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Michael Wardian – Consistency is Key

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.

 

 How was Tarawera as a race and overall experience?

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.

Tarawera finish line. Photo: irunfar

 

 What is your next race?

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.

 What are your plans for the year ahead regarding racing that you know of right now?

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.

 How many times did you race last year?

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.

 How much longer are you planning on still racing competitively for?

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.

Mike finishing Tarawera 100 with his boy’s helping him home.

 What is the best advice you have ever received which you still use to this day?

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.

 What motivates you to race so often?

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.

7 finish lines in 7 days on 7 on continents

 How do you schedule in all the racing and balance life things?

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.

 Are you a full time runners or do you have a job?

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

 

 

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David Jeker – Transgrancanaria 125K 2017

Today, Friday February 24th at 11PM local time, the massively prestigious and sought-after ultra race Transgrancanaria starts. The race crosses the spectacular Spanish island Gran Canaria from North to South, coast-to-coast and forms part of the Ultra Trail World Tour Series and the Spain Ultra Cup, offers a challenging course rising from sea-level with a total vertical gain of around 8,000m over the 125KM race distance.

Canadian, David Jeker from Saint-Barthélemy, Québec is taking on this epic event and will feature at the sharp-end of the group lining up at the start and will race what is always a stacked field filled with plenty of the world’s ultra running stars.

David is currently living in Switzerland to complete a Masters in sport science.

We had a quick chat with him about the upcoming race and how this figures into his plans for a big year ahead.

 Is this your first race of the year?
DJ: Transgrancanaria is my first trail race of the season but I’ve raced three vertical ski mountaineering races in 2017 already.
 How are you feeling about this weekend’s Transgrancanaria?
DJ: I’m excited to get another shot at this race. I DNF’d the last two years so I’m aware of how tough things can get. This time I’m not injured and I’m mentally prepared to slowly walk to the end if needed. As always, I’ll try to get to the finish as fast as I can.
 How has your build up been with training and any racing?
DJ: I was able to get good trail running conditions until mid-January and managed to run a lot before the snow. After that most of my training was on skis. It’s my first season of ski mountaineering and I’m not sure how my fitness will translate to the trails. I came to the island early and was able to get some good running here in the last few days. Not sure my legs are ready for all the downhills but I’m curious to find out.
 How does coming out of winter conditions in training and then going into a tropical warm-climate-race affect your preparation and strategy on race day?
DJ: I’ve been staying in the south of the island since the February 12th (the race starts on the 24th) so I’m supposed to be fully acclimatized to the heat. The timing of coming down from altitude, as I live at 2000 meters above sea level is also good, so I have no excuses.

David taking in the views on the island during taper week.

 The field is always stacked at this event with it being a challenging yet pretty fast race that is always quite close at the end. How do you feel lining up against the other big names this weekend?
DJ: In this field a top ten would be awesome for me. My 2016 season was a total disaster so a good finish with great feelings is all I wish for.
 Just a pattern I have noticed in the past, everybody who has done well at this race or won in previous years goes on to have a great year. Is that in the back of your mind and why do you think it always gives those runners the boost for the year ahead?
DJ: It’s one of the most competitive ultras of the season so doing well here probably gives you a great boost of confidence. It may also be because the race is early in the year so there’s plenty of time to recover before any summer ultras.
 What are your plans for other races this year?
DJ: My 2017 schedule is loaded with big races. I’ll run many other races of the Ultra Trail World Tour with Madeira, Lavaredo, Eiger and TDS (UTMB). I hope to finish my first 100 miler at the Montreux Trail Festival in July. If I’m selected on the Canadian team, the World Championships will be the main goal of my season. Everything else is more about getting some ultra experiences before the big adventure of the year being the Tor des Geants. My Master Thesis is about racing and running so it will be a great way to end my studies.

David has taken in the scenery this week during shake-out runs as he will be head-down racing hard on race day.

 We wish David all the best and we’ll follow your progress online.
David is also a coach and you can check out more about what he offers and all info below:

www.mouvementperpetuel.info