Ultramarathon runners prepare for unique Wausau event

Published: Mar. 20, 2021 at 4:57 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - An ultramarathon is the ultimate test for a runner. WausauUltra is providing a unique twist on the long run.

“I want to see how far the mind can push the body,” said Travis White, a runner from Wausau.

While a marathon is around 42 kilometers, an ultramarathon can push 50 to 100 kilometers in distance. But the runners at Sylvan Hill on Saturday morning are training for something different.

“The runners will do a 4.1-mile loop every hour on the hour,” explained Scott Schmoldt, a member of WausauUltra. “You do that until you tap out,”

It’s last man standing that wins the face. Competitors will run as long as they can until they can’t anymore.

“This particular race format does a really good job of making it more mental than physical,” explained White, “Not that there’s not a huge physical aspect about it, but this one is going to be a lot about the mind.”

“It’s a fun course. I’ve done it a few times,” said Tracy Major. “It’s challenging but I think it’s doable for a lot of people”

The race is broken up into bite-sized increments, making it easier to digest each lap. But some runners can last a long time.

“We’ve got several racers that we think could potentially go close to 200 miles,” said Schmoldt.

“I’ve one two 100-mile races down in Kentucky and Tennessee,” said White, who is one of the runners Schmoldt said could get close to 200 miles. “I’ve done a 50-miler down in southern Wisconsin.”

Different from your typical road race marathon, the ultra-marathon runs on trails. The runners say it makes the run more enjoyable and easier.

“I love trails so much more than the road. It’s so much easier on the body,” said Major.

“I think you get more time spent with the people and the community,” said White, “On these types of races, you find yourself running with somebody for a long time frame.”

As the running season ramps up, these races bring more than the competition.

“When you start to experience it and you start taking note of the people doing this kind of stuff, everyone is super kind,” Schmoldt said, “They all have one goal in mind and that is to help one another with the crazy events that are out there.”

The race dubbed “Backyard” starts on April 30 and could take multiple days. For more information on WausauUltra’s events coming up this summer---you can visit their website.

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