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Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Sharing Miles With Friends - The Key to Success...

Photo by Katie Stapleton

Here at F4URCE we were very excited to get an opportunity to host a Q&A with this year’s TSP DIY Solo Winner Zandy Mangold. In all honesty we were unaware of Zandy until we were reviewing the final leader board for this year’s TSP. The solo results blew our minds….170.77km

It was our duty to find out more about the man behind this great feat of human endurance!!

Zandy Mangold grew up in rural New Hampshire but now lives in Brooklyn, NY. After graduating from Connecticut College (where he earned Academic All-American honours in cross-country), he embarked upon a career as a photojournalist. Whilst on assignment covering Racing the Planet - The 4 Deserts Ultramarathon, he was first introduced to ultrarunning.

One look at this man’s PB’s and accomplishments and you know you’re dealing with a machine. His stats give you a glimpse into the man that smashed out 170.77km in 26:59:51!

Zandy very graciously agreed to humour us (mere mortals, by his achievements) and answer our questions about his experience in the 2021 TSP DIY. Here’s what he had to say;

How long before the race did you start training? I did not train for this race specifically, because I was trying to recover from the Western States 100 that I ran in late June. I was basically just trying to get to the start of the TSP DIY, healthy, as opposed to being in great shape. Instead of having a training block that was dedicated to the race, I did a couple runs where I practiced running and walking because this was my planned strategy for the speed project. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience racing ultras and 24 hour races, so I’m comfortable with pacing, fuelling and keeping cool during the race, so I thought I would rely on my experience rely on my mental strength when the going got tough - as it always does in an ultra!

How did you feel on the morning before the race started? I felt good on the morning of the race! A lot of that had to do with showing up at the Adidas hub in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and feeling the positive and excited vibes of everyone around me. Plus, it was a huge relief to see that I would be able to crew myself from the Brooklyn hub and have support just in case I needed it.

Could you run us through the event from your perspective? Whilst the race got progressively harder, thanks to the time on my feet, for the most part it was super smooth. I just remember my face hurting from smiling so much! I ran/walked mostly in Williamsburg and Greenpoint Brooklyn, and a lot of friends came out for segments. Some even came out on both days. Catching up with friends, some of whom I had not seen for quite some time because of the pandemic was the most incredible part of the experience! The hardest part of the race was starting running again after a two-hour nap in the early morning because my body had tightened up. One of the most memorable experiences was nodding off in the Adidas hub and listening to a dub soundtrack while I was in and out of consciousness. I will never forget that moment as music and experiences combined have a way of tattooing themselves into my consciousness. I must thank Jesse Zsapo for the tunes.

As far as the performance perspective is concerned, I kept my heart rate low by alternating running and walking. As soon as it got hot, I put ice in my hat. I fuelled and hydrated consistently and ate some incredible blueberry cake made by... Jamie James?! I kept an eye on the leader board and just tried to stay near the top and readied myself for a push, if necessary.

Friends came out at all hours with a range of treats lol - Toni Mayo left, Becca Ades right

What would you change in how you prepared or competed, knowing what you know now? A lot of things went right including my Hammer Gel and Heed Fuelling strategy and my pacing. But I’d like to have put in a focused training block so I could race harder. It was hard coming off of a tough race like Western States and then asking my body to go long again. I absolutely loved running in Brooklyn; the format of the race allows you to race anywhere. The race is a great excuse to see the world. Eleuthera, Bahamas is 110 miles long and could be a perfect setting…

Is there anything you’d change about the race to improve it? I would love to see even more runners involved because it is a truly unique opportunity.

With about four hours to go by sat down on the track and took off my shoes. Exhausted, but feeding off Hammer gel and the energy of friends that came out.

Will you compete again next year? Not sure yet, but it’s on the radar!

Of all the events you’ve competed in, where does TSP rank? I love the fact that the TSP DIY solo puts you in the position to challenge yourself as much or as little as you want. Unlike other races where you will miss a cut-off or drop-out if you stop running long enough, with this event, once you start it’s not over until the clock stops. A little deranged, but an incredible challenge :)

Some people went out very fast, so I was not close to the top until about 16 - 20 hours into the race, at which point I started to pay attention to the leader board. It was exciting checking the leader board because you never knew how many miles somebody else was going to upload, so until the final results were called officially, I was not sure where I truly stood. I added a little surge towards the end because I saw I was close to the top and figured that would be necessary just in case somebody else had the same thing in mind…

What was the highlight of the entire race? The best part was sharing miles with friends all throughout the 30 hours!

Photos by Christina Velez

Machine! was our first thought (after reading Zandy’s stats) and we were slightly scared that was able to go straight into TSP off the back of another ultrarun. Imagine (the outcome) if he’d specifically trained for the TSP! After speaking with Zandy it’s clear to us that that his passion for ultrarunning is greater than the win (he just happens to be really really good at it!). It’s not about pushing yourself to breaking point; it’s the vibe and the love of the run shared by every participant and every supporter; It’s about knowing your limits and then believing that you’re strong enough to not only keep going but to step it up to the next level!

Zandy’s words inspire us to dream bigger and aim higher. Who knows...…watch out TSP 2022, here comes F4URCE!

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