Q&A with ultra-runner Marina Ranger

20 April 2017 by
First published: 25 July 2016

Ultra-runner Marina Ranger, along with Lucja Leonard, will be running the length of Holland, from 27 July. They’ll be aiming to take on the 500K within five days to raise money for breast cancer charity, The Pink Ribbon Foundation. Just to add to the challenge, they are going to be running the whole thing wearing just some pink running underwear – or runderwear! Check out their Facebook page.

How did you get into running?

I entered a competition at work to win a place in the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, a 250K multi stage, self-sufficient ultra-marathon in the Kalahari Desert. I had to raise £2,000 for charity and prove that I was fit enough so I started running. I did my first marathon and won the place to take part 10 months later. I ran the whole race with my boss and from then on I was hooked!

Who or what inspires me through those miles?

Lots of things. I always think about my family and friends who know what I am doing and always support me. Doing them proud makes me happy. I also think about those that aren’t as fortunate as myself, people living now and people that have lived through harder times in the past. Knowing that people have been through so much worse, stops me feeling sorry for myself and keeps me going. Lastly, I think about all of the hard work that I have committed to in the months leading up to these races, all the social commitments I have had to say no to and how I need to make those sacrifices worthwhile.

What tips would you give to a running newbie?

My top tips would be:

1. Listen to your body, only you know how it feels. If you need rest, take it or if you feel as though you can push harder, go for it!

2. Vary your training routine. Incorporate strength, hills, speed work and long runs. This keeps it interesting and will most likely make you a better runner.

3. One size does NOT fit all. What is right for someone else might not be right for you, so listen to recommendations but always work out what works best for yourself.

What other kinds of sports or exercise do you enjoy?

I used to play hockey at university and was part of pretty much every sports team at school. Now that I work, fitting team sport into my schedule is harder, so now I only run. I am planning on getting into cycling and swimming though, so I can start doing triathlons and Iron Man competitions!

Do you think you’ll be doing this in 10 years’ time?

Yes. Probably not as much, but I can’t see the bug disappearing any time soon. I’ll hopefully have tried a few new types of race by then too – so it might not be the only type of challenge I do.

What is the toughest mental block you’ve ever faced as an ultra-runner?

Probably actually during training when everything else in life seems to get in the way and it all becomes too much to handle. The racing part is the fun bit; when I can switch off from the outside world and not worry about anything else other than getting through the race.

How do you get through it?

I always think of the finish line and how great I feel when I’ve reached it. It makes everything in the lead up to the race so worth it. I’ve also learnt it’s important to prioritise and know how to manage my time well. It also means I have to be flexible with my schedule in case something needs to be changed around.

How do you choose your next challenge?

I prefer choosing challenges in places around the world that I have never been before. I like to try new challenges rather than repeating the same ones (unless I have unfinished business!) and I always like to think of the next main challenge as testing myself in a new way, so it’s usually the next hardest thing I have ever done.

What do you hope to have achieved above all by the end of your career as an ultra-runner?

I want to be able to say I have inspired others, made myself a better person and made the best of my life. It would also be cool to be able to say I have raced on every continent in the world!