Failing is not a crime; lack of Effort is.

Interview with the ‘Race Machine’.

Imagining races with 10 – 20 times the distance of what an endurance runner would imagine, is no joke. Doing them, not one, but multiple times is truly jaw dropping. We threw a few questions at Ferenc Szonyi from Hungary, a 333 Km participant at the 6th edition of La Ultra – The High. This is what he had to say about him & his incredible amount of experience.

Ferenc Szonyi

Ferenc Szonyi




  Q1) Hi Ferenc ! Congratulations on being one of the very few on the start line of La Ultra – The High. For people here in India and our followers around the world, can you tell us a bit about your amazing ultra running / endurance experience  ?


Ferenc – Thank you for your inquiry, I am very glad that I can participating in the La Ultra contest. That will be a huge challenge for us. I cannot run so long distances alone, I need my friends, my team. Together we  can achieve serious goals.
My sport carrier is really short, it started in 2007 – when I’m was 43 years old. At that summer I did a double ironman in Hungary, and in same  i did the deca-ironman in Mexico. I started it late, but fast. I was looking for the next unbelievable goal. And now the next is yours in India 🙂 
Just a few men will stand at the start line, that’s true, but I like those competitions which are unbelievable and unreachable for the most people.
Q2) I believe you are the 1st participant at La Ultra to have successfully completed Race Across America (RAAM) in the year 2012, can you tell a bit more about it.


Ferenc – I really thank you for this question, because the Race Across America is a very important part of my life. In 2012 I accomplished the RAAM second time, in that year I rode a special (string)bike, invented in Hungary. The distance was 3000 miles ~ 4860 km, from west coast to east coast. It’s a transcontinental race with lot of monotonous straight roads and lot of very interesting things. A great experience. 
It’s a hard race, daily more than 500 km, temperature changes between -5 and +40 Celsius, and sometimes the navigation is hard also.
Race Across America (2012)

Race Across America (2012)

Tell us a bit more about your RACE MACHINE title, do your fans in Hungary call you that ? Or that comes from the double Ironman, Triple Ironman & the DECA Ironman you have done.


Ferenc – The name “Racemachine” came from 2008, Mexico. I got it from Marcel Nico Heinig, because on the deca-ironman race in the last (420 km) running part my contestants couldn’t run. But I could with a constant speed, lap by lap. He said I run like a “machine”, like a “racemachine”. Then others picked up that nickname, and it spread in the ultra-triathlete community.


question4 (1)
Q4) What are the distances in above for each in swimming, cycling & running ?


Ferenc – Not a full list, but the most important races for Me: 

  • 2008 Mexico, Deca-Ironman 38km swim, 1800km bike, 420km run.
  • 2009 Mexico, 10 days — 10 Ironman,  new world record, World Champion, Spartathlon 246km run Greece
  • 2010 Double Deca-Ironman  76km swim, 3600km bike, 840km run  Mexico, RAAM 4860km bike USA
  • 2011 Le Mans 24-hours bike race France
  • 2012 RAAM 4860km bike USA
  • 2013 Italy 30 days – 30 Ironman, 114km swim, 5400 km bike, 1260 km run  Milano-Sanremo 282km run Italy\
  • 2014 Spartathlon 246km run Greece the sum is 109 Ironman (I attached a picture for this question)


Q5) This is an incredible amount of experience for an endurance athlete, not only you have done these distances, but also in great times. How are you now preparing for the La Ultra ?
Ferenc – I feel I’m ready for this challenge. I’m just an amateur athlete, i training after work. It’s not too much for La Ultra, but I can do it, and I will do it! My team (one of my friend Zsolt, and my other friend who is my brother in law György) will be there with me, They can help me in the hard moments. I know it will be a big challenge for all of us all.

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