To Be(ard), Or Not To Be(ard), That Is The Question.

Green Lakes Endurance Runs (2013)

Green Lakes Endurance Runs (2013)

The Cayuga Trails 50 is now twenty-five days away and I have a big decision to make: beard or no beard.

As you can see in the picture above, I had a beard for the one ultra that I’ve done. It was about a three-week beard. Since I was new to ultras and new to beards, I went with something pretty conservative. However, the beard (and not my training) allowed me to run 31.1 sub-seven-minute miles.

Now, with my first 50-miler on the horizon, I am confronted with a decision. I’m already at three or four days, so it’s now or never. I do have options, and the beard/facial hair subculture of ultrarunning is constantly in a state of flux. Consider the following:

“The Classic”

Gordy Ansleigh (photo credit: Hough Boy)

Gordy Ansleigh (photo credit: Hough Boy)

“The Cowboy”

Rob Krar

Rob Krar

“The J.C. Special”

Timothy Olson

Timothy Olson

Tony Krupicka

Tony Krupicka

“The Mustachioed Ultramen”

Kilian Jornet

Kilian Jornet

Matt Flaherty

Matt Flaherty

Zach Miller

Zach Miller

“The Goatee”

Ryan Sandes (photo credit: Ian Corless)

Ryan Sandes (photo credit: Ian Corless)

“The No-Beard Beard”

Sage Canaday

Sage Canaday

Which look do you recommend for the race?

Do you have any superstitions about racing?

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32 Responses to To Be(ard), Or Not To Be(ard), That Is The Question.

  1. DarlinRae says:

    Haha! I am always pro-beard, but I think they look best with a little grooming. Maybe all-over beard, but trimmed short?

  2. Joey says:

    Beard! Mine just turned 7 months old.

  3. Kristin says:

    Oh wow, you’re a phenomenal runner!! Awesome! Nice beard, too! I like what you had going on!

  4. I say the conservative says you’re serious but like to have fun.. lol. Plus, if you go too nuts, it’s more wind resistance (just sayin’). I’m wicked superstitious when it comes to running… my latest thing is braids… I confidently feel I didn’t hit 1:30 over the weekend bc I couldn’t get my hair to stay in braid form… I have to get up and do the same exact thing every race morning…

  5. We agree with DarlinRae! Beard, but neatly trimmed … G has a 50-miler this weekend and that’s what he will be rocking! Good luck on your first 50!!

  6. irenejean says:

    I also agree with DarlinRae. Trimmed beard!

  7. piratebobcat says:

    I say shave it for less wind resistance 😉

  8. I would say a definite no to mustache but a yes to a beard! My boyfriend wears a beard and recently got a beard comb and beard balm to keep it nice and neat.

  9. leerunsdistances says:

    I say unless it’s going to be cold go for the”no-beard beard. It’s more aerodynamic 🙂

  10. Shawna says:

    haha love this post about what beard to wear while running. i’d leave it how it is — fave option.

  11. I’m saying go beard and rock the cowboy. Let it all go and rock it all natural.

  12. You look a million times better without the beard! I vote no beard.

  13. Angie says:

    I’m not really crazy about beards, but I do like when people obtain a unique “look” thanks to a unique beard. I’d say go for the classic if you want a “look” otherwise the 3 week beard is a good fit for an ultra. Makes you look like you’ve been running for weeks and weeks and may even intimidate your competition.

  14. Nicki says:

    Not sure which look I like best but I may be hauling my butt over to cheer y’all on. Was talking to Ian about it last weekend.

  15. bpangie says:

    Man, I wish my heritage let me grow a beard. I can do a goatee and some scraggly sideburns, but there’s this really gross patch in-between… I do have a moustache. I’ve had it since November and it’s a constant battle with the wife, though I have fallen in love with it and parting is going to be difficult. Trying to figure out how to explain to her that it was with me for my 50 and so needs to be for my 100…

    That said, go for a beard. They’re all cool.

  16. PNWRunner says:

    Go with a beard!!

  17. I thought you weren’t allowed to run ultras without a beard? That’s what you do. You should go with a fu man sho. What is the womans ultra thing to do? Is it still grow a beard? Not shave their legs? HA.

  18. atwinthing33 says:

    The hair has got to go!!!!!!!!! It is practically the tropics after our crappy winter…I am already down to half tops so I am a fan of noooooooooooo beard. In the end, you gotta go with what you want…but I think Sage in the above pictures definitely looked more pro…the other guys look like they were in Deliverance…..although you will be in the woods, you are not going to confuse yourself as being a woodsman….save the beard for the Woodsman 10k or 5k in Booneville this summer lol

  19. kelby of newenglandoutlook says:

    Haha what a great post. I like the classic! Looks rugged and awesome. Well, anything but the stache, really… 🙂

  20. Brittany says:

    HA! I love this…and I love the beard, I would totally keep it. I don’t know if I would want one of the big burly ones though. Don’t to the mustache – that just looks creepy.

  21. I’m typically anti-beard but the 3 weeker looks good on ya. If you’re gonna rock one, I’d go with that choice 🙂

  22. Dan Button says:

    You can’t beat Krar’s beard, it’s too good, and Olson and Krupicka are two of the coolest guys in the ultra game. Beard, definite yes. I grew one before Boston, started in December with my marathon training and planned on shaving the week before, but left it for the race. Got more cheers for the beard than anything else.

    • Jason says:

      Krar’s beard is too good – and he totally knows it. And when he goes with the cowboy hat, he’s basically saying, I was already the coolest guy here, and now I’m even cooler. I will definitely take this into consideration!

      • Dan Button says:

        Totally correct. Cowboy hat and beard is pure win. Other notable bearded beast is Will Leer, might not be an ultra runner, but still intense. Other notable cowboy hat wearer is Max King, you might need to pick up a stetson too.

  23. atwinthing33 says:

    just whatever you do if you run around here don’t come running out of the bushes with that beard you might make me scream lol joking

  24. So excited for this race! Came across your blog while doing some research for it. Didn’t have a qualifying time for last year, but I have one this time around. I grew up in upstate New York, and my family had a cottage on Cayuga’s west side, so it’s a first 50M and trip down memory lane in one weekend. I’ll be going with the “No Beard” beard, by the way, but you keep the beard! If it gets you one PR, don’t mess with the formula…

    • Jason says:

      Awesome! That’s great – I checked out the course today and I’ll be including a brief description and some pics on the blog tomorrow – hopefully it will help! I’m quite excited for it myself!

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