We spoke to Debbie Martin-Consani about her recent run at Transgrancanaria and her forthcoming races. Debbie has been a regular on ultra podiums in recent years, winning the Lakeland 100 in 2014 and the North Downs Way 100 in 2016 amongst many others, and has racked up some great performances at 24 hour championships for Team GB. Debbie is sponsored by Montane and she will be having a crack at what's surely one of the ultimate mountain races - the Montane Tor des Geants - in September this year.
Debbie, congratulations on your recent run at Transgrancanaria! Can you tell us a little bit about that? And have your bruises faded yet?
Debbie: It was an amazing race. As expected, it was challenging. Climbing and descending 8000 metres is a test for anyone’s quads, but it was a phenomenal experience. The views and route are stunning, the people were fantastic and the energy the races bring to the island cannot be put into words. In the latter stages, I had a bit of a problem staying on my feet. Energy depletion and tired legs meant I wasn’t picking my feet up properly and kept tripping over rocks. Decking it a few times on the downhill and then a few more times a dried riverbed a few times certainly left a few marks. Makes for good finishing pictures though.
Debbie in familiar winning mode
Do you have any other races planned in preparation for Tor des Geants?
Debbie: TGC was my test race. I’ll be honest and say half way round, I had a massive confidence crash. But like most races, I only remember the good bits now. I’m doing Stirling Marathon in July and then a 24-hour race (on a flat one-mile loop) in July, so probably the worst options for tune-up races, but I’ve got a good solid month of hill training from the end of July. If my legs play ball.
Run247: How are you going to be preparing for TdG? Will you be changing the way you train for something so much longer and with more elevation that you’re used to?
Debbie: Once I’ve got the 24-hour training and race out of the way, I think I’ve got endurance covered. It will all about hills and power-hiking. Living in Scotland and within a couple of hours of the Lake District, I’ve got plenty of options for hills. Although I have to do a few reps of them to replicate anything close to the TDG mountains. One of my favourite training runs is doing three laps of Ben Lomond, as it’s the closest Munro to my house. Confusing the tourists, by lapping them, is a big part of the fun.
Debbie putting some of the Montane kit through its paces
What will your key pieces of kit be for TdG?
Debbie: The weather seems to be quite varied, so I think there will be a few outfit changes. I’m a big fan of the skort and vest for fair temperatures. The Minimus 777 smock is my favourite bit of kit for rain. It’s in the men’s range, but I have the XS and it’s great. In the winter, I don’t go near mountains without my Spine Jacket and Minimus Trousers. When I’m tired and moving slowly, I will need winter kit to keep me going.
Run247: I know you have a busy job and you’re mum to a young son. What are your top tips for fitting in the training for big events when time is at a premium?
Debbie: I don’t find the time, I make the time. Taking into account the working day, a commute and a good night’s sleep, the average person has approximately 60 hours of free time a week. I fit in the miles around work, family and an ultra-running husband by running to and from work, doing speed sessions at lunchtime and getting out early at the weekend. I don’t really get the opportunity to enjoy nights out, lie-ins, relaxing weekends or even wait for the rain to go off. But that suits me, as running is more important. I organize my training week – knowing exactly when I’m going to run - and I stick to it. If you want something, you will find a way.
Run247: Lastly, you have one of the coolest Twitter handles in the world ever. Have you ever been contacted accidentally by hip hop fans?
I impressed myself coming up with @UltraRunDMC
. Unfortunately I’m not cool enough for hip-hop fans. Actually I’m a teetotal vegan who can’t stay awake past 10pm. I’m not cool enough for most people.
Images by Thomas Loehndorf