An ultramarathon is technically any distance longer than a marathon of 26.2 miles. The most common standard distances are 100km (62.1 miles) and 100 miles. The outcome of 24-Hour events is determined by the person who covers the greatest distance in a single day.
It is a mistake to believe that ultramarathons can only be accomplished by 'extreme' sports people. The demands of an ultra are much different than that of a marathon. In particular, a person's mentality can play as much a role as their physical conditioning.
Ultramarathon running is an endurance sport, not a power sport, and women are particularly good at covering very long distances. In addition, athletes in their 40s can compete at the highest level at 24 hour races and beyond.
Like any running events, you don't have to be able to finish at the front of race fields to enjoy an ultramarathon. Many participants receive immense personal satisfaction and achievement in covering the distances required of some ultramarathons, whether it be via a combination of walking and running or running alone.
As with any sport, you should consult with your doctor before undertaking a training regime.
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