Over the past several years in AJW’s Taproom, I have written a number of monthly series on a variety of topics. From ultrarunners of the year in 2018 to this past year’s trail love letters, these monthly series have often led to interesting discussions and thought-provoking debates.
For my 2022 series, I have decided to write about unforgettable moments in ultrarunning history. As this particular topic is likely to garner a wide range of disparate opinions, I am devoting this first column to what, in my view, makes a historical moment unforgettable.
The first criterion for an unforgettable moment is something that has never happened before. The unprecedented nature of certain events often gives us pause and calls into question our current understanding of reality.
In the case of long-distance running, both extraordinary performances by elite runners, as well as certain mind-bending feats by regular runners are the kinds of things that open up previously closed frontiers and stretch the limits of our understanding.
Next, an unforgettable moment, in addition to being novel and unprecedented, is also something that captures the imagination and inspires. When I look back on moments in my life that are truly unforgettable, it is this idea of inspiration that I find so alluring.
In the history of sports — and ultrarunning is no different — moments that inspire imagination and motivate us to dream big are often inevitably etched on the collective psyche of both fans and participants.
Finally, my third key criterion for unforgettable moments is that the moment permanently altered the way we think, perceive, and even behave. Often these moments take on a life of their own, perhaps through lore passed down over the years or some kind of new and innovative approach that forever changed the way we interact with something.
For long-distance runners, these are moments that cause a permanent change in mindset or approach, and can have impacts far beyond running.
And so, I hope you are all looking forward to a thought-provoking series. At the moment, I have compiled a list of my top-five unforgettable moments in ultrarunning history and I will share them, one month at a time, here on iRunFar from February through July.
Along the way, I would encourage you all to participate in the discussion and weigh in with some of your own personal unforgettable moments and, hopefully over the next year, in addition to reflecting on moments from the past, we can also create new unforgettable moments of our own.
AJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week comes from White Birch Brewing in Nashua, New Hampshire. Known for their Weisse-style beers, White Birch’s Original Berliner Weisse is a classic German-style Sour Wheat Ale with a soft mouthfeel and an incredibly smooth finish for a sour. Refreshingly crisp and slightly citrusy, the Original Berliner Weisse is a great go-to beer for just about any occasion.
Call for Comments
- What are some of your favorite moments in ultrarunning history, past or more present?
- What makes an unforgettable moment in sports, for you?