One More Lap...
4 Min Read / Ultrarunning
Ultra-running really helps confidence,
resilience, and perseverance, and can
make you realise that you are capable
of so much more than you may have
Welcome to Trail Brew Chats! In this edition, we were lucky enough to find out a bit more about Aussie ultra-runner Phil Gore! What he has accomplished is truly inspiring stuff, and recently Phil broke the Aussie Backyard Ultra Record with a new PB of - 76 yards (509.96km). In the chat, he was kind enough to share some insight into his running journey along with some red-hot tips for first-time LOS runners. Thanks for the opportunity, Phil. Enjoy the read!
Q1: I’d like you to hear a bit about yourself... where you’re from? where you’re currently living? and what do you do for work?
My name is Phil Gore, I live in Darling Downs in Western Australia with my wife Gemma and four kids. I’m a career firefighter which I have been doing for the past 8 years.
Q2: How did you get into running?
I first started in high school. I was never really that good at team sports, and so running was something I could do at my own pace without the pressure of performing to a certain standard. I started out as a back-of-the-pack runner but after a few years of sticking with it I would have been top 3 in the school. After I left school and got a full-time job, running kind of took a back seat and I just did it sporadically. In 2014 when I changed jobs and had a bit more spare time, I picked it up again and made the commitment to run at least 5km every day. And it continued to grow from there.
Q3: What was the attraction of the LOS/Backyard Ultra format for you?
My main focus in running used to be the 5km distance, and I’d run anything up to a marathon, but never considered ultra-marathons. I had absolutely no desire to run anything over 50km. When I first heard about the Backyard concept though, I was instantly intrigued. Although I found 100km, 100 miles or more overwhelming distances to comprehend, 6.71km was something I could manage. It was an easy enough distance to run within an hour, and I was interested to see just how many times I could do that in a row. Breaking it down to one lap at a time, and not having any goals or expectations of how far I would have to run, made it sound much more appealing. At my first backyard event, Birdy’s Backyard 2020, I surprised myself by finishing as the assist with 39 yards. And although I had absolutely destroyed myself in the process, I was hooked by the format. I wanted more, and I wanted to go further.
Q4: Recently you broke the Aussie Backyard Ultra Record with PB - 76 yards (509.96km) what kept you pushing through tough times?
Good crew is absolutely essential. There were plenty of times towards the end when I didn’t think I could finish another lap (or just didn’t want to), but my crew always found a way to motivate me for “one more lap”. If I think about quitting, I make myself think about how I will feel the next day knowing I didn’t give it my absolute all. It might seem easy to quit in the moment but knowing I will regret it later keeps me going.
Image : Marco Noé at Noéko.film
Q5: What do you eat/fuel with during ultras? I work with Gaby Villa at Intenseatfit and she writes my nutrition plan for me. I try to stick to the foods I usually eat; at the times I usually eat them (with a few variations). I eat during the 10-15 minute break I get between laps, and when I am running the lap I will take trail brew with me to keep my carbs/calories topped up.
Q6: I’m sure you’ve inspired many runners to consider tackling their first backyard ultra recently, any tips for first timers?
Don’t overwhelm yourself with the big picture, just master the art of showing up. This is true during training, and on race day. During training, don’t worry so much about how far or fast you are running, the most important thing is that you are just getting out there and doing it. Consistency is key. And on race day, just make sure you keep showing up at that start line each hour. Even if you think you have nothing left. You might surprise yourself.
Q7: Is Phil a Tea or coffee person?
Q8: One piece of gear/equipment/tech which is essential every run?
Tough question, I have so many pieces of kit I would not want to go without. But I guess the most essential would come down to the very basic human needs, and that would be my water flask. I make sure I have it with every training run I do, and I make sure it’s topped up for every lap of a backyard.
Q9: Do you think running equips you with skills / coping mechanisms that can be applied to other areas of your life?
Most definitely. We have heard time and time and again that running is great for your mental health, and I wholeheartedly agree. Ultra-running really helps confidence, resilience, and perseverance, and can make you realise that you are capable of so much more than you may have otherwise believed.
Q10: Any future goals?
My next big race is the Big Dog’s Backyard Individual World Championships in Tennessee, where I will be up against 75 of the world’s best backyard runners.
Q11: If you could jump on the next flight anywhere, where would you go and who would you take? Honestly, I have no idea. I’m not much of a traveller unless it involves running.