Competitor Spotlight – Week 15 – Owen Fletcher.
A couple of weeks back, we held a draw for 2 pairs of Columbia Montrails runners and one of winners pretty much photo-documented himself trialing them out. Some of the imagery was stunning & some was quite funny. Part of the prize was a free entry to the Moxie Adventure Race, where I ran into Owen at the starting line. Next time we met, Owen had already finished and changed after his race as I had just fell over the line. Clearly a different level. Ladies & gents, I give you Owen Fletcher….
How old are you?
33 (although I’m told I look younger).
Where are you from?
What got you into Adventure/Multi-sport racing?
A friend asked me to do an adventure race with him and I thought sure why not.
How many races have you done?
Just over 10 adventure races
But if I include running races, mountain races, triathlons, and aquathlons, I would guesstimate 150+.
When was your first race?
2013 was my first adventure race but I had been doing running races since around 2006 or so.
Which race was it?
Gaelforce West. I had never done a trail run before but I was cycling 30kms a day, 5 days a week in and out of work so I figured I should be able to get around. I had also agreed to do the Dublin City Marathon with a friend that year so figured I should be okay on the run sections. The kayak is short so I didn’t worry too much about that.
I totally underestimated the run sections…running through wet muddy fields, up rocky mountains was very different to flat tarmac roads but 5hrs and 12mins of adventure racing later and I was hooked!
Hard to choose, Quest Killarney is up there, being brutal and epic all at the same time but Gaelforce West will always be special for me as it was my first adventure race.
I would like to take part in some of the 24hr/multi day adventure races one day such as The Race or The Beast.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by the leaders of the adventure races. I like to think I’m fairly fit but seeing how these guys finish 30mins+ before me in the longer races is incredible. What am I doing wrong?
What’s the plans for the upcoming calendar year?
There’s an aquathlon, triathlon, a trail race or two and various road races in the calendar but no adventure races booked….yet ? I want to run a sub 1’20” half marathon so that’s the 2017 goal.
Which would you consider your strongest discipline…kayaking, running or cycling?
Runner of choice?
I suppose I have to say the Columbia Montrails I won from Kayathlon recently do I? ? Joking aside, they were very impressive during Moxie providing great grip and lots of support. I have a pair of Salomon’s Speedcross 3’s for the last few years which are very popular on the mountain running scene but I was never really impressed with them as the insole always bunched up on descents.
Bike of choice?
Unfortunately, I only have one bike (a Giant FCR1 flat bar racer I purchased second hand 10years ago) so no choice for me.
Do you use GPS watch? If so, which one?
A Garmin 235 of which I am a complete martyr to!
Week before race…what do you do?
I will ease back a little on training and drink electrolytes in the 3 days before the event to ensure I’m hydrated come race day. Other than that, nothing special really. A slightly larger pasta dinner the night before maybe.
Morning of race…what do you do?
Wake up on time hopefully ? I will have a smoothie, eat a flapjack and hopefully have a number 2.
Any race superstitions?
Any embarrassing moments you wish to share?
Not really too embarrassing but bringing a spare pair of socks in Gaelforce West in case my feet got wet (anyone who does adventure races knows, wet feet are par for the course!). What a rookie! Also, realizing just as I was about to go to bed that I had forgot to get my timing chip at registration and having to blast across the N59 from Westport to Killary before registration closed. That was a fun drive ?.
With running being my strongest discipline, I enjoy a race that finishes with a good long run (where other competitors start to flag) but I’ve no ideal distance per say.
Post-race…do you spoil yourself, if so, how?
I will indulge a little…biscuits, cakes, chocolate…generally followed by a nice meal in a restaurant in the evening.
Some people race for the medals, some for the jerseys, are you either of these people?
Definitely not…give me a cheap entry over a jersey/medal any day.
Strangest thing you have seen on a race?
In Gaelforce Dublin, I ran by a guy running in his cycle shoes. Walking from the bike shed in cleats is difficult enough, nevermind setting off into a 13km mountain run.
Most beautiful scenery?
So hard to choose…the cycle through the Black Valley/Molls Gap in Killarney Adventure Race…the run around the Spinc in WAR Glendalough…the cycle along the Atlantic Drive during Quest Achill…the climb up Mount Brandon in Dingle Adventure Race….the cycle through the housing estates of Tallaght in Gaelforce Dublin… (I’m joking about that last one).
Hydration/Gels? Do you use them? Do you use any particular brands?
Yes…I tend to use High5 Iso/Energy Gels on the run sections…on the bike I would have 2 750ml bottles, one with Nuun/High5 Zero tablets and another with High5 Energy Source and maybe a High5 Energy Bar or Cranberry 4:1.
I don’t really have one.
Advice for absolute beginners?
I’m no expert but start easy so you can finish strong.
Do you have any social media links we can follow your progress on?
You can follow me on Strava
Check out http://www.actionphotography.ie & http://www.clearskiesahead.com/ for more amazing race photos
If you know of anyone who would like to go under the spotlight, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.