We had an exclusive chat to the ever-active yet ever-fast Michael Wardian about what he’s up to this year, and by the sounds of it, he has a stacked schedule as usual with a full year of racing ahead…. including Barkley Marathons!
With our very own Gary Robbins heading back to Frozen Head National Park in Tennessee to attempt the wildly intriguing event put on by the just as wildly eccentric Gary Cantrell aka “Lazarus Lake,” the Barkley Marathons will be very interesting to watch as these two and many other interesting characters take on this epic feat.
If for some reason you’ve been living in a bunker avoiding the Apocalypse for the past 5 years, you can find out more about Barkley Marathons in the Netflix documentary that catapulted this event and legend to fame among the mainstream population.
Michael is the guy who ran 7 marathons, in 7 days on 7 different continents in an average time of 2:45 including the brutal Arctic Marathon on a snow-covered trail-like course. He also owns the world record for the fastest marathon dressed as Elvis in a time of 2:38. Mike is one of the most active racers out there among elites and last year raced close on 50 times, racking up some seriously impressive results on all surfaces in all corners of the globe.
From racing road events to long trail ultras Mike continues to blow minds racing so often and remaining fast. He has featured in races such as Marathon des Sables, UTMB, The Diagonale des Fous (Crossing of the Fools), 100 mile trail race with over 32,000 Feet of Ascent, on Reunion Island and many more.
Coming off a very successful Tarawera 100KM Ultra Trail in New Zealand just a couple weeks ago, this year looks to be no different. He chatted with us about his secret to racing so often and so successfully.
MW: Tarawera 102K was incredible, I love that race and I definitely felt the 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents but I battled the whole day and was really happy to run 8th overall and my 4th top top 10 finish there. The trip to New Zealand with Jennifer my wife and my sons Pierce (10 years) and Grant (8 years) was truly magical. We saw a lot and got a chance to really be a part of the New Zealand culture and experienced a lot of different things from mountain biking, to downhill luge, to bungee jumping ,to jet boat riding and a cruise on the Milford Sound to Zorbing. We did as much as we could and it was a trip of a lifetime.
MW: My next currently scheduled race is the “The Barkley Marathons” on March 31, 2017. I am probably going to jump into some marathons before it but Barkley is my next big Ultra at this point. I might do the USATF 50K National Championships the first weekend of March but still deciding.
MW: My race schedule is pretty awesome so far, I haven’t set anything firm after Hardrock 100 in July but currently working on my schedule post Hardrock.
MW: I raced 47 times in 2016 and that was pretty common for me. I like to compete and race.
What do you do to recover between races and what is the key to racing so often and still performing?
MW: Between events, I like to keep moving and training. I think the key to racing so often is to be excited about the opportunities and don’t let what you just did impact you mind for what you are about to do. I think to preform at the highest levels you need to believe it is possible and have confidence in yourself that you can do it. Great things happen when you believe.
MW: I would like to be racing competitively for the next 30 years. I might not be winning races but I will still be pushing what I can do and what is possible and that to me gets me fired up to do the work and training to get the results I am after.
How does family view the travelling and racing often. Are they along for the ride and enjoying all the scenery?
MW: Jennifer my wife and our boys Pierce and Grant, love the racing and travel. We are at a crazy amazing place where we can visit beautiful and dynamic parts of the world and see what they are all about. I feel so thankful that we are getting to travel the world and learn about different countries, cultures and mindsets. We all are citizens of the world and getting to visit different places I think is one of the best teachers and I can’t wait to see what our boys do with all those experiences when they get older.
MW: I think the best advice I ever received, I believe in and that I prescribe to is “be consistent”. It was not from a running coach but from the head coach of the Maryland Lacrosse program in the 1980’s. He said if you do the work everyday by the time I see you in 5 years, I will give you a scholarship. I took what he said to heart and everyday I practiced throwing the ball, 50 times with each hand and by the time I was a senior in high school I was really good. I just applied that to my running. It doesn’t matter if you do one great workout but it is years of consistent focused running that allows you to have results you want.
MW: I love competition and I think races bring out the best in me and other people. There is nothing better than stepping up to a start line and knowing that you have to preform.
MW: It takes a lot of balancing to honor all my obligations but I love the challenge and normally check with Jennifer to see if we have anything and then go from there.
MW: I am not a full time runner. I work as an International Ship Broker finding primarily food aid cargoes for USA and Foreign flag ocean going vessels.
Check out Mike’s ever busy schedule at: www.mikewardian.com/schedule