Sept 2018 - Mario Machado (Portugal) /Course Director
1. Please you introduce yourself.
GlobalLimits Cambodia – The Ancient Khmer Path 2017 was my 100th ultra!
I discovered running race in 1961. I was 11 years old and one day before an exam, a professor made a race of 1km instead of studying. There were 27 of us. I was the last but I LIKED!
I am a physical education teacher and international athletic coach. Since 1991 I am the technical director of the Lisbon Half Marathon (with 30,000+ runners), the Portugal Half Marathon, the Lisbon Marathon and the organizer, technical director and controller of various high profile road and trail races in Portugal and around the world.
Since 2009, I am also the “Controller of the race” of MdS in Morocco. I also worked for RtP in Egypt and Gobi and the first four editions with Oman Desert Marathon (from 2012 to 2015).
I am also the publisher and director of “Spiridon-Portugal” running magazine since 1978. It is the only paper magazine about running in Portugal.
2. What is your experience with GlobalLimits?
I have been a volunteer, runner and Course Director...
I was running in Cambodia (ranking 13th overall in 2017) and I really enjoyed discovering the country.
I was a volunteer in Albania also, in 2017, living a few days in a country where I had little information...
3. Which role do you like more? Volunteer, runner or Course Director?
All these tasks are very interesting. Although I like all the roles, I confess that being the Course Director is the closest to my professional experiences.
Being a runner means being 100% focused on the competition, your personal effort, the food, the recovery, and understanding the landscapes of the region ... and stay just a little bit in the things related to the organization.
Volunteering is almost like being a runner but without the worry of making the big efforts of a runner. You see everything, live a lot every day and often it is even pleasant especially in beautiful regions.
The job of the Course Director of the race is different. First, the degree of responsibility is enormous. We are always thinking of doing everything 100% perfect. As a runner myself, I do not want to make any mistakes to put our runners in any potentially dangerous situations. It is an exhausting and intensive job but at the end when everything ends well, we feel very satisfied.
4. What is your ideal ultra race?
I personally think MdS does an excellent job organizing a race for 1,000+ athletes. However, having so many numbers of runners turns individuals into bib numbers; and it is impossible to be alone despite being in the Sahara desert - there is always someone just few meters away.
The ideal race for me is in remote region with only 100 or 200 athletes, where everyone feels like an individual and can enjoy the beauties of the region alone when running.
In Cambodia I had days when it was very nice to be there as an athlete!
5. How would you choose an ultra race to participate?
My experience as a runner of ultras began as early as the 1st edition of the MdS in 1983. I was one of the 23 pioneers…
Thirty-five years ago, the long trails races were rare. Today the international calendar is full of all kinds races and in the strangest parts on Earth. Conclusion: it is not easy to choose a race.
I choose a race according to the geographical location, the novelty of the challenge and of course the team that organizes the event.
The problem for me is that it is difficult to have free dates to travel to where I would like to go due to my professional activities as editor of the Spiridon magazine, as organizer of several races in Portugal, and collaborator in the organization of others races in other countries.