Fuel for an Ultra Marathon


So you want to run an ultra...

When setting yourself the goal of running an ultra marathon, you must train your body to become physically ready for the challenge. You must also consider what you will eat during your chosen ultra. 

To be prepared ask yourself the following questions...

1. What is the distance?

2. How long do I think it will take me?

3. What climate will I be running in?

4. Is it flat or mountainous.

5. Will there be aid stations with food, if so how many and at what points during the race?

Answering these questions will help you prepare your fueling strategy and make sure you get it right on the day. Its also advisable to practice what food you will be eating in training. This way you can make mistakes in training and not on race day. Experiment as there is no right or wrong, different things work for different people.

Running in the Mountains of Thailand


This morning I woke up early and ran up a mountain.

It was by far one of the best things I could’ve done for myself today. Along the way up I saw a small brown snake making its way through the brown leaves. 

 It requires a lot of energy and I was heavy breathing as I hiked up the mountain, on the flatter parts I jogged lightly.  

 Once at the top I found a remote village. I stopped off pressed pause on my watch and bought some barbecued sweet potato. I then found a coffee Grower who made me a coffee using beans from the ground I was standing on. His mum even ground the coffee beans and he roasted them himself.  


 Starting my watch back up again I descended the mountain jogging lightly, relaxing my breathing. I found such a flow I forgot about time and where I was. All that mattered was paying attention to the rocks in front of me as so not to step and trip on one.  

 Once at the bottom of the mountain I press stop on my watch content with my mornings activity. I then ducked into a local Thai restaurant, saw some good food and said same for me.  

Why Hire a Running Coach


Hiring an online running coach could really help

Hiring a running coach, what does it involve? First off your potential running coach will arrange a call with you. In this call the running coach will ask you a series of questions. These will be questions like...

From now until the end of the year which events are you running? Which of these events are your A races and which are just tune up races? Many more questions will be asked as so the coach can learn as much about you and your running goals as needed.

After the consultation the coach will create a running program for you based on information you have given them. During the program any questions you have will be answered by the coach. You and your coach will catch up with each other on a regular basis to discuss your progress.

Benefits of having a running coach.....

  1. Have a running program written personally for you.

  2. Get your questions answered by a professional.

  3. You and your running coach become a team.

  4. Avoid injury and learn correct running form.

  5. Achieve higher success in races and get new personal bests.

Thailand North Face 100km | + 2600m | Very Hot


The air is cool,

Considering I’m in Thailand, but then it is just before 5am in the morning. I’m surround by runners at the start of the Thailand North Face 100k (TNF100). The commentator starts a 10 second count down 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, a horn blares out loudly and with great excitement we set off. 

3 months I have been training for the TNF100. Some mornings waking at 4 am to go running. Logging 100 miles per week in the peak phases of my program. To arrive at this moment with fresh legs, I finalised my program with a 3 week taper taking my weekly volume from 100 miles to 80 miles, 60 miles and then finally 30 miles in the week leading into TNF100.

I’ve set out with the front runners but on purpose not leading, I want to see what pace is set by the other runners and who the speedsters are. As it turns out the pace is as I predicted, within 7/8 minute mile pace, the speedsters are two Thai runners who are 40 meters ahead, one with running poles and another without.

2 runners on my left are chatting with each other, they sound relaxed, like seasoned pros. I ask myself “do I belong at the front with pro runners” I will find out the answer later. The road we are on is littered with torch beams, the sun is yet to rise, we are wearing head torches.

The TNF100 is a trail ultra and starts off the Asia Pacific North Face series. I ran last last year finishing in 3rd but ended up in hospital after the race, lying in a hospital bed I really thought I might be taking my last breaths. But I was fine and released missing the award ceremony and this disappointed me cause I really dug deep to stay in 3rd position.

Learning from my mistake last year I came with a race plan, to pace myself sensibly for 50k then push for the second half. I’m currently in about 5th position. We come to our first climb, a small mountain. I did this section two times in training, Its a new addition from last year making the race more difficult. I saw a small brown snake yesterday whist here.

