Where’s Wardian: World Record Completion of All Marathon Majors

HOKA Athlete Mike Wardian has officially set the world record for fastest average pace running the marathon majors in a single year. His average time was just under 2 hours and 31 minutes.

Of course, we were impressed by his record, but we also knew he was full of stories from his travels to six different marathons all around the world. Here are Mike’s favorite moments from his journey.

Tokyo

“The memory for Tokyo that sticks out to me is going to the start line in such an orderly fashion. There were so many Japanese Volunteers to show you where to go and not go and you had to stay in your assigned location. It was all so calm and tame I didn’t even realize the race had started. I was in the 2nd group and had to wait more than a minute to cross the start line by shuffling.”

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Boston

“Boston is the marathon that got me into running. I did a blindfolded 5K for ‘Team with a Vision’ that weekend. It was definitely a highlight. Another was some kayaking with our boys in Concord the day before the race. I also remember at Mile 21 of the Boston Marathon getting some water from Pierce and Grant.”

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London

“I was really nervous about the London Marathon as it took years to get into and it was also only 6 days after the Boston Marathon. I had heard that they are super strict regarding ‘vests’, or singlets, so I had to scramble to get a ‘vest’ at last minute and almost missed the start of the race. Then I had a super tight flight out within 2 hours of finishing the race. I had to go right to airport without showering, which turned out great because I meet up with a new friend that works at the White House.”

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Berlin

“The Berlin Marathon was only a few weeks after the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc where I had run for 28 hours, so I was really interested to see how my body would hold up. I was traveling without the family, so I decided to put out on social media that I was looking for a place to stay. I ended up sleeping on this cool guy Tobias’ couch. I was so happy to trust the internet to take care of me and I had quite the adventure. We walked all over Berlin before the marathon doing 23 miles on Friday and 18 miles on Saturday before the race, but I still ran really well. I also got to meet one of my heroes, Yuki Kawauchi, one of the best runners in the world but he races a lot and still works full time like me. Then I got to visit the US Embassy and that was a definitely highlight to share stories with fellow runners in the diplomatic service and to explore my role as a fitness ambassador for the State Department.”

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Chicago

“Chicago is an incredible city and Jennifer, the boys and I hadn’t visited in a while and so we really tried to take advantage of being there. We did a boat tour, learned all about the Cubs, so it was great to see them win the World Series. I also was able to do a really fun podcast called ‘Ten Junk Miles’ live after a group run at Fleet Feet. In addition, I mixed in a little business as we had a client in Chicago so right after the marathon finished I had an 1 hour meeting to discuss food aid.”

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NYC

“New York City was super emotional for me as I had been trying to complete the quest to be the fastest person to do all six of the Abbott World Marathon Majors for a number of years. Finally, it was here. I really wanted to make sure I could finish and finish well. I was confident but respectful of the distance. I couldn’t believe what an incredible city it was to run in. What was cool is that I won The Great New York Running Exposition 100 mile in June and it was my first time back in New York. The marathon runs on some of the same streets at the 100 miler and my mind was saying you are at mile 88 and it made my body so tired, but I was only at mile 8 of the marathon. It was crazy. The other memory was visiting the Statue of Liberty with family. We have all been to New York a lot but never visited the Statue of Liberty. It was incredible. We learned so much and now the Statue of Liberty is one of my favorite landmarks. I also was stoked to do two NY Times photo shoots and we had some of the best sushi ever.”

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…and then he finished it off with the Elvis Costume Marathon World Record.

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Top Trails Video Series 9: Washington D.C.

The ninth stop for the HOKA ONE ONE Top Trails video series is Washington D.C. HOKA Athlete Mike Wardian leads us through Billy Goat Trail; a gnarly, technical trail in the northern Virginia/Washington D.C. area. Host Matt Barnhart then meets up with Chris Farley (Owner, Pacers Running) to talk about the running community in D.C., which surprisingly has more running clubs than anywhere else in the country. Our hosts end their trip at local favorite, Ser, to chat with Mike Wardian about life as an ultra runner and the opportunity to travel with his family.

Check out the HOKA Speed Instinct here, Mike’s shoe of choice for braving the Billy Goat Trail.

Rest and Reset: Mike Wardian’s Top 5 Recovery Tips

If you know anything about HOKA Athlete Mike Wardian, you know that this guy is an endurance machine. He is no stranger to finishing multiple marathons within a week. Two of his 2016 adventures include running through Cuba and Iceland. He even aims to complete marathons on all seven continents within seven days, and we don’t doubt that he will do it. So how does Mike handle recovery?

We sat down with Mike to hear his top 5 tips. He keeps it simple. In true Mike Wardian fashion, he suggests the most important way to stay on your feet is to never stop moving.

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1) Hydrate-I know that it seems obvious but staying up on fluids helps flush out all the junk that accumulates after a hard effort.

2) Fear the Chair– Keep moving. I think a lot of us when we finish a big event or run want to just sit down and rest. While that is ok for a few minutes, I find it really useful to walk, shuffle, whatever but don’t just stop as you body will lock up and feel terrible. If I keep moving, my body allows me to push it again.

3) Eat- I am not great at this and I wouldn’t say, eating right away is always best because sometimes your body can be “all done” with food after a huge run but if you can start the recovery process with some quality, tasty food and drink it goes a long way to getting your body nourished and on the road to recovery.  I like to eat things that are high in vitamin C, fruits, veggies, breads, really whatever your body is craving…as your body will guide you in what it needs.

