Opinion: 400’s Are the New 200’s
April Fool's post: 400-mile races are the new 200-milers, and if you’re not running 400 miles at a time, you’re not really a runner.
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Here’s the thing: if you’re not doing the most, and constantly sacrificing your mental and physical well-being at the dusty altar of extreme endurance — can you call yourself a real trail runner?
So you’ve run a measly 50K? You’ve finished a meager 100K? Run a paltry 100-miler? Completed a scant 200? Well, it’s time you leveled up, bud. Because 400s are the new 200, and if you’re not running 400 miles at a time, you’re not really a runner.
In the year of our lord 2023, your Instagram post about running a marathon ain’t worth its weight in Maurten bicarb system (performance baking soda that costs $13 per serving, AS GOD INTENDED). We’re not doling out kudos for anything less than triple digits, and those triple digits better be 4-0-0.
You might have some questions, like don’t you have a job? And what about your family?
My job is staying hard, and what others call family, I call crew. At the mile 373 aid station, when my kids are cooking me the 47th quesadilla, child labor laws are not applicable. Because my children are having fun, which you can tell from their vacant stares into the distance as I walk away. My family is a like-minded bunch of renegades who know that if you’re not pushing yourself to the absolute brink of self-destruction, you’re not really an ultrarunner. I stay hard for the kids.
So you’ve run a couple of ultras, a few 100 milers, and even a 200? That’s all well and good. But you’re not really a trail runner until you’ve touched the face of god during a multi-day 400-mile race. We can’t accept you into our illustrious fold until your blood is mostly cortisol and flat coke, and your feet are worn down into bloody, calloused stumps. Why “feel good” and “have fun” when you could do neither for longer?
Some might argue that traipsing through deserts and woods at 73 minute/mile pace isn’t “trail running.” I’d argue that if a doctor can identify your feet or nipples as human remains, your race isn’t long enough. The only distance worth chasing is a distance that would require three charges for an electric car. The only real GPS watch is a calendar. Mile splits are dumb. The real ones take fortnight splits.
My races have $4,000 entry fees, so I can’t afford therapy.