The Ultra168 (Fun) Guide to Talking Like an Ultra Runner


Like every little group, industry or clique, ultra running has its own language and terminology. Phrases and words that we tend to use among our running mates, but wouldn’t be seen dead saying when we’re in the pub with our ‘normal’ friends. Every now and again, one of those words or phrases might pop out into ordinary conversation and we find ourselves in the embarrassing situation of having to explain our sekret language to our friends.

Low and behold, to help you explain your way out of any untoward situation, we have come up with 10 of our best known words and phrases we’ve heard over the years, (along with a bit of crowd sourcing on the book of faces) to produce our own Ultra168 lexicon guide to words and phrases said on the trail… enjoy…

Douche grade
Douche grade

#1 ‘Douche Grade’

This hill is ‘douche grade’ – Meaning if you’re walking this hill then you have clearly done no hill training whatsoever. My Grandmother could walk up this hill faster than you right now, that’s how little gradient this hill has. As a runner, being seen walking up a douche grade hill should result in the immediate ostracising of your very being from our world.

#2 ‘Sandbagger’

‘Gary is a sandbagger’ – Meaning that Gary is deliberately running badly / struggling in training, but then come race day, miraculously pulls out one of the performances of the year. He’s your friend that downplays his ability, shrugs off any favourite tags and will do his utmost to try to hide his form until race day.

#3 ‘Crownbagger’

People with lots of these are a-holes :)
People with lots of these are a-holes 🙂

‘I can’t believe Amy just crown-bagged my route’ – Meaning, someone (Amy in this case), deliberately went to a segment on Strava with the sole intention of blasting out the quickest time for that section alone, and not part of any run she was on. She’s the kind of runner when you analyse her training has 59 Strava crowns, yet she’s only clocked 16kms for the week in 37 runs. Her average run length is 800m. Bitch.

#4 ‘Sekret training’

‘I see Geoff has been off to do some sekret training again’ – Meaning that your buddy Geoff, the guy you always train with is essentially saying that you’re too slow and to get where he needs to for that PB attempt next month, he’s off training on his own and hiding his form – see ‘sandbagger’ above.

#5 ‘Single-man track’

‘The single-man track was awesome… man!’- There is no such thing as single-man track… we made this one up for a laugh a few years ago, but a few people cottoned onto it and we’ve kept silent ever since… sorry the cat is out of the bag now… We’re inferring here of course to single-track trails.

#6 ‘FKT’

‘Whoah! Did you see Kilian’s FKT up Mont Blanc last week?’ – Meaning someone who can’t be bothered to race so they set-up their own challenges because a.) they’re so freaking good and beat everyone, b.) They so freaking slow, the cut-offs in races will time them out… so they choose their own adventure.

#7 ‘Vert’

‘Let’s go score us some vert man’ – Meaning, I’d like to go and do some massive climbing, rather than go for a run because my legs are tired and I’m a bit slow.

The latest Hokas are out now!
The latest Hokas are out now!

#8 ‘Clown shoes’

‘Love your clown shoes bro’ – Meaning you wear Hokas.

#9 ‘Bashed pinkies’

‘I bashed my pinkies up good and proper today’ – Meaning you wear Inov8s.

 #10 ‘EPO’

‘Have you been smashing the EPO bro?’ – Meaning someone who does a lot of altitude training or sleeps in an altitude tent.

There are ten of the best we know… how about you? What have you heard on the trails that’s made you cringe, or you’ve caught yourself saying over the years? Add them in the comments below…


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One thought on “The Ultra168 (Fun) Guide to Talking Like an Ultra Runner

  1. How anout “Gun it” or “Smash it to the river” for those who need little encouragement in blowing up early in a race..

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