The reporter who received the following pitch tells us: "I've lost track of how many times this guy has e-mailed me about Marshall Ulrich — It could be more than 10 times at this point — but each time, he tries a different pitch. This … well, aside from the fact that I am a sportswriter (and so, presumably, am not writing advice columns for women dating crazy men), is just too much.
From: [PR Dummy]
Subject: What If Your Man Wants To Do Something "Crazy"?
Dear [unfortunate recipient]:
Marshall Ulrich climbed the highest mountains, set records in the toughest and longest footraces, and then clocked the third-fastest time ever recorded when he ran across America. He credits his wife, Heather Ulrich, with the inspiration and support he needed to finish this unprecedented crossing at age 57.
Ulrich chronicled all of this in his book, Running on Empty, which came out in paperback April 3, 2012. Please read the following release and let me know if we may set up an interview with Mr. and/or Mrs. Ulrich, or forward a copy of his book for a review. Thank you.
[Borderline Insane PR man]
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
What If Your Man Wants To Do Something "Crazy"?
Idaho Springs, CO, June 1, 2012 — His feats are impressive, legendary. At age 57, Marshall Ulrich went 3,063 miles on foot, running about 60 miles a day for 52 days straight, from San Francisco to New York City. He was attempting to break a world record set by a man half his age and ultimately set two new records, completing the third fastest trans-American crossing in history.
You can imagine that being married to a guy so driven and prone to extremes requires a strength of its own, a special brand of emotional endurance. Ulrich's wife not only puts up with this craziness but embraces it as an essential part of him. How? Why?
Ulrich wrote about all of this in Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America, now available in paperback (Avery, $16). A central element in the book is a recounting of how Ulrich met his wife, Heather, late in life and how she taught him to love again after great personal tragedy and previous marriages. He credits her not only with helping him to become a better man, but also with being crucial to his completing this epic, record-setting transcontinental run.
Some "how to" tips for women in a relationship with a "crazy" man:
- Let men be men. All of us need to express ourselves in unique ways, and for one man, it may be running across the U.S., while for another, it may be a guys' getaway in Baja, Mexico, and for another, it may be watching a show about Bigfoot.
- Respect that thing you think is silly or risky or even dangerous, as it can bring out the best in both of you. It isn't anti-feminist to embrace the dreams and aspirations of men who want to test their mettle, whether that's in sport, business, finance, or any of the other classically male area of contest. This also applies to men who want to explore the arts and other creative pursuits. The truth is that most men like to succeed, no matter their particular interest. Support them in it.
- Agree that this is a reciprocal arrangement, where both partners are committed to seeing the other become the fullest versions of themselves. If you can find it in your heart to encourage him in something you'd otherwise ignore or even dismiss, he can do the same for you. Who knows what you might accomplish together?
Running On Empty is both a gripping love story and an inspirational look into the lives of a couple who have experienced more than most people can comprehend – and who insist that everyone's capable of much more than they may think.
While the book centers on the transcontinental run and the importance of and strain on the Ulrichs' marriage, it also includes stories and lessons learned from Marshall Ulrich's nearly three decades of athletic accomplishments in extreme endurance sports:
[Here he inserts a lengthy pitch for the book, having tried to use the preceding bit as a smooth segue.]