With the Spring marathon season quickly approaching, lots of runners are hitting the roads to prepare.
While a marathon is a whopping 26.2 miles, there are actually more challenging races out there called ultra marathons - which means anything longer than the standard 26.2.
- PHOTOS: Ultra Marathon Man runs McAfee Knob in Roanoke County
- On Super Bowl Sunday following the big game we'll follow ultra-marathon runner Joseph Teh of Salem who trains by running the equivalent of a full marathon and a half marathon every week. What drives this amazing runner on? Find out at 11 p.m. after the Super Bowl on Sunday, February 3rd.
- Road Running
Joseph Teh has run in more than 20 ultra marathons, but didn't start running until 2005.
"There's a saying, saying that don't live in the past. Don't live for the future but live in the moment. And running is really for me is living in the moment,” ultra marathon runner Joseph Teh said. "I did my first marathon. In the process I trained for a half marathon. I finished it. It was a struggle. It was 6 hours. I walked a lot of part of the way but after I finished it, I found out about trail running."
With the new challenge of trail running came traveling the country and the world to participate in races, an experience Joseph says is unlike any other.
"For me, outdoors ultimately draws my passion in life,” Teh said. “Mother Nature is what gives meaning to me in my life."
Another reason Joseph transitioned to trail running was because of injuries sustained from road marathons. But despite the setbacks -- and even the possibility of long-term effects from running such long distances -- Joseph says it's all worth it.
"The way I view life is that we all live between 60 to 90 years old and I try to live my life, call it live it to the fullest. I may not live as long as some people do, but I want to live my life with full passion and live fully, live my dreams and live it every day to the best that I can. That's my principle of living. Maybe I live shorter, but I want to live happier."
Joseph trains year-round, even in below freezing temperatures. Right now he's working on building up his endurance to either do a 220 miler in June or a 120 miler in August.
"Those are the longest races for me. I've attempted 135. I did not successfully finish it due to the cold temperature so I use this 120 as my next stepping stone. And if I decided to do the 220, that would be a much bigger stepping stone," Teh said.
And even bigger yet, Joseph sees ultra marathons as a gateway to his three ultimate goals in life.
"I want to go climb Mount Everest. I want to run across the Sahara Desert, which people have done it before. And I want to trek across (the) Antarctica continent. Those are three huge challenging goals in my life and what I'm doing right now every day, every week, is moving toward those directions."