Interview with Michael Wardian

Image by Rodolfo Soto "Talking Faces/Rostros que hablan" World Marathon Challenge 2017

Michael Wardian


Is an American marathoner, trail and ultra-marathoner. Has won the US 50 km championships (2008-10) and the U.S. National 100 km championship in 2008. Winner of the National Marathon (now known as the Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon) in Washington D.C. three consecutive years (2006–2008), and in 2010, 2011 and 2012.


It is a great honor to be able to interview you. You are a great role model for many and have contributed much to our sport of Trail-Ultra running. We have been following you the last 7 years. In this time you have set new records and participated in all continents.


Could you share with us some of does experiences?

MRW: I have had someone incredible experiences it has been a real treat to get to race as often as I have and in as many unique and cool places. I can't begin to describe how lucky I feel to get to do this stuff.


Taking you back some time, in the year 2014 you participated in Zugspitze Ultra Trail, Bavaria, Germany. How did you hear about this race and why did you decide to run the race?

MRW: I ran the Zugspitze Ultra Trail in Germany because a company that I work with UVU was having a team meeting in Germany and asked if we could race it.  I was really excited as I had never raced in the German mountains before and it was probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever run.


Had you raced in Germany before ZUT (Zugspitze Ultra Trail)?

MRW: No, I had never raced ZUT before.


The Week before you stayed in which Town? What do you think about the trails around town? Where you able to run with local trail runners?

MRW: The before the ZUT, we stay in Munich for a few days and then most of the time was in Garmisch.  Yes, I was able to run with local trail runners and my UVU teammates.


As we followed the race, you ran with the lead pack. What do you remember about the race course?

MRW: I do remember the race course and I really enjoyed it...


Could you tell us what happened the last Km of you race?

MRW: I had been in Ethiopia the weeks before the race and I got really bad stomach problems and at the end of the race I was not able to keep down any calories and I got super dizzy and I had to stop at one of the last aid station and end my race.  It was a bummer but I was really feeling terrible and I was unsafe to myself and others on those trails.


If you had the opportunity to run ZUT again, would you do it? What would you do different or not change your strategy? 

MRW: I would love to run ZUT again.  I would definitely run it hard and see what would happen.


Could you share some tips for anyone who would like to run ZUT this year?

MRW: I think that ZUT is a fair course, just know there is a big climb at the end and be ready for it..


Switching continents and going to South America, what was your experience in Peru? Did you do something fun there?

MRW: I love South America, the people are incredible and the cities are vibrant and alive and the mountains are legit.  Yes, I have done a few fun things in Peru and I think a highlight was the Andes Race and of course seeing Machu Picchu.


Who contacted you to travel to Peru and why?

MRW: I was reached out to by the some of the race directors for the Andes Race and they wanted me to race the event and let them know what I thought about it.


You took part of the Inaugural race called “Andes Race”, could you share with us your experiences before, during and after Andes Race?

MRW: Yes, I did take part in the first "Andes Race" and my experience was complicated in that I loved Peru but I got really sick from some food that I had so I got my first bout of Giardia and I was not sure I was going to be able to race the Andes Race but I saw a doctor and was able to get some antibotics that helped to allow me to start.  I had no energy but I finished the event and went top 10 so I was really happy.  The race was incredible, super course, well marked, thought out and beautiful, just stunning.

Post Andres Race was cool too, I liked the festive atmosphere and the little town it finished in was great. 


This year will be it 3rd edition and the main race has been modified from 80 km to 100km, having seen the 80km course what could you for see about the extra 20 km? Will it make the race a much interesting event for international runners?

MRW: I think that having 100K will be great, the course is really challenging and fair and I would love to run 20K more there for sure.


What other races in south America have you raced?

MRW: I have raced a bunch of other trail races in South America like TNF Ecuador 80K, TNF Chile 80K, TNF Peru 80K, each have been stunning and cool.


Which race have you not yet raced and would like to participate in?

MRW: I am really excited about running the Hardrock 100 Miler this year and I would like to run the Leadville 100 Miler.  Other races in South America that I would like to do is the Brazil 135 and something in Chile and Colombia for sure.  I would like to get back to Peru and in central america I would like to do more in Costa Rica and other places.


Our greater audience is “Latino” specially from central America, aside from the Coastal Challenge in Costa Rica (great stage race!) have you participated in other races in central America?

MRW: Yes, I have run the TNF 80K in Costa Rica and loved it and the race directors and other athletes.


If given the chance, would you like to participate in races in Central America?

MRW: Yes, I love racing in different parts of the world.


Have you heard of races like Ultra Trail de Guatemala? Where? How?

MRW: I have not heard of the Ultra Trail de Guatemala but sounds cool.  Would love to know more about it.


Moving away from organized races and into personal goals, do you have any plans of going off and running your own adventure? Setting a new FKT?

MRW: Yes, sounds good and yes, I definitely have some adventures and I would love to run a marathon or ultra marathon in outspace like on the Moon or somewhere and I am interested in doing some FKTs and would like to do a fastest time across the Panama Canal if we are keeping it in central america.


We see a trend of speedy runners going into too steep mountain races, do you have any predictions of what we can expect for the future of our sport?

MRW: I love seeing people coming into the sport and I believe we are going to continue to see more and more athletes getting into ultra running and mountain running and I think that is great and I hope that means we have more people doing cool stuff.


I would like to ask one more…


What would you say to your boys if the come to you and say?

I want to run ultras like you dad, what can you teach me?

MRW: I would love it if the boys came to me and said that, and I would definitely help them and 

do anything I could help them.  I think they will be great at it when they are ready, they are a bit young still but soon..wink.


Thank you again for your time. Like I said, it is an honor Sir!

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