The offer of interviewing Marshall Ulrich on the publication of his new book Both Feet on the Ground saw an immediate yes for me. How much incentive do you need? Marshall is an ultra running adventuring hero, an icon of my sport and his book was billed as sharing profoundly the “Therapeutic Benefits of Immersion in the Natural World”, a kind of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden but for extreme zen running…
And then I thought about lockdown, and the benefits we might bring by bringing this hero directly from his home in Colorado into conversation with ultrarunners, hikers and trail enthusiasts in the UK. Heather Ulrich was immediately on board with this idea. She and her husband share a say yes attitude to life, something I feel I am proud to share with them.
Together with Heather I conceived a plan to bring 40 knowledgeable runners and adventurers into the Zoom room with Marshall, influencers including race directors, bloggers and magazine editors, challenge builders and record breakers, mountaineers, long distance and trail running participants, multisport endurance athletes.
Interview by Zoom is very much not my natural habitat – reading the chat and my notes and asking relevant questions was a bit of a multitask – but the event theory worked. You bring the right people to the conversation and the thoughts we shared and the answers provoked would likely be inspiring.
The resulting video (in sections below) is one of the most interesting conversations I have ever witnessed with an ultrarunner – certainly not because of my um-er slow brain anchoring of the show but because the questions were well chosen and Marshall’s replies were attentive, sonorous and flowing. He answered absolutely everything that was flung at him.
In the video, like a Rolling Stones show, he repeats some of his classic tales from Death Valley to Everest as if telling them afresh whilst regularly dipping into new insights that even his biggest fans have not heard before. Winning races, breaking records, setting challenges, remembering the dead, pulling toe nails, race rivals, heroes of old, heroes of today, family, farming, and above all nature and healing – it is all in there.
About the Book
Throughout Both Feet on the Ground, Ulrich shares valuable insights from his endeavors, along with useful findings and recommendations from other experts, all organized around themes of earth, air, fire and water. His hope is that you’ll be inspired to find new ways of engaging with these natural elements yourself to experience the healing powers of the outside world.
Author Marshall Ulrich is an extreme endurance athlete—ultrarunning icon, Seven Summits mountaineer, and adventure racer—who loves sharing his exploits to entertain and help motivate others to reach their goals. He’s raced, led expeditions, or climbed mountains in nearly 30 countries, and visited 30 more, so his stories are about more than just physical accomplishments. Cutting his teeth running across Death Valley, he’s also climbed Mount Everest, run in the jungles of Fiji, and completed a record-setting run across America. Dubbed the Endurance King, he defies the ideas of “too far,” “too old” and “not possible.” Revered among athletes, Marshall is also the author of Running on Empty. An acclaimed speaker, he’s lectured on various elite cruise lines, and given talks at businesses, schools, race expos, and professional conferences, including the Royal Geographic Society, Morgan Stanley, and Wilderness Medicine.
For more information, please visit www.marshallulrich.com.
Both Feet on the Ground: Reflections from the Outside
Publisher: DNA Books
ISBN: 978-1-950349-02-9 hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-950349-04-3 paperback
Available from Amazon and other online retailers. There is also and Audiobook version.
Introducing Marshall – About the book, The Elements – Farming and motivation to run – 100 milers – Preparing for an event – Question: Matt Scarsbrook (Sports Therapist and Ultrarunner), Recovery, Comment, Adam Tango Holland, Endurance Record Holder. Mental Preparation. Question – Jason Cuthbert (Maxwell Coaching, multisport endurance athlete) Mental Strength. Question: Abichal Sherrington (Ultrarunning World Magazine) Zen techniques. Obsession with Badwater. Admiration for Yiannis Kouros.
Question: Glen Baddeley (Multisport endurance athlete and author) – Challenge of no longer running near the front of the race. Question: Gillian Elliott (Mountaineer and distance trail runner) – Enjoyment of climbing and slow pace. Everest experiences. Adventure Races. Admiration of Mark Burnett. Question: Nick Hancock (ultrarunner), Races Marshall has never done. Interest in London to Brighton. Question: Mark Barnett (ultrarunner): Race Fuelling
Question: Andy Dunn (ultrarunner and skyrunner) Entry accessible 100 mile mountain races in the US. Self-made challeges
Badwater challenges. Death Valley. Heather Ulrich joins the chat. Question: Nick Hancock, Who impresses from today’s runners? Admiration of Pete Kostelnick. Question: Glen Baddeley – current award winning ultra runners. End of main interview section with Both Feet on the Ground book reminder – ahead of extended Q&A.
Question: Gareth Squire (Trail runner and endurance cyclist), Toenail removal Question: Abichal Sherrington, 6 Day Races. Question: Ian Dreelan, (ultrarunner), runners and rivalries Question: Gillian Elliott, next challenges
Question: Wayne Drinkwater (Race Director, GB Ultras), How do you slow down? Concluding comments and remarks