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Blackrock A.C. In Profile with Eoin Keith

In Profile is a new addition to Blackrock A.C. where we host interviews with leading local and not-so-local athletes in an attempt to have fun while gaining valuable insights that are useful to athletes across Ireland and beyond. As with anything new, the format is subject to change as we are always looking to improve as we go along. This interview is quite detailed and you can click the main points covered below to jump straight to that piece. The full video and separate audio versions can be seen below also.

Special Thanks

Firstly, thanks to Eoin Keith for agreeing and taking the time out for the interview. I would like to say a special thank you to Blackrock A.C. man Bryan Sheils for introducing us to Eoin Keith and helping to arrange this interview. Also, thank you to Melanie Pape and Ted Burke for helping with the planning, conducting of the interview and the huge amount of work that went in afterward too. 

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Blackrock A.C. · Blackrock A.C. In Profile with Eoin Keith

Irish Ultrarunner Eoin Keith

For our first edition, we caught up with Irish legendary ultrarunner Eoin Keith. Having originally gotten into marathon running following some hiking activities with friends, Eoin took part in his first 50km race in the late 1990s. Since then, he has gone on to run some truly incredible distances, sometimes winning and even setting new records in the process. Eoin currently holds or has held Irish records for 24-hour running (248.4km), 48-hour road running (343km) and even a 6-day running record of 815km. In addition, he has also held the world record for the fastest crossing of Ireland on Foot, Mizen Head to Malin Head in 3 days, 3 hours and 47 minutes.

Some notable victories include:

  • Winter Spine Race 2016 (new course record) and 2022
  • Summer Spine Race 2021 (new course record)
  • UTMB Oman Race 2019 (new course record)
  • The Northern traverse, 2016
  • Irish 24-Hour Running Championships (multiple times, most recently the Irish 24-Hour Championships in  Belfast, 2019, covering 235km)
  • Irish Ultrarunner of the Year (4 times, the only person to win it more than once)

Other amazing highlights include finishing

  • 5th in the 24-Hour World Championships, Bergamo 2009
  • 2nd place 40+ Veteran UTMB 2013
  • 2nd place 50+ Veteran UTMB 2021
  • 2nd 6 Day World Trophy, Hungary 2015

 
So when it comes to ultrarunning, we feel it’s fair to say that Eoin Keith is a pretty good source of advice and inspiration. A full list of Eoin’s achievements can be seen in the tab below, just click to expand. This is imported from his website, can be seen here also and is up-to-date as of 8 March 2022. 
Eoin Keith’s Trophy Cabinet

The Trophy Cabinet / Results

2021 Performances

Date Race Result
June 18th-25th The Summer Spine Race (~400km, 9000m route along the length of the Pennine Way in England) 1st, New course record, 77:34
August 14th Glendalough Tucker Trail (80km) 6th, 1st M50, 9:26
October 27th Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) 2nd M50, 51st Male, 28:04
September 25th EcoTrail Wicklow 80km 1st M50, 5th Overall, 8:29
November 24th-27th 360 Challenge, La Gomera (212km) 1st M50, 9th Male, 50:41

 

2020 Performances

Date Race Result
January 12th-19th The Spine Race (~400km, 9000m route along the length of the Pennine Way in England) 2nd Overall, 100:11
February 15th Last One Standing Castleward 2nd, 40 laps (yards)
October 17th Big’s Backyard World Champions, Ireland 2nd, 41 laps (yards)

 

2019 Performances

Date Race Result
January 13th-20th The Spine Race (~400km, 9000m route along the length of the Pennine Way in England) 1st Male, 2nd Overall, 98:18
April 6/7th Ushuaia UTMB (130 km) 2nd M50, 8th Overall, 17:31
June 22/23rd Irish 24 hour Championships, Belfast 1st, 235km
July 6th Glendalough Tucker Trail 1st M50, 3rd Overall, 8:12
August 30/31st Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) 3rd M50, 47th Male, 27:17
September 28th EcoTrail Wicklow 80km 1st M50, 4th Overall, 8:13
October 26/27th World 24 hour running Championship, Albi 3rd M50, 49th Male, 1st Irish, 223km
November 28/29th Oman UTMB – 170km 1st in 36:04 (Course Record)

 

2018 Performances

Date Race Result
February 24th Glendalough Clover 1st M50, 5th overall in 7:58
April 1st or thereabouts! The Barkley Marathons (The Race that eats its Young) 1 Lap (2nd Lap completed way over time with broken collar bone)
May 12th – 16th  The Northern Traverse (305km Coast to Coast race across England following Wainwright’s route) 1st in 51 hours, 26 (Race Course Record)
May 26/27th European 24 Hour Championships, Timișoara 232.6km, 19th Male, 1st Irish
June 23/24th Irish 24 hour Championships, Belfast 2nd, 239km
November 29/30th Oman UTMB (135km) 1st M50, 8th Overall, 25:29

 

2017 Performances

Date Race Result
April 29th – May 2nd HeadtoHead : Attempt to break the world record for running the length of Ireland (Mizen Head to Malin Head) New World Record of 3 days, 3 hours, 47 minutes
July 1st/2nd World 24 hour Championships, combined with World Masters 24 hour championships, Irish 24 hour Championships, Belfast 248.4km (New Irish 24 hour record, 1st in Irish championships, Bronze medal in World 45-49 Masters world championship)
December 2nd Wicklow Way 50 Mile Race 1st in 8:27

 

2016 Performances

Date Race Result
January 9th-16th The Spine Race (~400km, 9000m route along the length of the Pennine Way in England) 1st in 95 hours (Race Course Record)
May 30th – June 4th The Northern Traverse (305km Coast to Coast race across England following Wainwright’s route) 1st in 51 hours, 38 (Race Course Record)
July 25/26th Irish 24 hour Championships, Belfast 1st, 242km
August 16th-23rd Iterra Adventure Race (600km, Teams of 4, Team Columbia Ireland) Full course finish in 7th (2nd Irish Team) in 103:40
September 30th Spartathlon (245km from Athens to Sparta) 8th, 26:37 (New Irish record for time and position)
October 22nd European 24 hour running Championship 197km (retired at 20 hours)
December 3rd Wicklow Way 50 Mile Race 1st in 7:58 (Course Record)

 

