June 2018 - Sarah Sawyer (UK)
1. Please tell us about yourself.
I’m Sarah, from Brighton, England, and I run everything from 5ks to 100+ mile ultras, and everything between. I run on road, on trails, on the track, through deserts and in the mountains. Basically, I just love running! I also like to combine my love of running and travelling, so at least once a year, I will run a race in a different country, as I think running is the best way to see the world.
2. How do you know about GlobalLimits?
I’ve had friends who’ve previously run GlobalLimits races and spoke really highly of them, and I’ve wanted to visit Bhutan for what feels like forever, so as soon as entries opened for the 2018 edition, my husband and I entered. I liked the fact that whilst it is first and foremost a race, Stefan makes every effort to integrate runners into Bhutanese life, so it was going to be much more than a race….and it truly was.
3. How do you train for races?
I normally have about a 3 month training block for races, where my coach and I will make my training as specific as possible for the race. My training for Bhutan was a bit unconventional in that I’d spent the first few months training for a 24 hour track race, which meant my running was all on the flat – not ideal for running in the mountains in Bhutan! However, I have a strong endurance background, so I knew my endurance and running 200km over 6 days wouldn’t be a problem, so in the 4 weeks of specific training I had for Bhutan, I had a crash course in getting some hills back in my legs. I live on the south coast of England and we don’t have anything that resembles mountains, so I included a lot of long hill reps in my training, and also if I want to train on more mountainous terrain, my husband and I jump in our campervan and head to the Brecon Beacons in Wales for training.
4. What is your most interesting experience in GlobalLimits Bhutan?
It’s so hard to pinpoint just one interesting experience – the whole week was just one incredible experience after incredible experience. I had the biggest smile on my face all week feeling that I was just so lucky to be running in such an amazing place. I’m stronger on more runnable terrain and weaker on the really technical terrain, however days 2 and 4, which were the more technical days, were my favourites, as climbing high up over a mountain pass on rocky mountainous terrain and then descending through dusty canyons, is exactly the reason you’ve come to run in Bhutan. I also loved running on dirt tracks as local children ran beside us asking what our names were and where we were from, and one of the most stunning views of the race was running through the umpteen prayer flags up to the Phajoding Monastery. And the finish line up at Tiger’s Nest is definitely going to take some beating as finish lines go!
It was also fantastic to run alongside some really strong inspiring runners, be reunited with some old running friends and make new ones – the fact that the race is capped at 50 runners every year, despite always being oversubscribed, makes for a really special atmosphere at the camps and on the course.
5. What is your race plan for GlobalLimits?
I love training and racing, so I obviously wanted to run well in Bhutan. However, I’ve sometimes been guilty in the past at multi-day races for having my head down and racing hard and not appreciating that I’m running in this amazing landscape. So this time, I was determined to look up, enjoy my surroundings and was even going to break my hardfast ‘rule’ of no taking photos when racing!
I’m delighted with how the race went, as the key thing with multi-day racing is being able to run consistently day after day, so I feel I pitched the effort level right each day and had plenty of running left for the following day.