As he approaches ten years vegan, Yassine Diboun has took on the Hurt 100 race and showed why he is one of the most respected Ultradistance runners in America.
As if running 100 miles in one event wasn’t enough, The aptly named Hawaiian Ultra Running Team (HURT) event covers pig trails through the Honolulu mountains of Hawaii. They cover uncompromising terrain including knotty tree roots and an incredible 7450 metres of height gain. There are 20 stream crossings in the semi-tropical forest. Around 50% of the high calibre entrants fail to finish each year.
This year there was an unexpected contribution from a missile alert warning sounded when Yassine was around mile 13. At mile 20 he reached an aid station where his wife and daughter were among those who could reassure him that it was a false alarm, although later Yassine admitted that "that 7-mile stretch was pretty terrifying".
The race works on five loops of that first twenty miles, which the 39 year old Portlander finished in 25 hours, 27 minutes and 9 seconds. 129 runners started the event, 78 finished and Yassine was the sixth of these.
"I was just happy to finish it, really” he reflected. “The roots and rocks along the trail were hazards, especially with the 85-percent humidity coating them with a 'slime'."
"I don't care how good of a runner you are, you're going to fall multiple times, and I did. I fell many times."
This 13th hundred miler presented the vegan with new challenges. Black toenails and blistered feet are usually effects he avoids, but this time he had more than his share. We caught up with him during his recovery, and things were recovering. “I still have a few black toenails” he says “but I'm wearing them as a badge of honor. It's a good reminder of what I accomplished a mere three weeks ago!"
Coping with the run involved strategies including taking on caffeine and sugar to fight the sleep deprivation, staying cool and hydrated, and of course nutrition.
"During the run I ate a lot of fruit (mostly watermelon, oranges, cantaloupe), Clif Nutrition pouches (sweet potato/sea salt and beet/banana/ginger), Clif Blok shots, Spring Energy gels, Tailwind Nutrition, Trail Butter, and towards the end and through the night I was eating rice balls with salt, potatoes, noodle soup etc.” he tells us.
“The aid stations are amazing there and usually have lots of vegan options and culinary delights!”
This year a vegan former Hurt 100 winner was available to add a bit more.
“Michael Arnstein who is a fruitarian, who now lives in Oahu stays on the race course all night to give racers fresh coconut water to drink or eat straight from the coconut. He hauls hundreds of coconuts up there in his truck and then chops the top off and hands it to you to drink and eat. How about that?!”
Currently still recovering although he will be continuing with coaching and will be taking on another ultra.
“I will definitely be getting some more ultras in 2018 but my schedule is a bit undecided at this point. I will be figuring that out very soon, but for now am enjoying some nice down-time.”