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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I ran all the 30k in my Luna sandals and felt great! Gozo 21k trail next weekend!

annie mummy shay night run
Looking somewhat knackered :)

Call it backwards, but I ran a 30k race at 2am this morning  in preparation for Gozo Half marathon next weekend…..

I was not properly trained for this.  If you read this here you will have seen that two months ago I was finding walking pretty tricky.

I have long been interested in ultra-running, but was putting it off til I felt ready.   I decided about 6.5 weeks ago to enter Gozo 55k next year, as ‘ready’ may never come.  Then I decided it would be a good idea to try the 21k version of that race this year, to see the course.

As this race is at the tail end of school Easter holidays, when no childcare means running is harder to fit in, I decided I would do the Puttinu’s care 30k night walk* as training, and run as much of it as I can.

Previous to this morning, I had ran only 15k (since having my kids 4 years ago and running in Luna sandals) . (more…)

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Get Ready To Feel Ultra-Lazy: Interview with Vegan Ultra-Athlete, Tyler Tomasello (abridged version)

tylerQ: Hi Tyler, can you explain a bit about yourself, what you do and how you got here?

It’s hard sometimes for me to share the whole story, but I’ll give it a shot… After living a wild and surreal youth, battling with homelessness and drug abuse, I found myself at 19-years old with no direction or motivation.

I had a dream one night, and when I awoke the next morning I decided to leave North Carolina and move my life to Colorado.

My decision to pursue a snowboarding career/lifestyle was filled with highs and lows.  Following a bad crash on my board my doctor told me “no more concussions”.  It broke my heart to have to throttle back on a sport I loved so much, but it had to be done. (more…)

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Vanessa Runs, The Summit Seeker {Book review}


I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what exactly  an ultra-marathon was when I picked up this book.  I just felt that it was something I wished to know more about , and probably do.  I was confused, did it mean 50k or 100k?  I now know it is running any distance greater than a marathon.

I found this honest story regarding that subject,  to be a highly inspiring read.  Not only for aspiring ultra-runners like myself, but for anyone who ever doubted they could do anything.

When I first began reading this book, an ultra-marathon felt like a far-off fantasy, or maybe something I would get round to doing, when I’d done everything else. I then recalled the Buddhist quote; “our greatest mistake is that we think that we have time”.

By the time I completed the book (and after a few months of purposeful mindset changes and priority shifting), I am now  preparing to run 55k next year.

As announced in the book’s intro, this is not a book about how to run faster, this is a book about how running can be a journey into personal growth.

The thoughts that stayed with me the longest after reading, were not running related.

(more…)

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