2015 Performances

Date Race Result
January 10th-16th The Spine Race (~400km, 9000m route along the length of the Pennine Way in England) 2nd
January, February IMRA Winter League (Best 3 of 5 races) 1st Overall
March 21st Wicklow Way Race (50km) 3rd Overall, 1st M40
May 8-16th 6 Day World Trophy, Hungary 2nd, 816km (New Irish 6 day record)
July 17/18th Irish 24 hour Championships, Belfast 1st, 228.4km
July 28th-Aug 3rd European Adventure Racing Championships (Beast of Ballyhoura Adventure race) 3rd Overall, 1st Irish team, with Team Get No Sleep
September 13th-20th Tor De Geant (TDG) (320km, 24000m climb, loop of the Aosta valley, Italian alps) 30th (of 800+),

 

2014 Performances

Date Race Result
January 11th Art O’Neill Challenge (55km) 1st (New course record)
April 23rd-29th Sri Chinmoy New York 6 Day race 1st (New Irish 6 day record, 500 miles)
August 2nd-4th Beast of Ballyhoura Adventure race 2nd, (1st Irish team) with team Get No Sleep
September 7th-13th Tor De Geant (TDG) (320km, 24000m climb, loop of the Aosta valley, Italian alps) 15th (of 750), 92:10

 

2013 Performances

Date

Race

Result

January 1st

Across the Years 3 day race running race

300 miles, 2nd (3rd best all time performance), New Irish 48 hour and 72 hour road records

January 12th

Art O’Neill Challenge (55km)

1st

May 11/12th

24 Hour World Championships, Steenbergen

22nd, 234.66km

May 25th

Wicklow Way Race (~130km)

1st, 12:25 (New Record)

June 8th

Mourne Way Ultra (trail double marathon)

1st, 7:39 (New Record)

July 19/20th

Irish 24 hour Championships, Belfast

1st, 244.66km (Irish track record and PB)

August 3rd-5th

Beast of Ballyhoura Adventure race

1st, with team Scandia

August 31st

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB)

24:44 (20th, 2nd Vet)

 

2012 Performances

Date Race Result
January 14th Art O’Neill Challenge (55km) 1st, 5:26 (Course Record)
January, February IMRA Winter League (Best 3 of 5 races) 1st Male Vet. (M40)
June 9th Mourne Way Ultra (Trail double Marathon) 1st
July 21st Wicklow Way (Complete run, South to North) 13:06:00 (New Record)
August 31st Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) (course shortened to 100km, 6000m, aprox.) 13:16:05

 

2011 Performances

Date Race Result
January 8th Art O’Neill Challenge (55km) 1st, 7:13
May 24th-29th The APEX race (4 day adventure race in Switzerland, Teams of 4) 19th
June 25th Wicklow Rogaine (24 hour Score orienteering) 1st Veterans
July 9th IAU Ultra Trail World Championships, Connemara (70km) 27th, 7:34
July 23rd-31st Raid the North Extreme (6 day adventure race in British Columbia, Teams of 4) 12th
August 26th Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) (169km, 9700m) 34th (of 2300), 28:54
November 2nd-11th Adventure Racing World Championships / XPD, Tasmania (9 day Adventure race, teams of 4) 21st (of 80)

 

2010 Performances

Date Race Result
March 27th Wicklow Way Ultra, (New 51km course) 1st (New course record)
April 17th Wicklow Adventure Race 1st (3:33)
April Total Experience Adventure Race (Teams of 4) 1st
May 13/14th World 24 hour Running championships, Brive Captained Irish team
May-July IMRA Leinster League (Best 7 of 13 races) 2nd overall, 1st M40 (including 3 wins)
June 12th Mourne Way Ultra (85km) 1st, 7:41 (New course record)
June 19th Gael Force West 24hour Cycle (Solo MTB) 1st
June 26th Wickow Rogaine (24 hour Score orienteering) 1st
July 10th Carlingford Lough Endurance Challenge (3 person team, full MTB course) 2nd
July 18th National Mountain Biking Championships (Vets category) 4th
July 31st/August 1st Beast of Ballyhoura (30+ hour Adventure race, Teams of 4) 1st
August 21st Gael Force West 4th, first M40
August 27th-30th Terrex Adventure Race (4 day adventure race in the Lake District, Teams of 4) 5th

 

2009 Performances

Date Race Result
January 10th Art O’Neill Challenge (55km) 1st, 6:40 (Course Record)
February 1st – March 21st IMRA Winter League (Best 3 of 5 races) Winner (Feb 1: Ticknock 1st, Feb 14: Annacurra 1st, Mar 21: Crone woods 3rd)
March 28th Celtic 100Km (ACP), Galway 9th, 7:45
April 11th Wicklow Way Ultra (44km) 1st, 3:37
May 2nd/3rd World 24Hour Running Championship, Bergamo 5th, 237km (Irish Record)
May 15th – 17th National Adventure Marathon (3 day staged adventure race for teams of 4) 1st
May 30th Wicklow Round (100km+, 6000m+) 17:53:45 (New Record)
June 13th Mourne Way Marathon 1st (3:19) (New course record)
July 12th IAU Ultra Trail World Championships, Sierre Chevalier (68km, 3500m+) 11th, 8:03
April 22th – July 15th IMRA Leinster League (best 7 of 13 races) Winner (9 wins, 1 second)
July 18th – 25th Participated in the 8 day Trans Alps Mountain bike race (The “Tour de France of mountainbiking”), Germany, Austria, Italy  
August 14th-23rd Eco Primal Quest, South Dakota (World’s biggest Adventure race, for teams of 4) 9th
September 12th Achill ROAR (Solo Multipsorts Race) 2nd
September 19th/20th Gael Force Cycle West 24 hour Mountainbike Race 1st (Solo Category)
October 10th Causeway Coast Marathon 1st (3:16) (New course record)
December 3rd – 9th Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge (Adventure race, teams of 4) 16th

 

Pre-2009 Highlights:

  • Turas Adventure Race (World championship qualifier, 2008) : 2nd (with team Helly Hansen)
  • Winner of multiple domestic Adventure races, including CLEC, Beast of Ballyhoura, National Adventure Marathon, Gael Force West.
  • Irish Record holder, 24 hour track running (Tooting Bec, 2007): 235.7km
  • Irish Record holder, 100 miles track (Tooting Bec, 2007): 16:05
  • Wicklow Way (running) record (2007): 13:46
  • Multiple winner of Wicklow Way Ultra
  • Irish 100km champion
  • Leinster Orienteering Champion
  • Winner of multiple IMRA leagues and championships
  • Competed in multiple Expedition length adventure races, including AR world Championships in Scotland (2007, 16th), Primal Quest Utah (2006 25th/89), Wilderness ARC, Adrenalin Rush, Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge
Eoin Keith. Photo: Bob Smith/grough

Endurance Running

When people think of Eoin running, they may be forgiven if they believe he is going flat out for the duration, as many do. However, as a recent photograph of him with two walking sticks and heavy rain gear as he takes part in the spine race shows, different techniques are required for different race distances and styles.