Im feeling relaxed, small feelings of confidence start to seep in as we run up a wide, dusty trail. One Thai guy has dropped back from the front and the other with the poles is still up there. I’m with the seasoned pros, I haven’t talked or made conversation with them just focusing on running. The one guy has an American accent and is wearing a cycling hat with the peak sticking up, The other guy sounds French, they are both wearing Altra trainers.

Passing a pack of barking dogs I not startled as I faced these in training and we were warned about the dogs on the course during race briefing yesterday. I stop briefly for the loo and get left behind but Its not long before I catch back up with the American runner, he’s crouched down doing something with his shoe, I run by and can see the head torches of two runners ahead. I run my own pace  as I’m not interested in trying to catch them, it will be what it will be.

Feeling good about my effort, I’m not over cooking it, my engine is just going steady. Its been mostly uphill till now so the downhills feel good as I let gravity do its work. I turn right onto a road section. A runner comes from behind. He starts chatting and I feel instantly relaxed as till now I have spoken with nobody, maybe I’ve been too focused. His name is David Emch and he’s from America (not the American I passed). I find out this is his first race outside of the states. We chat for a while about running and so on. I ask David if we have passed CP1 yet and find out that I missed it, this is a bummer because I have 3 gels to pick up from my drop bags, I have to collect them on the next 50k loop (the course is made up of two 50k loops).

Ahead is the second significant climbing section, David and I are still running together and I know this section and so detect a right turn ahead, David says he’s grateful as would have run past it had he not been with me. I need to make a pit stop and tell David I’ll catch him later. Just as I get running, again the American who I passed earlier comes running along the trail and we run together. I learn his name is Cory Lewandowski and he’s been running ultras for 3 years. He lives in Taiwan thats why he’s running TNF100. On a rocky downhill Cory says he wished he had put in the rock plate to his Altra Superiors as he feels the trail is a lot rocker than he expected then his biker hat fly’s from his head, he stops and turns back to go fetch it, I run on ahead, this is a race, I don’t see Cory again.

Back onto the road after stopping at CP2, its a long uphill stretch and I think of Badwater 135, I imagine I’m running it now as I look down at the white painted line. I just missed the application for Badwater, I’ll enter next year. I turn right and I’m on smooth dirt trail, the colour is almost orange, I relax my breathing and look at my heart rate, its low but my pace is fast, Im happy how its all going.

My first real test is when I get to a single track section, its full of 25k runners who only do part of the TNF100 course most of them are walking and approaching them from behind I call out 100k runner, I end up loosing a stack of time, I also get passed by a Thai 100k runner, he’s flying and is a better tactic to pass the 25k runners. A lot of these runners have headphones In and others just don’t understand me. I find myself loosing my relaxed state of mind and becoming almost angry. I’m aware of my negativity and try hard to calm myself down, I remember last year an American runner almost got into a fight in this section, he got really pissed off, I’m totally not in his predicament, my negativity is internal and nobody sees it.

Pleased to be through this section I come too a second new part of the TNF100, the tallest mountain in the area, it only reaches 600m and change, after being in the Alps last year at Tor Des Geants this feels like and ant hill. Passing CP3 up I go, again a long line of slow walkers, one Indian guy is in front of me, I ask if I can pass he is sweating and obviously tired, he tells me to wait with tones of resentment at asking to pass, I respond “No man move out the way” I pass him feeling a bit better for airing my feelings. Up the hill and down then back onto trails to the end of the first 50k loop.

Happy feelings start to come back as I think about seeing my mum at the halfway point, she’s here in Thailand and has come to Pakchong to support me. At this point you run against runners along the road and I see a runner heading back out to begin the second half, he’s young, Thai and looks very fresh in comparison I see a national hero named “Sanya Khanchai”, Sanya has won the race before and is considered a true champion. I feel sorry for him as he sits eating food, Sanya looks terrible and I’m not sure if he will even finish. I feel strong as ever and proceeded down the long slightly inclining tarmac road to the trails ahead. I didn’t see my mum but I know I will at the finish.

