Self-Transcendence 6-Day Race, New York, 2012 – Alan in his element

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Alan, William’s crewman at the 6-day race, has apparently won a few new friends, giving some tips and pointers to first-time 6-day runners

One of the really good things about ultra-distance running is that, unlike a lot of money-dominated sports, there is a great sense of comradeliness amongst the runners and the crews, and generally everyone is really only too happy to help out “the other guy”, cheering along all the athletes at every stage.

While at all levels (especially with the top runners), ultra-distance can be – and is – a seriously “competitive” sport, really the true competition is always with the self, not a rival runner, as each athlete attempts to explore their own personal limits and boundaries, and then to move beyond them.

Often helping other runners is a part of this, partly because it is simply a good thing to do, and also partly because if a runner wins a race they want to feel that this was because they genuinely happened to be the best on the day, not that they won because other runners were having problems.

While they are both far too modest and unassuming to mention such things publicly, I know for a fact Alan spends a huge amount of his own time and money travelling to races to crew for many runners in the sport, and is always happy to offer a little helpful advice whenever he is able. William, in many ways the epitome of the consummate athlete, still cheers on runners whether they are trailing him or passing him in an event, and frequently ends up lending out bits of his spare kit if another runner has forgotten to pack something!

Let’s hope that ultra-running continues in this spirit for a very long time to come.