Eoin explains, “The Spine Race is towards one end of it, that’s for sure. It’s both a multi-day race and it’s in a pretty extreme environment in both terms of terrain and weather, So you’re right at the edge there of needing a big pile of gear plus there is a big pile of mandatory gear which is why I’m carrying quite a large rucksack. So that in a rucksack is mandatory gear like a sleeping bag, shelter and cooking equipment – half of which I have no intention of using whatsoever! It’s on the gear list, you have to bring it!!

But the stuff I’m wearing from start to finish, like the heavy rain gear that you can see me in, I’m dressed from head to toe because it’s the kind of race you’ve got to get your gear right otherwise you get taken out of the race by the environment. It becomes quite a serious issue.”

Blue Skies Runner Prepared for Everything

People assume I’m kind of tough, hardy and well capable of dealing with the cold and the wet and so on. My trick is I’m a blue skies and sunshine person, I use the right gear to make sure I don’t get wet and I don’t get cold or too wet and too cold and that to me is the key, not to be able to deal with discomfort but to factor it out and that’s what that’s all about. That’s obviously running slower. 

Just as the obvious thing, if you’re Ussain Bolt, the Kipchoge is just pottering about the place, even though he’s the fastest man marathon runner in the world.

You know, the longer a race is the slower your pace is going to be and that obviously goes, applies to ultras as you move to 50k, you know, 100k is going to be slower than that. 24 hours it will be considerably slower paced than a 50 than a 100k and so on all the way as far as you want to take it. Which, the longest race in the world, I think is 3,100 miles so that’s a, that would be run at not much faster than a walking pace really.

One of the keys with ultrarunning, in general, is actually to figure out your pace, for the distance and the terrain. In hills, of course, it’s much more of an effort, because you know, your effort uphill and your effort downhill shouldn’t be too different, but the speed would be massively different despite So it’s that keeping that, you’re getting that right level of perceived surge for the given distance is the trick and the key there. So yeah, I would be capable of running somewhat fast if I was younger (laughing) I’m 53 now so I’ve lost my top-end speed but just to give you an idea, I think the shortest distance that I’ve measured time over was when I did the Ballycotton 10 mile race. I did that in 55 minutes. Which isn’t bad for 10 miles, to be honest.

Moving from Marathon to Very Ultra Distances

The marathon was my first running race. I had been a hill walker and a mountaineer before that. After the marathon is when I discovered, I could actually run because, you know, obviously, it’s now clear I’m full of slow-twitch muscles. In school it was all fast-twitching muscle sports, you know I was the worst, in the world as a result.

“There was only one ultra in Ireland at the time and it was the hill ultra, what is now the Maurice Mullins ultra. Maurice himself was actually the organiser back then and so I gave that a go and discovered that I was competing for the win.”

So what I was discovering was marathon, long-distance, that was good. There was only one ultra in Ireland at the time and it was the Hill Ultra, what is now the Maurice Mullins Ultra. Maurice himself was actually the organiser back then and so I gave that a go and discovered that I was competing for the win. The first year I did it, there were 4 of us competing for the win and I came 4th. So obviously, I was going to come back and try and do better and eventually, really one of my better races ever was when I finally broke the record on that one, which took many years to get to that point. So I was just discovering.

From there I was invited to run a 100k race, the Anglo Celtic Plate, an event that still goes on, it’s a home Nations international. That was a 100k race up in Edinburgh. I ran that pretty well and I did a sort of post-race analysis back in the analogue days. 

Back then, people just posted split times on pieces of paper in the finishing zone. So I did my own post-race analysis walking around and looking at everyone’s splits and realised that I had actually paced the most evenly of anyone in the race despite not competing for the front or anything. Nevertheless, I was very happy to see that.

What I was discovering as well, was the longer the races were the more competitive I seemed to be getting.

So I kept trying, I tried a 24 hours race and in my first one, I ended up completely trying to win it. I didn’t quite make it. I got my pacing wrong but learned tonnes. Then I tried a 3-day race and the same again. Just the longer the races were, I was discovering, the more competitive I got.

“We all have our optimal distances and have a bell curve around it.”

I have a theory that we all have our optimal distance and we have a bell curve around it. So if you’re Kipchoge, you’re on the marathon and that’s your bell curve. If you run shorter, you’re not quite as competitive, if you run longer, you’re probably not quite as competitive and we’re all in there somewhere. What I’m trying to do is find where my high point is and I haven’t found that downslope yet. The longer I go, I’m still getting more competitive, so it’s the search for the downslope is what it is now.

Irish Ultrarunning Community

The Irish ultrarunning community means a lot to me. When I started, there was the Irish Ultra Runners Union and you could hold the AGM in a phone box quite easily. We would have all fitted in. Literally, 4/5 people turning up.

Maurice Mullins, as I said, at that time was the only ultrarunning race in Ireland and we had 15/20 people turn out. So there was a very small community back then, which was not long ago, 20 years or thereabouts. So, we’re now at the point, the exact same race, the Maurice Mullins, you get 250 people turning up. To see that grow up through the years is absolutely fantastic. You know, the standards are moving up, more people coming in and competing across the board, whether it be trail or shorter distance, longer distances, everything is just getting better and better with time, with more and there are more races.

I love it, it’s fantastic and the ultra running community ‘is’ a community,  which is great.

It’s quite similar to hill running which there is a huge overlap in that. There’s no negatives to it. It’s all positive feedback. You know, we all support each other in doing well and we’re all delighted to see each other doing well. Sure when you’re abroad and there are other Irish lads it’s a great thing because it’s a big family out there.

Using the Eco Trail Ultra 80k as a Warm-Up

The trick of using that as a warm-up is to not push myself too hard, which is always a tricky one, particularly in a race.

I’m a very very competitive person so trying to get that balance between not pushing too hard, throwing everything at it but at the same time not wanting to just relax completely and just run around.

So it was an enjoyable one. It turned out to be a great day.

