THE MERRELL BLOG: WHAT'S NOW. WHAT'S NEXT. LET'S GET OUTSIDE.
LOWRI MORGAN - INSIDE THE MIND OF AN ULTRA-RUNNER
Ultra-running is much more than a run. It is about tradition, overcoming obstacles, commitment, goal setting and accomplishments. Extreme racing is to put yourself on the line, to look deep inside yourself, to push your limits and to find new ones. It commands respect. It can hurt you too – physically, mentally and emotionally. I've been to places in my head where I believe that we, as humans, do not go often enough.
I was never the brightest or cleverest pupil and I had failed in some of my exams. My mother reminded me about the tortoise and that it always gets there in the end. If I was willing to work hard, persevere and was determined enough, I could reach my potential.
And that's my motto during the dark times of a long run or race. Keep plodding – the plodders always get there in the end. Keep going. That might sound obvious but when your soul is stripped bare and you feel at your lowest ebb, putting one foot in front of the other is very hard to do both physically and mentally.
Every time I think of giving up, I remind myself why I run? Quite simply, it’s because that’s who I am. I love the freedom it gives me, the space to be by myself, the beautiful countries I've had the privilege to race in, pushing boundaries beyond what other people consider normal and lastly the people I have met along the way who have inspired me, made me dig deeper, strive to be better and believe in myself.
Many times during a race I've found myself thinking I can no longer carry on, but I constantly tell myself that putting one foot in front of the other means being one foot closer to the finishing line. In the Amazon for example, the pain eventually disappeared and I'm convinced that this is when my body gave up and my mind took over. It’s amazing what mental strength can do.
Whilst in the Arctic Circle I often questioned myself, whilst facing my demons, if the experience was really worth the pain and emotional torture. I had sacrificed so much and had received so much support leading up to the event - Could I return home with my head held up high knowing that I had given up? …Yes, I could - I was the only one left in the race. I had proven enough but failure was not an option. I kept telling myself that the pain of failure would last much longer than the pain I was going through in the race.
I'm not a huge competitor but run high mileage and thoroughly enjoy a personal challenge. I don't look to break any records or compete against others. I just want to push my physical and emotional limits and see how far I can go.
Challenges drive us all - for some this can be a bigger house, smarter car or raising children, for others it is seeing how far they can push their minds and bodies. In my opinion, ultra-running is more about completing the challenge and personal achievement.
Many do not understand the mentality of people like myself, who constantly push their physical and mental boundaries to the extreme. Everyone is entitled to their own passions - be it Mathematics, Motorsport, Art or Literature. The medium I have chosen is Adventure and travel.
Despite the physical, mental and emotional pain of ultra-running, it has given me the most adventures, humbling and awe-inspiring experiences of my life.