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Thursday, March 4, 2021

En Route to a 100K Ultra-Marathon: In Conversation with Sascha von Rappard

Sascha von Rappard (or simply Sash von R) talks about training for an Ultra-Marathon, his love for running and his business…

Fitness fanatic Sascha “Sash” von Rappard, is undertaking his biggest challenge yet. Namely, the Jurassic Coast Ultra-Marathon.

What is an Ultra-Marathon? It’s anything that exceeds 30 miles. The Jurassic Ultra starts in Poole Harbour, goes along the coast through Lulworth Cove to Weymouth, passes Portland, continues along the West Bay cliffs and finally finishes in Bridport.

Ultra-running is easily the most physically demanding and intense activity an athlete can do. Yet, apparently, it has become the fastest growing sport in the UK over the last year (largely attributed to the lockdowns). This year, on 2nd May, over 200 people are expected to participate in the Jurassic Ultra. All socially distanced of course. Runners can complete the ultra in various disciplines: 25K, 50K or 100K which can also be done during the two days.

“My aim is to do the 60 miles [100K] all in one go,” Sash told us. “I’m aiming for ten hours, or as close as possible to that, but if I can finish it under 12, I’ll be happy”. His target is dependent on the conditions of the terrain.

Sash is an experienced long-distance runner and all-round athlete. Formerly a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter (a physically gruelling sport in its own right), he is now an avid “adventure runner”. And a good one at that! He has set a personal best in the 10K of 44 minutes, which is considered exceptional. A far cry from a year ago, when Sash suffered an unknown injury to his foot that completely prevented him from running. One year on and he is running upwards of 200km a month. His passion for fitness comes from his father, who was a professional bodybuilder, and this inspired Sash to become a personal trainer.

WHY ARE YOU TAKING PART?

Sash is running the ultra-marathon to raise money for CLIC Sargent, a cancer charity. In honour of his grandfather as “cancer is something that effects a lot of us. It’s the biggest killer out there”. He has previously raised thousands for Julia’s House and thought it was time to raise awareness for some other charities. He has currently raised £500 and has an ultimate goal of £650.

Sash is also taking part in a 4x4x48 (4 miles, every 4 hours for 48 hours) between 5th and 7th March. He will run to raise money for MIND (a mental health charity). An issue that is prevalent now more than ever, with the pandemic affecting most people’s mental wellbeing. Then, if the London Marathon is still going ahead, he will raise money for a diabetes charity (still to be decided). The money Sash is raising for these various charities is a testament to his character.

HOW ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE ULTRA-MARATHON?

Image courtesy of @Wylde.Running | Instagram

“I train seven days a week mostly, and this past month I only had one day of no training. I’d say I’m out running five or six days a week. And then, two or three times a week I do some yoga and weight training”.

A training schedule as intense as this puts extra impetus on recovery. “When I come back from a long run, I usually jump into an ice bath”, he explained. Ice baths are essential for recovery as they reduce swelling and limit tissue breakdown. This allows Sash to carry out his gruelling workout regime the following day.

A training schedule as intense as this puts extra impetus on recovery. “When I come back from a long run, I usually jump into an ice bath”, he explained. Ice baths are essential for recovery as they reduce swelling and limit tissue breakdown. This allows Sash to carry out his gruelling workout regime the following day.

He explained about one of his sessions:

“Poole Park is 0.4 miles, so I’ll start at the Pavilion, do 20 burpees, then run a lap. I’ll come back, do 19 burpees, then run another lap, and so on. Until I’m down to 1 burpee”. In total, Sash runs 10 miles and completes 210 burpees. Safe to say, it isn’t for the faint-hearted. To fully prepare for the 60 mile challenge, Sash goes for a ‘big’ run once a fortnight.

“Every other week, I’ll run 40km just to get the mileage in”. Here, Sash recreates the intensity and familiarises his body with the distance needed to complete the Jurassic Ultra.

WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF THE ULTRA-MARATHON?

“The training and the anxiety leading up to the day is the toughest part,” Sash revealed. “I need to make sure that I’m training, recovering and fuelling my body in the right way so that I can actually survive the day and come out without any injuries”.

But, whether you’re an elite runner or just a beginner, Sash said, “There is no perfect training formula to running an ultra. It’s all about listening to your body”.

This also applies to diet, as Sash explained. “Every run is different. I can go out one day having only eaten a couple of bananas and still run a 30K. Or I can have another day where I’m constantly eating and every 5K I’ll have to refuel”. Once again, it’s about listening to what the body needs.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO RUNNING?

“I started running about 10 years ago. It was mainly because I wanted people in my office to become more aware of their health and fitness”. The office started competing in obstacle courses and local races, with Sash conducting a 10-week training schedule for his colleagues. “It then became a passion of mine”.

The outcome of the run is what motivates and excites Sash, as he explained. “Coming home after a run, you can’t help but smile. You feel accomplished, alive; your blood is pumping, endorphins are going. That’s what motivates me to get out the door”. He went on to say, “Once you find your rhythm, you start controlling your breath, your pace and your body goes into autopilot. Your body is working in perfect harmony and for me that’s what running is all about”.

It’s only recently that Sash has rekindled his love for running and started taking it seriously. He pays homage to Maverick Racing, who organised some incredible virtual races during the first Lockdown. “I trained well ahead of the races and I ended up finishing in the Top Ten in the four events I took part in. Considering I’m not a short-distance runner, I really impressed myself”. Finishing in the Top Ten of a 400-person race is an achievement to be proud of.

WHY DID YOU START WYLDE FIT?

Sash started Wylde Fit after he lost the domain to his previous business, VR Fitness. On that site, he would blog about fitness, running, obstacle racing, combat sports as well as write reviews on brands he was testing like Under Armour, Nike and others.

The success of VR Fitness – valued at $19,000 – prompted Sash to start something similar called Wylde Fit. His 20 years of personal training experience led to Sash receiving a multitude of fitness requests. Since the launch, he has amassed quite the following because he practices what he preaches.

“I have rebranded the business model, so it’s more than your ordinary personal trainer. Instead of pushing you to lift as much as you can, or run as fast as you can, it’s about listening to our bodies. Teaching people to be the healthiest version of themselves by educating them on health and fitness, so it becomes a lifestyle choice as opposed to a chore”.

Find out more about Sascha von Rappard on his Instagram (and the same goes for Wylde Fit). For more local Sport stories, click here. Also, don’t forget to follow HQB on our socials. You can find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube.  

Jamie Guerra
Jamie Guerra
Jamie is a Bournemouth-bred, sports media graduate from the University of Chichester, looking to fulfil his lifelong ambition of working in the sports journalism field. He is a passionate and competitive sportsman, who has played numerous sports from the age of five. However, he is now converting his passion for sport away from the field to focus on his writing, and hopes to produce intelligent and insightful sport stories to share with a wider audience.

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