Paviter ran his first ultramarathon nearly three years ago in November 2011 to celebrate his birthday. Since then he has become a devotee of the sport (or lifestyle as he likes to refer to it) and somewhat of a celebrity amongst the Asian ultra running community. His positive outlook on life and racing and appreciation of the gifts that ultrarunning can bring make him a justifiably popular character. We talked to Pav about training, racing and how competing in ultras has changed his whole outlook on life.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TRAINING WITH MILE 27 FOR?
I’ve been training with Mile 27 for one year and three months.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTERESTED IN THE SPORT?
I had been running road races for quite a few years, completing half-marathons and marathons. But there was always a fascination of pushing myself further and getting outdoors into the unknown. I spent many days daydreaming of how or what I could do, and stumbled across ultramarathon running. Nothing can ever replace the satisfaction of being part of this sport.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE RACE SO FAR?
That’s a good question, can I say all of them? 🙂 Every race has presented its own unique challenge, no two races are the same. But if I had to choose one, it might be The North Face 100km Australia this year. It was one of those days where everything went to plan. I had been training hard for a year and was raring to get the bronze buckle, after missing it by 5 minutes in 2013. My 2013 timing was 20hrs 05mins, after which I started training with Mile 27. My 2014 timing for TNF Australia 100km was 16hrs 09mins, a whopping 4hrs quicker than the year before. Everything went smoothly and it boiled down to terrain-specific training by Andy. It was a beautiful day. Wonderful weather, great support and cold beer at the finish line!
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM A RACE?
I do stop to take in the remarkable terrain in a race. Those memories are lifelong and are a reminder of how small we really are. There was a time at Vallorcine during the UTMB CCC race which I vividly remember. It was dark and I had a massive hill to climb. All I could see were headlamps going higher, higher and higher. All I could think of was, “I have to climb up there? Alright, head down, let’s do this”. Funnily enough, I do remember the painful moments the most, as they serve as a reminder to my weaknesses and that I am only human.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ULTRAMARATHON ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
Probably completing the UTMB CCC race has to be my biggest ultramarathon achievement so far. When I had first started ultramarathon running in 2011, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine running in such a race. But just being part of the atmosphere, running through massive mountains and crossing that finish line was such an amazing feeling. Words can’t really describe how it felt. It took about two years of preparation for this race and it paid off. It meant a lot to me, especially coming from Singapore which is a really flat country. We have one hill that’s about 100m high, so dealing with 800-1200m climbs was a huge step up for me.
WHAT IS ON YOUR RACING BUCKETLIST?
It’s a never ending list, but here’s a snapshot 🙂
TNF Endurance Challenge 50-miler (San Francisco) – I’ve heard it’s a beautiful race to run
UTMB 100 miler
UTMF 100 mile
Ocean Floor Race 260 mile
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM ULTRAMARATHONS? WHAT HAVE THEY TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE AND YOURSELF?
Ultramarathons have completely changed my outlook on life and myself. It’s taught me to reflect more on myself and to be patient. This sport is quite a zen sport. Well, I consider it more as a lifestyle than a sport, where it’s become part of what I do and how I think. To be prepared for the worst is another aspect of ultramarathon running which I have learnt as well. In a race, the worst can…and probably will happen at any point.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF TRAINING?
I do quite like speed training :). The adrenaline rush makes me feel so alive! The long runs are a nice way to detach myself as well. I think it’s so important to do that in a busy urban environment.
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BENEFITED FROM TRAINING WITH MILE 27?
Today, I’m quicker, stronger and faster than before, thanks to Mile 27. They key benefit I’ve gained is to train for specific terrain. Before Mile 27, I was probably doing mostly junk miles :).
Mile 27 has also helped me visualise and plan my ultramarathon races as well. There’s so much planning involved!
WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU WOULD GIVE A FELLOW ATHLETE TO HELP THEM ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING AN ULTRA MORE?
Stop to enjoy the view. You are running in an environment where most people probably may not be able to see or experience. Be in touch with the earth and trails, feel the blades of grass as you’re running. It’s not a sprint, and channel your inner energy.
WHAT IS YOUR NEXT RACE?
Hopefully the UTMF 100 miler. It’ll be my first ever 100 miler! :).