Ultrarunning vs. Triathlons

When asked, "What's your favorite sport?", I always have to stop and think about the question. 

I love sliding on snow in all of its forms (downhill, cross-country, back-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowboarding.)  If I could do anything I darn-well pleased and money was no object, it would surely be descending steep slopes of deep, dry, untracked powder on a sunny, sub-zero day.  Unfortunately, heli-skiing and cat-skiing are more addictive and expensive than crack, so I don't do them that often.

My other true loves are running, cycling and swimming. 

For several years, I was proud to call myself a marathoner.   I loved running marathons and ran them all over the world.  Then one day after I completed the Boston Marathon in a personal best time of 2:40, an overweight work associate of mine said he saw this thing on TV called the Ironman where participants swam 4K, rode 180K on their bikes and then ran a piddling marathon.  This seriously deflated my ego and caused me to reassess my athletic identity.

After getting into triathlons in a big way, I identified more with being called a triathlete or more specifically, an Ironman.  After accumulating an impressive inventory of gear and taking early retirement from a career as a desk jockey with IBM, I became a professional triathlete and traveled the world collecting Ironman finishes.  I was happy with being called either triathlete or Ironman, even though I ended up doing a few double-ironman distance tris.  In fact, my first ultramarathon run was a double-marathon road run during the Ultraman Triathlon in Hawaii. 

As kids and mortgages entered the picture, there were fewer opportunities to take off for a couple of weeks here and a couple of weeks there to participate in long-distance triathlons and less cash to spend on the latest and greatest triathlon toys.  While I didn't ever give up on triathlons, I did end up getting bitten by the ultrarunning bug.  I ran many ultramarathons on the roads, but developed a preference for trail ultras.  Now that I've run over 100 ultras, I figure it's time to take a step back to my roots of triathlon.  I take my New Years resolutions somewhat seriously, so I have spent a fair bit of time deliberating this recently.

Anyway, all of this is background to why I think this short video is the funniest thing I have seen in a coon's age.  The person who created this video (I assume it's an Englishman by the name of James Adams) has absolutely nailed everything about the psyche of a triathlete and the psyche of an ultramarathon runner and contrasted them in a conversation that takes place in the passenger compartment of a European train.  

If you consider yourself to be either a triathlete or an ultrarunner please treat yourself to this video.  If you've participated in both Ironmans and ultraruns, you must drop with you are doing, get a towel to sit on,  and watch this somewhere were you won't do too much damage if you loose control of your bladder!


PS  Thanks for sharing this, Ken

PPS Is this awesome or am I just bent and twisted?  Please be sure to share your thoughts with a comment...


Sibylle's picture

Jackson, check this one

Jackson, check this one out: 

and this one:

and this: 


Alex's picture

I feel like that last guy

when it comes to skiing though.  Then I guess in August I probably sound more like him towards running. 

That first video was very funny though.  But Ean, I was thinking in future years of doing an event that was an Ironman distance, but with more hills, and trails to run on.  What do you think of this course: swim from Wreck Beach to the dog beach at Spanish Banks, Bike all 4 mountains (Burnaby, Seymour, Grouse (seymour river, mountain hwy, tram) & Cypress), then run the knee knacker?

And give it a more gentle name.  Like FlowerMan or something.

Ean Jackson's picture

The FatMan

Hey Alex,

I've been thinking about putting on a free Ironman-distance triathlon for a while (the FatMan Triathlon), but figure I have to be able to do it myself if I host it.

Your idea sounds interesting.  Why don't you do it and see if anyone follows?

Alex's picture


Nah.  Why do you have to be able to do it?  Haven't you ever heard of cheat to win?

If you design the course, you know the shortcuts  

Ean Jackson's picture

Does the woman with the blue shirt

in the video about runner-dude have fangs?  Who comes up with these videos? 

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