I did ok actually, particularly in the second half I put in a bit of an effort to take a few places back and crawl my way up, I wanted to make sure to win my age category as well which always keeps me on my toes but without even trying to win the overall race.

(As pictured here, Eoin Keith actually won the 2021 Eco Trail Ultra 80km)

But that’s it, you have to sometimes target other races. It’s good practice to race for racing sake anyway. 

One of the big advantages, I used to find over the years, of the IMRA (Irish Mountain Running Association) season and the Wednesday night races during the summer were just fantastic for getting used to racing and honing your skills as a racer.

It’s not about time, it’s just about getting out there racing, having fun and those races, in particular, were great for that. I know a few people who used to say, half the field were racing themselves into fitness because, week by week by week. 

If you’re racing more frequently its good for your racing head, teach you the art and skills of racing but also because if you’ve one bad race, it doesn’t matter because next week is another one. You can come back and race the same people again, which is always good.

Getting Lost and Recovering From It

We mentioned to Eoin about a friend who recently got lost during the Art O’Neill and asked whether he had ever got lost and what advice he has for the added challenge that may bring.

A good question and probably one of my areas of world expertise because I would have been a navigator on adventure racing teams I’ve done in the past and competing at world championship levels. You know, once or twice, I’ve been the hired gun, brought-in navigator so yeah, being able to navigate is a key skill for some of these races.

I’ve probably learned more from the mistakes, that relate back to life in general, and what happens when you make mistakes. The key one is when you make a mistake, if you get lost, you stop, analyse and fix it. The key thing is don’t try to make up time, don’t try and run faster and make up for the time that you lost.

“You’ve got to get to where you need to go, and there’s probably an optimal way to do it.”

The way I put it is, you are who you are, it doesn’t matter how you got here, what mistakes brought you here. You’ve got to get to where you need to go, and there’s probably an optimal way to do it. Work out the optimal way to go from here to there, irrespective of how you got here.

That’s perfect for navigation, it’s also perfect for life in general. You can apply it to almost any scenario and it’s still right. It doesn’t matter what mistakes you bring there, it doesn’t matter who is to blame, it’s not going to help you to find out who is to blame either. Just work out where you want to go and how to get there. That’s really the trick to recovering from mistakes, of which navigation mistakes happen to all of us.

Don’t Panic

The other thing is not to be too worried about it because certainly, when I was learning to navigate myself, one of the key things is not to panic. When you make mistakes, there are learning opportunities, you know, it happens to everyone. You get to learn, it’s just part of the game. I’ve done it loads of times. Even this year, I’ve run the spine race, I think I made about 2/3 minutes of navigation errors and that was a record. In past years there have been more like 2/3 hours would go here and there so I’ve really got that down to a minimum, that’s experience and you know, not just learning how to do it but how to correct yourself really quickly if it goes wrong and without panic, without flustering.

You don’t panic. You don’t conduct an investigation as to why things went wrong, you just concentrate on the how to fix it side of things. Which, you would be surprised, I think about 80% of people get that one wrong you know.

But yeah, nav errors…oh man, there’s been so many over the years, particularly in adventure races. I mean, I had times in adventure races where we’ve just agreed as a team, that we will stop, we will wait for daylight, whatever time it is, because we would be quicker in the long run. Just to sleep through and figure out where the hell we are when the light comes up and we can see and that’s what happens. The light comes up and then we’re like oh right, yeah.  The maps don’t line up with reality but this is what actually happened so… and off we go again.

But key again,  not to panic, to realise you have gone off course, don’t go running around like headless chickens in circles.

Learn Navigation

I would encourage people, by the way, one of my most useful skills in life is to be able to navigate. Even when going away on holidays. When I take my ‘normal’ holidays and go off to the Canaries or whatever, I am looking at the hills and I know I can go running anywhere because I can navigate. Get a map or get a map on the phone or whatever has a map on it and go because I can find my way.

It’s a hugely useful thing because I don’t need to find out where trails are and I don’t need to confine myself to just running on the roads. I can go anywhere I want, I know I can navigate anywhere I want and find my own way. It’s a really useful trait to have in life in general and I would strongly encourage people to get out there and just navigate basically.

As I said, I’ve learned more from mistakes than anything else in terms of navigation. As I kept emphasising, being conscious of learning from mistakes and trying not to make the same one twice. I don’t mind mistakes, I really like making the same one twice.

Training Plan and Non-Running Activities

I don’t have a coach and plans tend to be made up in my own head. I have targets, but do not build up for these too much, but rather start training towards a specific race one or two weeks in advance.  Sometimes, when I know that my next big race will be a road race, I tend to move towards more road runs and if it is an off-road race I do more off-road runs. 

“I do not measure the time and distances of my runs, so my training program is quite loose.” 

Generally, what I try to do with every race is trying to hit the obvious things: I aim to do back-to-back long runs as this is good for endurance training and I’m always trying to work on my weaknesses which in my case is speed training. I would aim to get a minimum of one speed session during the week, in a good week, even two. This could be either a sprint interval session or a longish tempo run. The rest of the week is filled with easy runs in between, which for me would be about two hours in the evening.  I do not measure the time and distances of my runs, so my training program is quite loose. In terms of rest days, they usually find themselves, either I’m feeling like I need a rest day or real life intervenes. 

In terms of non-running activities, I’m used to doing a lot of multi, adventurous sports. Over the years I have started to build in a variety of activities and always found cycling a great addition. Before we all started working from home, I cycled to work every day and had to move my commute into the shed for the time being to make sure that I get the exercise in. I would say that it makes me a better runner and it helps prevent injuries.

Weekly Mileage

I would say that I do a lot more mileage than most people, but as I said, I never measure it and could not give you an exact number. If you sat me down for ten minutes, I could properly make an estimate of an average of 12 hours running at the weekends and an average of two hours each weekday.

Running Tips

Training is quite simple really; you stress yourself by challenging your body with every workout and rest afterwards. Done right, this cycle will lead to adaptation and during the next run, you will most likely see some improvement. This stress/adaptation cycle can be applied not just to running, but also, for example, to nutrition. I train myself to burn fat on long runs by not eating beforehand. In the beginning I got quite tired, but by adding this stressor again and again, the body adapted, and I started getting used to running on an empty stomach. It is important though to learn the difference between stress and pain, between pain caused by hard work versus pain that is telling you to stop. One is good and the other one is obviously bad, and it is very important to learn to distinguish between the two of them. 

