Super senior Marshall Ulrich sees challenges as opportunities. At 60 years old, he’s an ultra marathoner, adventure runner and mountaineer. His resume includes reaching the Seven Summits, including Mt. Everest; running more than 100 races that average over 125 miles each; and, oh yeah, running across America. Let’s not forget that.
A few years ago, Ulrich was asked to counsel Navy SEAL recruits on how to endure extreme physical and mental challenges. The recruits are put through a grueling 132 hours of physical labor and mental pain as instructors constantly dig at them to quit. When a SEAL recruit reaches their breaking point, they can ring a bell, signifying surrender.
As Ulrich writes in his book, Running on Empty, “the key battle (is to) shut that voice up. Don’t ring that bell.” To help recruits survive the test, Ulrich put together a list of his ten commandments of endurance.
1. Expect a journey and a battle.
2. Focus on the present and set intermediate goals.
3. Don’t dwell on the negative.
4. Transcend the physical.
5. Accept your fate.
6. Have confidence that you will succeed.
7. Know that there will be an end.
8. Suffering is okay.
9. Be kind to yourself.
10. Quitting is not an option.
Ulrich relied on all 10 of those commandments for his most grueling endurance challenge — running across America. At the tender age of 57, when most people are thinking about their 401(k)s and the looming piña colada cruises in the Gulf of Mexico, Ulrich trucked it from San Francisco to New York City, a staggering 3,063 mile-trek in 52 days.
He writes about that monster challenge in his inspiring book, Running on Empty. I recently caught up with him at his rustic cabin in the Colorado mountains for this exclusive video interview where Ulrich talks about the challenges of essentially running more than two marathons a day for 52 straight days.
Whew, I don’t know about you, but I get tired just thinking about it.