‘He who dares, wins’: Debbie Martin-Consani talks trailrunning

With recent victories including the 145-mile Grand Union Canal Race, Devil o’ the Highlands, Lakeland 100, White Rose 60, Thames Path 100, South Downs Way 100 and North Downs Way 100, Debbie Martin-Consani’s track record makes pretty formidable reading. A member of the Great Britain 24 hour team since 2012, she’s also an ambassador for Montane, Ultimate Direction, Drymax and Petzl and a member of the Centurion Running Ultra Team … and all this alongside the commitments of a full-time job and raising a family.

We’re thrilled to have Debbie to join us for TrailFest2 where she’ll lead a social ‘Run with Debbie’ as well as fielding all your questions as part of our Q&A panel. In her interview below, she shares the highs and lows of her trailrunning career to date – find out more on Debbie’s running blog here, or catch her on Twitter at @UltraRunDMC.

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TF: When did you start trailrunning?
DMC: I started running in 2002, to complete the Glasgow Women’s 10K.  I’d mostly been running on the roads – with a few marathons thrown in – before I signed up for the Devil of the Highlands on the West Highland Way in 2006.

TF: What do you run for?
DMC: Escapism, solitude, thinking time, fresh air, health and feeding the addiction.

TF: What’s your proudest running (or running-related) achievement/moment?
DMC: Completing Spartathlon in 2015.  The historic 153 mile race in Greece, which runs from Athens to Sparta.  As individual elements: Mostly road, heat, strict cut offs, a mountain at 100 miles and the overall distance, they are doable.  But put them altogether in one race, and it explains why the success rate has been as low as 22% in some years.

TF: What’s been your darkest/bleakest moment/time running?
DMC: There have been many, but they’ve always turned out OK in the end.  You need some tough runs to appreciate the good ones.  I’ve fallen in a canal and been hit by a car in a race, but neither have been as frightening as being lost on a hill in a storm in winter.  Training in Scotland, we all know the weather can make or break a run, but that’s what makes us stronger. You never forget the runs where you had to dig deep to get the job done.  Just building memories and experience.

TF: What did you learn from this?
DMC: I know that I can go from really low patches in races, to feeling on top of the world within a few hours.  It keeps me going.  Good kit, race preparation and a positive mind is as important as training.

TF: What do you think of when the trails get tough?
DMC: I chose to be there.  No one forced me and it’s a privilege to be out enjoying beautiful areas. It’s best to look up and appreciate the views rather than focus on negative thoughts or aching legs.

TF: What is your next big race?
DMC: My next race is the European 24 hour race in Albi, France on October 22.  I’ve been lucky enough to be selected for the GB team again.

TF: Who (or what) is your running inspiration?
DMC: I admire gutsy people, who work hard and are willing to give something a go.  People who set aside ego to overcome difficulties and focus on finishing.  It’s not about being the fastest … He who dares wins.

TF: What three words would you use to describe your relationship to running?
DMC: Love new shoes

TF: What one piece of advice would you give to others?
DMC: Easy days are just as important as speed training.  Don’t get caught up watching the clock/pace or competing against others on every run or you will burn out.  Training is training. Racing is racing.


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

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