Although his attempt may not have culminated in success, you have to give Marty Dent a big hand for having the balls to go all out with his very first bash at the 100km distance. Having interviewed Marty prior to his attempt, you could always see that this was going to go one of two ways… a new Aussie record, or a crash and burn. Unfortunately, it was the latter that we saw last Saturday as Marty’s push for 100km glory saw him pull up short at around 70kms.
Was it a bridge too far to convert a top-end marathon time into a record-breaking 100km time – it appears so on this occasion, and it shows that success in a marathon isn’t going to guarantee the same result in 100kms. Getting the pacing right for the step-up is a critical component, as running 100kms is not the same as saying it’s 2.3 marathons. On paper it is, but in effort, it’s a least 3 times that, probably 3.5 for most of us mere mortals.
But despite the result, you have to applaud Marty for going at it like a bull in a china shop and we hope, a further bash in the future at this distance and more. To drive standards in ultra running, it’s essential that the likes of Marty and others in the elite end of mainstream running step over from time to time so that we can learn from them too.
We caught up with Marty after his attempt to get his view on how things went, where things started to go wrong and what his plans are for the future. Will he stick to the road, or will we see him at the likes of Six Foot track in a few years? Here’s what he had to say…
Was it stomach issues that caused you to pull out? If so, is there anything you would change at all?
I felt the plan I had mapped out beforehand was good, but during the race I don’t think I was actually absorbing that much. I estimate I was having 500ml of water per hour and 200 calories per hour for the first three hours, but possibly the physical intensity wouldn’t allow me to absorb it.
At 65km I threw up a lot of fluid and started running much slower (a couple of 5min kilometres). I hoped I might be able to get going and struggle in under 7 hours, but 3km later I threw up again and then just walking became really hard. I felt cold and my lower body started seizing up, making walking uncomfortable. At that point I had to concede that there was no way I was getting through another 30km.
It was pretty disappointing being back home in bed when I should have been finishing; but I don’t regret having a crack, even if in hindsight I was a bit too aggressive in regards to the pace I set out on for my first 100km. It was my first ever proper DNF (I once pulled out after going the wrong way in race).
Do you think your body was conditioned to run at that pace for that distance?
Obviously not; it broke down with 35km to go! I thought it would be OK at that pace, but it wasn’t. However, I am confident I could have covered the distance if I had went out at a slower pace. The intensity was probably just a little too much to absorb the nutrition I tried to take in.
Is there anything about your training that you would have changed now that you’ve had a crack at 100kms?
Sure, I would probably do some longer duration training runs beforehand (my longest was 3hrs 30min – 50km). I would also do a little more specific practice with the nutrition side as well.
How did you find pacing yourself for this attempt, and was it difficult to hold back in those first 40-50kms?
The first couple of kms were a little quick, but then I settled in and felt fine at 3:45- 3:50min/km. I was a little ahead of schedule the entire first 50km but it felt so easy I didn’t want to back off.
It was a little difficult to hold back, although I felt the intensity was appropriate. At about 50km I could feel some fatigue coming on and a few aches. I told myself its half way and often in road races I am hurting at half way, although I only usually have 5-10km to go not 50km!
What do you think you’ve learned from this experience and are you going to have another crack at an ultra?
Possibly to be a little more conservative with my pacing. I now also have a good respect for the distance and the people who do these races. In terms of another ultra? I probably will. Maybe starting with something in between the marathon and 100km distances. I am doing a six-hour rogaine with Rob Walter this weekend, so I think I have recovered pretty well.
Do you think we’ll see you at something such as the 6ft track trail race?
Maybe one day, it might be a good way of doing some races of 3-4 hours duration which could help me to eventually run well over 100km.
Additionally, do you think trail running is something you’d like to pick up in later years, or will you always be a roadie?
I have done plenty of trail races here in Canberra (including some hilly ones), but nothing over 25km. I have also run solid at cross-country plenty of times. It seems the long trail races are where it’s at in regards to the international ultra scene, so I expect I will have to have a crack at an ultra trail race at some point.
Thanks again to Marty for is time, it’s invaluable to get the insight of a great Aussie Olympic road runner and we hope to see him in the future giving that 100km road record a real thrash next time!