inov-8 athlete Brendan Davies looks ahead to his greatest challenge to date
Ultra Trail Mt Fuji is a 100-mile ultra trail race which sends runners orbiting around the spiritually significant and Japan’s highest peak, Mt Fuji on April 26.
It is the sister race to Ultra Trail Mt Blanc, and as such the race attempts to replicate as many of the features of UTMB. Tough and torturous, majestic yet merciless to the underprepared!
It is a very significant race in my own ultra trail running career. It will be my first foray into the world of international 100 milers and indeed my first true 100-mile ultramarathon. My only other 100-mile race was the Great North Walk in Australia last year, which was actually 108 miles!UTMF will also be my greatest challenge to date. A total 161km with over 9,000m of elevation gain on unfamiliar trail in a foreign land poses some intimidating challenges. But it is a challenge I am ready for.
This year is all about testing myself on the world stage and UTMF is not short of great athletes with some of the biggest names in the business toeing the line – Seb Chaigneau, Julien Chorier and Gary Robbins to name a few. Then we all know how good the Japanese runners are too
In preparation I have been putting in consistent 100-mile plus weeks, finding trails with the most elevation as possible (not as easy as it sounds living in Australia, on the flattest continent on Earth!) and trying to be as race specific as possible.
For example, the recent Easter holidays gave me an opportunity that I don’t usually have while working the 9 to 5 job…back to back to back to back long runs! 180km in 4 days with over 7,000 of total elevation gain, with the objective of conditioning my body for the race distance and terrain and also to test my nutrition/hydration plan using Hammer Nutrition products.
Other challenges aside from the physical aspects are equally just as pertinent! Some interesting race information that has left this naive Australian scratching his head…”Noodles will be served at aid stations and as such runners must bring their own fork”…”all runners must carry a bear bell”…”if a runner has to relieve themselves on the course you must use a disposable portable toilet!”
I feel fast and strong, fit and healthy. I feel that all the training and racing I’ve done so far this year is leading up to this day and it is up to me to execute my own race on the day. I can’t afford to get too carried away in the moment and I must trust that my fitness and training will bring me home stronger than anyone else.
I’ll also take great inspiration into the race from my fellow Australian and inov-8 team mate Shona Stephenson, who will be joining me on the start line. One week after significant challenges at Tarawera, Shona scorched the field at the Northburn 100 miler in NZ. When the going gets tough, it’s things like this that will help me get through them.
One thing is for sure, I’m 100% #committed to this race!
I will race in my inov-8 trailroc 245 shoes to race in.
I’m really looking forward to the race and having a ball on Japanese soil!