#HKTRP #66 – A candid conversation with Mo Devlin

Today, on the podcast I’ve got an inspirational person with an inspirational story. Running accomplishments aside (that list runs long too), he was diagnosed with prostrate cancer. That would slow most people down but Mo got faster and he is on his way to beating the cancer in true running fashion – 10 great podium place races despite undergoing radiation.

We will cover various topics in this conversation. We will talk to Mo about his background and how he got into running. We will then talk to him about his experience dealing with the cancer diagnosis. We will also have questions about the way he trains – both physically and mentally. We will finish with his goals for 2017 and beyond.

I want to also thank Mo for taking the time out to speak with us and for sharing his experience so others an learn and benefit from it. It takes a kind and generous person to be able to do this despite what he has gone through


Show Notes:

  • Who is Mo?
  • Where’s he from?
  • How did he get the nickname Mo?
  • Is there anything in his past that lead him to running / trail running?
  • What is his day job?

The ten rapid fire icebreaker questions to delve into the way you think:

  1. What is your favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
  2. What is your most favorite race and why? (can be local or overseas)
  3. What accomplishment are you most proud of in running?
  4. What accomplishment are you most proud of in life?
  5. Who has played the most influential role in your life as a person?
  6. Who has played the most influential role in your life as a runner?
  7. Why do you run?
  8. What would you do if you could not run?
  9. Which book or resource has had the most impact on your life?
  10. If there’s only one piece of advice you could give your 20-year-old self what would it be?

Humble beginnings:

  • when did he start hiking/running? (what year) Humble beginnings: where it all started
  • Did he start off as a road runner? Does he enjoy both road running and trail running?

The cancer:

  • Walk us through to the beginning
    • Discovering the cancer itself was an act of “luck”. How?
      • collapsing 500m short of the finish line on Hard as Nayls race and being taken to the hospital
      • When was this? [Apr 2015]
    • Collapsing because of a heatstroke isn’t fun. Do you believe that this was an “act of God” or a higher power that enabled you to discover your cancer?
    • What was your initial reaction when you heard the diagnosis?
    • What was your family’s reaction?
    • The transition from those negative emotions of realizing what you had and converting them into something positive – talk about that. How did you manage that?
    • How do you deal with those down moments? How often do they occur?
    • People always say “stay positive”. How hard is that? Saying is different from doing
    • “Just because I am a cancer patient, I don’t have to become a cancer victim” – what fostered that attitude? What books did you read (if any) to cultivate that attitude?
    • You spoke about your brother who is more emotional and has lung cancer whereas you’ve learnt to compartmentalize and maintain a more or less normal life. How did you learn to compartmentalize? When should one compartmentalize? Does it come to you easily?
    • Those PBs and podium wins despite the radiation – you make it look easy but how hard is it really?
    • How supporting is your family about your running despite undergoing radiation?
  • Talk about the progress
    • What does radiation feel like?
    • How do you overcome the weakening effect of the radiation and channelise your energy into running?
    • When will you be 100% cured?
  • What is the biggest lesson that this has taught you?
  • Has this experience changed you in any way?
  • What advice would you give to someone else who has the misfortune of discovering something like this in their life?

 
Top 3 races or accomplishments:
 
Mo to choose 3 races

  1. 10kms in 36 minutes
  2. 2.5 hour marathon at the age of 17
  • Walk us through the top 3 races, the preparation, the training, the nutrition
  • What was it like?
  • Walk us through the journey. What was it like?
  • Did he put a lot of pressure on himself to complete? What was the “outside” pressure like on him?

Training: (physical)

  • How often does he train and how? Does he have a routine?
  • What’s his weekly training plan / mileage?
  • Has his training resulted in injuries and if so how does he deal with them?
  • How competitive is he? How important is it to him to best himself? Would he risk injuries in order to achieve certain goals?
  • What about long distance runs? Any interest in those?
  • What’s his philosophy on team runs like the OTW? Would he push his team to do better or would they do it “just for fun” ?
  • How do you deal with pain? Do you take any painkillers during runs? What’s his philosophy on that? What’s been his most painful run?
  • Talk to us about injuries, what he learnt from it. Does he believe in the needle guy?

