The Ultramarathon Mindset

Evidence-Based Tactics From the World of Extreme Endurance

Moab, Utah is a popular setting for sci-fi films. That’s probably because it literally looks like another planet. It’s home to giant red rock archways, gaping canyons, mysterious craters and plenty of dinosaur bones. It’s also the staging ground for one of the country’s toughest ultramarathons: the Moab 240.

The Moab is two hundred and forty desert miles of rocky mountain climbs and endless dirt roads. It can get as hot as 97°F (36°C) during the day and as cold as 15°F (-10°C) at night. The race takes the average competitor 90 hours to complete. It’s so long that the distance between two checkpoints can be more than an entire regular marathon’s length. Runners are regularly afflicted by sunburn, intense physical pain, crushing fatigue, and hallucinations, with some even reporting blindness.

And yet, in 2017, Courtney Dauwalter somehow made it look like a cakewalk. Not only did she win—she set the record for the race, and finished ten whole hours ahead of the next runner.

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