The phrase "ultramarathon" is gradually becoming a more ubiquitous term even amongst the non-initiated, as the sport gains more traction throughout the world. And yet, despite this, the term is still not particularly well understood, even by those seemingly in the know. So just what in the name of Satan's Hokas is an "ultramarathon" when it's at home?
You would think that it would be a pretty simple question to answer. Here's what dictionary.com has to say on the matter:
- a prefix occurring originally in loanwords from Latin, with the basic meaning “on the far side of, beyond.” In relation to the base to which it is prefixed, ultra-, has the senses “located beyond, on the far side of” ( ultramontane; ultraviolet), “carrying to the furthest degree possible, on the fringe of” ( ultraleft; ultramodern), “extremely” ( ultralight); nouns to which it is added denote, in general, objects, properties, phenomena, etc., that surpass customary norms, or instruments designed to produce or deal with such things ( ultramicroscope; ultrasound; ultrastructure).
- a foot race over a course measuring 26 mi. 385 yards (42 km 195 meters).
- any long-distance race.
- any contest, event, or the like, of great, or greater than normal, length or duration or requiring exceptional endurance: e.g. a dance marathon; a sales marathon.