Akos Konya - Hungary
I started running when I was 12, and I started orienteering. I don't know if you have heard
about this sport. You have to run in a forest with a map and compass in your hands, and you
have to find checkpoints. My running was always faster than my thinking so I always got
Running is a challenge for me, but you don┐t have to be with a team. All you need to run is
a pair of running shoes. You can run anywhere, anytime. I always wanted to run a marathon, so
when I was 15, I ran my first one on a regular track. A couple of friends came over and
they were counting the laps with marks on a piece of paper┐106. It took almost 4 hours.
After that I started doing track and field and I was competing like 800 meters to 10000
meters. I did some half-marathons and marathons. I went to a teacher's training college in
Hungary and I hurt my knee practicing basketball. I think it was Patellar Tendonitis. I got a
surgery in 2001. Of course, it didn't help.
I stopped running for almost 2 years, and I tried to accept that there would be no more
running for me. I couldn't. In 2003, I started jogging around my house. I did like 5K. Very
slow. But I realized that if I run slow my knee doesn't hurt, and I felt I could run forever.
So, I started looking up long races online. I was looking for something that is longer than a
marathon and something flat. So I found a 24 Hour Race in San Diego [San Diego One Day] in
November 2003. It was my first ultra race.
During the preparation and after that race I got injured all the time. I have been trying to
find the best shoes, the best surface, the best training methods, the best training distance
for me, but I haven't found them. Well, I keep trying.
Last year I ran Badwater [135 mile race from Death Valley to Mt. Whitney]. It┐s considered
the world┐s toughest footrace. I just wanted to finish. I didn┐t know if my body could do that.
But, I finished 2nd.