Its just beginning to get hot....

I’ve been drinking regularly and I feel fine. The thought of running another 50k hasn’t fazed me yet, I’m ready for part two. The road comes to and end and I join the trail. My watch bleeps every 5 minutes, 20 minutes and also on the hour, telling me to drink, eat and take a salt tablet. I start feeling I’m eating too many gels, the sugary gels begin to make me feel sick. I feel like I want to vomit each time my watch bleeps.

I’m entering my first low of the race in the form of GI stress (stomach not wanting to play ball). Its all the gels I know it, along with filling my water bottles with electrolyte from the check points, this had been waiting to happen. 3 gels per hour is just too much for my poor stomach to handle. I feel like quitting, the thoughts grow and evolve in my mind. As time goes by I feel so low and down about myself I question what I’m doing. I go into such a dark place I don’t just want to quit this race but running all together.

I say out loud “Kristian your having a low right now and your feeling bad” recognising how I’m feeling and verbalising it helps a little. I decide to do something about the GI issues. I change the eat alert on my watch from 20 minutes to 30 minutes, from now on I’m going to be having 2 gels per hour instead of 3. I also decide to empty any electrolyte I have left out of my bottles and refill with plain water at the next checkpoint. From now on I drink to taste rather than the sound of my drink alert on my watch. Its a gamble but I already hit rock bottom, the only way from here is up.

After a while my strategy starts working, no longer does my stomach feel bad, I no longer need to pee every 10 minutes and finally I start to feel my flow coming back. I see a girl ahead, eventually I catch up with her, as I pass she asks how I feel, I say….. “I had some GI issues but cut back on the gels and I feel fine now” (finally I’m out the dark place), I ask her name, its Kristi and I ask how she is feeling “legs are hurting but hey” I say “thats ultra”, then Kristi says “go kill it” in a thick American accent.

At CP7 I forfill my self made promises by emptying the green coloured electrolyte from my bottles, its water all the way from here baby. I feel I have a clean slate, the race is mine to do with what I want and I want this race. I ask myself how bad do I want it? “I want it real bad” I tell myself. I’m back on the uphill road section where I earlier imagined I was running Badwater. I turn right and run down a dusty trail, ahead are CP8 and CP9, then Im finished, about 30 more kilometres to go.

Nobody behind me, nobody in front, I’ve been alone for some time, the trail is rolling up and down, I’m so looking forward to the hill as so I can use some different muscles in my legs. I arrive at the section where I had to navigate around 25k runners but I’m all alone this time, it feels like Im in this race by myself. I feel really strong now as I approach CP8. I stop refill one bottle with water and half another. I have on wrists bands and place a large piece of ice under each of the bands, this helps cool me down. I then pour water from an ice jug all over the back of my neck. Feeling refreshed and ready roll, I ask the CP8 staff what position I’m in, one guy says you are number one and laughs then says no your number three. I laugh at his teasing joke then thank everyone and take off.

Now I’m in another gear, 20k till the finish, thoughts of quitting are long gone, distant memories that no longer belong to me. Instead I’m flying, I mean seriously going for it. I told myself the first time around the 50k loop its all about conservation and I had to wait till loop two to kick some trail butt, well its loop two and the downhills become my release of conserved energy. Then just out the blue without expecting it, on single trail I run straight into 2nd place, a Vietnamese runner named Quang. He’s standing on the trail opening a gel and looks tired. I place my hands on his shoulders to stop us colliding and pass him by. I don’t look back, just run as fast as I can, I’m full of adrenaline. I had been passed by Quang when being held up by the 25k runners on this same section earlier. I remember looking at his technical skills as he ran down the trail in front of me, over roots and rocks, some how passing 25k runners without any effort. It’s now Quang’s turn to look at the back of me. I thought he was chasing me but finally when I did look back nobody was behind me. He was gone for good.

