Unconventional wisdoms 2/4: Nathan Farrugia (Part 2)

27 marathons
27 Marathons: Credit: Matthew Mirabelli

M: “Winging it’s” my thing :-) Remember the blog I sent you on minimalist training for Spartathlon?

N: In fact, if I look back at my training for ironman, my  best time was last year, where I came top 10% in the world in my age group, on 12 hours training a week, that is much less than people who get those finishing times.  The thing is, when you are running 250k, you have to get used to the discomfort, the muscle breakdown, the kidneys in clearing the waste production, there is no shortcut.

M: This race is in the footsteps of Phidippides, he dropped dead?

N: Well, yes, whether he had the right training and nutrition, who knows? I do know that 300 people run this a year, 50% of them finish, and as far as I know, not many of them drop dead.  Not to worry :)

M: What have people said about this challenge? Other than the usual “are you mad”?

N: I get that a lot, most people can’t fathom running 246k, particularly when you live on an island that is 17k long! (more…)

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Unconventional wisdoms, 2/4: Nathan Farrugia (Part 1)

Nathan training in Gozo. Credit: Kurt Arrigo
Nathan Farrugia training in Gozo. Credit: Kurt Arrigo

I met Nathan for a cup of tea, a week ahead of his Spartathlon attempt.  I wanted to know more about this family man, business man, and arguably Malta’s best ultra-athlete. Spartathlon is one of the most difficult ultras in the world (the only challenges that Nathan really takes part in nowadays, alongside his own record-breaking creations).   Spartathlon is a 246km (153 mile) road race from Athens to Sparta.  It started in 1983 and takes place 25-26 Sept 15.  The goal of all participants is to finish under the cut-off time of 36 hours.  Battling extreme weather conditions and strict cut-offs for the first 100km, it’s not only the distance that will be challenging. It is a stripped back race, no MP3 players allowed.  Little support and only basic food is given. Up until last year, Nathan was the CEO of Malta’s largest non-profit organisation that helps people with disabilities.  He stopped to maintain his role as president of the foundation. He set up his own business which helps people/ companies with executive coaching and business development.  He is also heavily involved in foundations and charities for young people with disabilities and health problems. Nathan has been working and volunteering in the charity sector since 2000 and has raised hundreds of thousands of euros for good causes. His latest endeavours are as director of the Lino Spiteri Foundation, working to create jobs for persons with a disability on a national level. Me (M): Many athletes with families describe their lives as a daily ‘balancing act’, would you agree that finding a sport/life balance is trickier after kids? (more…)

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Malta’s toughest race: Gozo Hellfire 55k.

Creaming up, for the third time
Pre-race. Creaming up, for the third time

“I don’t know if I can finish. But that’s the point. I don’t want to enter a race I know I can finish. I want a challenge and to see how I measure up. To try something I don’t know I can finish: that excites me.”

me race start carmel
Probo one of only times you’ll see me next to Carlos (white t-shirt) in a race scenario ;) He won, I did not

me finish
Happiest I’ve ever been (when not on morphine)

 

I wrote this the a few days after: “I have a feeling now like being in love, or having had a baby, without that anxiety and trepidation that I’m somehow going to mess it all up. No matter what happens now, I’ve completed an ultra and nothing can take that away.”

 

(more…)

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