Gnarly Bandit: Introducing competitor Daryl Saari…

Gnarly Competitor - Daryl Saari23 runners toed the line to begin the 2013 UMTR Gnarly Bandit Series. This grueling five race series kicked off back in April at the Zumbro 100 Mile, ran through the Kettle Moraine, Black Hills and Superior 100 Milers, and will wrap up October 19 with the Wild Duluth 100K. With one race left to run, eight runners remain in contention for the $600 cash prize courtesy of Wilderness Athlete. We’ll be looking to talk with all of the finalists.

Next up, Daryl Saari:

1. When you started out at the Zumbro 100-mile back in April did you feel confident you would still be in the running for the award at this point?

Yes, but with caution and much respect for each run. I tell myself to be patient, take things as they come. I’ve been fortunate to finish this series before. It’s tough to run multiple hundreds, trying to balance recovery (which doesn’t happen) while maintaining some sort of base mileage under you. Things go wrong on these runs, it’s inevitable, sometimes you have what it takes to overcome an issue, other times the wheels fall off, there are multiple variables.

2. What races in the series stand out as memorable (good and bad)?

They all stand out, they are all epic. The last 2 years, I have gone into Zumbro with minimal base miles, I was surprised I finished. I always enjoy Superior, it’s the one I look forward to every year. The SHT delivers, makes me feel alive, it challenges every fiber of my soul.

3. Which race would you say “went according to plan” more so than the others?

Black Hills. I had been having problems figuring food and liquids out, then it all came together out there, I don’t know why.

4. How was your recovery between the races?

I have been struggling with recovery for 3 years. I have had to cut down on miles, junk miles, I started to include more biking, it has seemed to help. I have had to really mess myself up with what I thought was good training and recovery to realize what I had been doing it wrong. If it wasn’t for Lynn, I would still be eating jars of peanut butter on the couch… Thank you Lynn.

5. What’s on your calendar after Wild Duluth?

The winter stuff of course, Tuscobia, Arrowhead, Actif Epica, couple fatbike races… before you know it will time for Zumbro…

6. Any advice for runners looking to attempt the series next year?

I’ll reiterate what Ron said, you need a solid BASE going into Zumbro, it’s really tough to develop it in the series, you have to figure in some injury time, it happens in the build up. Enjoy the series, the location of the races, they are all spectacular. Run your own race, I repeat, run your own race. Your worst enemy in the series is YOU. Enjoy the trail with everyone else out there, that’s what its all about.

7. Any additional thoughts?

I feel very fortunate to share the trails with such a wonderful group of people, whether you’re in the series or not doesn’t matter, we are all brave enough to step out of our comfort zones, challenge ourselves.

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