Articles by Gary Cantrell

What it Means to Quit

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an Australian rules football (ARF) game. The basic rules of the game were not hard to follow, although the finer points eluded me. It was a game where the decided underdog jum...

Hallucinations

Howie Stern It was my first ultra that went all night – 24 hours on a quarter-mile track. Having heard all about the hallucinations that runners got during these long races, I was not surprised when I s...

Fear of Failure

It haunts us. It limits us. It leaves our dreams unrealized and our hopes unmet. It stands between us and limitless possibilities. It is our nemesis, but we seldom recognize it when we see it. Consider this oft given...

A Journey Run

There is a lot of information to be found on the topic of training for ultras. You can find advice on everything from the food you eat to the socks you wear. There are guides for every step of training mileage. You ca...

Misery

“Why is it that everything you enjoy doing seems to involve an extended period of misery?” At first, the question really made no sense. What misery? Sure, it was about 110-degree heat index and we hadn’t slept in 36 h...

Closing a Race

One of the most underrated aspects of an athlete’s performance is closing. Whether the sport is golf or ultrarunning, all the training in the world, the best pacing, the best nutrition—none of that matters if the athl...

Don’t be a WOTTE

They used to call ultrarunning a subculture. But we have grown. As a matter of fact, we have grown so much that now there are subcultures within the subculture. Prominent among these is the aid station subculture. It has...

The Art of the Death March

We used to have a saying about running ultras, “You can only gain minutes, but you can lose hours.” Maybe that old saw is still around. If it isn’t, it should be. It holds a lot of truth as an “either-or” choice. It h...

Pride in Performance

Sometimes it feels as though ultrarunners have a particularly perverse way of viewing the sport. For some reason, we seem to take pride in our incompetence. I guess that sounds rather harsh, but think about it, how ma...

Faces Across America

To cross the continent on foot is a transcendental experience. There is no other way to fully grasp the sheer size or stunning scope of the land. There is infinite time during those eight million steps to really see t...

Happy 40th Birthday Ultrarunning

When I was asked to write something about the 40th year of UltraRunning Magazine I thought, “This will be easy.” After all, I have literally grown up with the magazine. I could not have been more wrong. How do yo...

Foundations

For more than 30 years I was a drystone mason, building rock walls without mortar. It was a very pleasurable, if somewhat arduous profession. The pace and cadence, visualizing of the outcome, handling of the stones an...

Evolution

As man evolved, he created the tools necessary for survival. We don’t even have to think in order to breathe. We can consciously control breathing if we need to, but whether we give it any thought or not, we are going to...

How Far and How Long?

We all come to realize, eventually, that the only constant in life is change. And we all know that if you cannot adapt to change, you will become obsolete. Still, it is hard to imagine that some concepts are not immutabl...

The Great Race

I have to admit that I hesitated when Dave Proctor approached me about holding a virtual Backyard Ultra. Backyard Ultras are not that difficult to stage however, they are not well suited for a virtual venue. On top of th...

The Last Race

I have a friend, Phil, who ran a 1:48.01 for 800 meters in college.Aside from being a performance that is beyond the dreams of most people, what does that have to do with running ultras? Actually, that particular perform...

Hundo and Vert

You have to feel sorry for the ultrarunners of my generation. We came into the sport when the concentration was about one ultrarunner to every 100 square miles. And that was in the hotbeds. There were no books, magazines...

An Ode to ARFTA

A Race For the Ages is an ultra of a different colour. Technically, it is an age-handicapped time race. Held on a one-mile loop in Deadman Park (lovingly known as the Deadman Mile) in Manchester, Tennessee, runners are a...

The Month of Fear

When you line up at your next ultra, you can take comfort in the fact that you are already likely in the top half of all the entrants. Between the opening of entry and the final field stepping to the line, about half the...