Istvan Kovacs

  • Hungarian born and bred.
  • Was living a typical student lifestyle – partying, drinking and smoking.
  • In November 2009 at 2.23pm, he smoked his last cigarette and hasn’t looked back since.

His running journey started the week he quit smoking with a few laps around the block, and his “addictive personality” meant running became a habit and he was soon completing half marathons and hitting the trails.

For Istvan, it’s the memories that he collects while running that keeps him hooked on the sport.

“I’m both result and experience oriented. I love to see my stats improve and increase my mileage, but at the same time, the further I push myself, the more permanent memories I collect. I love remembering situations like when I was so tired that I could barely move, when I got lost in the woods at night, when I was stuck on a summit in the Dolomites – I’ve learnt a lot and will never forget these moments.”

The Tarawera Ultra 87km will be his longest distance yet as he completes all the events in the @Ultra-Trail World Tour. He’s also excited to run alongside some of the world’s best ultra-runners, “even if it’s just for the first few hundred meters”.

“Tarawera is the perfect choice for someone who doesn’t have a lot experience with distances beyond 80km, but has years of running behind them and is ready to take it to the next level.

“I’m excited to see how my body and mind will react to breaking previous limits. Every achievement is a spiritual journey to me, not only a physical one. I love to experience the extremities of my emotions during long distance adventures.

“In ultra-running, it’s your strength of will and persistence that is primarily put to the test – no amount of money, talent or connections can buy you results. It is exclusively the hard work that you put into it.

“I don’t express emotions that easily, but I still expect to shed a tear or two as I cross the finish line in Kawerau.”

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