Wednesday, 4 June 2014

The boss of the jungle

I was in the newspaper today! El Mercurio is the most wide-read newspaper in Chile so it's fantastic to have such a large article included in the paper (especially in the sport section with the World Cup approaching). Claudio Herrera wrote a great article and it's clear that he's a part of the trail running community here and understands our world - we've raced and trained together so it was a pleasure to catch-up with him.

The article is in Spanish and I've included a translation to English below.

El Mercurio, pg 41, Wednesday 4 June 2014.

DANIEL ROWLAND WON THE 2014 JUNGLE ULTRA IN PERU (230 KILOMETERS)
The boss of the jungle
The Zimbabwean living in Chile has become a specialist in stage racing. Here the methods of a guy who left everything to run at the highest level.

Claudio Herrera

Daniel Rowland was born 30 years ago in Zimbabwe, he studied finance in South Africa and got a top job in a multi-national mining company. His work led him to live in Alaska and later in Chile where he's been for the last two years.

But he was putting off his greatest passion: running ultra-marathon races. Rowland thought it was now or never and left everything behind to dedicate himself exclusively to training. He has endurance in his blood. His father Jonathan completed 11 Comrades Marathons, one of the oldest ultra-marathons on the planet. "Today I can say that I'm not winning money, I'm using my savings, but I'm happy" he said, after winning the Jungle Ultra, a test of 230km.

The African has transformed himself into an expert in stage racing, he already won the Atacama Crossing and KAEM last year, races of 250km. His strength, he thinks, is discipline. In short, an ultramarathoner nerd [this is the best translation I have for a slang Chilean word. My friend Matias tells me that everyone wants to be a "nerd", but no one admits to it!]

"I like stage racing because you have to consider all the details: food, the route, competitors. I have been improving as a runner, but my strength is in the planning. For the Jungle Ultra, I trained with my race backpack (6.5kg), in blocks that simulated the five days of the race and with my race diet - consisting of 2,200 calories per day _ and I also did many bikram yoga sessions to acclimatize to the humidity" he explained.

"Everything helps because we ran in temperatures of up to 35C and 95% humidity. You can't imagine the jungle until you're in it, it's dark with lots of roots. I didn't see any animals, but other competitors spoke of snakes and wild boar. I don't know, I run very focused, I spend a lot of time preparing for a race and I can't let myself be distracted" he said.

Rowland (with sponsors Lafuma, Hoka, 32Gi and Injinji) is now preparing to step up to the classic 100 mile races, hoping to "professionalize" his passion. "It's now or never, running makes me happy, the rest is not that important".


Photo caption: Rowland at the finish line in Pillcopata in the middle of Manu National Park. He finished in a total of 27 hours, winning four of the five stages. 

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