cornerstone of UltraRunning for the past two decades has been
contributions from readers and race directors. We welcome all
submissions, and aim to include as many as we possibly can. Alas, we are
limited by space, so in an effort to help those who might like to see
their material included in UR, here are some guidelines for
is better, when it comes to standard race reports. As a race
director myself, I know how special an event is to its director and
how much detail one likes to impart about his or her race. But for
most events, a race account of 500 words (half page) is usually
sufficient. For championship races or those that saw a stirring
performance, a blow-by-blow account may offer good reading. But
again, shorter is better. There is no need to reiterate the listings
of the top finishers—the accompanying race results will offer that
information to the reader. Also, a short thank you to key sponsors
or volunteers is acceptable, but a lengthy list offers little
interest to the general readership. All ultrarunners know how key
sponsors and volunteers are to any ultra.
is also better. A standard race account is fine, but those stories
that offer a new or different angle stand a much better chance of
being included in the magazine. Use your imagination! Personal race
accounts are of course a staple of UR, but if you can offer
readers a real insight about an event, such as detail about the
unique geography of an area or race route, it will make for
interesting reading. Humor is the most difficult kind of writing,
but a truly funny article is as good as gold. The same applies for a
truly compelling human interest story.
the spell checker! Yes, we have one here at UR too, but at
least make the effort to provide an article that is spelled
correctly. That includes the names of participants. You would be
surprised at how often the names in stories are spelled differently
from the names in the results. The same applies to grammar. Standard
usage applies at UR, but we do have some unique conventions
here at the magazine. Perhaps the most noticeable is the appellation
“km” as applies to the kilometer distance. “50 km” is proper
usage, in lieu of “50 K.” Keep
the “km” lower case unless referencing the proper title of an
event. Likewise use “50 mile” unless referencing the proper
name. Do not often use “miler” as in “he finished the
50-miler.” Use “50 mile” instead.
course it goes without saying that the preferred method of
submissions is by computer. Microsoft Word files are best for
stories, preferably e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
but mailed disk are fine too. We can and do accept hand written or
typed articles, but please know that this being the 21st century,
the higher up the technology ladder, the better.
word or text is fine for results, but Excel files are even better.
Also, please try to include all the information we list in results:
name, age, gender, state, and time. Every finisher and their correct
time is important. Please refrain from using pseudonyms or
Be consistent in tense. If there is one type of
submission that gives an editor prematurely gray hair, it is
inconsistent use of tense, changing from the first person (“I started
the race at a fast pace”), then switching to the second person
(“then you climbed the first hill”) and then the third person
(“then he reached the aid station.”)
out the names of states in full.
out numbers less than 11, but use numerics for numbers more than 10.
a comma in four figure or greater numbers (i.e. 1,000).
the use of exclamation points. Not everything is that important!
the use of abbreviations. Many readers are not familiar with those
particular to an event.
dates, do not “January 1st” or “February 3rd.” Writing
“the race was on January 1” is proper.
italics for book and magazine titles, musical composition, and
capitalization frugally. Proper titles are capitalized, but
generally speaking, contributors capitalize too often. Use italics
in lieu of caps to for emphasis.
marks: period and commas go inside quotation marks.
usage for time of day is “5:00 a.m.” or “7:00 p.m.”
out feet, pounds, percentage, degrees, and the like; do not use
years and degrees, do not use an apostrophe (1980s is correct, not
in complete sentences, not short, unreadable fragments.