Hello Gediminas, just few words to introduce you. You are a Lithuanian soldier, father of 2 and husband. You finished 3rd at the 2014 UTWT ranking and recently won TransGranCanaria signing the course recorded indeed. How do you manage your time between your job, family and training/competition?
Indeed, time is my biggest enemy. As I started to run more and compete in international events I found out that 24 hours is not enough anymore. As you mentioned I am not professional athlete, so duty comes first and just then I can concentrate on running, which sometimes is very difficult to do. Trying to find time is challenging in overloaded schedule, but as running changed my life and has very important role in it, I must to sacrifice other things which love: sleep less, use holidays for racing and any spare time like lunches for training. My family is not an exception as well, but since they are very supportive it didn’t dramatically affected our relations. Usually, I travel to races with them and like to think that it is our holidays, which all love, but sometimes reality is different: kids miss their father and wife her husband, who is somewhere on the trails, but not with them.
You served in Iraq and came back with a post-traumatic stress disorder. Running is the solution you found to escape from this. Had you planned such a successful career in running/trail running?
Yes, having few issues after deployment I was looking for solution and the best answer I came up with was – running. I noticed that after the long run there were no worries, problems and tensions left. I felt relaxed, back to normal and could cope with others and myself much better. I have never thought, that I could race with the worlds best like equal, because never been runner or athlete myself. However, must to admit, that reading and watching all the media about pro-runners I imagined one day running among them. So, guess being dreamer, patient and stubborn I have made it true.
Few weeks ago you were at the start of TransGranCanaria and won it. Tell us how your day was.
This years TGC had a huge field of elite runners. I wasn’t worried or concerned at all as my main aim was to improve upon my 2014 time and position and hopefully have a good race with the top runners along the course. During the race I had my ups and downs, but apparently I could cope with it better than others. With the finish line drawing closer, I noticed that I am in the lead and more important time was good enough for the course record, so I just kept pushing and was so happy to not only win the race, but also set a new course record of 14hrs 23mins and 41secs.
The first time you participated to a trail running race was in 2009 for the IAU Trail Running World Championship. It was also the first time you used Compressport compression garments. How did that happen? What other Compressport products did you use after that?
In 2009 I was so new to running and especially trail, that looked for all available help and support. Knowing that calves suffering the most in a long mountain run I noticed Compressport calf sleeves, which in my mind was the perfect solution in a fight with muscle fatigue and the best recovery option after the race. Feeling that it real works for me, as I liked reduced bouncing of my calves, I decided to help my quads as well and bought Trail Running Compression Underwear Shorts just before so far my longest race – Lavaredo Ultra Trail. Placing third after Anton Krupicka and Mike Foote just one more time proved Compressport being effective.
You have a long history using the Compressport products. What is your feedback about the evolution of the products and the product offer? What are the products you use in training and at races, and why?
I am very impressed by evolution of Compressport as it offers huge variety of trail running range. Recent development of lighter, more colorful and more technologically improved apparel makes it desirable choice of any runner. My racing and training choice is UW Trail Running Shorts, Pro Racing arm Sleeve, R2 Race & Recovery. I try to use the same Compressport products for training and racing, since the best training is that is as much similar to real race as possible. To be able run longer and further I put a lot of focus on proper recovery and right now it is impossible without not having pair of Fulleg garment.
What advice would you give to someone willing to do Ultra Trail Running?
Definitely go for it! It is hard to describe how trail running rewarding is, you must to feel it and the only way to experience it, is to put your sneakers on and go for this life long adventure, because this what trail running is about. And most important don’t forget to be patient as you can’t start build the house from the roof, concentrate on the foundation and the rest will come with the time.