Ok ...I was reading the iRunfar article on UTMB entrants and started looking around the UTMB website at the insane collection of 4 races they have. They are incredible events requiring incredible feats of endurance, no question.
However, as I browsed through the stunning scenery and looked at the race descriptions 10 000m elevation gains and times etc.... I got to thinking..."How much of these races do most people actually run?" I mean you look at many of the pics and you see streams of people hiking up long, grueling ascents. So my question ... more to myself was.. at what point does an ultra race become an ultra hike? How much running should a race require of the average racer in order to be called a run versus a trek or hike? 51%? 60%? 80%?
Granted a lot of people walk most of a road marathon, for example, but it fits in the category of a running race. How so? Is it a running race if the average runner...or the top 75% of racers can run all or close to all of the race?
If a race is so hard that only the top 10% can run anything near 60% of it... is that a running race? Or a hiking race? Or what is it?
I'm not trying to be an ass here....I was really wondering all these things as I looked through the website. And I don't really have an answer. Off the top of my head I'd say a running race should allow a middle of the pack runner to run 70% or more of the race. But I don't know. Am I out to lunch? If so...what are these European events to be called? Are they "fell races"? Is that a different category than "trail race" and one whose definition incorporates more hiking because of the vertical nature of the courses?
What do you folks out in the running community think and especially those of you accomplished athletes who have done several of these ultra events? I'm interested to know your thoughts.
When is an ultra trail race an ultra hike/trek? Or does this never apply?