Written by Apostolos Baranowski - https://medium.com

Definition: There is a fair amount of disagreement within the running community as to what distance constitutes an ultra marathon. Some say it’s anything over the standard marathon distance. (42km) Others insist that the race has to be a 24 hour all night affair. In my humble opinion, an ultra distance is 100km or anything over that.

It doesn’t matter how well rehearsed you are. How meticulously you trained and how seasoned a runner you may be. Although these attributes are unarguably essential, the one thing you cannot escape, is the fact that things can (and often do) go wrong. During a competition you’re constantly fighting the pain, the fatigue, your mind begging for you to stop and end the madness! Even the most detailed and well though out plans can falter. The reason for this is simple: There are just too many variables in the equation, so many unpredictable events that can occur. -as in life.

Ultra running is a pilgrimage where the journey starts within, you travel though many stages to ultimately discover your real self. It’s here that one finds out what they are made of.

As I persevere along the route there are times that all I want to do is throw in the towel and quit. I’m at the half way mark, It’s three in the morning and day has long since given way to night. The other runners have thinned out along the course and I find myself alone on a stretch of road, with five more kilometres to the next check point. I’m Hurting, joints are swollen, the pain has been with me for what seems an eternity, and it’s my only companion. With so much more distance left to cover and I’m at breaking point. Physically I have nothing left to give. My once proud strides now resemble the careless steps of a drunkard, Staggering to find his way back home. Breathing erratic at best, a cumbersome chore. I double up, hands on hips and come to an abrupt stop. Trying to straighten myself and restore some decorum, I look up into the dark sky, the clouds swimming in a sea of sorrow. It seems inevitable that my adventure will end here. I feel clinically dead.

Resurrection. In the darkest of places in which I find myself, the universe presents me with a unique opportunity. It’s here that I am given the choice to turn my darkest hour into my finest. I must dig deep, deeper than I’ve ever dug before. Substituting negative thought with positive, visualising my father and the sacrifices he made. I know that there is still something left in the tank, and I start to move forward. The pervious steps are in the past and no longer belong to me. — gone and none of my business. The next steps are yet to come so I needn’t worry about them. From now on I will only be as good as the next step I take!

With the finish line now in sight, I quicken my pace to embrace it like a long lost friend. It does not feel like I’ve reached a destination but rather a continuation of a journey. Everything that has happened in those hours of running was for a reason. The walls I encountered where not put there to stop me from finishing, they were put there to see how badly I wanted to finish. In life It really doesn’t matter how many walls you’ll find in front of you, know that you have the courage to smash them down. You just have too dig in deep and believe that there is aways going to be something left in the tank that’s going to propel you forward. Always!

Ultra lessons for a successful life.

There is alway light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to have the courage and belief to find it

Never give up. Understand the situation and adapt

Sometimes understanding why something is the way it is, is better than trying to change it

walls are there not to keep you from achieving your goals. Walls are there to see how badly you want to achieve those goals.

It’s in your darkest hour that you’ll have the opportunity to shine the most.

Don’t worry about the past because it no longer belongs to you. Don’t worry about the future because it has yet to come. Concentrate on the present.

There is no such thing as failure. Accept it, investigate it (learn from it) and move on

The only limitations are the ones we set up in our own minds.