CP9 the last checkpoint. I fill one water bottle as all that remains is 10k. Up the hill for the last time, technically this is the most difficult part of TNF100, but right now I’m actually having fun. I keep telling myself this is what you get when you run a smart race and pace properly, I’m now prospering from my earlier actions. I fly up the hill, as I go up still passing slower 50k and 75k runners. Something dawns on me, earlier I asked myself the question “Do I belong up here with the seasoned pro runners” I wonder to myself where these guys now and finally I have my answer, yes is the answer, I do belong.

With the last hill behind me its a combination of flat trail and road to the finish, I’m running 6 minute miles and feel full of energy, I wonder where first place is. Turning right onto the last stretch of trail then left at the bottom back onto road to the finish. I did it, I overcame myself in the darkest hour to triumph, victory is mine. I here the North Face commentator “Kristian Morgan 100k runner, I cross the finish line grabbing the tape and holding it above my head. I see my mum and smile. I think to myself how my family are such a motivating factor in pushing limits and boundries. The commentator says out loud Kristian Morgan 2nd place runner less than 2 minutes behind the winner (David Emch), I can’t believe my ears.

Food for Ultra Runners

Eating local, fresh wholes foods makes people feel good there is no question about it.

You cannot argue against a high intake of whole foods over processed foods is what our body really wants!I get a real pleasure from going to the local market and buying a few bags of brightly coloured foods to take home.

Once at home I chop, peel and make up recipes that cannot be found in cooking books. The secret is to experiment and try mixing new foods that you didn't think you could combine. For example I have mixed in bananas to salads and the result is positive. 

I also like to use herbs (not the mind altering type) but hey guess what you would be surprised to find out the effect on the mind natural fresh herbs have. Take a look at turmeric for its anti Alzheimer’s property's or how new research is unearthing the memory boosting functions of sage.

For coffee lovers out there, taking a coffee break will counteract the age related degenerative processes and can fight against Parkinson's disease.

The main thing is whole foods taste good, so my advice is to go buy some herbs, fruit and brightly coloured vegetables from your local market and go eat it, oh and while your at it have a coffee. I promise you will feel good.

Importance of friendship



Many times Tsegaye and I would run together, the Ethiopia landscape surrounding us, easy conversation flowing as we would pass cows or sheep.

I just finished speaking with my good friend Tsegaye.

We have not spoken for a while and it was nice to catch up with him. I met Tsegaye at the Palermo marathon in Sicily, which he won. A few years ago I lived in Ethiopia with Tsegaye and his family, we shared a room with some other runners. We had so many good times together, running, cooking, eating and talking. I was to learn about Ethiopian culture through Tsegaye and he became a great teacher.

I was saddened to hear that his mother has passed away last year, I met her many times and she made me feel as if I was a true family member. I will never forget her and times I spent in her home. We would all go and eat at Tsegaye's mother house, she would take care of us all as if we were all her children. I remember spending easter at her house, eating traditional Ethiopian easter dishes, Tsegaye slaughtered a chicken which we all ate, drinking three cups of coffee after eating as in Ethiopia thats how they do it. I would say Tsegaye's mum is one of the nicest women I ever met.

Many times Tsegaye and I would run together, the Ethiopia landscape surrounding us, easy conversation flowing as we would pass cows or sheep. We would talk about running goals for the future, dreams of visiting other places around the world and finally food as we became tired and hungry. Tsegaye will be a friend of mine forever, I value the times we have spent together in the past and look forward to the times will will have together in the future.

Heat Acclimatisation for Ultra Runners


Today I ran during the hottest part of the day, why did I do this ? The answer is to get myself heat acclimatised. I will be running the "Thailand Norh Face 100K" in ten days and BELIEVE me its going to get hot. I have noticed the benefits of heat acclimatisation and here are 5 tips that will help you you become heat acclimatise

1. The single best way to get used to running in the heat is to actually run in the heat. So if possible I'd avoid the early morning or late evening runs and get yourself outside under the sun and go run.

2. Try walking for 30 minutes before your run in the heat and also walk for 30 minutes after your run in the heat. This way without any real effort your getting in an extra 60 minutes of exposure to the heat without too much effort, as walking requires a lot less energy.