You can cut it down to two training strategies, the first one being: be consistent. I’m running six and a half days per week and the ‘rest days’ usually find themselves. Training six days a week is obviously brilliant, five days is super and three would be the minimum number of days if you are taking the sport seriously and want to do reasonably well without getting too uncomfortable. 

The second strategy is the 80/20 rule which means that you should do 80% of easy and 20% of hard runs. Make sure that you do not confuse these runs by running your easy runs hard and vice versa. 

Those are probably the two most scientifically proven training strategies. Most training plans are more or less the same, with one long run per week, one speed session and a lot of recovery runs in between. Another key thing, of course, is to build gently and not to increase your miles by too much in any given week or month – patience really is the key here. 

Your body is going to take its time to adapt, whether you’re training for a marathon and have a six-month program or in my case train to run fat adapted, it’s going to take its time to train the body.

Physiological Makeup Importance

I’m not a sports scientist, but I have some opinions about this. Natural talent plays a role and I think it’s a bit unfair when people say that hard work can get you where you want to be. Two people can do the same amount of hard work with completely different outcomes, but it is interesting to find this out for yourself and explore what you are capable of.

Genetics and hard work play a role, but also intelligent work. Learning from yourself is key, trying to understand yourself and your own capability. By creating your own feedback, you can improve and usually you will learn much more from failure than from success, don’t ever be afraid to try and fail. For adventure races I usually use the first one for learning and the second for competing. Even after 23/24 years of running, I’m still learning and improving in different aspects, there are really no limits, and the key is that you stay open to it and continue drawing from your experiences. 

Importance of Multi-Day Race Planning

This is not easy to answer as it differs from person to person, what is right for one person, might be wrong for the other. Some runners plan the hell out of an upcoming race, but still don’t get the planning right. It is not just important to do the planning, but also to get it right which is easier said than done.

I had my fair share of getting it wrong and learning from my mistakes. My preparations and planning for this year’s Spine race was kind of easy since I’ve been doing so much learning over the years. For my first race I still had to figure out the right equipment. What pacing strategy works best and what sleeping strategy to aim for. For longer races, it is also very important to stay flexible, learn and modify your strategy as you go.

Learning from Other Athletes in an Under-Researched Sport

In a category of running where much less study exists, we were curious to know whether Eoin learned much from observing other athletes’ performance or from talking to them and getting their anecdotal accounts. He had this to say.

Oh yeah, for sure, and the two great ways to learn – one is to learn from yourself and your own mistakes and the other better one is to learn from other people’s mistakes, so absolutely. I read on an American internet list recently something along the lines of, “we asked five ultra runners what the best training programme is and get about eight different answers. Which is probably true, accurate.

There’s no one right way. There’s lots of different right ways people work. There are certainly a few things you can do wrong, but there’s no obvious absolute rules and you’re dead right that the science is very sparse in this area and that’s across the board. Not just pure training, but things like hydration, nutrition, etc.

You tend to get a lot of conflicts in the science as well, so you can read far and wide and get different opinions but, I think ultra running is quite a pioneering source of material for a lot of sports science and what you tend to find a lot of ultras are pushing beyond what has been studied and are creating the science in a lot of ways and showing what’s actually possible.

I have a few theories of my own that we’ll see in the future, things like you can adapt to need less water – that runners have actually been training themselves to require more water, or more liquids than they need because it’s kind of built into people’s training that they need to drink every couple of miles in the marathon or whatever, whereas I know from ultrarunning over the years that I need far less water than other people, and I think that’s a training adaption – that’s my personal theory.

I found over the years that a lot of ultra runners can find these things that are less obvious in science.

“The better the cyclist, the better they were doing climbing, so what it seems to show me is that cycling was actually really good for training running uphill.”

Cycling would be another one that you just mentioned earlier. Through my observations, even in Ireland, of the top cyclists turning up for the hill runs – what I noticed is that the better the cyclist, the better they were doing climbing, so what it seems to show me is that cycling was actually really good for training running uphill, because they had no running background whatsoever. Now, they should be able to read lines of a downhill in the running race, but they were actually losing positions in the downhill, which showed that the cycling was not as good for the pure running down. For uphill running there was a clear and obvious benefit and I’d seen the same thing for groups of us who would cycle to the start of hill races – the people who were cycling were generally further up the field.

“You do learn a lot by talking to other people. It’s interesting how different all the approaches are, like talking to Camille Herron, who’s the 24-hour world record holder. She doesn’t run beyond 20 miles in her training runs, which is pretty short.”

To me, that’s more than just a correlation – there’s some causation in there as well. You do learn a lot by talking to other people. It’s interesting how different all the approaches are, like talking to Camille Herron, who’s the 24-hour world record holder. She doesn’t run beyond 20 miles in her training runs, which is pretty short. Same with Yiannis Kouros – he tends not to run beyond that kind of distance as well, whereas I’d be running way beyond that.

Obviously, I’m not at their level, but I’m not a million miles off it. So you do get these different approaches and it’s clearly saying there’s a couple of different ways to practice.

 

Key to Staying Competitive Getting Older

We mentioned to Eoin that it seems longer distance running enables runners to remain competitive as they get older. Longer distances in many ways seem to favour older runners. Eliud Kipchoge would have been competitive at the very highest level of 5,000 and 10,000 metres at one point, and then migrated to the marathon. But did he think that a lot of people never get to explore the upper half of their bell curve, or they never really identify the peak of their bell curve, because they haven’t thought to go up there?

There’s no doubt about that. I’m always looking at a lot of the successful marathon runners and wondering how they would get on if they switched up to 100k. I know personally one or two of them would be excellent and they never did, which I regard as a bit of a loss. The likes of Barry Minnock, who was a sub 2:20 marathon runner. He actually raced a 9-day adventure race with me. His huge distance endurance was fantastic. He was a natural at it. So for me, that’s a lost opportunity. I think he could have been an even better 100k runner, that marathon speed mixed with endurance.

So yeah there are a lot of people who don’t ever explore, you know, keep going and pushing it up. But it could equally go the other way, some people start on the marathon and never find out that they’re really good as short distance runners. It could go either way and even sprinting – a lot of people only sprint as training. They could actually be superb short-distance athletes.

Growth in Ultra Elite Athletes

We highlighted the fact that longer distance runs seem to favour the older in terms of remaining competitive.  We also mentioned the rumour that Kipchoge is considering longer distances after he finishes his marathon career. Did Eoin think other elites of this calibre would get involved?

