When we first thought about setting up Ultra Race Romania we wondered what it really takes to run 250km in a remote part of the world, in self-sufficiency? Courage? A bit of madness? Recklessness? And how are the people who usually embark on such adventures? What drives you to reach the finish line?
Tell us more about yourself Michael, how and when you started to feel in love with ultra running and with sport in general?
I have been running long distances all of my life but never had a word to describe it until ultra-running was something everyone knew about. I have lost count of the number of marathons I have completed and started racing ultra marathons as running on trails was more fun than just roads and now I am hooked. Kristine and I race at least two ultras a year. I am very lucky that my wife loves trail running just as much as me, possibly more.
What were the toughest races you’ve ever been to?
The toughest races have been the Guadalupe 100miler because of the mud, Ultra Race Cambodia because of the heat, Madagascar multi stage race because of the snakes and crocs and Bromont Quebec 100miler because of the cold and rainy conditions.
We can imagine that ultra means difficult moments during the races. How do you manage to overpass them?
Suffering is part of the experience and dealing with the lows it helps to focus on what you can control and what needs to happen next. Then do what you need to do to get to the next step. Knowing you have been in worse situations helps as well.
From all the endurance experiences you’ve had so far, why multi-stage? What makes these kinds of races so special?
There is something special with multi stage races because you get to spend days living in the moment and all of life’s silly problems disappear. At the same time you get to share in the experience with others in the race and watch other overcome the challenges too.
If you are to choose between 200 miles multi-stage and 200 miles non-stop what’s it gonna be?
Tough call I have not done either…yet. But a 200 mile multi stage would give me more opportunity to see and spend time with like-minded adventurers vs 200miles in potential solitude.
What’s the mileage you often put into preparing a multi-stage race?
I have been averaging 90-130km/week for months and always complete a double long run on the weekends.
Have you had a moment during a race when you were about to quit? What was your motivation to continue?
A Yes but it usually involved not knowing the severity of an injury or the race had no more water and the conditions were not safe.
Why Ultra Race Romania? What do you think sets this race apart from others?
It is in beautiful mountains and its demanding distances.