3. Subject yourself to running in the hottest part of each day for at least 10 times before your race.

4. If you do not get hot weather in your country then why not try sauna sessions. First start off by staying in the sauna for a set amount of time, then as time goes by increase the amount of time you spend in the sauna.

5. No sun, no sauna, okay why not try wearing a few layers of clothes and going out on a run, this will raise your temperature and you will get hot.  Or even put the heating on to full in your house then do a workout for a set about of time.

Running helps connect our mind and bodies


I am now sitting in one of my favourite restaurants in Thailand "Mama Pooh's. It took almost three days to get here from London, England. I have travelled here because I will be taking part in the TNF100 - "Thailand North Face 100k, I also ran last year placing 3rd overall. I'm writing this post today because I'm excited about running. I have been on all sorts of transportation over the past few days including planes, trains, buses, taxis and even boats, but in three days I have not used my favourite form of transport, that would be my legs.

Getting here "Koh Phangan" - (Island close to mainland Thailand) I feel pretty shitty after way too much sitting down without much if any movement. I go to the dirt running track at a school that I discovered a few years ago. After only 10 minutes of running I start to cry, this is whats been wrong with me, how come I have felt so uninspired. Running has awoken my body and connected my brain, I feel alive again. I really believe we as humans were made to be moving at some level, not just sitting.

So thats it, a short post on how running is not just running but movement to help connect our body and mind. Without running I would be using another hobby to move my body like climbing, walking or kayaking anything that moves the body. If your not feeling yourself or want to boost your brain chemistry get outside and move, its that simple. Your body will thank you for it, I promise.

Transgrancanaria 128km | +7500 | Gran Canaria



Transgrancanaria - "TGC" is part of the famous "Ultra Trail World Tour". Many of the world’s greatest ultra runners enter but not all of them finish due to the technical and brutal nature of the TGC. I first heard of this race whilst listening to "talk ultra" hosted by Ian J Corless. The second time I heard about TGC was whilst running the "South Downs way 100 mile" in the UK, one of the runner’s I spoke with told me it's awesome and there’s no need to enter via a lottery. I made up my mind there and then, one day I would enter the TGC. Little did I know it would be so soon.


Making my way to the start line of TGC, I enter the elite area at the front of the pack, my names not in the elite list, so I have to sneak past security. There are over 80 listed athletes ranked by the ITRA - "International Trail Running Association", these runners are on the TGC’s website as favorites. I’m pretty sure I'll finish within the top 80, so positioning myself in this area is brave but I'm sure I can do it (finish in at least the top 80). Part of the mandatory kit is cash, which I do not have plus I can’t find an ATM, so before entering the start I rush to a particular backstreet coffee shop and find Maria the owner. A few days earlier I brought a sandwich after a training run at her shop, we got chatting, she’s a friendly lady. I tell her I need €10, Maria doesn't hesitate to give it me along with an espresso. Adrenaline and caffeine rush through my veins, I'm now ready to start TGC. We set off at a good pace, I'm in about 60th position, 100’s of people on the street cheer us as we pass by them. 


Along the road up a path and straight into our first climb towards Tamadaba. Sea to summit with about 1450m positive elevation. No more street light’s just the beam from out head torches, looking up I see the leaders are not that far ahead. I feel comfortable with my effort and know I can sustain this pace up to the top of the mountain. My Leki micro trail poles are a real help as nobody on this uphill section is running so hiking with my poles save me valuable energy. About halfway up the mountain I turn to look back down at the snake of glittering head torch lights below, the view takes my breath and I soak up the amazing sight before turning to look ahead and continue with my progress. Finally we reach the top, surrounded by pine trees I feel like I’m in America at Western States 100. I’m feeling great. The atmosphere in Tamadaba is really cool, I fill one soft flask, as the other is still full. I'm loving the smiles from the checkpoint staff they are so supportive and encouraging. Leaving Tamadaba cowbells ringing we begin our descent. The group I'm following disappears into the cold mountain air. Time to react, I accelerate towards them down the rocky path at break neck speed. It's scary but awesome as I follow the single file group of about 6 runners in front of me, the runner directly in front is a female runner. 


