The 10 Most Ridiculously Impressive Ultra-Marathoners of All Time

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No. 10 – Ted McDonald

Years Active: 2004 – Present

Longest Recorded Run: 100 miles

Crazy because… Mr. McDonald is one of those guys, the sandaled runner.

Ted McDonald, may not have the most storied distance career, though he is well regarded in the community. What he has really done for distance running is introduce and reinforce the idea that long distance high-logging maniacs don’t need to blow so much money on fancy shoes; that the mechanics for a healthy running stride are already built in. Of course, he was not the first person to have this idea, and it is in many ways just a version of the Tarahumara Indians humble running tradition, but he was able to pass on the injury reducing technique and lack of heel running that has really advanced people’s skillset in the past few years. He’s been a huge proponent in the movement of running shoes away from heel cushion platforms, to minimal unhindering slippers. Ted’s been running ultra’s in sandals for almost 20 years, and while he doesn’t shatter speed barriers, that’s still enough of a feat right there.

  • Adam

    Dean Karnazes says he fell asleep. Blacking out is probably a better explanation … Either way, super impressive!

  • nene

    Yea I don’t like the fact he left his sobriety at the door. hopefully he puts that same strength and willingness into getting it back

  • Laurent

    Can’t believe you only cited males, definitely Ann Trason, Eleanor Adams and possibly a few other females should be on the list IMHO.

    • MtnGrl

      My thoughts exactly!

  • epocian

    Get your facts right – Zatopek won the 5k/10k and marathon in Helsinki. Ted didn’t set a world record 100 miles , he set an American record finishing 3rd behind UK’s John Tarrant and SA’s Dave Box

    • HoosierRunner

      THANK YOU!

  • Brandon

    Marshall Ulrich?

  • Jose Maria Ponce M

    this is so wrong…..the best of all time is Kilian Jornet, and he is not even in this top 10…not cool

  • guest

    you are ranking Dean higher than Kouros ? That is so so wrong ! and what about female ultra runners ? Ann Trason for e.g. ?

  • Lee

    this list is so poorly done and so sexist that I don’t think I’ll follow this site. I’ve run 100 milers, not tons, but I have, I know lots of the history. I’m signed up for 2014 grand slam. I know where of I speak (well, write I suppose).

  • Ben

    Yeah, so, I know other people mentioned her already, but come on, 14 Western States wins in a row. How do you leave that out? Every list is gonna have some snubs, but that is ridiculous.

  • Mark Esteban

    As good as Ted Corbitt was you will find he didn’t win the triple at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics…Emil Zatopek did….

  • Daniel Johnston

    Reading Eat and Run I got the impression Jurek himself thought Kouros was better…

  • Xristoforos

    Unfortunately North American Media has not pushed Kouros enough, or he is not very marketable himself I guess (considering he comes from a small Greek village and with an 80s look). Definitely number ONE ultra-marathoner of all times, still holds all records for distances of 100 miles to 1000 miles. Jurek and Karnazes are built by modern day media which unfortunately blinds us at times.