Mate Hegyhati

Tasting something new: my first 6h ultra run



The "outsiders" may not know this, but running is not as "monochrome", as it may seem. People who do not run, usually only know about the Olympics, and the big half-marathon and marathon races with all the festivities. But there are many other styles of running, like the Spartan races (which should not be confused with the Spartathlon), the color runs (and many other crazy fun races), trail runs, etc.

All of these have a different taste. By which I mean, that the prices, distances, number of participants, competitiveness, etc. are all different. Everybody can find the most suitable style for themselves. I prefer mostly the long distance trail runs, and occasionally fun runs and big city marathons. But last Sunday I tried something new: a 6 hour ultra race.

I've already ran couple of marathons, and some organized hiking events, that lasted more than 6 hours (brutto), but this was different from everything so far because:
  • unlike all my previous races, the time is given, not the distance
  • the track was a roughly 1.6 km long cycle on asphalt 

So basically we were running around for 6 hours on the same 1.6k route. There were some consequences of that: 
  • It was kind of boring compared to trail runs or big city marathons. 
  • Since it is an ultra run, there aren't thousands of people attending. Basically, I've been seeing the same ~40 runners all the time. Even if they were much faster or slower than me. 
  • The small number of runners also meant, that is was a very friendly race. Everybody was rooting for everybody. Sometimes it meant saying "Hajrá!", sometimes only a smile and a wave. 
  • Some of the supporting people who accompanied the runners were  really enthusiastic about rooting for us. Playing loud music from their cars, and in one occasion even dancing on the top of it. :-D
  • With such a short cycle, refreshment is not an issue. Every 9-10 minutes (in my tempo), the refreshment desk was there with isotonic drinks, bananas, and other goodies. Most of the people also had personal refreshment in the car. (I used two gels and Magnesium shots for example.)

The track was actually really nice, we went through a beach in each round. We also had luck with the weather, it was a very comfortable 10-15 C degree, and had no rain. In the end I managed to finish 41 rounds and an additional 209.1 meters, which end up to something like 65k. I'm really happy with that, as I was going for 63.3.  

The photos were taken by Jenő Burján.


But, without any doubt, the best part of the race was, when I was a little bit behind a nice lady, and some of the organizers just told me after the loud rooting, that "Yeah, I'd run after such ladies too! :-D". When I outpaced Her, She told me, that "Ok, so from now on, I'll look at your butt, not the other way around :-)". After 4 hours of running I was in a fun mood, and lifted up my shirt a little bit to provide a better view. The next thing I heard was: "Hm... nice." I'm not a narcissistic person, but this definitely lifted my spirit for a while :-). 


So, long story short: my verdict is, that I really liked the race. The family like aura of it, everybody supporting everybody, etc. was a really nice experience. Running around the same track for 6 hours was not as unbearable as I thought. I'll probably still prefer trail runs in the future, but once in a while it is a really nice thing to do for a change. I highly suggest You to try a race like this. If 6 hours are too long, there are usually relay options too. The big open question I still have to decide is, whether I want to attend to a 12h or 24h similar race. (Such races are organized in Hungary every few months.) 

Anyhow, if You have a similar experience, let me know in the comments.



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Mate Hegyhati

About Mate Hegyhati

Amateur fun runner, geek, hiker.