NEW YORK — Whether or not a person has run a marathon, the 26.2 mile (42.16 kilometers) race is not beyond what is imaginable. What some might not realize, however is that the marathon is not in fact the upper limit of foot races. For those runners unsatisfied the marathon, there is the ultra marathon, that is, any race beyond the distance set in ancient Greece when Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the invading Persians. Enter Mariano Ontañon, model and ultra marathon enthusiast. A lifelong athlete, Mariano sustained an injury to his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) playing rugby. What could have been an end to his sporting life proved to be a new lease when Mariano got into training for and competing in ultra marathons as an alternative to the high impact demands of rugby. A year and a half later and several ultra races to the good, Mariano is training for ultra marathons this summer in Lake Tahoe and Colorado.

Mariano’s gateway into the ultra marathon world came through his first race, a half marathon actually. From there Mariano continued training and later completed his first ultra marathon in Patagonia in his native Argentina. Balancing his passion with his day job, modeling, has proven beneficial to both body and mind. “It helps to have a hobby or something else on the side,” says Mariano, who finds solace in his training regime in between his work as model. The upshot of all the training is a killer physique (Mariano’s a perennial inclusion amongst the industry’s sexiest rankings) coupled with a down-to-earth personality. Committed runners are distinguished breed unto themselves, however Mariano takes this distinction to another level and does so with grace and humility. Whatever race imaginable, suffice to say Mariano Ontañon will go the distance.

Credits include: Title, “Next Questions — Mariano Ontañon”; Interview and video, Damien Neva at Next Management.