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The term ultra marathon is used to refer to any foot race that is longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 Km (26 miles 385 yards). It is also known by the names ultra distance or ultra running, and the runners are referred to as super runners, or ultra-marathon runners. In this blog you will get complete details of world’s best runner, ultra Marathon distance, world’s best super runners and a lot more.
Ultra Marathon Distance
Various race competitions are held under the banner of ultra marathons; such as the shortest common ultra-marathon of 50 kilometers (31 miles) to over 100 kilometers (62 miles). 100 miles are some of the oldest and most prestigious races and usually the longest race to be completed in less than 24 hours. However, there are also exit races that take multiple days, such as 200 miles (320 km).
Types of Ultra Marathons
Also, there are essentially two main types of ultra marathons: one that covers a specified distance or route, and the other lasts for a predetermined period (with the winner being the one covering the most distance in that time).
Just like any other sport, there also exist certain athletes in this sport who have excelled. So, let us familiarize ourselves with the top 10 super runners or ultra-marathon runners.
Top 10 Best Super Runners – Ultra Marathon Runners
World’s Best Runner: SUPER RUNNER – CAMILLE HERRON
She was the first runner to win the International Association of Ultrarunners world championships in three different categories, the 50 km, the 100 km, and the 24 hours. Camille has a career full of other magnificent accomplishments and feats. Her main strength is her consistency, and she has proven this by breaking the 100-mile record in 2019 by over an hour. She also holds the record for the Comrades marathon in 2017.
SUPER RUNNER | DYLAN BOWMAN
Born in 1984, Dylan found that he had a natural talent for running; and he decided to hone it after finishing his lacrosse career at the university. It was not long before he established himself as a dominant player in the field. He showed his immense potential in his first ultramarathon itself; the Leadville 100 in 2010, where he finished third and stunned everyone. Following that, he also found success in the San Diego 100, the Tarawera Ultra (twice), the 100 Australia, the 100 Istria, and the Mount Fuji Ultra.
On being asked about his strategy and his success mantra, he quipped saying:
“After my first marathon, I remember being destroyed at the finish and then completely obsessed the next day. As long as you have an intense, deep-rooted desire to finish, you’re golden. You will surprise and impress yourself.”
SUPER RUNNER | TOM EVANS
This former British Army was just a name in the world of ultra-running until 2017, after which he established himself as one of the world’s leading competitors in the field and a stand-out super runner. He made his debut in the Marathon des Sables in 2017, where he finished in the third position.
Tom also won the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc CCC in 2018. Furthermore, he also set a record overseas time at the Western States 100 in his debut 100-miler.
SUPER RUNNER | PAU CAPPELL
Formerly a football enthusiast who used to play the game wholeheartedly, Pau only took up running following a knee injury at the age of 20, which prevented him from pursuing football. Ever since then, he has established himself as an ultra marathon runner and ultra-X phenomenon.
Born in Barcelona, Spain, he has to his name several prestigious accolades and is famous for long distance running. These include 1st position in the Transgrancanaria ultra and the 1st position in the Eiger Ultra Trail. He also came close to breaking the 20-hour mark on the 171 km UTMB course in 2020. However, he could not do so as the event was called off due to the COVID pandemic.
SUPPER RUNNER | COURTNEY DAUWALTER
Considered one of the best long distance running machine in the world, she has demonstrated that to excel in this sport, her resilience and hard work are the key ingredients. She came into the running limelight in 2016 when she won the Run Rabbit Ultra marathon by 75 minutes. She followed that up by breaking the course record for the Javelina Jundred 100k. She again won the Run Rabbit Ultra Marathon in 2017, while being partially blind for the last 12 miles. This was a demonstration of her grit and dedication and features that any athlete would like to inculcate.
World’s Best Runner: XAVIER THEVENARD
Xavier ran his first ultra in 2010, after which it took him only 3 years to be crowned the UTMB champion in the year 2013. He went on to win the competition on two occasions again, in 2015 and 2018. He seemed to have a flair for running in the mountains as in 2019, he conquered the Ultra Trail Mount Fuji. Xavier, to this day, remains the only runner to have won the 4 categories of race in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc.
Best runner in the world: FRANCOIS D’HAENE
Born in 1985, the four-time UTMB winner has raced for more than 6000 kilometers to date. This super runner won his first UTMB in 2012. He believes that one should enjoy the sport, rather than immerse himself in cutthroat competition. He also indulges in other sports such as skiing, mountaineering, and canyoning. On being asked what keeps him going, he said:
“I keep my motivation by not doing too many races and taking time to recover from them, scheduling the season very well for just a few goals. It’s important for me to choose races carefully and to know when to stop.”
Best marathon runners | KILIAN JORNET
This Spaniard super runner seems to thrive in the ultra races. He has to date won the Skyrace World Championships, UTMB, and Hardrock 100 and holds numerous other records.
Climbing and conquering mountains have been in his blood. The son of a mountain guide, he started climbing mountains from an early age. He also holds the records for the fastest ascent and descent on the Matterhorn, Mont Blanc, Denali, and Everest. He also has three UMTB victories to his name. He said,
“I like being able to be on the mountain every day. I like to run long and short races, vertical kilometers, mountain ski races, crossings, summits, chain mountains… all bring me different and enriching things.”
Best marathon runners | JIM WALMSLEY
Beginning his career as a middle-distance runner, this super runner ran the Cross Country 5000m, 10000m, and the steeplechase, all while attending the Air Force Academy. Soon after, he took up ultra-running and there was no looking back. Such incredible was his dominance that for four consecutive years (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019) he was named the Ultrarunner of the year. While Walmsley has many records to his name, the highlight of his career is perhaps winning the Western States pedigree, three times.
Considered to be one of the biggest names in the sport of ultra-running, Yiannis has completed feats that are considered legendary. It is because of his achievements that he has earned the titles such as The Running God, the Golden Greek, and Successor to Phiedippes.
He has to date won 4 Spartathlons and holds the top four fastest times in the event. It is said that when he had his first win, the organizers held back the medal, as they believed that there was no way he could have legitimately won the race in such a short duration.
It is because of his unbelievable achievements that he remains one of the most celebrated figures in the field of ultra-running. And it is because of these feats of his that he features in the top position of the list of super runners.
List of Best Ultra Marathon Runners in India
- Zainul Abideen (runner)
- Arun Bhardwaj
- Kieren D’Souza
- Raj Vadgama
Top 5 Toughest Races in India
- Uttarkashi 135
- Run the Rann
- Himalayan Crossing
- Hell Ultra
- La Ultra- The High