What Is Long Distance Running?

Start of Self-Transcendence 6 day race 2010 Photo by Alakananda

Long Distance Running

Multidays.com is, of course, concerned with ultramarathon and multiday races that take several days or more to complete and this is a specialist area of running that has a community of several thousand members spread all over the world.
To clarify the meaning of terms and definitions associated with running a long way, I’ve included standard definitions of categories below.

Long distance covers the 5 kilometer, 10 kilometer, half marathon and marathon events which is a prelimnary stage of running covered by track & field authorities. Most runners don’t venture beyond these distances although ultrarunning is enjoying a boom time that has been growing over the last 5 years with more and more races, especially in the US, selling out quickly.

Ultra distance is usually referred to as any race beyond the marathon distance of 26.2 miles (42.195 km) and ultrarunners usually take the 50 miler as a true ultra rather than 50k which is some 4 miles more than a regular marathon. It also extends up to and beyond the 100 k,100 mile and 24 hour distances.

Multiday Races

The multiday or multi-day distance covers, as its name implies, those distances that take more than a day – 48 hours and up to the super long distance races like the 3100 and the trans-national races.

The standard multiday is the 6 day race such as the Self-Transcendence 6 Day Race which takes place in Flushing Meadow, Queens, New York every year. 2010 was the 13th edition of the race and is held concurrently with the 10 Day Race. These particular events are round the clock races on a mile loop which allows for aid and counters. Other 6 day races take place in South Africa, France. There is a 24/48/72 hour race in Arizona, US, a 7 day race in Athens, Greece, a 6 & 8 day race in Monaco and many others

Multiday Stage Races

There are a whole range of popular stage races like the Transe-Gaule or the Trans-Europe races and of course the Marathon Des Sables.
The Trans-Am races are among the most famous multiday stage races and stories and accounts can also be found on Alan Firth’s invaluable site, Run Across America which unfortunately is offline but can be viewed via the Wayback Machine

Multiday Relays

There are a number of team events that can span over a day to complete, examples like the Hood to Coast Relay which is the largest in the US, the Blue Ridge Relay – a 208 mile event with most teams finishing well over the 24 hour mark. In the UK, the Welsh Castles Relay a two day 209 mile event runs from Caernarvon Castle to Cardiff Castle in June each year.

Multiday Solo Runs

Limits to distances runners are capable of covering are self-imposed. Jesper Olsen took 22 months to run around the world starting in 2004 and Rosie Swale-Pope took five years in her trans-global ultramarathon journey.

Treadmill Multidays

Over the last decade or so, more and more runners have tested themselves on treadmills usually as a fundraising or awareness raising venture. Ireland’s Tony Mangan, who has set records both on and off the treadmill, holds the current 48 hour record with 405.22km, almost 252 miles. Lee Chamberlains 7 day record was recently broken by Mike Buss who ran 517 miles in March 2010.

Multiday Adventure Races

There are a whole range of adventure races incorporating a multi-disciplnary including trekking, mountain biking and kayaking, an approach as exemplified by the 1995 Eco Challenge a tradition maintained today with various ‘Raids’ and several lengths of adventure races – Primal Quest, WildEndurance to name a few.

Multidays.com The home of multiday running news and events.

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