Disaster strikes as my left foot gets caught in a root, I'm propelled forward, flying through the air time slows down. I look at the rocks ahead of me wondering which one I will smash my teeth on. I don't know how but I manage to get my left leg back into position in front of me and so don't land on my face. In doing so my left calf muscle cramps up momentarily. ***** it's all over, my mind is filled by nightmare memories of cramping up in Thailand. 3 weeks ago I was in Thailand running the TNF100 - "Thailand North Face 100k". I finished 3rd position but paid a price by experiencing severe dehydration and cramping after the race I spent 22 hours in hospital. I feel traumatized but continue down the trail chasing the woman ahead. The pace is relentless so no time to think. By the time we reach the bottom I've mentally recovered from my trip and mini cramp, my body feels fine in fact I'm feeling confident. I now have company behind me. Feeling part of a group I settle into the rhythm of running the trails. Our next big climb is from Tirma. 


Getting to the second checkpoint I'm ready with my soft flask open, one of the checkpoint staff take it from me to fill. There are many people here and they are cheering and singing the runners who enter and leave. with all the fun going on around me I forget to eat fruit from the table My nutritional strategy is 200 calories per hour via a Gu gel and 500ml of ultrafuel plus a salt tablet. I'm also eating what ever fruit is available at each checkpoint. So leaving Tirma I know I've rushed and not followed my plan but I don't worry as I still have all the following checkpoints ahead to eat fruit and this is what will count towards staying energized and able to finish TGC. Leaving Tirma I'm cheered and applauded by the large crowd. We run a short while on a flat dirt road before the climb up to Artenara which will give us 1500m of elevation gain. When running this section in daylight I was rewarded by seeing the large ridgeline of the mountain ahead of me, now in the dark with only light from my head torch I take pleasure in knowing the beauty of the landscape to come. I've passed the female runner who had been ahead of me all this time, but not because I’m running faster, just because she's slower on the flat. I turn left onto single trail the gradient soon becomes steep and I catch up with “Tim Wortmann” an athlete from the German “Altra” team. I met him before the race, he’s a friend of Matthias Krah the other German Altra team member. I met Matthias on my first training run here on the island. We all drove in my car to the start leaving Matthias's car at the finish this way we were independent and didn't need to take the coach service. 


I sense Tim's not feeling good. I ask where Matthias is, Tim say's he's behind us. Tim tell's me to go ahead because by now I have slowed to his pace. I push on feeling energetic. At the top the terrain becomes runnable so I do just that. Running along the mountain ridge I come to the section where I saw wild goats on my training run only days before. Here I begin a love affair with the trail as it zigzags through trees, just for a moment I stop turn off my head torch and look up at the sky full of sparkling stars, I’m humbled. I'm protected from the wind this side of the mountain, I feel safe in the wilderness away from internet and the madness of society. I continue the gradual downhill running easy my heart rate drops to 116 beats per minute. Leaving the dirt trail and onto a tarmac road I enter Gran Canaria's highest village "Artenara" the road becomes cobblestone as I pass many cheering people to enter a building in which hot food is served. 


This is checkpoint number 3, eating a small amount of pasta, I'm asked if I’m okay, it’s pleasing to be able to say yes I'm fine. Around me runners whom probably set off too fast sit on chairs looking tired and worn out. I've climbed to 56th position. Filling my water bottles I leave and head up the steep tarmac road to exit the village. Next check point is at Fontanales, this is the start of the advanced race. Including TGC there's a total of 6 race's, the Promo/family 17k, Starter 30k, Marathon 42k, Advanced 85k, TGC 125k and finally the Trans 360 265k. Up till now I have run marathon distance. Running in the dark with a head torch is really cool, but before starting I was nervous and apprehensive, but now I grown use to the dark. The trail to Fontanales crosses three valleys, lots of ups and downs along rock-strewn trails. Here is where I experience my first competition. 3 runners pass me when going downhill then I catch them up on the uphill, this continues for a while. 


