Over in Malaysia, Japan’s Hisashi Kitamura, our Vietnam Jungle Marathon Champ, has been living in lockdown. Deprived of his ultra buzz, he took indoor running to its limit with 100miles in his garage on a 15m loop.
Image: Hisashi takes the win at Vietnam Jungle Marathon 2019
In three weeks Hisashi should be on the VJM start line to defend his title (new date – Oct 24). Last weekend he should have been running UTMF.
Instead, while videos of the UTMF race from 2012 to 2018 played in the background, Hisashi completed 165km alone and in stifling heat. He ran his 15 meter home ‘trail’ for 27 hours.
He’s known to be a very hard runner mentallly, but we have to admit, even this level of toughness surprised us at Topas race HQ.
Video: Hisashi in his garage on his ultra, indoor ultra
“The loop was so short the pace had to be slow, about 7 – 7.5min per km,” he said. “I maintained a steady pace but did take some big rests.”
Asked if it was tough physically and mentally, Hisashi said: “Not really; it was way easier than I expected. There was no time limit, so I was not in a hurry. No injury issues either.”
“My battery died, so I had to split it into two,” Hisashi told Topas.
Images: Hisashi’s Garmin Files. What do you get if you add 35 to 130? An extremely extreme indoor ultra.
In terms of fueling for this ‘event’, Hisashi took an unusual approach. “No gels, no bars. No carbs, no typical sugars,” he explained. “My main fuel was peanut butter and other nuts, plus some steak, eggs…. All ‘real’ foods.”
“I do low carb diet for my running performance normally, but I take carbs and sugar before, during the race and after races. But this time I tried not to take them.”
Hisashi thinks this experience will benefit his future outdoor events: “It definitely will. I had no trouble with eating. I have some experience of 100 miles, but I always had issues with my stomach. This time pace and taking real food was a good experience and experiment for me. And of course mentally I’ll benefit as I kept running with not so strong motivation -haha!”
If you want to learn more about what it takes to be this kind of runner, head over to our recent interview with Hisashi which was published just 2 days after this incredible indoor ultra.