In the San Diego Man Camp Facebook group, we spend a lot of time discussing various hobbies. Many of us have at one time or another dabbled in the sport of ultrarunning. To the uninitiated, "ultrarunning" is participating in footraces of fifty kilometers or longer, often on trails. I'm intimately familiar with the sport as a participant and an analyst (it was the topic of my second book "Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel".)
A few male and female ultrarunner friends, after reading this blog and my Sexpressionists blog, have noticed there seems to be a disproportionate number of beta males in the sport. I've made this same observation. In fact, my curiosity over this issue is what ultimately led me to start studying sex and gender issues again.
What are some Possible Explanations?
There could be many reasons beta males are attracted to the sport, including:
- "Running" itself is often deemed the opposite of "fighting" (think fight or flight), and people with stronger alpha tendencies are more likely to stick around and fight while people with more beta tendencies are more likely to flee.
- The activity itself lowers testosterone, which causes more beta behaviors to emerge.
- Ultrarunning requires hours upon hours of enduring physical pain in isolation. That combination tends to produce some really nice conditions to produce a therapeutic effect. I've found many (most?) ultrarunners have a lot of baggage from their past, and the long hours on the trails give them an opportunity to work through shit. Anyway, that baggage tends to be a) shit from childhood, or b) relationship angst. Both of these problems are synonymous with beta males.
- The sport encourages participation over competition. For everyone but the elites, there's virtually no chance of winning an ultra. So everyone focuses on finishing to earn what amounts to a participation ribbon. That lack of competitiveness also lowers testosterone.
How About Another Hypothesis?
I've noticed almost all of the "beta males" in ultrarunning don't quite fit the typical beta mold across the board. Maybe they're not real beta males. Maybe many of the dudes who appear to be betas are actually "Nice Guys", who are basically closeted natural alphas who, through the conditioning process of modern Western society, have internalized the idea that masculine behaviors are bad. Here are the reasons:
- Ultrarunning is a "safe" sport in that it's non-violent (unlike my newer hobbies - Brazilian jiu jitsu, boxing, and mma.) This is a key as the beta male is exceptionally prone to the opinions of others and will avoid anything that will draw the ire of society.
- It gives ample time to spend around attractive females in an asexual setting. "Nice Guy" beta males believe it is disrespectful to be sexually assertive with women, so they basically friendzone themselves by recruiting women as training partners, pacers, or crew members. They hope, by spending hours and hours with these women, they will eventually convince them of their worthiness as a mate (or fuck buddy.)
- The females they are exposed to tend to be pretty fucking tough, thus more likely to be willing to take the lead in relationships and make decisions. "Nice Guy" beta males are petrified to make decisions because they're afraid of upsetting women, so they prefer to defer to women. They think they're empowering women. In reality, they're driving them insane.
- The closeted alpha "Nice Guy" beta can't totally hide his alpha tendencies, and ultrarunning feeds those primal alpha drives. Ultrarunning is a dangerous sport, especially the long mountain ultras. Death or severe injury is a real possibility, which is something alpha males thrive off. For the "Nice Guy" beta male, this provides his buried "alpha-ness" the danger and adventure fix it needs to keep him from going insane.
- The latter stages of long, hard ultras strips away all the niceties of humanity and reveals our true, primal self... and some men thrive off this. When it's 3am and you're seventy miles into a hundred miler, you're cold, hungry, fighting sleep deprivation, every part of your body in chafed and in pain, your emotional control is shot, life gets pretty fucking raw. Some men hate this spot. Some love it. Those who love it do so because it is the essence of masculinity - experiencing and overcoming incredibly difficult shit by continuing on. We don't get this opportunity in modern society barring freak accidents or natural disasters, so ultras give closeted alphas a change to prove their manhood.
- Attention. Ultras are, by design, really fucking stupid. The skillset required has little or no direct real-world application and they're stupidly difficult. To the general population, ultras appear to be insane. To the "Nice Guy" beta male, this attention fuels their need for external validation they should be getting from within.
How Do I Know If I'm One of These "Nice Guy" Beta Males/ Closeted Alphas?
Luckily, the warning signs are pretty clear, which makes it easy to distinguish between "Nice Guy" beta males who are really closeted alphas and actual natural beta males. "Nice Guys" have the following traits:
- "Nice Guy" beta males are afraid of upsetting women because they believe it will ruin their chances for casual sex, dating, a long-term relationship, or sex within a long-term relationship. In other words, they're deathly afraid of rocking the pussy boat.
- "Nice Guy" beta males have trouble understanding other males and their behaviors; they simply don't make sense. Things like cat-calling, fighting, bullying and teasing, or "peacocking" just seem like douchey behaviors that serve no purpose.
- "Nice Guy" beta males do not understand why seemingly normal women fall for "bad boys."
- When they enter into monogamous relationships with women, the sex always starts off good then slowly decreases in frequency and quality, to the point where all sex is "starfish sex." Intimate acts like kissing and blowjobs disappear. The "Nice Guy" will usually try anything and everything that would be considered a romantic gesture - being a better listener, buying her flowers, jewelry, lingerie, candles, exotic vacations... but none of it seems to help. Relationships tend to go like this.
- "Nice Guy" beta males have mates who tend to nag them all. the. time.
- "Nice Guy" males tend to have few if any male friends, nor do they spend time in all-male groups.
- "Nice Guy" beta males tend to have a growing sense of existential dread, like they have no idea why they're here. They will have often worked their whole life to build what they have in the hopes it would bring happiness and fulfillment, but it only brings a feeling of emptiness, loneliness, and despair. "Nice Guy" beta males tend to bury these feelings behind a facade of fake smiles and optimism.
- Read through a bunch of posts on Reddit's r/deadbedrooms subreddit. If this hits home and you're a dude, you're a "nice Guy" beta. Or if you're a woman and this hits home, you're probably in a relationship with a "Nice Guy."
What Can Be Done?
If any of this sounds familiar, I can relate. Like, REALLY relate. This was me (read my story about overcoming this plight in this post.) If this shit resonates, know there are many of us who have overcome this, made positive changes, and are now living lives far better than the lives we once lived. The best part? Our improvements have made us better leaders, better boyfriends and husbands, and better fathers.
If you're interested in making positive changes, take a look at our Facebook group and consider a workshop. It could change your life. Sorry ladies, it's a male-only group, which is by design. I do have another mixed-gender Facebook group if any of these ideas sound a little too familiar. Or you just want to learn more about the topic.