A sport that start with U?
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An ultramarathon is any running event longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.195 kilometers (26.21875 miles, 46,145 yards).
There are generally two types of ultramarathon runs... events that cover a specified distance, and events that take place during a specified time frame (with the winner covering the most distance in that time). The most common distances run are 50 and 100 miles, or 50 and 100 kilometers, though several other distances, e.g., double marathons, 24 hour runs, or multiday races of 1000 miles or even longer are also contested. The format of these events and the courses covered are quite variable, ranging from single or multiple loops (some as short as a 400 meter track), to point-to-point road or trail races. Many ultrarunning events, especially trail challenges, are characterized by severe course obstacles, such as inclement weather, elevation change, or rugged terrain. Many of these races are run on dirt roads or mountain paths, though some are run on paved roads as well. Usually, there are aid stations every five to fifteen km apart, where runners can replenish food and drink supplies or take a short break.
Timed events range from six, twelve or 24 hours, to two, three and six days (known as 'multi-day' events). Timed events are generally run on a track or a short road course, often one mile or less.
The International Association of Ultra Runners (IAU) organises the World Championships for various ultramarathon distances, including 50K, 100K, 24 hours and 48 hours. These events are sanctioned by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body of track and field. Many countries around the world have their own ultrarunning organization, often the national athletics federation of that country, or are sanctioned by such national athletics organizations. World records for distances, times and ages are tracked by the IAU.
There are several hundred ultramarathons held annually in North America. One of the most popular is the Western States Endurance Run, the world's oldest 100-mile trail run. The race began unofficially in 1974, when local horseman Gordy Ainsleigh's horse for the 100-mile Tevis Cup horse race came up lame. He decided to travel the course on foot, finishing in 23 hours and 47 minutes.
One of the first documented ultramarathons in North America was held in 1926, as part of the Central American Games. Tomas Zafiro and Leoncio San Miguel, both Tarahumara Indians, ran 100K from Pachuca to Mexico City in 9 hours and 37 minutes. At the time, the Mexican government petitioned to include the 100K in the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, however nothing came of these efforts.
In April, 2006, the American Ultrarunning Hall of Fame was established by the American Ultrarunning Association (AUA). Candidates for the Hall of Fame are chosen from the 'modern era' of American ultras, beginning with the New York Road Runners Club 30 Mile race held in 1958. The Inaugural inductees were Ted Corbitt, a former US Olympian, winner of the aforementioned race in 3:04:13, and co-founder of the Road Runners Club of America, and Sandra Kiddy, who kicked off her ultra career at age 42 with a world record at 50 kilometers, 3:36:56, and who went on to set a string of US and world ultra records.
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