Runivore: Congrats Randall! Your’e heading to New Zealand to run in the Tarawera Ultra!
Runivore: Tell us a little bit about yourself? We know you were born in Costa Rica and now live in Taiwan. What brought your to our beautiful island?
Randall: Hello everyone. What you said is correct. I was born and raised in a small town called Piedras Blancas in the mountains of San Jose, Costa Rica. During my teen years I was very involved in doing volunteer work and working with NGOs in Costa Rica. In 2012 I got a scholarship from ACI Costa Rica to come to Taiwan to do volunteer work for one year. I did some office work for the NGO in Taiwan and then I was moved to teach Spanish, English, and sports in a couple of elementary schools in Taipei.
Runivore: Does Costa Rica have a big running, ultra marathon culture? What’s running like over there?
Randall: Costa Ricans love to run. Every weekend there are at least 3 running competitions. However, most of those events are for short distances and usually on roads.
The ultra community is growing as well. Costa Rica is the only country in Central America where The North Face has its TNF Challenge, in addition, Costa Rica hosts many international competitions like the Coastal Challenge, La Transtica, and many others which bring many great international athletes.
Runivore: What’s your favorite place to run in Taiwan?
Randall: It is difficult to choose one place in Taiwan since it has so any stunning places where one can run. Nevertheless, I really enjoy running in Tea Pot Mountain. It offers a good climb, the terrain changes a couple of times, has a couple of technical parts which adds fun to your run, and the views are amazing.
Runivore: Are you excited about heading to New Zealand to run in the Tarawera Ultra Marathon? Have you ever been to NZ?
Randall: Going to take part in the Tarawera Ultramathon is a dream becoming a reality. For this reason I am more than excited of going to New Zealand. I have never been there, but I have always been interested in New Zealand, particularly in the Maori culture.
Runivore: What distance will you run? And why did you decide on this distance?
Randall: The decision of which distance to run was not an easy one. The 102km category is the main event and it is the one that attracts the most runners. However, I will be running the 62km category. I chose this distance because this will be my first time running such a distance and I want to do a good job.
Runivore: Have you started training yet? Do you have a game plan?
Randall: I have been training since the moment I joined the competition. I had to change my training methods because my main goal now is to train for an ultra marathon.
My plan is to finish in the top 20. It is an ambitious goal but not impossible. Besides that goal, I plan to keep training hard in order to be ready and the race day be able to enjoy the race.
Runivore: What is your biggest achievement in your running career?
Randall: I have always been very lucky! I had the chance to belong to the Team Salazar in Costa Rica. Walter Salazar is the only trainer in Costa Rica with many athletes in the olympics. Those were pretty good times. Nevertheless, my biggest achievements are yet to come. As I often say: More than yesterday but less than tomorrow.
Runivore: Who is your biggest running hero?
Randall: I don’t really have just one hero! I like certain characteristics from many runners. For instance, Leonardo Chacon from Costa Rica is a big example and someone who I deeply admire. I also look up to Tommy Chen and Ruth Croft. Thanks to them is that I got involved in trail running.
Runivore: You won the most votes in the finals. What is your secret? Any tips for sharing with next year’s competitors.
Randall: Put your personal touch and make it have a story or a message. Remember that not everyone who will watch your video is a runner. Once that was done , reach your friends and those close to you. After, reach strangers. Ask people to like and share your video. One good piece of advice is to join running groups, or other groups with similar ideals as yours.
As i said earlier, I am a lucky person, I also had an amazing group of friends who helped me not only online but also offline reaching for votes.
Follow Randall’s adventures here: https://m.facebook.com/randallvargasb
Check out Randall’s winning entry: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7O1RI-C_uRU