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RE: Robert Young fakes run across America
While I don't want to divert the primary discussion topic of this tread I feel the need to shed some light on comments about cheating in ultras and the nature of most of the courses. What is apparently happening in this case should not shed negativity on ultras any more so than chronic cheaters in marathons should cause dispersion or doubts on anyone running marathons.
While I can't speak for ultras in the UK or elsewhere in the world my experience in the US is that most races today are held on trail systems that are not accessible to vehicles at all. Yes, there are ultras here on roads but they are far fewer in number than those on trails or other courses that do not allow vehicles (tracks, beaches, etc.). Of the 45 or so ultras I've participated in only 2 or 3 had very small segments where vehicles would have been allowed - those were dirt fire roads and the segments were only 1/4 to 1/2 mile in length total. Certainly, events like this transcon constitute a very small percentage of what could be considered "ultras". Comrades is an exception because it is not only one of the oldest, but probably also among the most well known ultramarathons which I think gives people so inclined more incentive to cheat to "claim" they completed it. However, there are those who cheat even on trails by finding ways to cut the course - but that is difficult in most races because there are manned checkpoints and few alternate routes that would confer any advantage - to "cut" many courses would force the runner to go offtrail which would be a distinct disadvantage in most cases.
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