Indie rocker Margaret Glaspy has always had a penchant for pushing boundaries, not only in her music but also in her personal pursuits. Recently, she made headlines by taking on her first ultramarathon – a grueling 29-mile race in the midst of a demanding music touring schedule.
The Squatchayanda Trail Festival in New Jersey served as the stage for Glaspy’s inaugural foray into the world beyond the marathon distance.
Glaspy’s journey through the race was nothing short of challenging.
Battling jetlag from an international flight and enduring the remnants of Tropical Storm Ophelia, she navigated a course that threw everything from technical single-track trails to rolling hills and double-wide gravel roads at her.
The unpredictable terrain was filled with obstacles, challenging her physical and mental resilience.
Glaspy explained her decision to Rolling Stone to tackle an ultramarathon between her UK and U.S. tours.
“I would say I’m not a masochist. It was not some challenge of, ‘Let’s see if I can go on tour and then run as much as I can.’ It was more like, ‘I just have these few months where I can train for this the best that I can. I have this little window.’ So I just did it.”
17 miles into the race, Glaspy encountered what ultramarathoners call the “pain cave,” a term coined by Courtney Dauwalter, a mental state where a runner’s body begs them to quit, but they power on regardless.
She pressed on despite the physical and mental strain, completing 29 miles before the diminishing daylight forced her to pause. With an entire U.S. tour ahead, she made the practical decision to halt, but not without a sense of accomplishment.
Glaspy reflects to Rolling Stone on the ultramarathon experience with joy.
“For me, it was more like, ‘Let’s have fun and see what this world is about. I need to get it out of my system.’ But I’m so glad how it all went down. I just had a big smile on my face the entire day.”
Glaspy’s connection to running dates back to her upbringing, where her mother’s influence as a distance runner left an indelible mark.
The idea of running longer distances gradually evolved from casual jogs in her teens and twenties to a full-fledged commitment to ultramarathon training.
“I started to promote this new record, and it just took over, and I just said, ‘All right, I’m gonna do this.’ Going from 13 to 29 miles is a big jump, but in being a fan of the sport, it’s absolutely nothing.”
Her inspiration came from ultramarathoner Addie Bracy, with whom she discussed the prospect of running 50 miles.
Despite the daunting nature of the challenge, Glaspy embraced the idea, finding beauty in pushing her limits and exploring a community separate from the music world.
Navigating the demands of an album release cycle, she adopted a pragmatic approach, acknowledging that perfection could be the enemy of progress.
As Glaspy wraps up her U.S. tour, her experience with ultramarathon running has left a significant mark on her. The parallels between pushing through physical and mental barriers in a race and navigating the stresses of a music career have become apparent.
With a renewed sense of accomplishment and a big smile on her face, Glaspy looks ahead to future races, eager to explore more of the ultramarathon world during the next hiatus from touring.
Margaret Glaspy’s ultramarathon journey is not just a physical feat but a testament to the synergy between her musical passion and the endurance required to conquer new challenges.
Glaspy shows us that taking on daunting feats in the world of running is possible while maintaining interests and passions outside the sport.