The other side
It’s like a first class ticket to the most uncurated show on earth…….and then some. With every second that passes I noticed something through one of my senses, almost like they are locked in overdrive . I somehow feel that I may miss something in this heightened state but it’s a simple case of “scream if you want to go faster” and I am addicted to the rush.
My position this week it’s an absolute privilege. It’s a ride behind the scenes. I’m in the race but not racing. I get to run in this sand which is for ever giving but to many will seem totally unforgiving for 90% of the 250 kilometers that lay ahead of them over the next 5 days. A multistage ultra running race, which for 31% of our 130 person strong field is their first dance in what is the beauty that is the “Ultra Life.”
This week I have the honor of covering the race as part of the media team, attempting to tell the world of Instagram the ultra story…….from the other side. I’m here to watch, to pick up on things, to get close to the runners, to get their feelings, to feel their emotions and to transport these messages from the epic Wadi Rum Jordan in video format to the rest of the world. A world which the runners will have zero contact with for the duration of the race, racing by day and sleeping in remote places under canvas at night. Normally I am one of them, at heart I am and always will be one of them but this week is totally different as at my core I am an observer and conveyor of the stories that unfold.
So why so privileged? Why so fascinated? Why are my senses heightened? And why do I love it so much?
The top line answer is quite short and simple:
I am addicted to human performance in pretty much every aspect and in front of me stand 130 runners, 35 international support crew matched by an equal or greater number of local support. The task is brutal, the conditions testing, fatigue high and to top it all off there are limited home comforts, runners live off dehydrated expedition food and have very “basic” living conditions to say the least.
If that is not a perfect receipt for all types of human reactions and behaviors then who knows what is. You could call it a perfect storm.
I could prepare a long list of observations and perhaps you thought that was what was coming…however just 3 things:
- Human beings somehow manage to find negative talk on many levels to be far easier and more natural than positive talk despite it bringing no positive to our lives. (Confused? Ha)
- Our egos are extraordinarily larger than our ability to manage them and they forbid us to stay present which is the golden ingredient to succeed in this sport.
- We focus an immeasurable amount of energy on the large number of variables we can not control opposed to the few that we can and which will drive us forward.
Thanks Ultra X (Jamie & Sam) for this golden opportunity. Thanks to everyone that was there in any capacity for allowing me to watch, run, ask and think. But more than that thanks to all of you for feeding my ever growing curiosity of the human race.
I love to run, I love to race and this week I have loved it all from the other side. Ultra running you are the epitome of life in so many ways and you are very special.