The more people that are competing, obviously, the better the chance to find the top 10 people, but I’d say the bell curve again – in that it has both a width and a depth.

Like, Kipchoge – his height is pretty high on that marathon. It’s not just that it’s his optimal distance, he’s also the best in the world at it or the best in the world that’s tried it. So that’s a very high power as it tapers off it’s still going to be very high. So quite possibly he will do great things in 100k, or whatever he could do, but quite possibly he won’t because, as a friend of mine pointed out, if you want to find the best of the Kenyans who are likely to be the best ultra runners, you shouldn’t be looking at the guys doing the best marathon, you should be looking at the guys who are not quite good enough. They could be actually the ones who are approaching the top of the curve and not quite there. You have interesting things there and there have been occasions in the past when top marathoners have tried ultra running and failed spectacularly because, you know, it would be like Usain Bolt trying to run a 5-miler. If he sets off at his 100 m pace, it’s going to end in disaster – there’s no two ways about it. So that is a trap for the fast marathon runners when they move across. And also to say, their bell curves are probably slightly out, but as ultra running becomes more attractive to people and people start exploring more, then yeah, you’re going to find more natural talents – that’s the way it is.

I think the only distance where we find that the true best in the world is probably sprints, because every kid in the world sprints, so I think we could say Usain Bolt was the best in the world because everyone tries it, but we couldn’t say that about Kipchoge because not everyone tries running the marathon. And we certainly can’t say it about ultra because it takes so much work and effort to get to the point where you can partake in an ultra that it’s already filtered out a load of people who don’t even try. So all we can say is that the best in the world at the ultras are the best people who’ve tried it. But I think we could be a bit more certain with the really short stuff. 

“We tend to lose our speed, but we don’t lose our endurance. We gain wisdom, the head becomes much more important the longer a race is. The wisdom becomes greater, as the distance becomes longer, so you can remain or potentially become more competitive as you get.”

 It’s an interesting one you’re saying about people getting older because it’s not just an old person’s game – you do find younger people who do well in it as well, but they don’t tend to try because – pretty obvious reasons – that they generally get enticed into running by shorter distances and if they’re good they generally pick the shorter distances. Whereas us “older lads”, as you say, we tend to lose our speed, but we don’t lose our endurance. We gain wisdom, the head becomes much more important the longer a race is. The wisdom becomes greater, as the distance becomes longer, so you can remain or potentially become more competitive as you get older with ultras, which is definitely useful, to say the least. But I would always say give it a go as soon as you can because you can’t rely on it!
Random race Encounters – Rastaman Ralph

While preparing for this interview with Eoin, we discovered a random video from Rastaman Ralph taken during the Spine Race. It was a good example of some of the random things one might experience during such a long endurance race. 

Asked whether he remembered it, Eoin had this to say.

I do! Yeah, it’s a funny one to watch because it was quite a surprise that I met him – that was in the middle of the Summer (Spine Race) last year, and I had passed through the same place before and there was usually nobody there, so that was a surprise that there was someone there. Yeah, I remember, after all that, running away thinking, geez, I hope that video goes out because if I tell people about this, they’re just not going to believe me.

Those little encounters add a huge amount as a competitor as well. To say the least, it breaks up the monotony.

 

Adjusting Tactics Mid-Race

I will adapt mid-race to what’s going on around me. It depends a lot on what my targets are as well. You’ve a lot more scope for adaption in the likes of the Spine race, where there are so many variables that are there to be manipulated. Or say something like a 24-hour race or a track race where you’re just running around in loops. There’s less variables and sometimes my targets will be different, but they can change mid-race.

A good example of that would be one of my most successful races ever was a 24-hour world championship and I started running at my defined pace and I just stuck to my plan and my defined pace and just banged that out like a metronome. That’s what I normally try and do, but I know at some point that it stops being a matter of constraining yourself to running your target pace to just running as best you can and if someone says “You’re a bit below pace,” I’ll sit back, “Well it doesn’t matter, this is the pace and that’s that.” You’ve maxed out your effort to get to the end at that point. If you push any harder, that’s going to be it, so you switch to a different plan then, which is just to hold on. Rather than restraining yourself to a target pace, you can throw the watch out and just restrain yourself to the target effort and then you start bringing in other things.

What I’ve learned is to always have a target – whatever that target is – to just keep yourself motivated. So one of my best races, as I was saying, I started with the pace and then that switched to trying to break the Irish 100-mile record, which I did, and it was a great target to have. What I forgot to do – my big learning from that race – is always to give yourself a follow-on target because it was a 24-hour race and I broke the record at 15:20 or 15:30 or something like that, at the time. Within a couple of laps of breaking the record, I was sitting beside the race saying “I can’t go on, I’m done” and that was my mental side basically running out of motivation, which was feeding the physical side.

My support man Tony Mangan, whose record I was attempting to break – and he was intending to help me break it – basically shovelled me out the door and said “Just go walk the lap. Come back here, and when you’re back here next time I’ll have worked out what to do,” and he did. He got in some expertise and they got me running within another lap, but then they fed me what I needed, which was: Okay, who’s the next guy? What position was I in? And then the position numbers were getting smaller. I was going from the 40s to the 30s, and suddenly I was in the top 20 in the world, and then I was getting excited about this. So they were then feeding me the race number of the next guy to overtake and those became my roving targets and that took me all the way to the finish. By the end of the race, I was more highly motivated than I’d ever been because I pushed my way into the top five, which was pretty incredible.

24-Hour Race – Rate of Attrition 

It depends. People are getting better at it now than they would have been, but in the past you could always be guaranteed that loads of people would go out too fast. You know you’d start to see the attrition. It might take a while, but the races are long enough that if you go too fast at some point, it’ll get you by the end. They’ll blow up and their pace will go down, so really getting that early pacing – my target is to do an even-paced race and getting that pacing right is, for me, key. Then you end up with a very enjoyable race as a result, because you’re not wrecked, holding on for dear life, watching other people overtaking you. It’s the reverse: you’re actually going through the field. As the race goes on you’re getting yourself into a better and better position. You mightn’t feel the best, but you know you feel better than everyone else out there, or most other people out there.

