Q) For our fans and followers who’ll be reading this in India and worldwide, can you tell us a bit about how you started running ultra marathons ? This will be inspiring 🙂
Darek – In 1983, at the age of eight I had to a serious accident. Doctors did not give me any chances. But a miracle happened. After two months I regained consciousness. I had a total of three trepanation and went through a long-term rehabilitation (learn to walk, talk, recognize things). Since the accident I am disabled. I have a weakness of a right side. At the beginning it was difficult to come to terms with handicap, I could not establish relations with persons without disabilities. In 2000. I found my passion for running and everything changed.
Since 2004 I began to compete in marathons systematically. During my preparation for these marathons, a weekly mileage was often more than 200 km. My best result achieved in the marathon is 3.07. I’ve already done approx. 34 marathons.
In 2007, I started to run in ultra marathons. The first events were 100 km races and I’ve managed to beat such distances. I liked it so much that I started to raise the bar higher and higher and – by that – I’m checking what I’m capable of and setting my own limits. So far I managed to overcome a lot after that car accident: from learning to walk again, recognizing things, and speaking – to running the ultra races.
Q) What all races have you completed / taken part in around the world ? Which one’s have been really special ?
Darek- Ultra marathons in which I started:
100 km Madrid,
100 km Passatore,
Spartathlon 246 km,
212 km Ultrabalathon,
Badwater 135 – 216 km,
Vienna – Budapest 320 km (5 stage),
Al Andulas 220 km (5 stage),
Rovaniemi 150 km,
The Ecotrial Oslo.
In 2009, during my preparation for Spartathlon – 246 km, I ran from Poland to Athens with a friend . The route had approx. 2500 km.
Q) “The Winner” looks like an interesting project bringing your story out. What exactly ls it about ?
In June 2014, I established Darek Strychalski Foundation ‘The Winner’ (www.zwyciezca.org) which aims at helping disabled people and promoting sports, especially running. I want to show the others that anyone can run, that there are no limitations nor boudaries, that dreams come true if they are encouraged. That is why we should help and support those with disabilities. This year I ran from Łapy to Poznań. The route was 530 km. During this 9 days charity run my Foundation collected funds for stem cell transplantation surgery for one of the first mentees of the Foundation.
The name of the Foundation comes from the name of the movie done during my first Badwater 135 race in 2012.
Q) Lastly, how are you preparing for the challenge in the Himalayas ? How hard you think it will push your capabilities ?
During my preparation to any race I put a lot of attention to a large milage. It is the same for La Ultra: few days trips with trolley (pulling the equipment, gear etc.) and streching excercises.
Right now my dream is to get well prepared and finnish the race. We will see how it is already on the spot, in Himalayas. How the body will react to such an altitute and temperature changes. Just like for any other race before, I am starting to get a little nervous already. This time however, it is twice as much.