An ultramarathon in body-parts

Autumn forest Drenthe

Saturday 3:00 AM

Bernard: “What’s that? I hear something…”
Brian: “It sounds like an alarm buzzing. What time is it?”
Bernard: “3 o’clock in the morning.”
Brian: “Wake up everybody!!”
Carla: “No! What ever it is, it should be illegal if it’s done three in the morning.”

What if…

I like to think that for every part of my body there is someone who controls it. So let’s give them names. There is Bernard, who is in charge of all the senses. The smells, the sights, the sounds. Brian, who is the brain. Carla is responsible for all movements. Arms, legs, feet, hands and so on. And then there is George, who is at the center, controlling all organs. They all experience an ultramarathon in their own way. So what if, they all had there own voice?

Saturday: 5:50 (10 minutes to race start)

Carla: “What’s that loud noise? Are we at a rave? I thought these days were long behind us? Should I make dance moves?”
Brian: “Nah, we’re at the starting line. Better prepare to run!”

Saturday: 6:30 (race time: 30 minutes)

Bernard: “I can see sh*t! Can someone amp up that head torch?”
*Headlamp switches to strobe *
Bernard: “Whoa! This is even worse!”
*Headlamp switches to red light *
Bernard: “What’s this, some 80’s action movie? Get this fixed!”
Carla: “It looks pretty though!”
** Headlamp switches to full brightness **
Bernard: “Finally we can see where we going! I figured something out in the meanwhile. When someone in front of us says: “tree”, we have to jump a few seconds later”
Carla: “Got it.”
Brian: “Like that Google Chrome game with the dinosaur?”

This is wat running in the woods in the dark feels like

Saturday: 8:04 AM (race time 2:04:00)

Brian: “We are at an aid station! I checked his watch. It’s just short of 90km today.”
Bernard: “Girlfriend spotted”
George: “Foooooood!”
Brian: “All that athlete’s food is just overpriced sugar!!!”
Carla: “Okay guys, the next section I can handle myself. Just the normal morning run!”

Saturday: 10:15 AM (race time: 4:15:00)

Brian: “Aid station 2.”
George: “Some salt please!”
Bernard: “The trees look amazing here.”
Brian: “Leaves of a tree are green because chlorofyl can’t absorb the green from the white sunlight. If you think about it, a tree is every color except green.”
Carla: “What about those red beeches?”
Brian: “These trees have technically a metabolic disorder. Young developing trees have a kind of sunblock in there delicate leaves called anthocyanin. When they grow older enzymes get rid of it. Some trees, like those beeches, lack those enzymes. So they stay red. They are less healthy than the green ones.”

Saturday: 11:15 (race time: 5:15:00)

Bernard: “That’s some great music he’s listening to.”
Carla: “Awesome, should I dance or run?”
Brian: “It a dj-set that’s recorded in Amsterdam just yesterday. Amazing to think we can listen to it here, and right now.”
George: “If you know so much, how come you didn’t know how a head torch works?”
Brian: “I don’t have free will. I just react to things that come up.”
George: “You are definitely under qualified to be the leader.”
Brian: “Did you know, research showed that the brain shrinks during ultramarathons?”

Less brain makes happy? (actual shot during the race)

Saturday: 12:00 (race time: 6:00:00)

Carla: “Problems. Right ankle at 60% power and 40% flexibility.”
Bernard: “Looks like there will be more mud, tree stumps, bushes and so on. Hang in there!”

Saturday: 12:45 (race time: 6:45:00)

Bernard: “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh”
Brian: “What?”
Bernard: “Heavy chafing on lower back, looks like some nasty burns, even blistering on some parts”
Brian: “Okay, tighten that running vest.”

Saturday: 13:30 (race time: 7:30:00)

Bernard: “What’s that smell? I smell dead deer!”
George: “Fooooooooooooooood!”
Brian: “We don’t eat animal products!”
George: “Easy for you to say from your moral high horse. You only use energy, while I have to produce it. Also, the deer is dead already, so it’s not like we kill it.”
Carla: “Guys, shall we focus on the run? It’s hard enough already without your discussions”

Saturday: 13:45 (race time: 7:45:00)

George: “I’m not feeling so good.”
Brian: “What’s the matter?”
George: “Can’t digest anything. I need to relieve myself. No fluids or food for the next half hour”
Brian: “Bernard look for a good spot!”

Saturday: 14:15 (race time 8:15:00)

Brian: “So sleepy. Nobody would mind if I take a nap here in the wet grass.”
George: “Drink something from the small bottle. Caffeine coming up”
Brian: “Helllllooooo!!”
Bernard: “Look! Scottish Highlanders!”
Brian: “You never guess what they are called in Scotland!”
Bernard: “What?”
Brian: “Highlanders!”
Bernard: “Seriously Brian? George should cut off your supply!”

Gotta stop for these awesome animals!

Saturday: 15:30 (race time: 9:30:00)

Brian: “Last aid station before the finish. How’s everybody?”
Bernard: “The chafing is horrible. But the scenery is great!”
Carla: “Ankle still the same. But I can easily do a decent wobble-run”
George: “I’m fine again!”

Saturday: 16:12 (race time 10:12:00)

Brian: “There is the finish line. I think you all did…”
Everybody: “WINEGUMS!!!”

Saturday: 16:45 (30 minutes after finishing)

George: “I think we ate way too much winegums way to quickly…”
Brian: “oh no here we go again!”

Saturday: 20:00 (3:45 after finishing)

Brian: “He’s going to bed. We all need the rest…”

Sunday: 02:00 (9:45 after finishing)

Carla: “Why aren’t we sleeping?”
Brian: “Every time he closes his eyes, I see trees and trails everywhere. Did you know trees communicate with each other using their roots and that they are connected via fungi? They can even tell when another tree is sick and feed it some of it’s own nutrients. How awesome is that!”
Everybody: “Shut up Brian!”


- The information about trees comes from “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohleben.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Wesley Danes

Wesley Danes


Ultrarunner, holder of multiple personal records, servant to dogs, holder of a BA in Philosophy of Science, liker of trees, writer of words.