When you think of ultra marathons, running is usually the first thing that comes to mind. But pull on your walkers instead, and enjoy these lesser-considered benefits.
1. It’s no mean feat.
Walking long is a far taller order than people may realise, thus provides a wonderfully challenging goal to work towards. Ultra walkers may go into their first event with a rather laid back attitude, before swiftly realising that walking long is not to be sniffed at. Head into a marathon distance plod or speed walk without the right training and it will be tall order to reach the finish line. But build stamina over time, increasing from a comfortable 5 to around 15 miles per week, and you will be well on your way to the finish line of an event you’ll never forget.
2. Your heart will thank you.
Walking is reported to be just as effective in some important health benefits as running, such as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and a risk of diabetes; but you have to do a lot of it. Introducing brisk ultra walking into your lifestyle is a fantastic way to stay physically fit, well into later years.
3. Enjoy the mental health boost.
Walkers report a great pleasure in the simple things that speeding-by so often misses. The sights, smells and gentle noises of nature become a part of the experience for endurance walkers that aid a sense of wellbeing and deeper contemplation. Whilst the same can be true for runners, experiences at a slower and more mindful pace provides the rare opportunity to simply be.
4. You'll meet others just like you.
In the ultra world, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a runner, walker, triathlete, cyclist or kick-scooting enthusiast — endurance seekers all have one thing in common, the desire to find their ‘edge’ and see what they can do with it, and the desire to achieve something they previously thought may not be possible. They share the thrill of a terrifying prospect, and know that the experiences along the way; both to the start line and to the finish line, will be the stories they are telling their great grandchildren.
5. The world will open up and say ‘ta da!’.
Many people report a sense of discovery with going ultra. Not just within themselves, but also out there in the external world — a home country begins to invite them into corners of astonishing beauty that they’d never usually get to experience, and then beyond — a whole world of exploring beckons unlike before within the safety of newfound skills and friendship groups.
6. You’ll never look back.
The blend of the physical, mental and social benefits so often found through endurance walking is utterly addictive. Before you know it, you’ll be getting excited about what’s on the calanader for next year, and feeling part of a wonderful community. Finally, the lower risk of injury with walking as opposed to running means that you’re likely to be able to enjoy ultra walking as a life long hobby.
All XNRG events are not only open to walkers, they are structured so that walkers are not left at the back. To be a part of it as a walker, have a look at our 2017 events now open! >>