The Physical Performance Show: Anderson Moquiuti – Ultra-marathon Runner

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Episode 5: Anderson Moquiuti – Ultra-marathon Runner

Brad Beer recently sat down with Anderson Moquiuti – much loved ultra-marthoner and ultra runner for Episode 5 of The Physical Performance Show podcast.

Brad has a fire-side chat with Ando, discussing his journey of over-coming crippling neurological disease Guillian Barre Syndrome to later discover the joys and life-giving elements of ultra running. Ando also shares about how he managed to survive a 100km trail race in Australia’s Blue Mountains after a nasty ankle sprain just days before.

Get ready to be inspire by this passionate and amazing and much loved Aussie Brazilian!

POGO Podcast episode 5

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To listen to the full interview on iTunes click HERE>>

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To learn more about Ando click HERE>>

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Send to to the show host @Brad_Beer (Twitter)

The Physical Performance Show Brad Beer


Brad: Welcome to the physical performance show. The show designed to inspire the pursuit of your physical best performance.
I’m your host Brad Beer. Listen in as we delve into how the world’s top physical performers achieve their success as well as the highs, the lows, and the journey of getting there.
Let’s get ready, set, let’s go.
Welcome listeners to another episode of physical performance show. The show that takes you behind the curtain of the lives of the world’s best physical performers. I’m your host Brad Beer.
If it’s your first time listening in, a big welcome. If you’re a return listener, thank you.
I trust you’ll enjoy this episode and share it around with your fellow peak performers. Listening as we delve into how top physical performers achieve their success. We’ll take a behind the curtain look at the highs, the lows, and everything in between on our guest’s journey to  physical best performance.
In today’s episode, we have a fire side chat with Ando, ultra runner, Anderson McQuiuti.
You’re going to love this story. It’s inspiring and what this guy does is simply outstanding.
Today’s show is lovingly brought to you by Pogo Physio, the physio therapy practice that helps you discover your best, pain free performance so that you can do the physical things that you love to do.
So, lets jump right in.
Good morning, Anderson.
Anderson: Good morning Brad. Good morning everyone.
Brad: Great to have you on the show. I’ve been looking forward to sitting down having this chat with you for some time now.
Welcome along.
Anderson: Thank you very much. Let’s get started. I’m really excited and I hope we have people enjoy and have a good time and listen today.
Brad: Well, we’ve actually listeners who’ve come back in this morning on a balmy Sunday morning here on the gold coast. It must have been about 80% humidity out there.
Anderson: It’s pretty hot but it’s lovely. Every single run we do every day is just another blessing. A really good time to enjoy, put ourselves there and have a good time. It was awesome.
Brad: It was a good run. We thought we’d get a run in and then lay this interview down. Let’s jump right in. Obviously, Anderson, anyone listening can detect the accent. Tell us a little bit about your background first.
Anderson: I’m Brazilian, but my dad, his family is Italian so I’m a little bit of Italian but I grew up in Brazil, and came here when I was 23. That’s pretty much it, almost 12 years now. Yeah, I’m a young Brazilian guy.
Brad: Well, we’re going to delve into your background as we go but I want to start by getting to know some of your recent performances. There’s an incredible story listeners, that sits behind this and we’re going to pick this story up as we go. Anderson, what’s something that the world would find interesting about you?
Anderson: Well, I think it’s pretty fun, but my close friends and family know, I’m a really sensitive guy. I think if there is no finish line I’ve done without crying at the end. I think I’m really sensitive. I think I’m really emotional and I really feel that when I finish my races and also on daily basis when I see something on the TV or listen to something on the radio, that’s happening in the world that makes me really upset. I kind of cry a lot, I think.
Brad: Where does that come from, do you think?
Anderson: Oh, I don’t know. Back home, I don’t think we that strong kind of personality. I don’t know. I think it’s really personal, I think. I’m always aiming for the best things in every segment and always like to fight for the best thing in the world, like for peace and love, and when you see something bad that really upsets me, I think that’s really personal. I don’t know. I really feel like I have lots of feelings. I think that helps me a lot too. I put out everything. I think that’s very interesting.
Brad: Do you think it’s because you’re always putting 110% out, Ando, that when you do cross that finish line. I can relate. I often side of people when they’re talking about their first marathon or significant sporting event, I know every time I’ve crossed a marathon finish line it’s quite an emotional experience.
Anderson: Yeah, well, I think we are very blessing. We live in such a beautiful country. It’s such an amazing place. When you go out there, we having the best time of our lives. It’s special. You feel that. You go, “why not put in all? Leave everything here and just get to the finish line and have a good time.”
I think you’re right. We go there, we put 110%, and when it came to the end it reminds us of our kids and all you’ve done in the past. All the hard life, all the hard times, all the training you’ve done, the bad days. It’s hard not to cry.
Brad: Because you’re a dad, Anderson, of two kids, two girls?
Anderson: Two beautiful girls and they are my world. They are my everything. I think they are one of the reason I push myself as much as I can. I want them to think that they do whatever they want, especially if it involves sports or anything else in life.
