The launch of Limits in June was one of those moments when everything seems so logical and inevitable, and then the announcement goes live, you have a sip of coffee, and think: Wait, how did we get so wrapped up in endurance sports? Isn’t it a pretty niche category? Does this mean we have to do an Ironman every year?

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The answer to the latter two questions is yes, sort of. The field of competitors and the quantity of staggeringly difficult races grows each year, and you’ll find us in the field reporting, usually wearing some kind of spandex. The answer to the question about how we got so wrapped up in this world helps explain how our sports and adventure coverage has evolved over the past year and where we see it going in 2014.

The soul of endurance sports is finding that point when you don’t want to go any further, when it feels like physically and mentally like you can’t, when all but a fraction of a percent of people quit — and then continuing anyway (with negative splits). As our athlete-adventurers reported back from their journeys, we realized that, in fact, this unites all sports, from rock climbing and mountaineering to surfing and cycling. To thrive in any of these disciplines requires a commitment to raise the middle finger to pain and frustration — and monotony, sometimes — in the hopes of achieving a goal that previously seemed impossible. Maybe we discover something new about ourselves, maybe we just have one hell of a day.

What we ended up with is Limits, a section grounded in enduring and yet inclusive of all adventures that test the will. These are some of our favorite stories — and we can promise that year will be even more exciting.

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