4) Share– Let people know what you are trying to achieve and this will help you keep motivated and I think that helps with recovery.  

5) Stay positive- Our minds are incredible and allow us to do so many unbelievable things. We really need to be in the right frame of mind and be appreciative and thankful for the chance to be out there. It allows our bodies to keep pushing the limits of what is possible.

Where’s Wardian? A HOKA Athlete’s Guide to Iceland

Does this man ever sleep? HOKA ONE ONE Marathoner Michael Wardian, 43, has us wondering this every time we chat. Mike has raced internationally in Paris, New Zealand, London, Spain, and Tokyo (multiple times) since the start of 2016. He even made it to Cuba in March to explore the trails. Mike is well on his way to finishing all of the World Marathon Majors in one year, with Berlin, Chicago, and New York City left to complete.

Mike makes it look easy. He sails through one marathon then flies to compete in another less than a week later, managing to meet the locals, experience the culture, and give his family a tour in the span of a few days.

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Where’s Wardian this time? Iceland to race the Laugavegur Ultra, a 55 km race through the southern highlands of Iceland.

Wardian placed 2nd overall this year, completing the course in 4:34:37. He says “I realized at the start that I had the opportunity to do quite well in the race. I knew it was going to come down to how my legs recovered from the Missoula Marathon and all 3 hundred plus milers I had done in the weeks leading up to the event.”

No big deal, right?

“I started easy and was comfortable running in 2nd place from the starting line and just wanted to run easy and without pressure for as long as possible. I was prepared to battle for a win.” says Wardian.

While he wasn’t racing, Mike managed to squeeze in some quality exploration time with his family. Here are some of the things he says you can’t miss when visiting Iceland.

SEE

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Colorful Reykjavik

Reykjavik- “A very friendly and approachable city. It is well designed for walking in the downtown area and there are lots of terrific restaurants (including the Chuck Norris Grill), bars, organic ice cream parlors and local merchants. There is a proud passion for Icelandic culture and style that makes you want to learn the language, purchase a wool sweater, and go hatless in the bitter cold.”

Glaciers-“Iceland’s glaciers are always impressive. This trip, we visited Langjokull and did a snowmobile tour. None of us had ridden snowmobiles before and that was a thrill, but the bigger take home was getting to share such beauty as a family.”

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Geysir

The Golden Circle (Geysir, Gullfoss, Pingvellir)– “We have now done the Golden Circle twice. Once in the summer and once in the winter. We were impressed both times, but during our trip this summer we really got to enjoy the immense beauty of the Golden Circle, without fearing going in a ditch due to crazy snow storms or icy roads. Gulfoss is probably one of the most incredible waterfalls I have seen in my travels. Every time I go it takes my breath away.”

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Gulfoss

Exploration Tip– “Be very careful about roads. An ‘F Road’ basically implies huge boulders and dirt. If you don’t have a huge truck/SUV, you are going to get stuck. It is against the rental car agreement and law to drive on those roads so be very cautious.”

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RUN

Gear– “To race Laugavegur I wore the Challenger ATR 2. They were ideal for the conditions, which ranged from hands on knees climbing, sharp descents on scree, river crossings, to fast flat gravel paths. The Challenger ATRs held up to everything that was thrown at us. They dried quickly, gripped tightly, and kept my legs turning over and cushioned even as I fatigued.”

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Mike at the start of the course, wearing his Challenger ATR 2s.

Trails– “The Laugavegur Ultra Marathon covers the entire Laugavegur Trail. The course has so many amazing things to see from sweeping vistas to jagged peaks covered in snow. We raced up hardened lava flows and across steam vents shooting up from the earth core belching sulfur. We traversed snow, gravel, raging rivers, and black sandy highlands. The coolest thing I saw on the track was probably a stunning mountain lake sunken along the track. It was glistening in the distance and so very inviting. I will definitely be coming back to this race in the future and I hope to do the route with my family at some point to share that with them.”

Racing– “I love to race and I have found that the competition in Iceland is solid and growing every time. There are many races and the organizations are top notch and tier. My friends organize these events.”

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EAT

Vegetarians/Vegans– “I love Icelandic foods but I don’t get to enjoy a lot of the traditional Icelandic foods as they are quite heavy on meat, fish and hot dogs but I have noticed over the past 15 years since I started to visit Iceland that each year there are more and more vegetarian, vegan and organic options. It is pretty amazing to find vegan sandwiches at gas stations. We love a grocery store called “Bonus” and tend to purchase a lot of food there when we visit but there are lots of incredible restaurants around the country featuring all different types of foods.”

Bakeries– “We love the Icelandic breads. They are simple and delicious and there are lots of incredible bakeries around the island. In Reykjavik a place called Sandholt is terrific.”

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INTERACT

The Language– “I love that Icelandic people are very concerned with their language and they actually change the name of items like ‘computer’ to ‘tolva’ because they wanted it to be Icelandic. I also found it interesting that each child can only be named by their parents from an approved list. I also learned while picking up my race bib that they don’t organize your information by last name but by first name.”

The People– “The Icelandic people are cool. They are humble, thoughtful, caring, into crazy interesting stuff, listen to great music, and do epic things.”