Will Kemp Arc 50 Q&A

After a fantastic 2022 race season we caught up with Will Kemp following his first race of 2023, the Arc 50 by Mud Crew events.

Hi Will! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for our part 3 Q&A. This time we talk about the Arc 50 which you raced last month! A point to point winter-coastal 50 miler running from the Minnack Theatre to Porthowan in Cornwall. How did it go?

Mixed emotions! I was aiming to finish higher than 6th but the nature of sport is that not everything goes to plan! After everything fell into place in every race in 2022, this was the worst I have felt in a race for quite some time. I had a really tough patch from 10k-30k and was contemplating saving my legs for another day, but when I started to come up to the athletes battling cut-offs in the 100mile race, life got put in perspective! I am personally proud though of pulling my performance back together in the second half.

The Arc Of Attrition (and Arc 50) are quickly gaining a reputation for one of the most competitive ultras in the country. Did you enjoy the high-level of competition?

Completely agree; looking across the winter, the Arc races really stand out in drawing the best runners in the country and we particularly saw that in the women’s field this year. There are real advantages of having UK races that regularly draw the competition year-on-year. In the Summer athletes are split over such a wide range of races but in the winter, this is the race to do. Whilst it is always a good feeling to come across the line first, approaching these races with the mentality that strong competition brings out your best performances is really helpful, particularly in the days building up to races.

Can you delve a little deeper into your highs and lows during the race?

I looked back at my health data prior to the race and it was clear that I was feeling run-down before the race even started. My training had been perfect but other commitments had limited my recovery.  At 20k I was overheating and dehydrated despite having started at a balanced pace. Going back to basics with my nutrition and taking on board Supernatural Fuel really helped me reset in a way that gels couldn’t. By 40k, I was back overtaking people and making up time. The technical running from 20k – 40k followed by fast trails through to the finish make for such an interesting race and so hard to predict how other runners are going to finish which really keeps you focused.

The race incorporates stunning parts of the beautiful Cornish coastline, how did you find the infamous Zennor to Lands End section and the ‘Dunes of Doom’?

I came down to look at the route in December and ran much of the route, checked out coffee shops and found some seals and porpoises. Seal Island near Zennor is a must-see when you are not scrambling round headlands in a race. Surprisingly the Dunes of Doom round St Ives Bay was one of my best sections of the race in having short horizons that I could keep mentally targeting.  Cape Cornwall was definitely my highlight though with rugged trails around old tin mines.

Was your nutritional strategy different for this race? How did Supernatural Fuel come into play?

I wanted to start with Supernatural Fuel and move onto foods with a higher glucose/fructose concentration later in the race finishing with caffeine and liquid calories in the final quarter, aiming for 60g of carbohydrate per hour. As it happened, I ended up almost exclusively using Supernatural Fuel and then caffeine as that was what my body was craving and I think the natural taste and composition was what got me back on track. Training with Supernatural Fuel was key to making sure my body new what to expect on race day.

Will you be returning to race the Arc 50 again? Who wouldn’t with the world-class staring location at the Minnack Theatre!

Absolutely – I am sure the competition will continue to grow but I do think I can win this in the future. I’ve taken a lot of notes about how I could have raced certain sections differently and there are plenty of areas which I can make up time on. Having a race like this to look forward to through November and December has been such a positive for keeping my winter training focused.

What’s next for Will Kemp? 

I am really looking forward to the year starting to ramp up again now. I am going into a big training block to hit some marathon distance races and build my speed again followed by a longer effort later on the South Wales Traverse later in the year. I am setting this year as a really important year for technical development to build towards some ambitious goals for 2024.

A huge thank you to Will for taking the time to talk to us again!

You can follow Will on Instagram here:


Photos by David Miller Photography – https://www.instagram.com/davidmillerphotography_/?hl=en

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