Earlier this summer Mariusz Kovacs returned to Manchester to complete the Manchester to Liverpool Ultra. The M2L Ultra is a unique 50 mile event which follows the Trans-Pennine Trail, the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Mersey from Manchester to Liverpool. Mariusz completed this race in 2018 as his first 50 miler event and he really liked it as the route is scenic and flat as a pancake. Mariusz felt it was a good opportunity to beat his personal best on this distance and he did so by 11 minutes.
In order to complete the event Mariusz trained steadily for a few months beforehand. He gradually increased his weekly mileage going up to 60-65 mainly by running longer and longer on Sundays. Mariusz often ran loops as a way of tracking his distance with his longest run reaching 30 miles, which was 24 repeated laps of his local park. On these training sessions he would carry all the mandatory kit for the race and also practise his fuelling technique so he was well-prepared and comfortable with a race-day routine.
In the two weeks prior to the race Mariusz tapered sensibly: he ran less and also made a conscious effort to avoid any physical and mental stress. He focused on good sleep and nutrition, as a race like requires recovery and rest just as much as actual run training.
The build up to the event was not without problems as Mariusz had a minor injury in January which made him doubt his chances of completing the event as he hoped. However even though he had to make changes to his training plan he was able to get back on the right track and build his confidence.
Mariusz has learnt a lot from his previous ultras, knowing how to minimize the time spent at the checkpoints along the way - quickly refilling bottles and grabbing some simple, solid food. He enjoyed the race until about 40 miles but after that he just wanted to finish, which is quite understandable as 50 miles is a long way!
Mariusz was happy with his finishing time of 07h:27m, where he placed 14th from 353 competitors. It proved his four months of hard training paid off and this race reassured him that his endurance has improved a lot in the past few years.
So what is next for Mariusz? He is now training for his next ultra in August. It will ‘only’ be a 6 hour race but it will be entirely staged on a 400m athletic track. This means it will be a much greater mental challenge however, ever the optimist, Mariusz sees the positive of this as he won’t have to carry a backpack or look out for stop points! You can read more about this forthcoming event here: The Ultra Loop (Track Edition) 2023 - Running in Stretford — Let’s Do This (letsdothis.com)
We look forward to hearing how Mariusz gets on later in the summer.