look for those unfamiliar with them. This article might serve as an introduction to this type of race for some of you; others already familiar will, I hope, still find some good information here.

    I’ve fielded lots of questions in person about this, and of my 90 or so ultras, 44 of them have been fixed-time races from three hours to six days. I managed to set an American record for 48 hours, at the race Three Days at the Fair in Augusta, New Jersey, in 2011, with 257.34 miles, and I nabbed a couple of 24-hour national championships at the NorthCoast 24-Hour Endurance Run in Cleveland in 2009 and 2011. So as a runner who has been said to “specialize in mind-numbing loops”, I suppose I’m something close to an expert. So I’ll start with the basics. You’ll note that I’ll use the word “usually” a lot, to comment on what is most common, while acknowledging that there are always exceptions.

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