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Preparing For a 350 Mile Ultramarathon Through Alaska: Interview with Peter Ripmaster


When I tell someone I’ve run 100 miles, most people don’t know what to think. They either,

  1. Think I’m making it up, or
  2. Think I’m crazy.

It can make conversations so awkward, that I hate bringing up ultra running or this blog to most people I’m meeting for the first time.

So I can’t even imagine what it feels like to tell someone you’re about to fly to Alaska and pull a sled for 350 miles. All in one single push.

I repeat, 350 miles. One push.

But that’s exactly what Peter Ripmaster is having to tell people right now.

The 350 Mile Iditarod Trail Invitational

After first learning what an ultramarathon was, I’ve been fascinated by reading the stories and listening to reports from athletes who challenge themselves in the longest and toughest events.

For me, ultramarathons have always been about exploring my personal limits and what’s possible, so when I hear of someone exploring their own limits by doing something that I can’t even fathom signing up for, I’m hooked.

Regardless of whether or not a challenge that long is appealing to you, it’s amazing and inspiring to see how other runners are pushing themselves on the trails.

And how those runners are embracing, not running from, adventure.

It was Geoff Roes’ report on his experience with the Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) posted to iRunFar, that first introduced me to the event. By that time, I had grown used to reading about ultramarathons, but this one was different.

If you aren’t familiar with the event, it’s a self powered ultramarathon, meaning you have the option to travel by foot, fat tired mountain bike, or ski. It starts in Knik, Alaska, and follows the historic Iditarod trail to the little town of McGrath, 350 miles away. Racers also have the option of continuing on to Nome, over 1000 (!) miles from the start.

There are checkpoints along the way, where racers can warm up, eat full meals, and rest, but for the most part, they’re left carrying everything they need with them. For the runners, that means pulling a sled.Continue Reading


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