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Contribution Guidelines

ULTRA is about ultra long-distance running, about adventure and exploration and of pushing ourselves further and faster than we thought we could ever go. It celebrates the community, the people who share our passion, and their thoughts and musings as they consider recent races and upcoming challenges.


Should you consider sending in an article?

Yes! We are looking for your stories from your experiences dreaming about, training for and taking part in ultras. From tales of the most epic adventures to the darker thoughts that inhabit our minds. From the frustrating times when injured to those wonderful moments when all cares are forgotten and you run down that hill like a child with a kite. From personal bests to personal worsts, we want to read them all.

"But," you're thinking, "I'm not a writer..."

That's OK. It's stories we're looking for, not great grammar. ULTRA's community has a number of people who can help turn someone's musings into an article worthy of publication. If you're not sure, contact us and let us know your thoughts.

Can you just send us your blog post?

Maybe. Blogs are great but they tend to be highly detailed (and often very lengthy!) which may not read well in a magazine. For example, a blogged race report may contain every single facet of a person’s experience through the day, including what they ate beforehand, how they fuelled during the race, and references to other runners that they met or ran with. In a magazine this could be problematic because the reader may not wish to know such in-depth detail.

Any other tips?

Take a look at what other people have already written, how they wrote it and how we laid it out, how we used images. We'll always be looking for ways of improving our future articles so feel free to consider ways of making yours even better.

The key to good magazine writing is to keep it short, to tell your story in as few words as possible. With ULTRA we try to stick to around 500 words per page. But you can do a lot with 500 words.

In the case of a race report, these are the kinds of things we want to read about:

  • Drama: Did anything bad happen along the way? If it did, did that bad thing end your race or did you overcome it? And if you did, we definitely want to hear about that!
  • How it felt: What were the highs like? How were those low, low lows? What about the end, how did that feel? Or if you were carried on the death bus, describe your feelings and how that makes you feel about future ultra races.
  • Who helped you out? Were there guardian angels from crews or marshals or public that are worth calling out?
  • What was the course like: undulating, fell, flat etc. How did that feel?
  • What was the weather like, and how did that affect your race?
  • What about the landscapes – we have a beautiful countryside that changes dramatically with the seasons. As a reader I really want to hear about this – the challenges that it brings and the most beautiful sights from the tallest hills
  • What will you take from this race into future Ultras?

How about pictures?

As you can see from Issue 1, images play a HUGE part in the magazine. We are really keen to make sure that our wonderful landscapes are shown off in their best light, and that means great photographs.

Have a look at the articles in Issue 1, and get a feel for the types of photographs we have used. If you or your family/friends take photographs, please consider lettings us have them for your article, particularly if they're high-res. If there's an official race photographer, see if they will supply some photographs from the race - most will do so. Or if you're in any doubt just contact us and we'll do our best to help.

What we offer in return

ULTRA is now almost a year old, and we still don't have much of an 'editorial budget' - that is, cash in return for words and pictures. ULTRA carries very few adverts, often none at all. When we started off we tried to attract advertisers, and while some race organisers have been extremely generous, often product advertisers would require us to review their gear. ULTRA's just not that type of magazine. Without sustained advertising revenue we are reliant on income from the cover price to pay for the production of the magazine, which works out OK. If there is any cash left at the end it gets reinvested in the next magazine. We use this for improving the magazine quality, for paying some staff members a small amount, and for editorial contributions.

Basically, I've put a lot of my own money into it and got zero out; but good god, it's been good fun making it and I wouldn't change that for anything. I'll be open and honest, I'm hoping that the races and the festival created around the magazine will eventually do three things: 1) pay me a living, 2) pay for some staff to help with everything, and 3) allow us to pay even more for contributions.

For the time being at least, ULTRA would not survive if we paid market rates for all words and pictures in the magazine. We are reliant on runners contributing their stories and photographs for the love of doing so. But, we also recognise that some people write, illustrate and take photographs for a living, or to supplement their living, and we need to support that. If you would like payment in return for your contributions, please do say so. This is a bit of a risk, because we're of course hoping that everyone doesn't suddenly demand payment in return for the best stories and pictures. If you're happy contributing in return for a big hug and a free copy of the mag, then that will help the magazine to grow naturally, and we'll be forever friends.

Please send all ideas and contributions to amy@ultra-magazine.com and andy@ultra-magazine.com.

Thanks,
Andy Nuttall
Editor, ULTRA magazine