Six years ago, he made a passion for running and since then, he has tested his limits in long distance races, both on the road and on the mountain.
He is a national champion at 12-hour run, has national records in Romania for 24-hour run (225,987 km), 12-hour run (128,610 km) and 100 km run (8h 21min 24sec) and he was also the winner of the Ultrabalaton endurance race in 2016.
FLORIN IONITA, an ultramarathonist from the S24H family, has ambitious goals for 2019.
Join us to the interview with Florin which will give you the needed ultra-inspiration dose!
Tell us about your childhood. Were you fascinated by running/sports since you were a child? Have you ever thought of doing high performance sport?
I have spent my childhood at Braila, but the holidays at Turcoaia at my grandparents from my mother’s side. Running was not my passion from the beginning, but I liked the games that implied movement, such as football, playing catch or playing hide and seek. When I was in the countryside, I was always in the courtyard, playing with the birds and the animals from the yard. My plans were not related to high performance sports and I don’t think that what I am doing now is called a high performance sport.
When and how did running entered in your life?
At the end of 2012 I have read an article written by Adrian Soare who is a blogger and who was describing his first experience at a marathon and all the sensations that he had to go through, from excitement to feeling sick and vice versa. I was tempted to try so, on 1st of January 2013 I went for a run for the first time in the IOR park and I loved it so much that I did not stop.
What is the balance between your job and your personal life?
I do not have a special treatment at work, I do all the trainings on my free time, especially early in the morning before I go to work. Also, my family got used to the idea that running is a very important chapter of my life and I am not concerned from this point of view.
What was the hardest competition you have participated and why?
There were lots of difficult races – the first time I have entered the Ciucas ultramarathon, the first time I have gone to the Ultrabalaton, but the hardest competition was the Spartathlon because I had some cramps at 65 km, because I had to endure the cold when I went up the mountain and also because of a mental breakdown somewhere at 85 km. In that moment I was just crawling and I could barely stand on my feet when suddenly, the car of the organizers passed by and my wife was in it and she calmly told me: “Calm down, we have lost the documents, but we will handle it!”
What do you say to yourself when you are in a very difficult race?
When I have a hard time I just think of the reasons for which I chose to enter the race, of all the trainings that I have done, of the result that I want to achieve and I always say to myself that I can go further.
What would you say to someone who is going to participate to his first ultramarathon? What tips would you give them?
The most valuable advice that I can offer to someone who entered his first ultramarathon is to not start to run like in a high speed race. I have noticed that so many runners who have a powerful start, get exhausted in a short period of time. And then, I would suggest not trying new things, both regarding the nutrition part and the equipment part.
What are your plans for this year? What are your goals?
In my case, the most important competitions for this year are the National Championship and the 24-hour IAU World Championship. My goal is to go beyond the 240-kilometer milestone covered in such a race.