Training (mental)

  • How does he do so many races / such long distances during painful moments? What’s been his most painful mental moment?
  • What is his philosophy on pain? When does he know when to persist and when not to?
  • What does he tell himself mentally when he has to persist through pain and continue to the finish line?
  • During long distance runs, does he listen to music? How do you maintain your focus? <– not sure about Mo’s long distance running record
  • What are his downtimes in running? When he didn’t want to run and felt miserable?
  • Which is more fulfilling? Work or running?

Nutrition / Gear strategy:

  • How does he do his long runs?
  • Does he swear by certain gear?

Philosophies:

  • Does he believe in taking medicines? If so, when and how? Has he taken medicines before during a race in order to finish the race?
  • What does he think about DNF-ing?

Goals:

  • As far as running is concerned what are his goals for 2017?
  • Talk about Movember and Janine

Advice:

  • For beginners getting into serious running, what advice do you have?

Parting words of wisdom:

  • #1 key to success. Winning formula in life?

#HKTRP #65 – An Oxfam Trailwalker 2016 conversation with Milos, John, Martin and the Nepali Team

Welcome to a brand new season of The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast! First of all, a big “thank you” to our listeners for the great feedback and suggestions!

Going forward, we are going to have a couple of changes to the format of the show:

  1. We will publish full interviews in the same week  instead of having them them span over multiple weeks. This is to keep the continuity going
  2. We will have some great episodes that will be worth your time but not all weeks will see us releasing a new episode! But, when it’s out, we want it to be good!
  3. New episodes will be released on Thursday evenings

And, here’s the first episode of Season 2! I had the chance to speak to Milos Pintrava who is the main sponsor of Awoo Team Nepal (the winning team of Oxfam Trailwalker 2016 – 11 hours 01 minute is what it took them to run 100kms!)

The Nepali team, Martin, Milos and yours truly 

After that segment with Milos in which I asked him many questions about the Nepal team, I brought on my co-host who is none other than Milos’ son Martin Pintrava (he is too young even for a facebook account!) Listen to him as he takes control of the microphone and fires away questions at top runner John Ellis! None of the questions was scripted and you can hear 10-year-old Martin interviewing John like a pro and recalling facts from many years back effortlessly! This kid is not only going to become a top trail runner in the future but is also going to have a job in show biz waiting for him!

John gets floored by Martin’s insightful questions 

Finally, we interview the winning Nepali team with Dinna acting as our translator. My apologies in advance for the poor recording quality during this part of the show. We recorded the interview in a restaurant and there was some unavoidable extraneous noise and some interruptions!

My job got outsourced to Martin Pintrava


Questions we covered:
 
Milos:

  1. compare last year to this year
  2. Tell us about how you stopped them from getting lost this year
  3. How did you find these guys?
  4. What are their profiles
  5. How did they train? Who trained them?
  6. Why did he choose to sponsor them?
  7. Tell us about the pressure on them
  8. Tell us about the support from the beginning to the end
  9. Tell us about the leadership aspects of the team
  10. Why did they eat?
  11. Tell us about the finish line experience
  12. What has this experience taught you?
  13. Will you sponsor again next year?

Nepali team:

  1. introduce themselves: background in racing (Tirtha, Purna -captain-, Bed, Bhim)
    1. Best internationals results
  2. Talk to us about the pressure back home
  3. Tell us about your coaches
  4. Does the army training help?
  5. How confident where they going in
  6. How different is it in HK compared to Nepal
  7. Walk through the race:
    1. Preparation
    2. Strategy
    3. How they handled the conditions
    4. Food
    5. Did you run as a team together before?
    6. Team dynamics
    7. How they would have handled injuries
    8. Any interesting stories or snippets?
    9. Talk to us about each stage
  8. How does it feel to have won?
  9. What did you learn from this experience?
  10. Any tips to share with future trail runners
  11. Talk to us about messages from back home

Big ‘thank you’ to Milos, John, Dinna, the Nepali team and Martin (?!) for their time! And, thanks to Andre for the photos!
Until the next episode, go out for a run and crank up the mileage!


