Ultra marathons are mostly run in and through nature's more scenic areas in temperatures that can be extreme. They are planned that way by the special breed of people, who feel called to be a Race Director.
The RD will plan a path, and then mark that path with any number of methods. Before the race it will be carefully communicated how "his path" or "her path" is marked. Every race is marked very well, but that doesn't mean it is easy to follow. It is a special runner who can honestly say they have never felt the uneasy feeling that they are off the path. As a back of the pack runner, I often will be running alone and for about 25% of the time, I feel that uneasy feeling. The feeling dissipates when a trail marker is seen. These markers are signs that you are following the course the RD has set for you. The ideal pace is to "travel steadily".
Two years ago I found myself not being able to move fast enough to create enough body heat to offset the cold temperatures near the end of the race. My steady pace wasn't fast enough. Another race I went out too fast and after 15 miles my body went into a full body cramp. My steady pace was too fast.
On most races I get temporarily lost. The worst kind of lost is when others are following you. It is an awful feeling to turn around and say, "I think we are off "his path". It is humbling to miss a trail marker and take off on what seems to be the right path. It is even more humbling, to the point of condemnation, when you have led others down the wrong path. The good nature of most everyone in ultra marathons simply take it in stride and the common comment after spending considerable time on the wrong path, is, "I got bonus miles today". The understanding is that everyone takes responsibility for their own race, and though they followed me on the wrong path, it was their own choice and when confronted with the reality of being lost, everyone just shrugged their shoulders and turned around. It wastes energy to judge and criticize, and can compound the problem at hand. I have witnessed the really bad behavior of blaming the RD for not marking the course effectively enough. I have done it myself and it is counter productive to the race at hand.
"Travel steadily along his path" is a quote from Ps. 37:34.
The bible serves as the trail markers "along his path". If anyone fails to read the markers, the inevitability of finding oneself lost is going to happen. The RD gave us the bible as the markers so we can "travel steadily along his path". Consider making bible reading/applying a consistent discipline in life.
"Travel steadily along his path".