Interview with Carlton Rowlands of TEAM VIBRAM

TAM: So Carlton, welcome on board! We’re delighted to have you come and race in the TAM. So, we know you are an elite trail runner with Team Vibram, tell us a bit more about yourself?

CR: Its a pleasure to be involved. Well for the last 4 years I have called Chamonix-Mont-Blanc my home, I am 28 years old and originally from the rather flatter New Forest in Dorset, UK. On moving to Chamonix after a good spell in long-distance triathlon I made the logical move to trial running after simultaneously deciding how much I hated swimming! I would say it was here on the dusty rugged trails that i found my Endurance niche and since getting sponsored in 2015 I have been chasing the dream! I race from 17Km to 170km and in the winter in the mountains even on skis as part of our team Vibram ski-mountaineering race team. Nonetheless whilst Chamonix life could feel like a non-stop, epic training camp Its also where I base the rest of my career  as an Osteopath in La Clinique du Sport. I treat locals and elite athletes alike. Oh yes… I also co-direct the world’s toughest Iron-distance triathlon, the Evergreen 228.

TAM: Sounds busy, so what made you want to come and test yourself at the TAM?

CR: I love adventures in endurance! I think my favourite thing about what I do is using trail running as a vehicle for travel, a passport for adventure. The TAM isn’t just a race, clearly its an expedition and thats right up my street. The more wild, rugged and challenging the more i’m inspired. I’ve also never done a multi-day stage race and keen to see how the legs fair up in this format. I’m also massively in support of the cultural sensitivity of this race. I know that the race director Mohamad has quite a stunning record in the MDS and is a local and it’s important to me that an event such as this runs in tandem with the surrounding culture. I understand this really is the notion of  the TAM and am really looking forward to experiencing the local hospitality.

Trans Atlas Marathon - Interview with Carlton Rowlands of TEAM VIBRAM - 01 (2016)

TAM: So this isn’t your typical race format, we’ve got on offer 6 days 285Km and 12,000m+ve  Height gain what do you think?

CR: its a real challenging course for sure! It’s got serious height gain and rough terrain, but whilst I bring with me healthy respect,  I’m used to these stats. What concerns me from a performance point of view is the individual distances. So, I like very short races or very long ones but have found in the past that a marathon through to 60Km to be an awkward no-man’s land, my pacing gets a bit confused. It’s going to be conservative ‘red-lining’ and my training plan after this years UTMB is really going to have to gear up for a different beast.

TAM: Ok so whether shoes or skis on your feet you’re used to racing for upto 24 hours at a time How will you adapt your training for this particular race?

CR: For sure this is a different game, it’s a war of attrition, a race all about optimal recovery and one thing I will certainly focus on is doing more ‘back to back’ race pace sessions. Starting race pace workouts on screwed legs will be great for the mind!

TAM: What equipment could you not do without and whats going to be essential for you at the TAM?

CR: Maybe Im biased, but without a doubt Vibram Megagrip soles make such a difference as this stuff really works miracles on technical rocky terrain where grip and stability are essential. I have tested in real life and on the indoor wet test ramp and I will probably have a Dynafit Feline vertical pro as the shoe on top. I will make sure Im fully loaded with my nutrition from Almondgy. I use their E-cubes, absolute power parcels, low GI to give a nice constant steam of organic natural energy. What could I not do without hey, well on a day to day basis, Almondgy also make fantastic Low GI, Low Carb/high (good) fat based bread mixes called Copain and a very wholesome breakfast cereal B’Fast, but I might to have room for this in my TAM drop bag!

Trans Atlas Marathon - Interview with Carlton Rowlands of TEAM VIBRAM - 02 (2016)

TAM: What’s left for your 2016 race season?

CR: My ‘A race’ is the UTMB, before that I have a warm-up race the Grand Trail Orobie (GTO) which finishes in the ancient Italian town of Bergamo! Will be a great chance to catch up with my Italian family, team Vibram! Then something purely for fun, a reconnaissance of the Bob Graham round in the UK and then some much needed downtime (before my girlfriend kills me) I guess then I need to start learning how to run fast once again!