Will Kemp Oner Race Q&A
The Brutal Events Oner has a reputation of being one of the hardest ultras in the UK. The course stretches 82 miles along the Jurassic Coast featuring 10,000ft of elevation, a 24 hour cutoff and a 50% DNF rate.
Will Kemp won this years edition breaking the course record in a staggering time of 14:41:48. Will was fuelling with Supernatural Fuel so we caught up with him to delve a little deeper on his amazing performance.
First off congratulations on winning the 2022 edition of the Oner. 82 miles and 10,000ft of elevation across the Jurassic Coast is no easy task. How did you find it?
‘What a route! The course has such a special place for me; I have been visiting these hills, beaches and coves since I was a child and there was really something unique about connecting all of these trails, particularly looking back from Portland. Running the whole route in one takes you out to some beautiful coastal path sections. The opening half of the race was particularly dynamic with the top ten constantly in the mix, particularly with being able to see back and forwards for several kilometres at certain points in the race. Waiting on the start line before the race I had a great chat with a guy in his sixties talking about how the last time he did this race he finished with 30minutes to go before the cut-off and I just kept thinking of how inspiring that was all the way round. ‘
The night section in particular you seemed to really push the pace and gain momentum. How was this achieved?
‘I was just really enjoying the run! A positive mental attitude coming from a pre-planned mental strategy I think counts for so much. A large element of this was based on fuelling and hydrating well in the early stages of the race so I could react in the race and feel confident running to my own pacing. I was aiming for 64g of carbohydrates an hour and had been experimenting in training with using less glucose/fructose heavy calories early on before switching more to gels for the middle third and then liquid calories for the final third. This seemed to work well. SuperNatural Fuel was unique in what it offered, both offering a better balance of food groups but in terms of how easy it was to take on.’
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your running background?
‘This is my second season of ultra-running. I love races around the 100k distance. I started focused running two years ago as a way of having a competitive outlet but also for the adventure and challenge. This last six months have been phenomenal; from a second place at the Gower 50, I then won the Celtic Ultra, Brecon-Cardiff and now the Oner. I really feel like I am still learning all the time and every race am taking away something new and that constant learning mentality really helps me stay mentally fresh.’
How did Supernatural Fuel play a part in your nutritional strategy come race day and in training?
‘In the race I was keen to use SuperNatural Fuel early and for as long as I could. I had one before the start – so much better than a gel for getting the right balance between feeling ready to go but not spiking insulin levels – one rigidly every hour for the first five hours – and then when they felt appetising. Key in training was having the confidence that my body would get on with them and so I used them regularly in my last long runs – I think the mental confidence that the nutrition will work for you is fundamental for your body not ejecting it. I find eating bars quite challenging, particularly on a course with so many sharp climbs like this and so the packs are perfect.’
‘Berry & Quinoa – would be great if you had time to enjoy alongside a coffee mid-race. Enforced coffee breaks at checkpoints for ’23? Definitely not in the Brutal Events mindset…’
What other races have you got planned in for this year?
‘I’m already onto my next build phase ready for Race to the Stones as I am keen to run a fast 100k course. Heat acclimation could well be key for this. After that, some big running in Snowdonia, up on Skye and in the Hebrides in the latter half of the Summer, with a UTMB World Series event in November. Getting excited about it all just thinking about it. Massive kudos to anyone signing up to the Two’er!’
And finally if you could run one last trail one last time where would it be and why?
‘Today the answer is the Cullin Ridge on Skye – yesterday it was the South Wales Traverse – day before was the South West Coastal path round Bolt Head – anywhere with fast single track at first light. I love UK running for the element of uncertainty but also the accessibility compared to so many other parts of the world.’