In 2023, the sport of ultrarunning saw historic records fall and limits that were pushed incredibly far–further than we‘ve likely ever witnessed before. But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention all of the amazing achievements of every ultrarunner who crossed a finish line this year.
Celebrate the victories, mourn the losses and make a point to manage everything in between with grace and humility.
Since 1981, UltraRunning Magazine has not only been publishing results—in the beginning we included North American results for every ultramarathon—we’ve also voted on UltraRunner of the Year. It’s a way to recognize the achievements of athletes dedicating their lives to the sport. In 1981, Marcy Schwam and Bernd Heinrich were the first female and male winners.
Today, we publish a limited number of results within the magazine, but all results can still be found on ultrarunning.com. Not only are race results organized by individual, per year, but runners can also find their:
- Number of total races
- Longevity in the sport
- Personal bests in each distance
- Distance by year
- Multiple performances at the same races
By going beyond print, we can bring our readers more of the data we collect from races each year, which contribute to the stats in this very issue.
We also recognize that keeping the roots of our sport alive and well is important. UltraRunning recently launched “Old School Ultras” which includes a a selection of ultramarathon events across North America that are rich with history in our sport. It’s our way of celebrating where we’ve come from and the culture we have helped cultivate for over 40 years.
In this issue, you’ll recognize the names and faces of those who dominated in 2023. You’ll also find a feature from photographer Howie Stern with images documenting his time at Big’s Backyard. Western States Endurance Run Trail Manager, John Catts, wrote a piece on the recovery efforts needed to put on the race in 2023 after the devastating Mosquito Fire in 2022. Voice of the Sport columnist John Trent recounts his finish at the Wasatch 100 and how a surprise turn of events made him reevaluate his running dreams. Finally, writer and photographer Jenny Thorsen recounts her experience at the Last Annual Third Circle of Hell in Tennessee.
Covering the sport of ultrarunning has always been a privilege and a lesson in life. We witness so many incredible moments that are fraught with emotional heartbreak or lose-our-sh*t jubilation. These throes into opposite ends of the emotional spectrum during ultras can also be a metaphor for how we live our lives. Celebrate the victories, mourn the losses and make a point to manage everything in between with grace and humility, because we’re a lucky bunch to be able to call each other friends and family.
Cheers to a new year, from all of us at UltraRunning Magazine. We look forward to seeing you at a race in 2024.