“Mentally, I am a locomotive.” Interview with Mara Guler-Cionca

Dear friend,

We hope that this year has been an exceptional one for you, in which you have enjoyed running and took confident steps towards a better version of you.

For the holidays, we’re happy to offer you a dose of inspiration about ultra-athletics from MARA GULER-CIONCA, an ultra-runner from the S24H family.

Mara holds the national female record for the 24 hours race – 212.536 km, established in the IAU 24H European Championship from Timișoara (May 2018) and performed excellently in the Icarus Ultrafest Florida (November 2018), where she took the 1st place – Female and 2ndplace – General for the 6 day race, with 653.390 km.

Below you will find Mara’s interview!

What did you want to become when you were younger? How did you use to spend your after school time?

At first, I wanted to be a Math teacher, as I have an analytical way of thinking, with an inclination towards exact sciences. Later, during my high school years, I discovered logical thinking and the fact that I can learn faster by thinking logically. I am also sensitive to other people’s suffering, empathic and at the end of 10th grade, I knew for sure that I wanted to be a doctor. And, no matter how many hardships I have faced or will face in the future, I will not practice anything else.

Just like any child my age, after school I would play “outside”. I’ve always been a child full of life , but at the same time kind and patient.

When din athletics come into your life and in what context?

I like to believe that my running story is similar to a happy end fairytale. It stared during a turning point in my life, when after years of schools, academics specializing and competences, I found myself alone, without a job and…with a lot of free time. I progressively started running to relax, to charge with positive energy and then, benefits and results began to appear.

How do you find the time to run, in addition to your job and personal life?

I am the type of person that considers that there is time for everything: running, work, family, as long as you are doing what you like and if you are persistent and consistent. In any trial I have faced, I obtained progress step by step, line by line and, very importantly, smoothly.

Which was the most difficult competition you have participated in and why?

The most difficult competition for me is always the latest – at the moment I’m talking about Icarus Ultrafest Florida – 6 days, but I am already thinking about the next one as a challenge, to outdo myself in a matter of time or kilometers.

Looking back, there are a lot of races which seemed difficult to me, not necessarily because of the effort; there are a series of cumulated factors that can turn a race into a success or…a series of mistakes which turn it into a negative experience.

What do you tell yourself during a difficult race?

For me, difficulty in a race arises at a “fixed time”, more exactly after 24 hours, when all your resources go towards zero, physically and mentally. I could say that if I discover in myself a series of mistakes in a race, from food to a way of approaching, mentally I am a locomotive. I step over and move on.

Everything that can help me in a race is the support from true friends who know me well, give me advice and put me back in the “game” during difficult times.

How do you keep motivated to train constantly?

Over time, I have learned that any result is the outcome of constant training, periodical, without any connection to a certain competition, because I believe that a competition is an exam, a moment of celebration,the joy of running and a culmination of the training. Therefore, you just might see me tomorrow on the track, after a world championship today, maybe a little slower for a few days, but just as excited!

What is your motto in life?

My motto in life is Omnia mea mecum porto – All that is mine, I carry with me. That means that I am me, Mara, with the good and the bad and I don’t want to seem, pose, or copy anyone else. What I wish for every runner: be unique!

May we find each other well in 2019!
The S24H team