TrailFest Asks… Ian Garnett

Ian and Vicky Garnett are TrailFest legends. They were our first volunteers at the inaugural TrailFest back in 2015.

Since then we’ve shared trails high and low and many stories of success and woe from races at home and abroad. You’ve most likely met one, or both, of them on our RunSOCIALs. 

We caught up with Vicky last week and now it’s Ian’s turn to share what makes him tick on trails.

TF: When did you start trailrunning?

IG: 3 years ago. I started out running to continue losing weight after becoming fed up of cross training, I ran on roads for the first year before venturing out onto the trails. It was a real eye opener the first time I ever ran out on the trails, I couldn’t believe how pretty the views were!

TF: What do you run for?

IG: Mostly because it’s just fun and I like the idea of exploring new areas. It is a useful way to sightsee when you go on holiday so choosing trail races abroad is a good excuse to make a holiday of it and sightsee along the route.

TF: What’s your proudest running (or running-related) achievement/moment?

IG: Coming into the Chamonix just as I finished the CCC. I had a great race but during the build-up I was injured and just had my first DNF so that was always on my mind, for most of the race it was the demon whispering in my ear. I could also say the Lakeland 100 finish was incredible to do after obsessing over it for the year, it was one of those races I always believed was outside my ability so to have done it is like lifting a weight off my shoulders.

TF: What’s been your darkest/bleakest moment/time running?

IG: Around 26 miles into Lakeland. I was fatigued, breathing heavy and my legs felt like lead. It’s crazy how early on this was happening so I just stood to the side of the trail in the dark and leaned on my poles for about 10/15 minutes.

TF: What did you learn from this?

IG: Just ride it out! I was expecting to have some mental battles so knew it was coming, it just threw me off my game knowing it had come on so soon into the race. I have tried to learn the importance of not over racing now (and training smarter with my coach Sarah at Missing Link).

TF: What do you think of when the trails get tough?

IG: One of two thing: It’s either something quite sensible like family, friends, what they’ve said before the race and use it as motivation to keep going. On the flip side it’s either 1 line to a song over and over again or some profanity about the next upcoming climb.

TF: Does trailrunning help you in other areas of your life? If so, how?

IG: Healthy mind, healthy body. I’m still trying to put the ‘determination’ and ‘drive’ gained from running into my working life but so far it isn’t working haha. I really like how it calms you down and gives you some focus. After a stressful hard day it’s always nice to get out and clear the head.

TF: Who (or what) is your running inspiration?

IG: My mum and Vicky for their determination and perseverance to keep going and not quitting regardless – My number 1 supporters! My friends Ozzie and Udo! I met Ozzie during my first 100k 2 years ago and ever since he has helped me tremendously, giving me advise on all my upcoming races about the routes and what to expect. It almost looks like I’m copying his race schedule a few years after him. Looking forward to actually doing another race with him next year for Madeira Island Ultra Trail and possibly Andorra. Udo was the man who inspired me to actually start running, he is a marathon machine and was knocking
them out while I was still playing Xbox and eating cookies. Great inspiration and happy to see he will do his first ultra this year too – Zugsplitz 100km in Germany.

TF: What’s the one big race you’d love to complete?

IG: Western States!

TF: Do you prefer morning or evening trailruns?

IG: If it’s a weekend or holidays then morning runs all the time. I love getting up and going on a drive to a nice place up north. Mid-week I prefer going after work to clear my head and get some proper focus.

TF: What season do you enjoy the most for trailrunning?

IG: Summer because of how light and warm it is. You can pack minimal gear and wear just the basic clothes without too much worry.

TF: Where’s your favourite trail/area to run?

IG: Passy/Chamonix/Champex – Beautiful area, absolutely stunning views and amazing well sign posted trails. Scotland has been utterly stunning so far, can’t wait to explore more of it! Also the Lake District in my favourite place in England to run.

TF: What are your favourite trail shoes/what are you running in just now?

IG: La Sportiva Akasha with 1000 mile socks – Bliss!

TF: What three words would you use to describe your relationship to running?

IG: Bucket List Hunting

TF: What one piece of advice would you give to others?

IG: Don’t be afraid of what people think of you, just go out there and enjoy it. As Shakira once said: “Try Everything!” Go for all sorts of different trails, see which suits you best and just go explore.

TF: What’s your trail style:

  • Buff, headband or trucker cap? All three 😛
  • Shorts, tights or compression? Shorts always
  • Singlet, tech t-shirt or windshirt? Tech t-shirt
  • Bumbag, rucksack or race vest? Race vest
  • Headphones or the sounds of the trail? In training I often listen to music, in races I turn into a chatterbox so no music
  • Energy gels or homemade sandwiches? Sandwiches
  • Jelly babies or TUC biscuits? Jelly Babies > : )
  • Instagramming or disconnected? Instagramming