Marcel McKinley

Runners Information

Your Name: Marcel

Occupation: Zookeeper

Home Town: I live in Watford, but my nationality is Hungarian.

Website/Blog: https://monkeymarcel.wordpress.com/

What is your running background?

I have been running since high school. I finished my first marathon in 2009 and my first ultra just a couple of years later.

When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?

My first ultra was a low key 50km race in Lovell Canyon, Nevada. It was a day after a marathon. Basically just wanted to see if I could pull off two back to back races.

When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?

Transgrancanaria. My favourite race.

What are your personal key running achievements to date?

My first silver buckle in the Western States 100 mile race from last year; my first sub-24-hour finish in Transgrancanaria last year; finishing my second Magredi Mountail Trail 100 mile race in 34 hours and enjoying most of it even though it had rained for about 26-28 hours; finishing my first Saprtathlon last year.

What was your hardest race experience?

Hahaha! Too many to choose from… I do experience extreme highs and extreme lows in longer races and if I don’t eat enough and/or I’m sleepy, I can be a drama queen.

What events do you have planned for 2017 up to Spartathlon?

4 marathons in the spring, Transgrancanaria – this time 84km distance, GUCR, Lavaredo Ultra Trail, UTMB, Karsruhe Marathon in Germany 2 weeks before the Spartathlon and Berlin Marathon 5 days before the Spartathlon.

What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?

I haven’t figured it out, yet. Races can be so different, I mean I wouldn’t have the same strategy for a mountainous 100km race and a flat 100 miler.

What does a typical training week look like?

I run 6 days a week. That includes one or two longer runs, one or two pace/tempo runs and the rest are just easy runs.

What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?

If you feel dead at the halfway point, you’re pretty much doomed. You don’t have to feel fresh, but it makes a huge difference if you feel OK.

Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?

I don’t think it’s interesting, but people normally comment on how cool they think it is to be a zookeeper.

Spartathlon Questions

Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?

Yes, managed to – just – finish in last year’s event.

What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?

The scenery and the people.

What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?

Trying not to think about the whole distance because it IS a long way.

How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?

Trying to spend as much time as I can in a sauna. Also doing some cross training exercises and trying to improve my flexibility.

Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?

This time, I will. Rusty and Zoe will help me to get to Sparta. They’d better have a clean sock ready to shove in my mouth when I start complaining.