Ultramarathon Man: An Interview with Kevin Lin

Photography courtesy of Kevin Lin
Xpat Magazine December, 2006

ultramarathon_manWhen Kevin Lin, a postgraduate student and Taiwan’s most famous endurance athlete, agreed to an interview with Xpat I was stoked. Kevin is an internationally renowned ultramarathon champion. He races distances measuring in the hundreds of kilometers through extreme climates such as deserts and arctic snowfields. He was recently commissioned by Matt Damon’s movie company, LivePlanet, to join a team of three endurance athletes that will run over 4000 miles across the Sahara desert in less than 80 days (more than two marathons per day). If you mention his (Chinese) name to your Taiwanese friends they will undoubtedly nod in recognition. This was going to be a groundbreaking interview for Xpat – our first real celebrity.

But, when it came to actually scheduling the interview, Kevin’s phone was always busy or went unanswered. After a few brief e-mail attempts to pin him down to a time and place it became clear that between training, shooting the movie, and writing his thesis, Kevin would not have time to meet the editor from little ol’ Xpat.

In a last ditch attempt to save the interview I e-mailed Kevin a list of questions and received Kevin’s reply a few days later. When I read his responses it was clear that he written them while standing in line at 7-11 waiting to buy a Supau.

So, it didn’t turn out has great as I’d hoped. But nonetheless, here it is for your perusal: the Xpat exclusive interview with Taiwan’s Ultramarathon Man – chinglish and all.

Xpat Magazine: How old are you?
Kevin Lin: 1976/11/19

XPAT: How long have you been running ultamarathons?
KL: Probably….over than 10yrs.

XPAT: How many ultamarathons have you run? Where were they?
KL: Ha……too many….

XPAT: What did you place in each?
KL: I won sometime. But I took 2 or 3 place usually.

XPAT: What’s your current ranking?
KL: I did first place in 4 desert event in 2006. Gobi3/Acatama1/Sahara2/Antarctica3

XPAT: What’s your daily training routine?
KL: (Run) 150km~280km per week.

XPAT: What do you usually eat in a day?
KL: Ha….I can eat any thing. No special foods for me.

XPAT: What’s your favorite unhealthy food?
KL: Probably….COKE

XPAT: Why did you start running ultramarathons?
KL: I love to see the world and to feel all different body system. Include psychology and physical.

XPAT: I’ve heard that you were scheduled to start production of Running the Sahara in October. Have you started working on the movie?
KL: Yes I do. The live planet was came to TPE to filming for me last month. And we also filming in Chicago city in Aug 2006.

XPAT: What is Running the Sahara about?
KL: This is 3 man from US and Canada and Taiwan man to run the 6500km in Sahara in 3 month. www.runningthesahara.com

XPAT: What will you do in Running the Sahara ?
KL: RUN…..and RUN and RUN….ha….In fact that we will take care and make donation for local children.

XPAT: What are your personal goals with making Running the Sahara ?
KL: Finish and to write thesis on my master degree.

XPAT: I’ve read that Running the Sahara is also going to discuss the Sahara desert and the people that live there. Can you tell me a bit about this?
KL: Hnnnn. Actually I don’t know. This is movie secrecy. I can not talk to much this movie. Because I have contact with liveplanet.

XPAT: When will you start the run? How long will it take? When do you expect to finish?
KL: 11/1. and 80km per day. We hope can finish it before 2/1.

XPAT: Are you doing anything special to train for this ultramarathon?
KL: No. just living health and keep to exercise everyday.

XPAT: Is it possible that you may die on the trip?
KL: Maybe.!!!! I know that running 6500km in the sahara desert is very serious project. We all try to image and prepare lot of thing to avoid accident. So, we have very strong goal to finish.

XPAT: What would be the most likely problem that could lead to disaster on this trip?
KL: Probably virus and local robbers and mine.

XPAT: Have you ever encountered a dangerous situation during an ultramarathon before? Can you tell me about it?
KL: Dehydrate. Because I lost my route.

XPAT: How does your girlfriend feel about the risks of running ultramarathons?
KL: Ha… I don’t know.

XPAT: What do you consider to be your greatest victory?
KL: Yes. This will be human victory.

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