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Jamie Hunter - Road to 100 Miles Blog # 1

Jamie Hunter is a Brisbane based trail ultra runner, obstacle racer and has competed on Australian Ninja Warrior.

Throughout a 5 part series, Jamie will be sharing his training and personal journey towards the True Grit 24 hour Enduro race ‘Aussie Titles’ held in June 2020. Jamie will be taking you through his training, nutrition and mindset in preparation leading up to the event. Jamie has a personal goal of covering 100 miles (161km) on foot in 24 hours, joining a small group of elite athletes who have achieved this milestone. Let’s get behind Jamie, follow his journey and wish him the best of luck.

PART 1: 31 days of motivation

 

 

My 2nd home, the trails of Mt Cootha in Brisbane

I guess you could call me a late bloomer. I read of these endurance running greats like the Kenyans who as kids were running 6km’s to school and back barefoot from 5 years old. Take Killian Jornet for example, who grew up in the Pyrenees in France and from the age of three was climbing mountains soaring 11,000 feet. It’s interesting to note that most olympians and long distance runners were track or cross country champions back when they were in school.

 

At the age of 37 in 2016, I found the endurance racing bug by chance. You see, I’ve heard of this race called Worlds Toughest Mudder in Las Vegas, whereby you run a 5 mile loop full of obstacles for 24 hours, ticking off as many loops as possible. Competitors were rewarded with badges or race bibs for covering a certain mileage from 25 miles through to the coveted 100 miles. For a year I trained my guts out for this race, raising a few grand for Alzheimers Australia at the same time. In an almost hallucinated state, I crossed the finish line just passed midday on a warm Sunday with 80 miles (128km) under my belt. I bagged top place in my age group and top 20 overall out of field of 1,300 competitors.

 

 

After some time to reflect I figured, if I can achieve this result with just a short window of training, what else can I achieve?

 

 

WTM2016, raising awareness for Alzheimers in Las Vegas with legendary put Crew Michael Vanderhelm

 

With OCR (obstacle course racing) becoming more popular than ever, almost everyone you talk to has heard of or taken part at a local True Grit, Tough Mudder or Spartan event in Australia. They are a great day out with friends and family. For some of the more adventurous types, there are Ultra obstacle races that can be distance or time controlled. I’ve raced a few ultra OCR races over the past few years and the outcome of each event is different, one thing stays true. It is the stunning level of community and support at each event that leaves you wanting to return again and again in order to better yourself.

TRUE GRIT 24 HOUR ENDURO, WHAT IS IT?

In 2020, my A-race is the True Grit 24 hour enduro – Aussie Titles with a distance goal of 100 miles. The race takes place in Lower Portland, NSW in June. It's an obstacle race with laps approximately 8 kilometres in length, sporting around 30 physically and mentally challenging obstacles from rope climbs, ammo box carries and neck deep water crossings. Last year I raced competitively at this event but after 16 hours and 116km, a blown up ankle got the better of me and my race ended early. This year, I’m back with a big goal and the hunger to chase it!

1 hour before race time at the OCR world championships - Lower Portland, June 2019

 

I’m guessing you have some questions to ask. What’s so special about covering 100 miles on a 24 hour obstacle course? How do you train to cover this distance? Is it even possible?

To put this goal into perspective, breaking 24 hours on a 100 mile foot race is an outstanding achievement. So to do this with around 30 obstacles every 8-10km makes it a little more spicy! There are only a handful of athletes in the world that have covered 100 miles on a 24 hour obstacle race. I’m no stranger to setting high targets for my physical goals, so here we are!

True Grit allow participants to compete in the Elite Division each year so long as you qualify. I raced at a shorter True Grit sprint race on the Gold Coast last year, placing 4th, so formalities are set.

 

THE TRAINING JOURNEY BEGINS (well, continues)

 

Being a husband, dad and holding down a day job, it can be quite the juggling act fitting domestic responsibilities along with finding the time to train. Endurance training is a long term haul. Cramming your training in the last few days before an event doesn’t work like school or university assignments! So early morning training sessions well before the sun, negotiating parent duties with Vanessa are a certainty. My alarm regularly buzzes around 4am (or sooner) numerous times during the week.

Although the early starts can be a challenge, it's great preparation for a 24 hour race as the hardest and darkest hours mentally are between midnight and sunrise. 

There are some basic rules I follow each week with training, most of my running is easy with a low heart rate. I’ll throw in a hard interval session and a hilly session. There will be strength work with big lifts and circuits, then a fun session either running with Maya or an easy gym recovery session.

 

 

 

Circuit training with the kids

 

TRAINING SCHEDULE - numbers represent kilometres 

January

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

Total

Week 1

30th Dec – 5th Jan

gym

18

gym

12

30

gym

21

81

Week 2

06th – 12thJan

10 & gym

21

10

Rest

15

11 & gym

26

93

Week 3

13th - 19thJan

8 & gym

20

15

5 & gym

15

Rest

31

94

Week 4

20th – 26thJan

5 & gym

13 & gym - stretch

15

Rest

18

6

33.5

90

Week 5

27th Jan – 02nd Feb

Gym

21

22

13 & gym

14

5 & gym

Gym

& rehab

75

Summary

Four build weeks, One lower mileage week with more cross training

433k

If it's not onstrava, it didn't happen!

 

 

 

Looking back on January, I’m happy with my training. I’ve hit the ground running pretty hard with a lot of back to back runs on tired legs. It’s altered slightly to bring more speed and tempo work into the week as I’m heading to Tokyo in March to run a Marathon. It’s still good base work for a 24 hour obstacle race.

 

NUTRITION

If you do know me personally or follow me on social media, you’ll see that I’ve changed my diet considerably to be more plant based. Seldom I’ll eat fish and chicken. Red meat no longer exists in the diet. Being mostly plant and grain based I’ve found energy levels are high, recovery is quick and my weight has dropped by a couple of kilograms. For most of my training sessions I’ll have 500ml of Edge Electrolytes hydration drink mix before the session, or carry a couple of litres on the longer trail runs to keep topped up. I’ve introduced Edge Electrolytes Ocean trace into my diet recently by adding to breakfast oats and smoothies. I’m not 21 anymore so diet and recovery have become a very important factor on my ability to keep moving forward!

HEALTH AND MENTAL STRENGTH

January is usually a good month for most of us in health and focus. It’s the start of the year with goals set and events planned. New Years resolutions show the running trails and gyms are flowing with people wanting to make a positive difference in their lives which is motivating to see. Overall I’m in a good place to stay on track. Next month is more of the same and will include a trip to Tokyo to run the marathon.

SUMMARY

It’s been a good month. The humidity in Queensland, Australia has been a real test to keep training, sometimes I’ve described the air like running through soup! There are still four months of heavy training in preparation for the big event. I look forward to catching up with you next month.