VIBRAM HK100 Ultra: Kieren Dsouza on training for an Ultra Marathon
Kieren Dsouza, one of India’s few professional Ultra Trail Runners is back from Hong Kong. After clocking a time of 13 hours and 28 minutes on the 100 km long arduous course of the trail race, the ultra marathoner is all set to take up ambitious challenges later this year. Here’s an excerpt from our rendezvous with Kieren on his thoughts about training for an ultra marathon.
On why he chose to participate at the Vibram Hong Kong 100.
‘I ran the Hong Kong 100 for a couple of reasons. It is the biggest trail race in Asia, and since it is not very costly to fly to Hong Kong it was easier to participate in this event. Also, I always love going to new places and experience new cultures, food, meet new people; and the event in itself is so special. So the entire travel experience was an added bonus.’
‘I had planned on running HK 100 twice before so I am really happy that I made it this year.’
On his ultra trail running training plan for HK100 challenge.
‘I was banking a lot on all the mileage I had done a couple of months back for Spartathlon. So my focus this time was mostly on putting a lot of elevation or vertical kilometers in my training. I shifted to Manali in November ’16 for that purpose. The training did not go as I would have liked for it to go, in terms of number of days; as I was doing a decent bit of traveling around, in November, December and early January, as well. But, I did make use of all the time that I spent in Manali. With more elevation, naturally my weekly mileage was a lot lower but, I still clocked in 16 hours+ a week while I was there.’
‘I think the highest I touched was a 130 kilometer week, with about 20 hours of running and about 7000 – 8000 meters of elevation gain. That was one of my best weeks. A few long days, like going to Brighu lake (4500m) twice, running up Patalsu peak (4500m) many times, and a trip to Bakartach (3100m) as well, was part of the training plan.’
Despite thriving running communities around the country, we still lack good trail based ultra marathons in India. Especially ones which expose participants to good trails, scenery and most importantly elevation. It is for this reason that most of us are unable to see athletes like Kieren, in action on the trails. It is also a major impediment to why the sport is not picking up among Indian running enthusiasts or professionals.
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Author: Sukrit Gupta
An avid climber, ultrarunner and day dreamer, Sukrit is a fan of everything that is self-managed and solo. A flag bearer for self sufficiency and pushing beyond limits, he loves to spend his time slithering over rock faces and devising cruel trail running courses in his mountainous backyard in Manali.