We are very happy to present Ala Baydoun from Jordan. Ala please tell us about yourself.
I'm 38 years old. I work for the World Health Organization. I'm so passionate about running, health and nature.
Ala Baydoun, Jordan
How and when did you start running?
I was inspired by my marathoner dad. I started at the age of 12, I'm currently 38!
What was your first race? First Half Marathon and Marathon? First Ultramarathon?
First HM was the Dead Sea Race in 2006, haven't done any full marathons so I jumped to ultra running where my first one was also at the Dead Sea in 2015
Why did you decide to run Ultramarathons?
Because I found extra joy in running more!
What were the main Ultramarathons that you participated?
Rum Ultramarathon Race 100km in Jordan and the Kazbegi Mountain Race in Georgia (Europe).
What were your main achievements? What were your feelings about your achievements?
My first 100km in Rum Ultramarathon in 2017, I feel great about them and I'm always looking for more!
What do you prefer? Ultramarathons in Road or Ultra Trails or Loop Ultramarathons?
Definitively trails as you can see from my runs.
What was the biggest distance that you ran during a Race?
It was 100km and I am still feeling great about it.
Do you plan to move forward and extend distance by running 24 or 48 Hours Races? What will be your strategy?
Nope. Not planning to do any of those.
How many ultra races did you finish?
So far five but this is not my last word.
When do you start the preparation for an Ultramarathon?
At least four months before the race. The mental preparation is the key.
Is it different to prepare for an Ultra Trail, Ultramarathon in Road or Loop Ultramarathon?
I don't think so. As I mentioned earlier; the mental preparation and preparedness are everything about ultra racing.
What is your strategy to Ultramarathon in Roads or Ultra Trails?
I try to log in as much miles as possible so when the race day comes; I'm confident enough that I'll reach the finish line.
What is the maximum weekly kms volume that you achieve during a preparation for an Ultra?
300- 350km a month.
Do you dream about some Race to participate or win? What are your personal goals?
The Silk Road Ultra Race in Dash Lut in Iran.
What will be your next objectives, plans for the future? What races do you plan to attend in the near future?
I honestly don't plan. If I decide to do a race, I'll just plan for it in a simple way. I'd still want to run the Iranian Ultra Race when COVID situation gets better in Iran.
Which ultra race is closest to your heart? Why?
The Kazbegi Mountain Race; it's well organized, the warmth of the people and its incredibly beautiful nature.
Do you have an anecdote/interesting story from your run/race?
It's just funny how things can be larger in size than it is in reality while running in the desert! Funny stuff happened!! I know it's the mirage but deserts do play special tricks with your brains!
What was your nutrition like during the race?
Gummy bears, chocolate energy bars, bread and salt tablets.
How do you deal with sleep deprivation?
I can't deal with it at all. I'm always sleep deprived before any race.
What were some challenges during the race? How did you deal with them?
Not getting enough sleep feels like having my body shutting down. It's really tough but I just keep moving no matter what.
What were some high points during the race?
I adore nature, it really gives me some Runner's High!!
How has your recovery been? What have you done to enhance your recovery?
My body takes a recovery of 4 to 5 days. Foam rolling for my muscles and a baseball under my feet.
What has been the best piece of running advice you have ever received?
Your legs give up before your brains, be mentally strong!
Who has been a role model for you in running and why?
My dad because he was the first person to introduce me into this sport.
What is that you love about running?
It's such a stress reliever.
What is your motto?
Run with your heart.
Do you stretch before and after the run?
How many km do you run on average with one pair of running shoes?
Depends but in the range of 1000 to 1500km.
What kind of running shoes do you use, depending on the base and the length of the run?
Nike Zoom Pegasus shoes.
Do you use a running watch?
Do you prefer to train alone or in company?
Do you have a coach?
How many supermarathons / ultramarathons do you run in one year?
Did you do any other sports before you started running?
How popular is the Ultramarathon in your country?
Not that popular but we will do our best to improve it.
What would you do to make this sport more popular?
Get the organizers to do more ultra races as there are very few ones in here.
Has anything changed in your running due to the coronavirus?
I became a better runner during the pandemic, no humans and cars made it easier for me to train better.
Ibrahim Abu Asbeh
IAU Communication Committee