Vlad Ixel, vegan ultramarathoner
Vlad Ixel is a runner who competes in the extreme sport of ultradistance marathon running and has made an amazing impact on the sport in a short time.
Vlad started running in 2012 and turned vegan shortly afterwards. In June 2013 he entered the 75km Kep ultramarathon in Perth, Australia and won by over 5 minutes, setting a course record. He’s also won the Northface 100km in Singapore and entered TMBT 100km in Malaysia, which he also won. The Atacama crossing in Chile is a 250km race and Vlad recorded a second in this event, and also a second in the Northface 50k Hong Kong.
Since then Vlad has continued to excel, as he competed in the Vibram Hong Kong 100. This 100km event is one of the biggest in the world and attracts many of the world’s top runners. His third place showed that he can compete with the best and we should expect more from him. In Feb 2014 Vlad competed in the North Face 100km Thailand Ultra, which he won and set the course record (read more here). A week later he ran in the Hong Kong 100km Ultra, and came third.
In March 2014 he ran in an extremely tough 50km in Hong Kong (read more here), winning by 30 minutes. At the end of April 2014 he won the overnight 54km Yam 2 Yam, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem (read more here). In October he overcame food poisoning to win TNF100km (read more here), and he followed this up with races at 25km and 10km, winning two and placing second in the other (read more here).
In March 2016 he ran three races in which he took his third Translantau win and took wins and course records and the other two. Read more here. Shortly after he took another win and course record (see the same link). In October 2016 he took on the Translanau Two Peaks, which included nearly 4000 metres of height gain, in extreme heat and humidity, taking the win (read more here). He then went to the World Trail Championships and was the fastest runner from the Southern hemisphere (read more here).
Vlad has been a big meat eater in previous years, and in September 2012 started cutting down on meat consumption. On Christmas Day 2012 he had his last steak and knew that he was making some good changes to his life. He had already stopped drinking alcohol and had previously been a smoker.
“The main motivation was for my health and to be a better athlete. It gives me so much more energy and I recover quicker from my runs. I'm also doing it for environmental reasons because a vegan diet has so little impacts on our planet compared to a meat based diet.”
The decision to change his eating s not one he’s ever regretted. His skin soon looked better and he stopped using energy drinks to stay alert, and is sure he would not be able to train as he does now, if he was not vegan.
Like many vegan athletes, Vlad was influenced by one of the greatest Ultramarathoners of all time, vegan Scott Jurek. “The more I read and learned about it the more I wanted to be a vegan. Reading Scott Jurek's Eat and Run was very inspiring to me and definitely influenced my decision on becoming vegan."
Vlad now eats a lot of smoothies, and it isn’t unusual to eat 20 bananas in one day. He also eats dates, which he finds are excellent for providing energy.
People around Vlad have been overwhelmingly positive. “Most of my friends are inspired by my diet and what I can achieve with that. They see how healthy and happy I am and very often I get to hear that they also want to give it a try. That makes me really proud and happy and I hope one day everybody realizes how much better it is for you and especially what a great feeling it gives you.”
The discoveries Vlad have made are ones he is keen to share and he tell us he hopes people will read this profile and be open to giving veganism a try.
Success on the trails
A question Vlad found a little harder to answer was when we asked him what his greatest achievement in sport was.
“There have been a lot of incredible moments during 2013, it's hard to say which one was the proudest. Winning the TMBT [in Malaysia] felt great as it was my first 100km race and a very challenging course. Then just a few weeks later I won the North Face 100 in Singapore, even though I got lost and had to run an extra 7k. I really thought the race it over for me, I was frustrated, angry, tired and felt hopeless but getting myself together and crossing the line at first place was an amazing feeling! It was such an emotional race and finishing off with a win made me very proud.”
Since then Vlad has continued to excel, as he competed in the Vibram Hong Kong 100. This 100km event is one of the biggest in the world and attracts many of the world’s top runners. His third place showed that he can compete with the best and we should expect more from him.
Click this link to see a video of an interview with Vlad, (he discusses veganism at 4:15).
“Two of the best things I have ever done for myself and my body was start running and become vegan. My life is full of goals and joys and its all thank to a healthy vegan diet. Sometimes I ask myself how come everyone is not vegan? How come I never knew how good it is being vegan? I wish everyone just gave it a go for few days/weeks and see the difference for themselves."
No Meat Athlete is a great running resource Full disclosure: 50% of any book you buy on there goes to support this website but there's also a ton of free resources there