To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

 

#HKTRP #64 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (3/3)

Here’s Part 3/3 of my interview with Rory Mitchell.

This also marks the end of this season of The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast. A big ‘thank you’ to all the guests for sharing their wisdom with our listeners. Also, a big ‘thank you’ to all the listeners of this podcast! And, for all the comments and emails supporting this podcast. We’ll be back with a fresh new season and many more interviews in time to come!


Part 3:
In this part of the podcast, we’ll talk to Rory about his mental training strategies and will also ask him some personality questions. We will conclude by asking him about his future goals

Training (mental)
  • How does he do so many races / such long distances during painful moments? What’s been his most painful mental moment?
  • What is his philosophy on pain? When does he know when to persist and when not to?
  • What does he tell himself mentally when he has to persist through pain and continue to the finish line?
  • During long distance runs, does he listen to music? How do you maintain your focus?
  • What are his downtimes in running? When he didn’t want to run and felt miserable?
Philosophies:
  • Does he believe in taking medicines? If so, when and how? Has he taken medicines before during a race in order to finish the race?
  • What does he think about DNF-ing?
Personality:
  • If he could not run, what else would he do?
  • Does he have any strategies for mental training?
Goals:
  • As far as running is concerned what are his goals for 2016?
  • Talk about Run Rabbit Run
Advice:
  • For beginners getting into 100km+ running, what kind of advice does he have
Parting words of wisdom:
  • #1 key to success. Winning formula in life?
  • Advice for 20-year old self

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

#HKTRP #63 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (2/3)

In the previous part of the podcast, we spoke to Rory about his humble beginnings. This week we’ll focus on his training routine and some of the races he has done that have left a strong impression on him.


In Part 1 of the podcast, we spoke to Rory about his humble beginnings and how he got into running. In this second part of the podcast, we will ask him about his training routine. We will then go over two races and have him talk about his experience in those two races and how he trained for it

Rory’s racing list: 
2009
Standard Chartered Marathon – 5:28

2010
UNICEF Half Marathon – 2:37

2011
China Coast Half Marathon – around 2:40
Apple Daily 10km – around 1:05
UNICEF Half Marathon – 2:46

2012
Green Power Hike 50km – around 10hrs
Moontrekker 40km – DNF
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:53

2013
China Coast Half Marathon – 1:48
Green Power Hike 50km – around 7hrs
Moontrekker 40km – 6:11
Luang Prabang Half Marathon – 1:43
Trailwalker – 26:41
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:41
KOTH Sai Kung Marathon – 5:54
MSIG Lantau 27km – 4:10

2014
KOTH Lantau Marathon – 4:57
HK100 – 16:34
Standard Chartered Marathon – 3:26
Translantau 50km – 7:58
TNF Philippines 100km – 28:54
UTMB CCC – 24:13
Moontrekker 43km – 7:12
XTE Midnight Express 45km – 7:56
TNF HK 100km – DNF

2015
HK100 – 21:41
Moontrekker 43km – 7:14
XTE Maclehose Challenge 45km – 7:35
UNICEF Half Marathon – 1:37
TNF 100km – DNF

2016
UTHK 100km – 20:01
Garmin Mountain Marathon 42km – 6:42
Translantau 100km – 22:35
Stairmaster Lantau – 4:50
Stairmaster Twins – 2:09
Yading Skyrun 30km – 5:45
Green Race Pottinger 13km – 1:46

