Success Story: From 0 to 100 Kilometers & Even Farther
Alexandra Schistek has competed in several ultramarathons (like last month’s 130-km “Wien-Rundumadum” ultra trail run with 1,770 meters of elevation gain). Runtastic has been a constant companion of the 25-year-old runner from Austria, whose results speak for themselves, like her recent 3rd place finish in the overall women’s standings of a 24-hour race. Alexandra shared with us what she loves about running – and what others think of her passion.
You’re crazy, nuts, wacko… You wouldn’t believe all the things I’ve had to listen to in my still relatively short running career when I tell people about my passion for ultramarathon running.
It starts off with the question of what an ultramarathon actually is. The answer is quite simple: An ultramarathon is any race longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 km. The most popular distance is the 100-km road race, but besides specified distances, there are also races that take place over specified times, like 6 hours, 12 hours, 24 hours or even 48 hours.
After clearing up the question of what it is, the next question, posed with a shocked (and slightly confused) expression, is “why”: Why do you voluntarily do this to yourself? This question is not quite as easy to answer as the first one 😉 Well, actually it is: Because I love running! I love every single meter I run under my own power (muscle power and willpower).
Ok, granted – when you take part in a race longer than 100 km, you won’t just experience highs – you will also go through hell. The pain travels from one spot to the next and ultimately you also end up asking yourself the “why” question. But then you remember: Pain passes, but pride lasts forever! The harder a run is, the greater you will feel when you cross the finish line.
The beautiful thing about ultra running is the way it heightens your sense of awareness, so you feel yourself running and the positive effect it has on your body, mind and soul every single second. You have time to enjoy the beauty of nature and to let your mind wander…
Ultra running is not really a competition between participants. It is more of a struggle with yourself. At ultra running events, you meet the most interesting people, each with their own special story. You run together, you motivate them and they motivate you… a real community.
Three years ago, out of the blue and for no particular reason, I bought a pair of running shoes and just started running. Yeah, the first, second and third runs were, well, ok, but I wasn’t really thrilled. And of course they were all shorter than 5K.
The best thing about running, though, is that it doesn’t take long to feel the positive effects on your body and that you improve with each kilometer you run. Thanks to the Runtastic app, you can see your progress in black and white, which is, of course, a big incentive. Then came the first 10K, half marathon, marathon and finally ultramarathon.
I am really happy about my spontaneous decision three years ago to simply lace up a pair of running shoes. In the meantime, this decision has given me countless unforgettable running moments, a better sense of my body, self-confidence, more mental and physical endurance and most importantly, the friendships with inspiring people on the course.