On Sunday May 7th, the Wings For Life world run took place. Runners participating in events all across the world knew their start but not their finish line. It’s only when they get caught up by the official car, that they are declared out of the race. At this game, Elov Olsson (SWE) and Jo Meek (UK) were last man and women running on the Sweden and Slovakia courses respectively.
How did the preparation leading up to the race unfolded for you (training, traveling…) ?
Olsson: I'm training for Western States. So I have done a lot of high mileage weeks the last two months. Not so much asphalt, but got some good interval sessions. I also managed a hard long run two weeks ago.
Meek: I started really being able to get some speed work in for the road race about 6weeks out from the race. I had to do a lot of it on a treadmill because of a niggle but it was still fast running. As I got closer I tapered as best I could but somehow when not running that time gets easily taken over by work! I was pleased to get out to Bratislava early so I had a whole day relax. I think it helped because road racing takes a lot of concentration trying to maintain a set pace.
How did you manage nutrition and hydration during the race?
Meek: My plan was easy. Gels every 12km and water at every stop. However, it was hot so I struggled a little to get enough water in (especially as it was bottled soda water) and not upset my stomach. By the end my stomach had had enough! It was saying 'just stop running and let me digest this or else' and sure enough...I was sick!
Then it rained really heavily so that was cooling and meant my mouth was not so dry. My stomach hurt but I realized it was close to the end so I just pushed as much as I could.
Olsson: I got some help from Umara Sports to optimize my nutrition plan. I ran with a handheld water bottle with energy drink witch I changed at every 5k. I also grabbed a gel at almost every station too. When I felt like more energy was needed I grabbed stuff at the stations.
At what point did you realize you had the win?
Meek: To be honest quite early on but I never run without fearing someone is catching me. Also I kept thinking of all the other runners around the world which helped when I ran on my own.
Olsson: I ran solo from 20k to the catch up at 75,05k. Felt strong the whole day and didn't worry about the second man, which ended being caught up by the official car at 55,92k.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Meek: It was all about a consistent pace I think. I passed lots of runners who had gone off too fast. Training helped identify that pace and the rest is just a test of mental discipline to stick at it. I faded a bit at the end but overall was pleased with my distance run in my SCOTT Palani RC road shoes, the black and yellow looks makes you faster right? ;-)
Olsson: My goal with this race was to break the Swedish course record of 64-65k without pushing myself to hard. Had great day and manage to do that.
Discover more about Jo on her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Discover more about Elov on his Twitter and Facebook accounts.