Known by many as ‘Snake Man’, Andy Turner is well known in Australia for his ultra marathon exploits. Best suited to multi-day events in tropical climes, he’s a man that likes to suffer. Later this year he’s taking on the might of the Kokoda Ultra Marathon (www.kokodaxtreme.com.au) so ahead of that we thought we should get to know a bit about what makes this madman tick.
What got you into the sport of ultra running?
Injury (knee) rehabilitation got me into running and OXFAM got me into the long stuff.
Were you always a runner?
I do remember coming 3rd in a cross-country in junior school but didn’t really get into running until my mid 20’s.
As far as trails go, it seems the longer and gnarlier the better for you! What is it about the long stuff that draws you to it?
Challenges, I like to test the body and mind constantly. The longer the harder basically, and lets face it we do this stuff for a challenge, right?? Harsher conditions, be it heat, wet, mountains, jungle all makes for more fun and greater challenges equalling greater rewards.
How does a stage race differ from a normal ultra?
The comeradarie of a stage race is the big stand out for me. In terms of the event itself there is more planning and strategy involved – nutrition, hydration, foot care, recovery, etc.
How does your training change?
For a self-supported stage race like Kakoda Ultra Marathon I will make sure I am used to my pack and the weight I will be carrying. As a starting point I get all mandatory gear, nutrition and comfort food together, this will give me an idea of pack size and weight. Once I have settled on the pack I’m going to use I will then start training with it gradually increasing the weight until I’m training with the full starting weight. I will also do back to back training to get used to the pressures that stage races can have on the body.
You’ve done some cool events around the world, what has been a highlight?
Yes I am fortunate enough to have travelled the globe adventuring. There is no one standout highlight, I loved and have very fond memories of Kokoda 2012 (my first international ultra where I was majorly under prepared but did wrestle a 16ft snake), Cambodia 220km stage race (with my brother), RunIndia (supporting Sam Gash), Amazon Jungle Marathon (once in a lifetime adventure), Expedition Africa.
What’s your favourite Australian event?
Favourite Aus event would have to be XPD – 7 day nonstop adventures in teams of 4. Running wise I do love OXFAM, 2 Bays and GOW100.
Later this year you are running Kokoda Ultra Marathon. What attracted you to the event?
The jungle, I love the harshness and unpredictability of wild jungle. The adventure is going to be epic.
What do you think the track has in store for you and what are you most looking forward to?
It’s going to be hot, humid, wet, muddy = perfect!!! But to be honest I am really looking forward to getting to know all the other competitors and hearing their stories.
For anyone new to stage racing, what advice can you offer them? Read FIX YOUR FEET by John Vonhof – if your feet break down the rest of your body (and mind) will follow. Also PACK LIGHT, take ONLY what you 100% need.