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This August Vasily Bokov who is a Dev Manager of NY region in Arina took part in ultramarathon Irontrail in the Swiss Alps. Despite a number of challenges he managed to overcome 150km with 7.7km ascent in 37 hours without sleep. It was the first time when representatives from Russia took part in such a long and intense race.

Vasily, when did you start to run and take part in marathons?

Frankly speaking, I have always thought that the running is one of the most boring things in the world. And I cannot remember that I’ve ever run since I passed PE exam in the secondary school. But in 2009, when I was hiking in Caucasus mountains, I met a person who was going to take part in 42 km marathon in Moscow just in a week after our returning back home.  Being more enthusiastic than clever, I decided to run this marathon with my new acquaintance. Of course, I had no time for any preparation for this race. I am not sure that such “achievement” is something that I could be proud of, but I successfully finished my first marathon and ran every meter of 42 km distance.


And since then you are running marathons, aren’t you?

Yes. Since my first marathon I’ve finished 14 classic marathons all round the world and one 100km ultramarathon.


But the Swiss Irontrail marathon was unique for you, wasn’t it?

Yes, I’ve never run trail races in mountains before.  Moreover it was the longest distance that I’ve ever overcome. In my diploma official distance is stated as 137 km, but I’ve run about 150 km as I made several mistakes on the route and got out of the distance which was unknown to me. Also this marathon was unique, as it was held for the first time and nobody knew how really hard it was.


How did you feel before the run?

Frankly speaking, I was not in my best condition: I caught flu and was sick before the race. Also I had few minor leg injuries  received during trainings. But I didn’t feel nervous — I was confident that in any case I’ll reach the finish line.


What was your first thought after you crossed the finish line?

I didn’t have a lot of thoughts: 55 hours without sleeping made me dream only about one thing – pillow. So, I just called my Mom to say that I had done it and went to take a quick nap before my way back to Moscow.


What challenges did you meet during the race?

At the distance between 25-30 km I seriously injured my left leg. After that I had sharp pain in the knee when I bend it. So I had to run and climb mountains keeping my left leg straight. Sometimes it was really hard.


Who supported you during the marathon?

First of all, my friends and also the Russian team which took part in the marathon but at different distances. Moreover, in Europe there is a great culture of support. When other participants from shorter distances were passing me they were cheering me up: “Go ahead, Vasily! Bravo!”. Also it’s worth mentioning that there were about 300 volunteers who did a great job!


Can you remember something that impressed you during the race?

Very close to sunrise of the first running night, when I passed a very difficult part of the distance, I saw emergency helicopter above one of the peaks in the mountains. At first, I thought that something awful had happened – route through the last pass was really dangerous. Few times I was nearly to fall from its hillside. Only at the finish I found out that there were no serious incidents and the helicopter came 5-6 times to take off exhausted participants who could not overcome steep and dangerous mount.


You have become the first Russian to achieve such a result?

Well, of course, earlier representatives from Russia finished longer or more high-altitude races, but this ultramarathon is unique regarding combination of distance, difficulty level and time limits. So, we were the first Russians who tasted such a challenging race. |To sum up, in two ultra distances T201 and T141 less than 50% participants managed to get to the finish line – this fact says a lot.

Do you plan to take part in this marathon the next year?

Sure! This year I finished 137km distance, next year I’ll be training for 201km trail.


Is running the only kind of sport you enjoy doing?

I am participating in orienteering and rogaining competitions.  Also I like swimming, cycling and in some  future I would like to finish Ironman triathlon – it’s 3.8 km swimming in open water then 180 km cycling and 42 km running non-stop.

Also I like hiking: every year I gather a group of friends and we go up to the mountains for about 10 days.


Do you encourage your colleagues to start running?

To tell the truth, such marathons do not fit to everybody but I am glad when I meet soulmates, who join running movement. I am sure that with every kilometer that we leave behind us, we make this world a bit better.


Can you draw a connection between running a marathon and working in RTC environment?

Working on project has something in common with running the long distance. You should have appropriate skills, be motivated and determined. In most cases you cannot see your destination point and must have a lot of patience and energy when you slowly step by step moving forward to your goal.


Interview was prepared by Anastasia Ulanova and printed in Deutsche Bank intranet.

  • Michel

    I like it )

  • Dimonluck

    Отличное интервью! Вдохновляет.

  • Марина

    Мне тоже очень понравилось интервью 🙂 Горжусь своим братом!

  • Erokhin

    Василь — силён!