When I first fell in love with ultra running, I was doing laps around Kandahar Air Field behind a chain link fence, through clouds of dust kicked up convoys going to and coming from hell.
There were no bears, rattlesnakes, mountain lions or skunks to run from. Instead I broke protocol and ran through the darkness along a stretch of road called snipers alley – a place where only a long passage of chain link fence separates you from the outside world and a sniper could pick you off with little effort.
There was no finish line for my first ultra. I ran through the night, under the blanket of darkness over the war-zone until I ran over 30 miles after the sun rose again. There was no beer, no burritos, no celebration; only a tent with dodgy air conditioning and work the next day.