Vegan Endurance runner Vlad Ixel returned to a race he’s made his name in. Part of The North Face endurance series, TNF Thailand saw him line up at the 50km start line.
It was a change in some ways, as Vlad has done incredibly well over the 100km distance, which was also being run that day.
“I have done seven 100k races in my short running career” Vlad told Great Vegan Athletes “I was lucky to win six of them and finish 3rd in one of them to make the 100k distance my most successful distance.
“Even though it’s my favorite distance its a very painful distance – most 100k races are won in 12+ hours and it’s a demanding amount of time for someone to push themselves, and the recovery and build up for races this long do take a lot of time. As a person who loves competing when I usually race 30-40 races a year, those 100k races mean that I will be able to race a lot less, so for the past 2 years I have been staying with races up to 50k.”
The 50k race is around 5 miles over a standard marathon and included nearly 1000 metres of height gain.
“With every year the course gets harder and more technical,” says Vlad, “this year the course was a lot harder than previous years and I really enjoyed it. Trail running is very unpredictable – I have lost races due to getting lost in the last few km of races before so I never think about the win or the finish line till I see the finishing tape.”
Breaking the tape first in 4:33:07, Vlad was sixteen minutes ahead of the second placed runner. He led at each of the four checkpoints and only 9 of the 433 finishers finished within an hour of the flying vegan Australian. Dozens more started but didn’t manage to finish the course.
A master of multiple sports
The race serves as a reminder that Vlad is world class runner, having quickly broken into Triathlon more recently. Last year he reached #1 ranking in his age group globally after some impressing performances over half ironman distance. Although this year it’s a return to the trails where it seems that the more challenging the terrain, the better he does.
“Right after Thailand I went to New Zealand for another 50k race where I finished in second place, and two days ago I did a 28k trail race in Hong Kong – where I ended up finishing 4th after getting lost 4k from the finish line. I will be racing another 54k trail race this weekend and there are a lot of trail races planned for this year.”
Many wonder how Vlad manages to put in performances in tough races like this so frequently.
“I really like racing,” he says “I really struggle to go with 2-3 weeks of no racing and my body allows me to recover fast after each race so I can keep racing almost every week where most runners do 5-6 races a year.
“This has a lot to do with my diet and showing other runners the improved recovery on a plant-based vegan diet. I have seen a lot of runners make the switch to a vegan diet in the past few years and they are all recovering faster and performing better.”
Vlad turned vegan at the end of 2012 as he aimed to improve his health and fitness. He once told Great Vegan Athletes:
“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 not everyone is 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.”