Aussie takes out third place in Badwater for second consecutive year
Aussie Mick Thwaites credits his 2.5 hour time improvement at ‘the world’s toughest footrace’ to his training with the Bionic Runner.
Brisbane, September 2016 – Ask most people how they felt before, during and after a 24 hour, 217km race in 40+ degree heat and they’ll probably usher a few expletives. Ask Brisbane-based Mick Thwaites, however, and he’ll tell you he felt “Absolutely awesome!”
Known as the toughest footrace on the planet, Badwater is such an extreme challenge many seasoned ultra marathon runners won’t even attempt it – or will fail to complete the event. 2016, however, represented Mick Thwaites’ second Badwater ultra marathon – and his second appearance on the podium. Perhaps even more startling, Mick only started running seriously back in 2012, when he kicked a 20-a-day smoking habit and signed up for his first half marathon.
Set in California’s Death Valley, and scheduled for July, when temperatures can peak at around 49 degrees Celsius, race challenges include not only fierce weather conditions but also a gruelling climb from 279 feet below sea level to 8360 feet above.
Having secured third place in 2015, Mick took out the third position for the second consecutive year, and walked away with a time improvement of 2.5 hours. Whilst it was a particularly fast field of athletes, Mick himself credits some of this time improvement to the revolutionary way in which he trained for this year’s event.
“I have been training with the Bionic Runner since December 2015, when I suffered a heel stress fracture,” he explains. “Initially the Bionic Runner was an integral part of my recovery process but that has developed and it’s now a solid part of my regular training program.”
Like Mick, the Bionic Runner hails from Brisbane, but is now popping up in every corner of the world, having been sold into 31 countries and counting. As the only non-impact fitness trainer to mimic the natural gait and timing of running, it’s easy to see why the Bionic Runner is proving so popular with runners who, like Mick, either need to recover from injury, or put in more miles ahead of a big race – without stressing their joints.
Unlike an elliptical trainer, the Bionic Runner has a unique 60% swing and 40% stance phase timing, which guides the foot along the path of a mid-foot running gait. This means you not only look and feel as if you’re running, you engage the same muscles as you do running, too, which sets the Bionic Runner apart from any other cross trainer in the market. The difference is, with the Bionic Runner, you eliminate the risk of injury from the two most common causes of joint, tendon and muscle-related strain injuries - impact fatigue and joint over extension.
For those needing to put in increasing numbers of miles ahead of any long-distance event, therefore increasing the risk of injury before the big day, the Bionic Runner is a game changer, allowing athletes to complete their running training without loading stress on the body.
“I now use the Bionic Runner in my running program to target long fat burning sessions along with some high intensity low impact work,” says Mick, who sees the Bionic Runner as a real advantage when it comes to race training.
“The Bionic Runner helped me minimise stress on the legs whilst adapting to a fast turnover,” he explains. “This adaptation to cover the distance and the specific HR training without placing overdue stress on the leg muscles, combined with the minimal impact on the system with an increased anabolic effort, has to be a winner,” he adds.
Whilst Mick has suffered injuries in the past, leading up to Badwater he was fortunately injury free. That’s not to say the race didn’t throw up any challenges. “The wind and weather provided some un nerving moments. Also my body was throwing up some challenges in the first 100km.”
Still, asked how he felt before, during and after the race, Mick’s response was: “Before? Absolutely awesome. During? A little bit awesome. After? Absolutely awesome!”
Of course, ask any runner and the training doesn’t finish on the day of the event. Recovery needs some serious thought, too. For Mick, the Bionic Runner was also key to his rapid and effective race recovery.
“I have been using the Bionic Runner religiously for recovery and training since my rehab last year,” he says. “The Bionic Runner is now integral to my recovery and I will include one session or two in my program. As well as a great recovery aid, it is also a top of the line training aid!” ENDS
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