I’m in Chamonix with Asics at the moment, following the amazing teams taking on Beat The Sun tomorrow. As part of the build up to the race we were given some time to interview both the elite athletes and amateur runners.
I have to admit I was most excited to meet Deena Kastor.
She is a distance runner that holds the US women’s marathon and half marathon record, plus she’s the Athens Olympic marathon bronze medal winner. Not only that but she’s also won the Chicago Marathon and London Marathon. Yeah, she’s kind of a big deal.
Obviously Deena is a road runner, and she’s here in Chamonix to run the world’s toughest challenge off road. It’s not just the trail that’s the challenge but there is some serious climbing involved.
Deena lives at elevation and has been going on two hour plus climbs in her local Mammouth, California area to prepare for Beat the Sun, although she told me she wishes she had practised running three times in a day as she’s running three of the twelve legs tomorrow.
I asked her what she had learned, changed and what had challenged her moving from road to trail running, and what advice she would give to others;
- It’s not the fastest person that wins on the trails, it’s the smartest. Learn from the more experienced people around you.
- Get the right kit; shoes and gear. It’s important to be ready for every eventuality out on the trail. Sidenote – We’ve been wearing the Asics Gel Fuji Trabuco 5 which have been designed to help you grip on the way up and way down, plus they’ve got extra protection for your toes. And they didn’t let the snow in!
- Introduce plyometrics into your routine to build strength in your hips, quads and ankles. (Deena said she wishes she’d done more of this than she did for Beat the Sun, especially more lunges!)
- Wear gators or long socks to avoid getting gravel in your shoes.
- Accept the challenge and embrace the adventure of trail running!
The race starts tomorrow at 5.45am so for the first runners, like Deena, that’s a very early wake up call to eat before the first leg and mentally prepare for the race. Not to mention having to start fuelling for the long day ahead; each runner will take on two or three legs to get their team of 6 around the 140.1KM course circumnavigating Mont Blanc before the sun sets, exactly 15 hours and 41 minutes after they leave Chamonix.