This week we are revisiting some of our favourite episodes from the year so far. This episode was first broadcast on 8 June.
To most people, the horror of 21 lives being lost during a race across 100km in a Chinese mountain range will have been amplified by how obscure the sport seems to outsiders. But ultrarunning has boomed in popularity in recent years, with the number of finishers around the world rising from 120,000 to more than 600,000 in a decade. Now there are concerns that in China and beyond, a proliferation of new races has created a risk that safety rules will not always be enforced, and with it a chance that some of the most obsessive participants will discard vital protective equipment in the interests of gaining an advantage over their rivals.
Rachel Humphreys talks to Outside magazine’s Will Ford about the tragedy in China, and whether the decision of the government there to ban all extreme sports is the right response. And she hears from the author and ultrarunner Adharanand Finn about the extraordinary appeal of this brutally difficult feat of endurance – and how any analysis of its dangers must sit alongside an understanding of its power to change its devotees’ lives in profound ways.
You can read Finn’s 2019 piece, How the sheer hell of ultrarunning led me to a strange peace,. His book The Rise of the Ultrarunners: A Journey to the Edge of Human Endurance is published by Guardian Faber at £7.99 and available at .
Will Ford is a journalist living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He first began reporting – on a wide variety of topics, including ultrarunning – in China in 2012, before returning to the US in 2017. Read his recent coverage of the tragedy in Gansu for Outside magazineand . He previously wrote about China’s growing obsession with running for .
Archive: CGTN; Inspirational Heart World; UTMB; Kevin Lara
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