Carla is a record breaking ultra runner, adventurer and running coach who seeks out events that are slightly harder than the average. She loves pushing her body to the limits by running a long way, up mountains, around islands and recently running the length of Great Britain from Land’s End to John O’Groats and setting a new ladies World Record along the way. Carla started running at school when she was 14 and over the past 20 years has built up the distances from 800 meters to multi day 874 miles running projects. Carla has represented Great Britain at the 100km World Championships and is a HOKA ONE ONE athlete.
What made you want to attempt the LEJOG?
As the world went into lockdown last year all my races were cancelled so I thought I would plan a running adventure instead and LEJOG just jumped out at me as the one I wanted to try.
What was one of the biggest challenges during it and how did you overcome it?
I had some issues with my shin on day 9 but my support team was amazing and did everything to problem solve it. Turns out that I had a skin infection. I was quickly put on antibiotics to stop it from getting any worse.
What was your most memorable moment during it?
Running across this hill range just south of Edinburgh called the Pentlands. It was the only time on the run that I got to run on trail and it was amazing. The sun was setting, the ground was soft, there were no cars or people and for that 6 mile stretch and I felt amazing.
What does it feel like to hold the record for LEJOG?
To be honest it still doesn’t feel like I hold a World Record. Maybe I need to hang my certificate on the wall to remind myself that I have one!
What are your goals for the rest of 2021?
To qualify for Western States, break the British 100km record and set the Fastest Known Time for the GR10. The GR 10 is a French GR footpath, or hiking trail, that runs the length of the Pyrenees Mountains. It roughly parallels the French–Spanish border on the French side. It's 538.1 miles long.
What made you choose ultra running?
I am not sure if I chose it, it was just a progression from starting running as a child and building up the distances over the years. I do like racing but I really enjoy putting a backpack on and going running for a few days around a mountain or island. That is my favorite type of ultra running.
What does your weight training consist of and which exercises do you feel helps your running the most?
I run a program called Strength, Conditioning and Yoga for Runners. I set this up because a lot of runners know they need to do S&C but don’t know where to start and I was getting annoyed at going to yoga for runners classes where the teacher wrapped her legs around her head where I can’t touch my toes. So I went and got my yoga qualification and the whole program is designed so that it is short, sharp, manageable sessions (30 to 40 minutes) and every single exercise that I include is designed for runners, by a runner! I find that single leg balancing, lunges and squats help my running the most.
What’s the weirdest thing that happened to you running?
I was on a running project from Cape Town to Comrades and really needed to go for a pee so I nipped into some bushes and found a wooden box that I could hold onto to balance myself. Turns out the box was actually a bee hive and as soon as I started to pee I got swamped by bees and the sight of me running back towards my team with bees chasing me amused them A LOT! As for me, not so much!
What’s your pet peeve?
Runners not saying "hi" to each other when you pass them. Just give me a smile!
What’s your biggest fear?
Getting chased by a bear. I know I don’t live anywhere near bears but if I did this would scare me, haha!
What's your favorite kind of cake?
Lemon meringue pie, specifically from a bakery in Balitto South Africa that I always get before and after Comrades! It is the best running fuel and you get a slice the size of your head!
What's it like to run for Hoka?
I have only just started running for them in January but I love it. They are a great brand and I love that they champion a huge range of runners from complete beginners to elites.
Do you like ice baths?
Can I love them and hate them? I think they are amazing and they work really well for me but that feeling of getting into them gives me shivers just thinking about it!
In your free time when you’re not running, what hobby’s do you enjoy?
Baking and cooking. I find it really relaxing and you get a great treat once you are done as you get to eat all the amazing food you have created.
What's the most important tip you like to give new runners?
You will have good days and bad days but that is part of the process. Embrace it and when you get to your race/goal and look back at all those hard runs you got through you will be very proud of yourself!
When it comes to running, what is your greatest strength and weakness?
My biggest strength is that I will try everything and give every race a bash. For me it’s important to take any opportunity that I am given. My biggest weakness is my downhill technical running. I am just a bit of a wuss and wish I wasn’t as scared running on the crazy rocky trails.
Who is someone you look up to in the sport?
Mimi Anderson. She is bloody amazing, does super hard races and I guess paved the way for female ultra runners in the UK and she looks bloody glamorous in every run she does. No idea how she does it!
Who is your favorite athlete to train with?
I have to pick two as they train together but Laura Muir and Jemma Reekie, I loved the times that I have trained with them as they train so hard but have fun at the same time.
What’s next for Carla Molinaro?
Hopefully Canyons 100km. Keeping my fingers crossed that it goes ahead!
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