We all make sacrifices in life – and being an ultrarunner regardless of ability requires it in big doses. Whether it is spending time with loved ones and friends or late nights or favourite food and drink or even sleep , we all have to invest a certain number of hours per week diligently training in order to confidently toe the line for the race of our lives. Now most of us mere mortals manage to juggle an ever increasingly busy world with competing priorities. Our very own members of Ultra168 have all had major changes in our lives these past few months which has led to a number of sacrifices including even our racing sometimes taking the backburner.
So it doesn’t come as a surprise that at the pointy end of the field the more talented runers we come to admire all have to make similar sacrifices. In fact as the sport grows in a number of new directions, with new races, new formats and an ever increasing depth of talent fronting up all over the world the sacrifices being made are even more life changing. And when you consider the sport is not exactly turning out millionaires when it comes to race winnings and major sponsorship deals, these sacrifices can seem even more confronting.
Two athletes who have recently deliberated over a number of potentially life changing options in order to pursue their passion are Americans Mike Wolfe and Dakota Jones. Both have made career choices which only time will tell whether they will be successful. I had the chance to spend a decent amount of time with both of them during the recent International Skyrunning Federations conference on the island of La Palma and also witnessed Dakota take it up to the Europeans during his great win of the Transvulcania Ultra.
In the interview below we were able to explore in more detail what goes into their training, the gamesmanship amongst the elite runners, how they cope with the pain and mental toughness required to race at the front of the field and specific to these two athletes their recent decisions where Mike chose to give up a career in law and Dakota quit studying at college. What amazes me and humbles me about these two is their willingness to back themselves regardless of what the future might hold. I admire characters who in the words of Dakota’s Blog, “Living The Dream” is something they are pursuing but at what sacrifice ?