Mark Hines in an exercise physiologist and biomechanist, who competes in the toughest ultra endurance adventure races in the world.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SUPPORTED BY SALOMON?
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AND GOALS FOR THE 2012 SEASON?
Endurancelife UTSW (100 Miles and probably the toughest ultra race in Britain) and La Ultra (~140 miles over the two highest mountain passes in the Himalayas). My real priority for the year is to focus on training for the Yukon Arctic Ultra in February 2013 and an attempt at breaking the speed record for the fastest unsupported expedition to the Geographic North Pole.
YOUR HIGHEST POINT OF YOUR CAREER?
Not sure! I love finishing races in incredible environments, so the Jungle Marathon and Yukon Arctic Ultra have to be up there. Finishing second in the 2011 Yukon Arctic Ultra was a highpoint until I realised I should have won. Still, that's what 2013 is for! Probably the highest point was about half a marathon before the end of the 2009 Yukon Arctic Ultra, when I'd just come over the highest mountain of the trail, in the early hours of the morning and during blizzard conditions with the temperatures below -50C. At the base of the mountain I'd then fallen through overflow and soaked my leg. A little while later a friend came out to meet me on the trail, and we sat on pulk and drank sweet tea, looking up at the northern lights and chatting. That was a great night. I then shifted myself to reach the end in time for breakfast. In 2011 I arrived at the top of that mountain in time for sunset, and I'd beaten my previous time by two days, despite losing almost two in order to look after a racer with frostbite.
AND LOWEST POINT?
Leaving Dawson City, the finish point of the Yukon Arctic Ultra in 2009. Getting through the race had been my greatest test of endurance, motivation and focus. As I left I wondered if I would ever experience anything that incredible again.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE RACE?
The Trans-Alpine race is the most beautiful, I think. The Jungle Marathon is the most fun and demanding, on a mile-by-mile basis. The Yukon Arctic Ultra is the most difficult overall. I can see myself returning to the Yukon Arctic Ultra and Jungle Marathon many times over the coming years, whilst still trying to fit in other races. The only way to claim a preference is on the basis that the YAU is the longest, and as I love running I have to favour the race that has the greatest distance.
WHAT WAS THE TERRAIN LIKE?
The Yukon Arctic Ultra follows the route of the Yukon Quest - the toughest dog sled race in the world. It is 430-miles over compacted snow across hills, mountains, frozen rivers and lakes. The temperatures averaged -25C, and if it became any warmer the trail softened up. The coldest I experienced was probably -50C.
WHAT SALOMON KIT DO YOU GENERALLY USE AND ENJOY THE MOST?
My XA Pro 3D Ultra 2s, GTX. I love them and I've used them in every environment I've raced in.
HOW DO YOU TRAIN DURING THE SEASON?
My training is completely specific to the race I am focussing on. If it's a multi-day event I'll train however many consecutive days and over whatever distance to appropriately reflect the requirements of the race. If it's a long single-stage race I'll build up long distance work over weekends and go for relatively shorter runs during the week to keep the intensity up. The Yukon Arctic Ultra was so far north that it was dark most of the time, and because it is a single stage race I knew I'd be sleep deprived. I trained by going out at 1 or 2 in the morning and running until 4 or 5, then getting a few hours sleep before work, and repeating this over a couple of weeks with longer sessions at weekends.
WHAT WOULDN'T YOU RUN WITHOUT (SHOES DOESN'T COUNT!)
The Suunto Ambit is perfect for the adventures and races that I am involved in
WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURTIE TRAINING ROUTE?
At the moment I live in Surrey, and I train around the Devil's Punchbowl - It's great training ground and it's gently undulating with beautiful views. The trail conditions are always perfect underfoot, whether hard, muddy or covered in snow.
IF YOU COULD COMPETE IN ONE LAST RACE – WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I've been invited to run La Ultra in the Himalayas this summer, so I suppose it would have to be that one. That will mean I've run deserts, jungles, sub-Arctic, Arctic, mountains and high altitude. I think that's reasonable.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE TRAINING OR RACING PARTNER?
There isn't anyone who I train with or race with. When I do the North Pole record attempts I'll have a kiwi friend, Jerym Brunton, with me - he's finished the Yukon Arctic Ultra twice too, and the Alaska Ultra Sport. It's important we work together because we should be faster that way. It will definitely be safer. Other than that I just train and race by myself. The various sides of my personality are more than enough company for me - it's like Golem in my head sometimes.