Each time they pass me an internal voice tells me this is a race against yourself and the way you react to being passed on the downhill is a measure of your focus and character. One guy is impartially faster than the others and as he passes me on one of the downs he turns looks me in the eye and says no more ups for 6 kilometers, I take this as an attempt of intimidation. I have been passing him on every uphill so I think he wants me to know there are no uphill’s for a while. Knowing I shouldn't, I follow him down the dark twisty trail keeping close behind him, navigating the rocks at speed. It may be the worst thing I have done up till now. So far I've stuck to my own pace but chasing this guy I've lost my focus. I'm sure it won't be long before I pay the price. Eventually he gains time on me and I no longer see him ahead. I travel along a small tarmac road before turning right over to a slippery narrow decent, on the road I catch up with two guys one has stopped and is questioning if this is the correct direction. His friend shouts out to him yes it's this way. I know it’s the right way having already run this in training, a huge confidence boost for me. 


Down the slippy trail I'm on the tail of the runner who was unsure of the direction, from behind he reminds me of an American runner the way he is dressed, trucker hat and knee length shorts awesome trail fashion. I feel good but slip and land on my bum getting up I wipe the dirt from my rear. This part of the trail travels in between giant eucalyptus trees, smelling the strong aroma of these trees takes me back to Ethiopia. I take time to appreciate the pleasant smell of eucalyptus and memories of running in Ethiopia flood my mind. At the bottom I stop off for a quick toilet break. At Fontanales checkpoint I eat fruit, fill my bottles and am out running in less than 60 seconds leaving other runners behind, Im now in 51st position. Valle Secco comes and goes without me noticing, except this is the point the sky actually starts to change. I notice color and know it won't be long before sunrise. At Terror checkpoint I eat fruit and fill bottles, chatting with a French runner as I leave. The whole time up till now I have been eating and drinking as planned. Feeling strong I pass two runners on the relentless climb to Cruz de Tejeda. 


This climb seems to never end. I begin to enter my first big low of the race. It starts as a small voice in my head, are you sure you can finish this race? I am also cold and so put on my running gloves. Like a machine my mind drives my body up this cold windy mountain. At the top is Arinez checkpoint, for the first time I take out my waterproof jacket putting it on I now feel warmer. I pick up some fruit and eat it, and then I see a large piece of salty pretzel on the table I bite into it like a wild man. The checkpoint staff have a good laugh at me. The next part is uphill through a pine forest, which at the top literally passes the drive to the mountain cabin I've been staying in for 3 weeks, this is my biggest test so far. Thoughts of entering the warm dry room in the cabin laying on the bed and covering myself in a warm blanket corrupt my mind. Just before the top a runner goes past me making eye contact, I can see that he can see I'm having a ruff time, he gives me a look of sympathy and leaves me behind. At this point I ask myself how I would feel waking up in that cabin nice and warm in bed knowing I'd quit because the race was tuff, I'm not ready to quit this race just yet. I reach the top of the climb where the forest trail meets the road, right in front of me is the drive up to the cabin, I turn right and continue running along the road leaving the warm bed behind. The quit and sleep in the cabin thoughts try to pull me back but I'm too strong and solider on. 


Turning left I now hit the downhill trail. All the way to next check point at Tejeda I run fast and furious empowered by growing self belief after over coming my first low. The sun has risen, I remove the head torch and let my eyes use the light from the sun. At Tejeda check point I dance to loud music that’s played, the staff clap and cheer, they are all women in their sixty's. I feel euphoric after the downhill section and offer a kiss to one lady, she looks at me smiles and kisses the air in front of my face. I quickly realize I must have food and snot all over my big moustache. She is wise not to kiss me. I take soup and try to drink it fast immediately spitting liquid out all over the floor as it's super hot, adding water helps cool it a little. Leaving Tejeda I head towards Roque Nublo the most famous mountain on the island, due to a huge exposed rock standing upright, it's meant to represent a man’s penis. “Nuria Picas” a famous runner told a joke "What do you get if you cross a rock and a *****? a dictator!" My technique up this part is simple, hike using my Leki poles on the steep ups and run everything else. At the top two runners pass me but I pass them back straight away. Shortly after I arrive at Garinon the 85k point and also the start of the marathon. From here only 3 more climbs remain. This is the checkpoint at which runners who do not have assistance are aloud to leave a drop bag. I would have but left myself no time to do so by being unprepared. 


