Fellow Otley AC ultra-runner Chris Carver recently won the East Hull 24 hour Track Race with a distance of 137.72 miles - impressive stuff. For me, the thought of running round a track seems a difficult concept to understand when there are some many stunningly beautiful ultra trail races around, so I asked Chris some questions to try and understand things a bit better:
Firstly, congratulations on winning in East Hull and your PB for a 24 hour race. Does this rank as your greatest running achievement to date?Yes I think it does. I won the East Hull 24 hr last year with 205k and it was hard work indeed for the last few hours. This year I ran 221k and I was easing down for the last 3 or 4 hours.
What came first for you, the multi-terrain ultra or the track ultra?
For me the track ultra came first.
What was your first ultra race?
Barry 40 mile track race – March 2006. I managed about 32 miles before the paramedic pulled me out because of a badly blistered foot. I still have the scar.
To those of us who enjoy the changing terrain and scenery of ultra trails, completing a track race is difficult to comprehend. Do you consider track races more of a mental challenge than a long trail race?I know this is strange but I find track ultras much easier. For example, it’s impossible to get lost, even at night. Because of that I can let my mind wander and thus I don’t have to concentrate on things such as navigating, slipping on mud, falling over rocks, etc.
I’m not confident enough on uneven terrain to race trail ultras properly so I use them as very long runs and simply enjoy the experience and the specific fitness they bring.
What do you think about to get you through these track races?Most of the time I’m thinking about hitting my targets. I have hourly targets that I break down into lap times so I know almost instantly how I’m doing. I also spend a fair amount of time talking to other runners and crew members. In the second half of these races I also tend to take note of how fast the other runners are going and how long their walking breaks are, etc
Do you have any plans to have a go at the longer 48 hr+ track events?I have no definite plans for a longer race yet. I would like to have a go though in a few years time.
What sort of distances do you cover during a typical peak training week?Normally my maximum mileage would be approx. 80 per week. Before the recent Hull race though I experimented with ‘crash training’. It has been found that a runner can substantially boost their fitness by doubling their mileage for 2 to 7 days providing they spend the same number of days afterwards doing half the mileage. I normally have a three week taper, so the week before that I covered over 120 miles.
You are certainly getting noticed as a name to look out for at track events. Does this add extra pressure?At the moment I don’t feel any extra pressure but if I have a bad run in my next race the pressure may be on.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish you continued success in your running.