Reinhold Hugo from Switzerland joined RacingThePlanet in Georgia 2021 for his debut RacingThePlanet Ultramarathon. Reinhold completed his first multi-stage run in Oman 2016 and the following year competed in the Marathon des Sables Morocco and Peru.
At RacingThePlanet: Georgia, Reinhold completed the 6-stage, 250 kilometer, self-support footrace in FIRST place.
Reinhold talked to Expedition Foods about his experience in Georgia (the country):
EF: What is your running background, where did it all start?
I am polysportive and like to do different sports like cycling and running in summer and cross-country skiing and ski touring in winter. I used to run street marathons like New York, Boston etc., but for some time now I run almost only off-road because it is nicer for me.
EF: When did you decide to take part in RacingThePlanet: Georgia?
RH: After no events took place at all last year, I started looking for a new adventure in the spring after events could take place again. I have often followed RacingThePlanet and I have many friends who have communicated only positive feedback about these events. Originally I signed up for the race in Namibia because I like to run in the desert. For me, such runs are also a kind of sightseeing to get to know new countries.
EF: When did you start training for the race, and how did you structure your training?
RH: As I said, I'm always active throughout the year, building up a good base. What I paid a lot of attention this time is the training with the backpack and 3-4kg weight. For this I have completed a few weekend-long stage runs.
EF: How important is nutrition in a stage race? What did you eat and drink throughout the race?
RH: Nutrition for stage runs is very important. On the one hand, the weight of the food must not be too heavy and on the other hand, it must be balanced and must make you full.
On my first stage run in Oman, I had chilli con carne for dinner on the 4th day and was unwell. I learned a lot from that experience. The food must definitely be tasted beforehand during training. In my eyes, the food is almost the most important thing in a stage race.
During the race in Georgia I drank mainly water and supplemented it with electrolytes. In the morning I ate Expedition Foods Chicken Tikka Rice with 450 calories and a bar with 200 calories. After the run I took a recovery shake and in the evening I made myself another warm meal like Spaghetti Carbonara with 800 calories. In between I had a bag of nuts.
EF: How much gear did you bring? Was there anything you felt you were missing, or anything that you'd leave behind next time?
RH: For me, an important part of stage racing is the preparation with the material. I try to be as light as possible on the road. My motto is: every gram counts and I take only the mandatory material with me. I was lucky this time and everything fit great. Although the weather had changed from very hot to cold and wet.
EF: Your performance was incredible, finishing first in every stage, what was the key to your success?
RH: My goal in Georgia was three things:
- to get to know a new country
- to reach the finish line (this was only my third stage race over 250km and once I had to give up)
- to enjoy and learn
I tried to enjoy the area as much as I could and run easy. Without pressure on time and positioning. This flexibility was certainly a key to success.
EF: What races do you have planned for the rest of the year and for 2022?
RH: At the moment I have a few smaller runs planned until November and then I hope for a lot of snow so I can go ski touring in the mountains again.
For 2022 I would like to run in England at Dragons Back Race and after that I plan to run RacingThePlanet's Atacama Crossing. In between I'm sure there will be some nice runs or trainings. It doesn't always have to be a competition!
EF: The last 18 months have inspired many people to take on amazing challenges. What would you say to those aspiring to do a multi-day race?
Try it out! It is a life experience and you will come back a different person. You will push your limits and realize that you are capable of a lot.