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Q and A: World Record Holder Rainer Predl ahead of VJM

Rainer Predl is a multiple world record holder known for his extreme treadmill distances and unique challenges. He has also won races including Mojave Desert Run 100k and the 100k Arctic Bear Ultra. Here he talks about his motivations, his records and how he expects to perform at Vietnam Jungle Marathon. 

Rainer Predl - VJM 2023 contender 70km - 1

Of all your records, which are you most proud of and why?

Rainer: I am most proud of my 30-day treadmill world record. It was really hard at the beginning, but once you push yourself beyond your limits and realize that your body can do it, then you know that with a good team and will, you can achieve anything.  

What is your craziest record in your opinion and why?

Rainer: The craziest thing was the 70km around the kitchen table. I had to throw up four times… but on a circuit of 6.3meters – no wonder! Also the the world’s first marathon on a wind turbine. Both projects were for a good cause. But the small circuits and especially the mental components made these projects extreme! 

What is your experience of long distance trail running? And how do you think you will do in at VJM?

Of course I’m a road runner, but in Austria I have the wonderful opportunities to train and gain experience in mountains. A few years ago I was able to place on the podium in a 100km trail run in Austria. However, I am an underdog and a surprise package. Anything can happen!  

Why did you choose VJM?

There are of course many places with jungle. In fact, I always associated Vietnam with it. I’m also interested in the culture and the people in this country. The landscapes are breathtakingly beautiful. 

You recently won the Mojave Desert Run 100k and also the 100k Arctic Bear Ultra. How does your approach to racing differ from the desert to the Arctic?

Rainer: I’m actually a heat runner. I prepared heavily for the Arctic in an ice rink (-37 degrees) in Vienna. The North Pole Marathon is scheduled to start next year. Both have their challenges. In the jungle, the humidity and the terrain in particular should not be underestimated. It is important that you know your body and can interpret some signals. Drinking is the most important thing and enough food that works with both heat and extreme cold. Respect for the environment is also very important. But I’m particularly looking forward to the VJM Ultra in Vietnam.  

VJM Rainer 3

Based on your experience, what advise do you have for runners racing in very hot climates?

 Rainer: When it’s very hot I use various tricks. A lot of electrolytes are standard anyway. I mainly wet a small cloth and tie it on my forearm. This way the body can cool down a little. Protecting your head with a hat is very important anyway. 

What first got you started in running?

Rainer: In a train accident in 2007, I was one of the few first responders. A train hit a car. I came into contact with death for the first time when I was just 17 years old. Since then I’ve been running for the children’s hospice and that’s how I got into the Austrian national ultra-running team and ran a few world championships. 

I would also like to dedicate the Vietnam jungle to my late father and a good running friend who lost their lives too early last year and this year. 

This will be a very emotional but important run in Vietnam for me and I’m really looking forward to it. 

I’ve been concentrating on multi-day races for three years, starting the North Pole Marathon next year. In addition to VJM, the Badwater Ultramarathon is also a big goal. 

VJM 70k - Rainer Predl

How did you find out you have an ability for running ultra long distances? And why do you love it?

Rainer: At first I struggled for 5km, then I always added a little more. The best way to start for me was with a 6 hour run, where you run as much as you can within that time. When I saw that my body could do that, I was so impressed and then started a 100km run. Now my longest running distance is 2340km and I just really enjoy it. We runners are like a family, we support each other and that cannot be bought with any amount of money; it is very valuable. That’s the most important thing.