Therefore, you’ll get that positive feedback and start overtaking people. It just becomes a positive feedback loop – in a way, you have to watch yourself that you don’t overdo it on speeding up too fast, which is another one of those mistakes you make once and learn not to do again. So yeah, having motivation like that is really important, I think. I do adapt strategies during races, so you’ll have seen that in the Spine race I flipped my motivation into a very racing one by the end. Racing for position and holding position whereas earlier in the race it was more about “run your own race,” you know “run the right pace.” The position was pretty horrible but, you know, try and ignore it as much as possible. Just hang in there and get the best result you can, but as you saw by the end it was great – a different form of thinking.

“I might do some crazy stuff to do that, you know start employing psychological or “psych ops”, which I really love.”

It’s a set event like any other one so PBs are worth going for, records are worth going for. You might ignore what everyone else is doing, knowing that if you get the best time, your best solution will fall out. But sometimes in a race, I might adapt to actually race people, and to hell with the finishing time, I just want to beat this person in front of me. I might do some crazy stuff to do that, you know start employing psychological or “psych ops”, which I really love. It can be great fun out there and I’ve done that in a few races. I did it against Eugeni [Roselló Solé] about two or three years ago, where I totally out-psyched him and took him out of the Spine Race.

Psych Ops Aromoury

I’ll give you a few examples over the years. One I had in one of the last marathon races I did, which was an off-road marathon, but it didn’t have many aid stations. There was a group of four or five of us leading out the race, so coming up to the first aid station which was quite a long way in, probably 10k or so and, as I say, a group of about five running fast along in the lead.

So what did I do? I accelerated through the aid station, to the maximum pace I could possibly manage – the thinking being that the guys behind are probably planning to stop at every aid station and take a drink or whatever, and I was going through too fast for anyone to grab a drink, and certainly too fast for anyone to drink while doing it. The idea is they either stop and stick to their plan and break the elastic band and I’m gone out the door, or I break their plan, and now they’re in psychological trouble because they missed an aid station.

“The idea is they either stop and stick to their plan and break the elastic band and I’m gone out the door, or I break their plan, and now they’re in psychological trouble, because they missed an aid station.”

So that’s a simple example. By the mid-aid station, there was just two of us – he stopped there, I didn’t – out the door, gone.

My first multi-day race was a three-day race in Arizona called Across the Years, which was great fun. It’s called Across the Years because it literally crosses the years – you start in one year, you finish in another – you go through New Year’s Day during the race. The leading runner Joe Fejes – top American multi-day runner – was a couple of miles in front of me. He went to sleep, when he woke up I’d halved the gap, so he kind of panicked and he ran behind me. We were on laps. He was, however, many laps ahead, so he knew that if he just stuck behind me I couldn’t overtake him. But then my thinking was: okay, he’s taken his pacing from me, I’m now controlling him. He’s handed me the remote control and I’m going to try and use that remote control to break the television set. So, similar thing, I took the pace up to the maximum and ran through the aid stations without any stopping whatsoever. My thinking is, I’m better at not needing food and not needing liquid than he is, so let’s see how long before I can actually break him.

Then the third-place guy actually looked at the two of us and said, “Oh that looks like fun,” and he joined in, and it was three of us sprinting around the race on the third day of a three-day race like it was a 10-miler. It was nutty. We all had a blast. It didn’t work, but I was very happy to try it because it was a chess game. He was hard enough that I broke myself speed-wise before I broke him, but I was delighted to have tried it and we were all actually delighted we gave it a go, because we got a great kick out of it.

So yeah, even this year I would have been adapting my strategy on-the-fly in the Spine, just as it became more and more about position that’s what I was concentrating more and more on, and making sure that everything I was doing was to either gain a place or hold a place or watching the guys behind. It’s a great form of motivation and definitely keeps you on your toes. I knew then – you’ll get this from the blog – that when I was halfway through the last leg, heading for the finish, and I knew that I had it won, I just lost that drive to keep the speed up.

I knew I would because I tried to hold that off and not know that I had it wrapped up until I could. As soon as I did, you just turn from get-there-as-fast-as-you-can to just get-there-whenever. You then lose that drive to move forward, because time didn’t count in that one because it couldn’t be a course record because it was a different course to usual.

 

Sleep Deprivation Causing Havoc

Yes. Particularly in my adventure racing days where I discovered, in my first big adventure race, I could fall asleep cycling – which was a new experience for me. I woke up cycling into a ditch! So definitely learned what I could do.

“I’ve definitely pushed myself to some strange places. I would say that sleep deprivation is the probably the single most uncomfortable thing I’ve encountered in an endurance race itself.”

Since then I have fallen asleep in every sport in adventure racing over the years. The easiest one to fall asleep in, I have discovered is cycling, it’s also the most dangerous.  It’s quite easy to fall asleep kayaking. One of the less dangerous ones, you get a very rude wake up if you get that wrong, single kayaking, the water will wake you. But I always used to think that you would never fall asleep running but I have actually managed to fall asleep walking. It surprised me that I was able to do it. Wake up standing in the middle of the road or a track or whatever, wondering… woah, what am I doing here? What’s this? So yeah, I’ve definitely pushed myself to some strange places. I would say that sleep deprivation is probably the single most uncomfortable thing I’ve encountered in an endurance race itself. I try to factor it out these days because just, I hate it so much I don’t want to go through it. It’s just not worth the discomfort for me even at a competitive level to get too deep into sleep deprivation so I try to get my sleeping right during the race so I don’t go too deep. And there’s, again, it’s one of those things that there’s no right or wrong answer either way, you get lots of people trying different things in terms of race strategy. It might be a deep level, in terms of sleep strategy.

You know Faye Gates who is probably the best and most current day runner takes a lot of short breaks whereas I would tend to aim for less short breaks and a few longer breaks. Then from adventure racing, I would see extremes of some people would take 4/5 hours of sleep. Then one case a few years back, one team tried to run the world championships non-stop. Literally, they competitively collapsed and literally collapsed after about 4/5 days, not far from finishing and winning and they just went. They were out of it. Psychologically, they weren’t on the same planet, they had to stop.

Just something you don’t want to do really. There’s a fine point there you know where you will push sleep because you will gain competitive advantage, you’re moving not sleeping but then to what extent does your speed drop off? Sleep deprivation, are you losing your advantage. Trying to find those points, you’ve got to find them for yourself. It’s…again, there’s no right or wrong answer, well there is probably a right answer but finding it is the hard bit. There’s no global right answer, it’s the right answer for you which is the next problem. 