  • Walk us through the top 3 races, the preparation, the training, the nutrition
  • What was it like?
  • Walk us through the journey. What was it like? You slept during the race. What happened? Did you want to stop?
  • What were the up and down moments of this race? Describe the race to us and what more impressed you about the race
Training: (physical)
  • How often does he train and how? Does he have a routine?
  • What’s his weekly training plan / mileage?
  • Has his training resulted in injuries and if so how does he deal with them?
  • How competitive is Rory? How important is it to him to best himself? Would he risk injuries in order to achieve certain goals?
  • What’s his philosophy on team runs like the OTW? Would he push his team to do better or would they do it “just for fun” ?
  • Does Rory take any painkillers during runs? What’s his philosophy on that? What’s been his most painful run?
  • Talk to us about injuries, what he learnt from it. Does he believe in the needle guy?

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)

#HKTRP #62 – Talking to ultra runner Rory Mitchell (1/3)

To introduce our guest today, I am going to read an email I got from a listener.

 

“Hi Vince, not sure if you know Rory Mitchell but I saw him at the Stairmaster Lantau when he passed me going up Lantau Peak and I was thinking, “yeah right big guy, I am gonna see you later again” – and I never did. He put in fact 5 min on me which is totally cool and no big deal when running in the middle of the pack BUT Rory has some 40-50 pounds on pretty much everyone else who runs in this terrain which is super impressive!!

 

He’s not just a big boy, by all standards he’s pretty BIG for a guy negotiating these types of challenges. I sat down with him later telling him that I am super impressed given his body type and that he’s just pure inspiration. If there was a BMI weighted category he’d surely make the podium in his group!! I was thinking to myself that he must a have an extremely good bone structure and some bullet proof resilience to endure this but what it shows is that trail running is really the great equalizer where you can never judge a book by its cover. We have all been passed by guys that didn’t strike us to look the part, right?

 

That doesn’t really apply to road or track running where you can pretty much easily spot who’s at home there and who isn’t really. When people see Rory finishing the Stairmaster the way he did, no one  has any excuses left!

 

Just checked the Yading Skyrun results and he did well! He also seems to have a 16h HK100 and 3:25h marathon in his books which is all pretty impressive!
This could be good content about reaching one’s full potential and becoming the best runners they can be and Rory is way ahead of most of us in that respect! You throw all these variable into one pot, rank them and spit out one number that represents how good a race someone ran or how great a runner someone is and guys like Rory will likely come out on top! It’s not just about fast (and fastest) times, not at all for most people anyway. If I could unlock my potential the way he does I would be running in a different league”

 

So, let me welcome Mr. Rory Mitchell to the show

 

Show Notes: (The get to know Rory better section)
  • Who’s Rory Mitchell?
  • Where’s he from?
  • Was there anything in his past that lead him to trail running?
  • What is his day job?

 

Trivia for Rory:
  • What is Rory’s favorite trail in Hong Kong and why?
  • What’s his favorite race and why? (can be local or overseas)
  • What in Rory’s view is his best accomplishment in the field of running
  • In his running career, has he had any mentors? Who has had the most influence on him?
  • Does Rory have role models in the field of running? Who are they and why?
  • Something or someone that has shaped him and his thoughts?
  • Does he have a coach? Who is it? When did he get the coach?
Questions for Rory:
  • Intro – when did he start hiking/running? (what year) Humble beginnings: where it all started
  • Did he start off as a road runner? Does he enjoy both road running and trail running?
  • Why does he run? What is more fun – running for fun or racing?
  • In his journey so far (both running and racing) – does he have any unforgettable experiences? If so what are the top two experiences he can never forget?
This concludes Part 1 of the podcast. In Part 2 of the podcast, we will continue to talk to Rory about his training routine – both physical training and mental training

To subscribe to this podcast, please go to iTunes and search for The Hong Kong Trail Rockers Podcast (https://itunes.apple.com/hk/podcast/hong-kong-trail-rockers-podcast!/id994423166)