Run social; run hard: Marco Consani, 24 hour champion

We’re delighted to welcome ultra-legend Marco Consani to the TrailFest2 line-up of speakers and trainers. His raceography speaks for itself: a second place finish in this year’s Lakeland 100 is the latest in Marco’s string of ultra-distance podium finishes on the track and on the trail that includes outright wins at the Barcelona 24 Hour Race (2015); the Lakeland 100 (2014) and the Tooting Bec 24 Hour Race (2013). He holds the course records for the Barcelona 24 Hour Race (a staggering 265.5km), the Crawley 12 Hour Race (145.5km) and Glasgow to Edinburgh Double Marathon (6h19:35), and was part of the winning team at the World 24-hour Championships last year.

Ambassador for Inov8 & Mountain Fuel, Marco will be best known to many as founder of the Marcothon December running challenge. We spoke to him about his life on the trails: read on for his interview. Follow Marco on twitter at @mconsani, or find him on the Inov8 blog.

Photo by Thomas Loehndorf
Photo by Thomas Loehndorf

TF: When did you start trailrunning?
MC: I started road running about 13 years ago and then trail running about 9 years ago in preparation for my first ultra – The Devil o’ the Highlands

TF: What do you run for?
MC: I love the social side of running.  Running with friends having a laugh. That keeps me going in training.  I also love competing and the tactics involved – analyzing your competition (are they breathing too hard etc). When it goes right it is a fabulous feeling.

TF: What’s your proudest running achievement?
MC: Getting the qualification distance for the GB team during my first 24 hour race at Tooting; winning my first Lakeland 100 and getting the track record in the Barcelona 24.

TF: What’s been your bleakest moment running?
MC: I had an awful West Highland Way race where I couldn’t run after 75 miles and walked at 30 min mile for the last 20 miles.  I had trained for 6 months and was running great but as the race got closer my body fell apart and I started getting bugs etc.  I just felt that Ultra running wasn’t for me and nearly went back to road running again.  I barely got under 24 hours.

TF: What did you learn from this?
MC: I learnt that I can keep going for 24 hours no matter how knackered I am.  When I ran my first 24 I thought back to this and remembered that I got through that.

TF: What do you think of when the trails get tough?
MC: I have a mantra that I repeat to myself – if you aren’t enjoying it then you are running too fast. When the going gets tough slowing down a little bit makes a big difference and before long you speed up again anyway.

TF: What is your next big project/goal/race/adventure?
MC: European 24 Hour Championships – 22nd October

TF: Who (or what) is your running inspiration?
MC: Debbie my wife.  When I thought about giving up on ultra running I saw how good she was doing at it. I wondered what the grand kids would say when asking about Debbie’s running compared to mine and how she ran for GB. This inspired me to push my limits and do the same.

TF: What three words would you use to describe your relationship to running?
MC: Life. Love. Friends.

TF: What one piece of advice would you give to others?
MC: I said it earlier but the best advice I ever had was – if you aren’t enjoying it you are running too fast. It really works for me.

Marco joins us at TrailFest to lead a social run, Run with Marco, and for a Q&A session alongside Debbie Martin-Consani and Casey Morgan.

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