There’s very little science on this. There’s a lot of theory but there is almost no science because it would be quite cruel (to research). Sleep deprivation is a form of torture, not a science experiment you know. It is literally a form of torture, I’m not sure you’d get ethical, ethical permission to run too many experiments on this. There have been some and what it does show is that sleep deprivation is a very effective torture and highly detrimental to your physical and mental performance. So yeah, sleep is always a thing to watch. I’ve had some really, really uncomfortable times in races with sleep deprivation, I avoid it like the plague now if I know, I try to get my sleep strategy right.

 

If UTMB Was Two Laps

A fellow IMRA runner we spoke to suggested if the UTMB was two laps, Eoin would win it outright. Eoin had the following to say.

Well if everyone else only did one lap, yeah (laughing). No, but the ‘problem’ of the UTMB is the fact that it is by far the deepest field of any ultra/trail ultra out there so a lot of races, even big, iconic races like the Western States or whatever would have maybe 10/11% of the top runners that the UTMB would have so definitely just way out there. So I couldn’t compete with those.

If the UTMB was twice as long it would just attract the best and I’m not at that level. But I would definitely do a lot better. The UTMB twice as long is probably the Tor des Géants. It would be that race actually and I’ve done the Tour de Gaunt…yeah, I have been more competitive at the Tor des Géants. I’ve finished 15th in that, in my first go and got sick in the middle of it the second time but still finished, even after trying to go and recover for 6 hours. I still came 30th which I think is pretty good. So yeah…that’s actually twice the distance and 3 times the height so that’s a brilliant race – Tor des Géantst, oh. My god. It’s an absolutely amazing race.

“I used to rank it number 1 until I did Berkley, Berkley steamrolls everything in terms of what’s your favourite race.” 

I used to rank it number 1 until I did Berkley, Berkley steamrolls everything in terms of what’s your favourite race. So yeah, I would do better if UTMB was twice as long and the spine is kind of proof of that. If you had cut it in half I would have finished in 6th, when it was the full length, I win it.

“When it becomes a war of attrition, unfortunately, I’m good at it.”

When it becomes a war of attrition, unfortunately, I’m good at it, I say, unfortunately, because it involves going through a lot of pain (laughing)  and a lot of suffering to get that attrition.

 

Feelings at the End of a Race

Hopefully, joy. That’s the one I want to get. Not just joy, but that you’ve been aiming for this for so long, you’ve been training towards this, a lot of your life is oriented around getting yourself to the point where you can get your best performance here, and when it falls out you’ve got to relish that; you’ve got to embrace it as much as possible. 

I do try to and most times it comes naturally, particularly if it’s a hard-fought race and you get a result you’re very happy with. It doesn’t have to be winning – it could be any result as long it’s a result you’re happy with. Yeah, I really embrace that happiness.

Even if it goes wrong, try and remember to learn and get as much out of it as possible when it goes wrong and that’s one thing I do try and impart that no matter how disastrous, it is that I pulled something positive out of it that’s usually the learnings for the next one. No matter how badly a race goes, I’ll usually flip it as I start from there, and say “that race itself was a great training block”, or whatever. I can use that to build for the next one. Like Roy Keane used to say except that he used to overdo the not enjoying the moment. I think it’s well worth taking in that moment and enjoy it as much as you can for as long as you can. Make it last.

 

Sporting Hero

My heroes are people I know, for example, Tony Mangan who came up in the conversation earlier about 24-hour races. Tony is a couple of years older than me and is still out there running. 

He is one out of four or five people who completed a run around the world. He is currently working his way around the world for the third time, walking.

He taught me a lot about ethics with ultra-running and what is possible. When I watched my first 24-hour championship, Tony came under the top 16 in the world and it was just awesome to watch.

I’m just really proud of him and he continues to inspire me. 

Eoin Keith pictured with (L to R) John O'Regan, Maurice Mullens Tony Mangan

Another person would be Richard Donovan who brought Ultra-running in Ireland up to another level while he was in charge of ‘UltraRunning Ireland’. He put so much into the sport and is continuing to do so as a quiet sponsor for a lot of top-level higher athletes. He also is one of the best race organizers in the world and has organised and completed the South Pole Marathon.  He claimed the world’s best for running seven marathons on seven different continents in fewer than seven days and has also completed transcontinental runs across North America, Europe, and South America. He is just altogether awesome. 

So, runners who are a bit older than me and keep going, they are the ones that keep me on my toes because I can never use the excuse that I’m getting too old seeing what they still achieve. You don’t really have to travel internationally to find superstars, they are already around us.

Favourite Book or Film

I don’t have a favourite book as I just have too many other hobbies and too little time to read, however, if I read about running I do so in scientific articles, on the internet and in the press, googling the topics that interest me most at the time. I also read race reports from people I know and follow their journey and experiences. 

Funnily enough, my favourite running film is one that I watched a very long time ago, at a time when I did not have the remotest interest in running. ‘Chariots of Fire’ is still one of the best running films and now that I’m running, I feel a lot more emotion pouring through me when watching it and the story just resonates with me on a completely different level. When I first watched it, it was the music that hugely influenced me as I was a huge fan of it.

Write Your Own Book?

A lot of people ask me that. No one’s asked me to write a book yet – no one who publishes books.

Ted put it to Eoin, “you’ve already written it! I don’t know whether you’ve read many running books by other people, but there definitely seems to be more of a market for it than there once was. Bus reading through the blog posts, I was finding it a great read.  Admittedly, we’re all a very engaged audience for that type of writing because it’s relevant to us in our own small way as athletes, but there’s such a wealth of stuff in there.”

Eoin replied. “Yeah, I probably would have material for a book – that’s for sure. It would be a matter of hitting the right person to drag it out of me, but nobody’s asked yet – that’s all I can say.”

Favourite Running Gear

Probably my rain jacket because it gets me out of some trouble. I’m very lucky because I’m sponsored by Columbia and they make the best running jackets and I’m not just saying that because they are sponsoring me. They really make superb and the best waterproof gear that I have ever used and that is also what you have seen me wearing from head to toe at the Spine race. 

As I said before, I’m a blue skies and sunshine runner and rely heavily on gear that keeps me dry and comfortable. The gear that works best is the kind of gear that’s functioning as the outer layer, providing the ultimate comfort for me. Even in training for half the year during winter, I’m wearing my running jacket. 

I actually tend to overwear gear and rather be too warm. I rather start being too warm than having to wait until I warm up at beginning of a run.

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