PHOTOGRAPHY & INTERVIEW Rob Bean

BALANCE. A WORD THAT DOESN’T OFTEN COME INTO OUR VOCABULARY DURING OUR TIME-STRETCHED BUSY LIVES, BUT ONE THAT IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE PROMINENT AS WE SEE THE RISE IN POPULARITY OF MINDFULNESS AND TAKING RESPONSIBILITY OVER OUR MENTAL WELLBEING.

Whether this means balancing our hectic work and social schedules to allow more ‘me-time’, or by going deeper within the mind-body connection with the likes of meditation and yoga. For me, 2019 is the ‘year of balance’, and while learning from my own trials, I pay attention to those around me that incorporate balance and create joy on a day-to-day basis. One such person is Evan; an up-and-coming trail ultra-runner and a dear friend of mine since the first years of secondary school. His warm and humble character is uplifting, and his tenacity for striving high within sport while maintaining a healthy, thriving relationship, being a loving son, and continuing to have a successful career, is hugely inspirational to me. As a videographer, I aim to have several personal creative projects outside of my client work showcasing influential people, and while in Italy shooting the start of a small documentary with him, we sat down to chat about life, trail running in Jersey and all the bits in between.

YOU’VE BEEN RUNNING FOR A FEW YEARS NOW, WHAT MADE YOU SWITCH FROM THE ROAD TO THE TRAILS?

My boss a few years ago was running the MDS (Marathon des Sables – 1000 competitor 250km self-supported race in the Sahara Desert) and said I should have it on my running bucket list. So, I joined him while he trained and even signed up for my first 45 miler just to experience how it feels. The unpreparedness and pain I experienced while on that race kickstarted a desire to prove to myself that I can prepare properly, and when I cross the finish line, I know that it all went to plan and that I feel good. The scenery in Jersey is absolutely stunning and we’re so lucky to have it around us, so making the choice to run trails rather than road was an easy decision.

YOU DID MARATHON DES SABLES LAST YEAR, NOT JUST COMPLETING IT BUT COMING AN INCREDIBLE 34TH! DID YOU SURPASS YOUR EXPECTATIONS?

Absolutely! Initially I aimed to finish the race, running or walking, but after attending a training camp in Lanzarote pre-race, I was inspired by the coaches, enabling me to perform on a higher level and finish strongly. Friends in the training camp said I should aim for top 100 or 50, but my aim was top 200 and to actually finish, so as not to let down all those that donated to the charity I ran for. To perform as I did was fantastic. I learnt so much about myself preparing for the race that it created a strong base for the future.

YOU’VE TALKED ABOUT LEARNING A LOT ABOUT YOURSELF. HOW HAVE YOU ACHIEVED BALANCE WITH YOUR TRAINING AND LIFE OUTSIDE OF SPORT?

For years I neglected listening to my body, pushing through injury, training in a ‘no pain no gain’ mindset. Even after MDS I still wasn’t smart enough, so I changed coach, searching for one who gave me good advice for when I wasn’t feeling 100%. I started to understand the importance of recovery, of sleep, I meditated more and became more in tune with my body. Taking time out to reflect on how I felt also helped my relationship with those around me.

WHAT HAVE YOU GOT LINED UP AHEAD OF YOU?

This year is all about creating a solid base for the future. I will run the Berlin marathon in September, then next year I’ll be doing a couple of races from the Ultra-Trail World Tour.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR ADVICE FOR THOSE WANTING TO TRY TRAIL RUNNING IN JERSEY?

If you fancy making the transition and getting out of your comfort zone, I’d say to get in touch with Trail Monkey (www.trailmonkeyjersey.com). Paul Burrows and the team have done a fantastic job of making a lesser-known sport more accessible to all. No matter your ability, whether you run or walk, you’ll be welcomed. Plus you can’t beat the free cake and coffee at the end!

QUICKFIRE Q&A:

BirthplaceEdmonton, Canada
Age: 27
School: Victoria College
Day Job: LGL Group
Favourite Quote“Strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will”
Favourite Food: If I have pancakes for breakfast and pizza for dinner, I’m a happy man!
Favourite Film: Step Brothers