Friday, 6 April 2012

Interview with a first time Ultra-Runner!

Running is all about choices, to keep going or to stop. The longer you're running for, the more difficult this choice can seem so when you make that leap from 'traditional' long distance to Ultra distance you better be ready, because stopping is not a choice.

First time Ultra Runner Rachel Paton kindly took some time to answer a few questions after her first Ultra event, Exmoor 40. Running with Sharon Walton, they took the course by storm with reports of almost shocked marshals at their constant positivity! Congratulations to both of you on a fantastic achievement!

What reaction did you get from people when you told them you were running an Ultra?
We received mixed feelings from people we spoke to about our Ultra. Like minded people were hugely supportive and provided us with fantastic tips and advice. Those who had never heard of Ultra distance running found it hard to understand but were still very encouraging. We didn’t receive any negative feedback.

What was your favourite piece of kit or clothing that you took with you?

My favourite piece of kit it I took with me and wore for the duration of the race were my 2XU calf guards. I have used them for a number of races and find them incredibly beneficial. They help with muscle fatigue especially during longer races. Having had a previous calf injury the calf guards have helped eliminate any pain I used experience.

What shoes were you wearing and why did you choose them?
I wore Brooks Trail Blades – I choose them because they are unbelievably comfortable, lightweight and perfect for mixed terrain without being too aggressive.

When’s you’re next Ultra?
My next Ultra will be the Lakes 50 at the end of July.

Are there any particular Ultras you would like to do in the future?
The Ultras I am doing this year are all qualifying races for the UTMB next year!

What were some of the ways you kept spirits high?
Talking to fellow runners about their experiences and future races. Focusing on the positive. Learning to enjoy what we were doing!

How did you find the course at Exmoor?
I found the course at Exmoor incredibly challenging. The route is very steep. There are limited flat sections!

Any food that you were really glad you took?
Cliff Shot Blocks are by far the best food we took with us. We took a number of different flavors of which are very palatable and easy to digest.

Ultras are often considered a runners mind games, what were the highs and lows?
The first hour was a real low for me as I found it difficult to break the race down in to sections. The distance was over whelming.  Once I had passed the 10mile marker my spirits lifted and the rest of the race was fantastic. The check point teams made all the difference. Supplying us with hot drinks and food.

What is the first piece of new kit you’d get for your next Ultra and why?
For my next ultra I will buy a new super duper hi-tech watch.

With UTMB on the Horizon Rachel and Sharon have some big challenges ahead, but with their relentless attitude I have every confidence we'll see photos of them crossing that famous finish line. Good luck to both of them and happy running!

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