Hard times as Andy Bowen pulls pin 15.22 marathons into 33.

Armchair Quarterbacks and Unaccomplished Armchair Ultrarunners, what have you got to say? Andy Bowen has run himself ragged, with some kms that may have been faster than they needed to and some days that covered more miles than planned.

But feeling the pinch just 3 days in, he pushed onthrough to the end of day 7 – 640km into his epic adventure across the Nullarbor before calling his remote physio. A course of ice, compression, painkillers, and attempted sleep was not sufficient to save the day. Mindful of the distance still to travel and the obligations of his volunteer crew back in “the world”, Andy has regretfully left the world’s longest back 9 for later.

We’re glad he made it at least as far as he did because his GPS wasn’t so lucky.

It seems that 42.2km has become passe, with tens of thousands of people travelling that distance at speeds close to walking and somehow diminishing the achievement of actually running a marathon for others. Naturally, ultramarathon has become the next horizon. To go beyond that, whether by racing hard to 100 miles over all terrain as we saw at UTMB on the weekend or to attempt a brutal multiday like our guy Andy has, is a serious, serious commitment.

It’s quite literally about putting your body on the line. Never mind the preparation, the emotional investment, the relationships drawn into the running maelstrom, the training, the early starts, late finishes, personal rollercoaster – bottom line, 1400km is a bloody long way. Half of 1400km is still a bloody long way. Half of 140km is a bit of a long way.  : )

Sorry it didn’t work out for you this time Andy. Pretty sure that you’re going to throttle whatever you do next. It’s a big, hard lesson, but it’s also a big, hard country.

Please drop by Andy’s wall or the 33marathons.com website.

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