Inside the building where the checkpoint is I eat hot food whilst the staff fill both my bottles and add ultra fuel. Three other runners are here as well as me, two are the ones who passed me not long before, they are eating the third is a solo guy with dreadlocks he's doing a full change of running kit, socks and everything. I'm first to leave having been there only 90 seconds. Now it's time for the steepest climb to the highest point on the island "Pico de las Nieves". Up I go, at the top there is a small section of road then it's a right turn onto trail which travels though pine forest, here I'm passed by the same two who passed me before, the guys from the check point. I try following but these dudes are half human, half mountain goat. So I'm left by myself on the trail. The start of my second low, I do my best to catch these guys but it is impossible, the faster I go concentrating on every footstep the more tired I become. A helicopter passes overhead reminding me of when I ran Marathon de sables. 


Finally I have made it to Tunte check point, the big up hills are all done now, just two small inclines remain. Tunte is a beautiful small mountain village, one of my favorites on the island. I leave the village knowing I have a small climb but nothing drastic. I try but cannot run it, It's too late in the race to run hills and I'm too tired. At this point about 5 other runners pass me, making me feel *****. So I try a strategy of 5 seconds walk then 5 seconds run but this last's about a minute. I decide I'm close to the finish and I'll run all the flats and downhill’s but will hike the remaining uphill’s. There's something strange about these runners passing me, they all look too fresh, I can't understand but just accept they are stronger than me, maybe I'll pass them on the downhill. Each time I get passed I applaud the runner. Now the downhill to Ayagaures. I know Timothy Olson had run from Tunte to the finish in 2hrs 30mins during training, this plays on my mind but I tell myself I don't need to complete against Tim. 


I relax my breathing and have calm focus, really getting a good rhythm and perfect foot placement amongst the many rocks on the trail. At Ayagaures checkpoint I sit for the second time in the race whilst eating a little bit of hot paella. Only 3 minutes pass before I'm off again towards meta sur the final checkpoint. But first I have one more uphill followed by about 6k through an empty riverbed. I set off the sun is seriously hot now and I have increased my water intake not wanting to end up in hospital like Thailand. I'm now drinking almost one litre of fluid each hour. It's working, I'm staying hydrated. I'm on the edge of burn out but still have power to move forward. The finish is now only 10 miles away but still seem's like a lot and I honestly can't believe I'm able to make it. I keep telling myself Kristian have patience you will get there. The river bed is where “Sabastion Chagnau” passes me, he's a world champion aged 45. I just keep a rhythm through this area of various sized stones. It's amazing what the human body can do when pushed. I keep a constant pace over this part soon reaching the road. 


I get a feeling of achievement as I pass a group of cheering people on the first part of the road to the finish. I even get a surprise when I pass one of the two runners who had passed me after Garinon, he's walking using his poles on the flat and look's defeated. I'm now running faster entering the last checkpoint at Parc Sur, I find it funny when someone from the checkpoint holds out a chicken leg for me, I kindly refuse all that matters now is a 3k sprint to the finish. Seeing the finish line ahead I really can't believe I've actually made it, nothing can stop me now. I have done it. I cross the line not before high fiving everyone in the crowd along the final straight. What we can do when putting our mind to it. I said 16hrs and finish in 16hrs 52mins in 39th position. Not one runner had past me from the 125k race, all the runners who past me were from the shorter Advanced distance. Proud of myself I lie down and rest on the grass near the finish line in the shade. It was dreaming of doing this that got me to the finish. Thank you to my sponsor Leki. Thank you to all the people who have helped me in my running over the years