Posted by & filed under 2018, Contender.

Hey guys, I’m baaaaaaack. Looking forward to meeting all the new Rookies and reuniting with past Ultimate Finishers.

Follow this blog for profiles on the 2018 ENDURrun Ultimate Contenders.

Related: Full blog series | Full list of Contenders

Mark McDonald has finished every ENDURrun but one since 2010! 


What is your runner profile? 

I started running in 2006 as a way to combat weight loss. I started at 10km distance for racing, and jumped to the half marathon distance the same year in 2007. In 2009 I joined a Running Room clinic and this began my racing career and helped develop my skills and knowledge of pacing, nutrition, cross training, etc. I have made significant gains since then, and progressed to marathon distance and triathlon, completing 4 Ironmans since 2012. I have completed 25 marathons, countless half marathons and 7 ENDURrun Ultimate finishes. In 2014, I completed the ENDURrun Ultimate and 2 weeks later completed Ironman Muskoka…that was a little nuts.


What about ENDURrun keeps you coming back?

It’s my annual summer holiday. Run, Massage, Eat, Nap, Swim; Repeat.


What are your ENDURrun 2018 stories? 

My goal is always to finish. If I can pull out an improvement in any of the stages or the week, that’s a bonus.  



What are you nervous about, if anything?

Aches and pains making for a long week – I know the course, I know I can finish, but as I get older can my body still take the beating?


Can you share any details of your training? 

In the past it was always good enough following a marathon training plan; I seldom trained long back to back and didn’t focus on any technical trails – although I have a history of getting stronger as the week goes by, not sure if that goes for everyone and if the less training approach contributes to that.

I haven’t been running anywhere near what I have in the past. I have been marathon training since 2009, this was my first year taking time off to self-reflect and focus on new passions – but I found my way back to running. I’ve been focusing on short distance fun runs as opposed to long distance and speed – only just recently focusing on an early summer fast 10k, which should give me back some speed for ENDURrun.


How will your ENDURrun 2018 compare to previous years?

Better, worse, the same – with me you never know. I am capable of pulling out some PB’s or PW’s – usually the first stage sets the tone for my week.


What are the key pieces of advice to Rookies that you’ve learned over the years?

Don’t get caught up in the mad dash at the start of each stage, run your own race as you prepared in your training. Sign-up for massage and then eat! Expect the worst from Chicopee and hope for the best. Do whatever it takes to stay in the game: massage, ice, stretch, elevation – but not at the expense of injury – live to run another day.


For someone who has never been to ENDURrun week, what should they expect?

Rain during Bechtel.  Meeting the most supportive, friendly, like-minded crazy runners/volunteers that will keep you coming back year after year.


What is the most important part of the ENDURrun identity that appeals to you?

The history, the stats, the new and old faces, the accomplishment and uniqueness of the event. Lloyd has said before that often decisions made are to protect the integrity of the ENDURrun, and I couldn’t agree more.