As I thought of different titles for this blog, I jokingly thought to myself, "yeah, catch up with Mike if I'm in a car." or "maybe I should title it, I want to be like Mike." only to stick with this because calling him the human Energizer Bunny may not be unique either. Before I get into our discussion, I would like to mention that Mike has just ran the fastest known time on The Israel National Trail. He completed the 631 miles in 10 days, 16 hours, and 36 minutes. For those who don't know about Mike Wardian, this isn't shocking to his fans, but this was also a little out of his comfort zone. Before he left for this attempt, I was able to ask him some questions and this was our discussion.
You recently completed your second World Marathon challenge; how was this experience compared to the first?
I think my experience at the World Marathon Challenge in 2019 was a lot different than 2017. I really struggled with some of the races in 2019 and I think that caused me to love it even more. The route in 2019 in order was Antarctica, Cape Town, South Africa, Perth, Australia, Dubai, UAE, Madrid, Spain, Santiago, Chile, Miami, USA.
What were you able to take from the first experience to help this time?
I think what I took from the first experience that helped with this most recent was to be flexible. There will be challenges with just getting to each race course so just relax and let it happen.
What made you run the challenge again? Will you do it a 3rd time?
I wanted to tackle the World Marathon Challenge again because I thought I could improve on my 2017 time and I loved the new route. I would definitely do the WMC again if I had the opportunity because I think it would be awesome to get to share the experience with a new group of people. We really had a great community and it was so cool to be a part of.
What was one of your biggest challenges this time?
I had some challenges in that I got sick on the trip to Santiago. I didn't feel well and running when you are not feeling great and having stomach issues is tough.
What is the traveling situation like between races?
We had great accommodations on the flights between the continents and we really had a great opportunity to rest. I didn't do really well sleeping as that was something that I thought I would do better in 2019 and I definitely didn't.
What was the toughest race?
The toughest day for me was Santiago, Chile. I was feeling really bad, I couldn't eat much and then had stomach issues which caused a few bathroom breaks.
What made you decide to continue for 3 more marathons in 3 more days on your own?
I wanted to race the 3 additional marathons to try and earn a Guinness World Record and also to see how my body would feel and I loved it. I got stronger and stronger each day.
You recently ran the fasted known time on the Washington & Old Dominion trail. Can you tell us about the trail and the experience?
I had a blast! It took me 5 hours, 6 minutes, and 10 seconds to finish and the best part is that it is a trail that I use on an almost daily basis and has been a backbone of my training since I started running back in 1995. The trail is an asphalt-surfaced paved rail trail that runs through densely populated urban and suburban communities as well as through rural areas.
Do you own any other fastest known times?
I am lucky to have also set the fastest known time on the 184.5 Mile Chesapeake and Ohio canal last year. It was an incredible 36 hours.
Will we see you make another attempt at the Barkley's marathon?
I would definitely like to try and do the Barkley's Marathons again because I think it is an incredible challenge and every year I have gone I have learned more about myself as a person and athlete.
You are known for run commuting to work. What tips do you have for people who would like to do it?
I am a big run commuter. (Mike wanted to note that he actually ran home after answering these questions) I think the biggest thing about Run or Bike Commuting is finding ways to make it sustainable. That means having a place where you can shower if you need, a place for your clothes, thinking about how you are going to get your food to and from work and then buying the best possible gear and equipment to make it easy and fun. I have a shower currently at work so I can shower if I need and then I have clothes that I can wear.
As a huge ambassador for Hoka, what's your favorite model to run in?
I am definitely a big fan of HOKA ONE ONE and I am sponsored athlete for them. My favorite models for roads are the Bondi 6, Clifton 5, and the Tracer. As for the trails, I like the Mafate Speed 2, SpeedGoat, and Torrent.
You recently ran a 17:01 5K with your dog Rosie; are all Vizsla's this fast or is Rosie just that amazing like you?
Yes, Rosie is very fast and I love running with her. Vizslas are a super incredible breed of dogs and they are known for their endurance, speed and being "velcro" dogs...they don't leave their people.
Over the years I have been able to meet Mike and chat with him on different occasions. He is an amazing runner with an even more amazing personality. He's will give 100% in a race, then stand in the finishing chute for a while and cheer on finishers and congratulate them as they cross the line, giving them high fives. I truly believe if all elite runners were as personable as he is, the sport would be even more popular because he makes us average people feel more connected to the sport and more encouraged to challenge ourselves as runners.