With days running out before the 2016 Skyrunning World Championships it’s about high time we got to know Salomon runner Majell Backhausen a little better. Majell has steadily risen through the Ultrarunning/Skyrunning ranks over the past few years and is now at the top of his game, winning and competing at the highest level in the sport. Also known as the thoughtful runner, Majell provides us with a philosophical look on his preparation for the race.
Skyrunning ANZ: What (special thing) have you done over the last few months to get ready for the world champs?
Majell: A Big thing for me was recovering from the Buffalo Stampede. That is where preparation starts, with adequate recovery. Then using the small stepping stones (shorter interval, higher Intensity) before the bigger stepping stone (Larger interval times, bigger sessions).
Skyrunning ANZ: Representing the country, what does it mean to you?
Majell: To have an opportunity like this, gives you a feeling deep down of joy and respect. Simple really. Its a point in time where you look back and think of every session you did and you can draw some additional respect for the benefits of dedication, determination and sticking to something you love, despite what many people advised against.
Its also a little bit of a middle finger to people from the past who thought, having a go at eating healthy, cutting back on the party and going against the grain in order to achieve something for a personal reason, was ‘uncool’ and mocked it. At the same time though, I have compassion for those people, understanding it’s not easy to be different and I know deep down they could do it to if they tried.
Skyrunning ANZ: If you could give one tip a new runner looking to one day be standing in your shoes what would it be?
Majell: Go with what feels right. Work hard and work smart towards the goal. Read Jonathan Livingston Seagull- Thanks Robbie.
Skyrunning ANZ: When times get tough in training and racing what is your “secret” to keep pushing or go faster.
Majell: Keep moving forward, enjoy, smile and repeat. It’s all in the mind. Everything you need to keep going, you have within you, without an obvious issue like a broken leg or severe dehydration. Train your mental resilience in the time you have before the race. Acknowledging your preparation through reflection, can be a huge booster when you are deep in the pain cave.
Skyrunning ANZ: If you could run any trail or race in the world which would it be and why?
Majell: I would run around the world, maybe even twice. Every trail is special in its own way. Its the act of moving and being out there, that I really feed off. At the same time, its the people you can share it with also that can make a trail so much better then it may be in a photo. Enjoy it for what it is not, where it is, this is sometimes tough, but it teaches gratitude.
And here is an insight into a week in the life of Majell as he prepares for the race of a lifetime.
Monday- 42km with 3000m of climbing- Running Harrietville, Mt Feathertop, Diamantina Spur, Mt Loch, Mt Hotham & Razor Back
Tuesday- 18km with 1500m of descending- Mt Feathertop to Harrietville.
Thursday- Core 30min & Run 20km with 3x 8min repeats
Friday- Core 45min & Run easy 15km
Saturday- Run 20km with 3x 8min repeats
Sunday- Run easy and enjoy the adventure 1hr 45min