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June 2019 - Joel Anderson (USA)

Please introduce yourself (where are you from? what do you do? Your race experiences?)

 Hi my name is Joel Anderson, I live in Boulder Colorado USA. I work as a critical care nurse and am a father of two young girls. I have been running marathons and ultramarathons since 2010.  I have placed in the top 10 in many races in the USA, including the Leadville 100 and Run Rabbit Run 100.

 How did you prepare for the race in Bhutan?

I prepared for Bhutan as I would have for any ultra, with a focus on high mileage weeks and vertical gain in my training.  From the elevation profile, I could see that steep descents are common on the course and I made sure to do hard downhill efforts in my training so that my quads would be strong enough. The 4th stage alone has 2,500 meters of steep descending!

What were your expectations and what were the outcomes?

 My training had gone well and I was fit going into Bhutan, so I expected to do well competitively. I did not expect Xavi Marina to be as strong as he was though!  Bhutan was my first stage race and  I think I did well in terms of pushing the pace at times but also using an easier effort on certain stages to make sure that I was recovering adequately for the next stage.

Any advice for those who are coming to the Bhutan race (such as choice of shoes, training)?

I would highly suggest bringing two pair of running shoes to Bhutan, so that you are always able to start the stage with a dry pair of shoes. This will also help with preventing blisters. Also, one of your shoes should be a road shoe and the other more trail specific, depending on the stage. Choose shoes that dry quickly.  Wear socks that are long enough on your ankles so rocks and possibly leeches do not get down into your feet!

Any additional comments?

Bhutan has some of the most friendly, welcoming people of anywhere I have been.  The cost of visiting Bhutan seems high until you are there and experience personal guides, prepared meals, a five-star hotel and some incredible race preparation and course marking to ensure your trip is a good one!