I think you always need to make your own decisions in life but I show them my way, which is I don’t drink, I wake up early every morning, I’m always training, I’m always eating healthy, I’m always supporting people. I think in the future they might help someone else and do the same and keep the cycle going, I think.
Brad: Well, certainly Anderson, I know that here on the gold coast and in the running community, you’re much loved and obviously that’s because of what you put out and the heart and soul that you put into it. That’s a great trait and certainly something that endears everyone to you that gets to know you. There’s rarely a picture posted on social media that’s not Anderson’s big smile and his eagle tattoo. Anderson, what’s your greatest single physical achievement or accomplishment to date?
Anderson: If you think about my life, my life story, I think a lot of people would be able to run and now run like 100km, 100 miles, and keep the dream alive. I’ve won lots of races, well not lots but a few but there was a stage when I went from nothing to run 100ks. It can prove, if you can put your mind into it, your heart and dedicate yourself 110%, you can get what you want. You can make your dreams come true. I think that stage from nothing to run 100kms, that’s the biggest accomplishment I could have in my life, I think.
Brad: We’ll go into the story in a moment. What was that 100km race? Which one was that in particular?
Anderson: I’ll say, there’s a funny story here. It was my favourite one which is not the best time I had because it was North Face. North Face was, I think one of the best moments I had in my life because I was really prepared for the race and a week before I rolled my ankle.
Brad: For those that are trying to interpret, that’s the North Face 100 in the Blue Mountains of Australia, west of Sydney. Anderson, take us through what happened. Incredible story.
Anderson: It was Friday, the week before we went for 10ks run in the rink, push a little bit hard and stepped on one of those piece of wood on the ground and rolled my ankle. I was devastated. Got some X-ray done, got some exams done. I was like, “what do I do?” Let’s stick to Brad Beer. I came here, I’m not joking, I had no hope. I was like, “the race is over, I’m not going to be in the race.” Brad also can tell, Brad comes in the room, say, “well, what if tell you, you’re not going to listen to me and you’re going to do the run. You’re going to race.”
You say let’s work it out. It was seven days, pretty much, we work every day and then I’d done the X-ray. Some guys had a look and said, “Oh my God, that looks pretty bad. I don’t know if you can race.” That was a Thursday, two days before I was leaving to Blue Mountains … it’s so funny, I was sitting, waiting for Brad. I had my head down and I have no religion but I really believe in God. I put my head down and was pretty much in tears and I say, “I have to do the race. Brad’s going to come here and is going to change the whole concept.”
It was funny because, once I put my head up, Brad was there. He said, “What’s wrong, Ando?”
I was like, “Oh Brad, I just feel really upset. I think I’m not going to run.”
He said “Come on. It was a big session. We did probably an hour and a half. I worked pretty hard. Brad take my foot and say, “put the boots on, get to the race, feel the race and see if you can do it.”
I think it was the best 100kms in my life. You came to the finish line … I didn’t think I would make 10kms. I came to that finish line, I think it was pretty funny, the guy was asking me some question, I was completely delirious, badly. I went straight to see some of the doctors but I was like, “I’m done.” This was one of the best moments in my life.
Brad: For listeners, the degree of Anderson’s injury was significant. From memory, a grade 2 lateral ankle sprain and a bit of the medial ankle as well and medial ligament of the ankle. It was very fat, very swollen. It was the week of the race and knowing the psychology of Ando and the greater physical challenges he had prior to this, I knew he’d be running so it was bit of, let’s give the runner the opportunity here so we had him in the boot. I remember getting up in the middle of the night, looking for a message to see if he’d finished and he had a photo of Anderson sitting in his wheelchair, heading the race, looking completely spent with a big smile on his face with his thumbs up.
For those overseas listeners and those who aren’t familiar with the North Face, what’s the elevation there, Anderson?
Anderson: I think it’s over 4000 metres if I’m not wrong. Actually, it’s a really tricky course. Really hilly, lots of stairs, everything for a guy to roll his ankle. It was tough especially on the ankle, especially if the hill course, interesting.
Brad: Anderson, tell me about the steps at the finish of that race.
Anderson: You get a smile face about the 921 steps. Seriously after 99k, you have 921 steps to finish the race. That’s amazing. That was really funny. I remember I came to the last K, my friend was waiting for me on the border and he’s like, “Come on man.” I was just like, “Dude, let me do it.” I put my hand on the ground and started crawling because I couldn’t stand up. I was like, “Bring the finish line.”
Brad: Every step of that run hurt, didn’t it? With that ankle, pretty much.
Anderson: It was pretty much. I had a friend, we started together and I remember the first ten meters, I ran in front of him and he came to the finish line and said, ‘Man, I saw you run and I was like wow, that looks painful.” That was cool. I like it.
Brad: Anderson, that was one of many 100k races you’ve done now. You’ve had a few cracks at the 100 mile or is it two?
Anderson: Two cracks at the 100 miles, one finished under 24 hours.
Brad: That was Sunshine Coast?
Anderson: Yeah. Sunshine Coast, Glass House. Good race, really nice people, nice community, tough track, hot, amazing things in those conditions.
Brad: It was two 75k loops plus a 10k wasn’t it, from memory?
Anderson: Yeah, it was 110 and then another 52ks.
Brad: It’s still 2 laps?
Anderson: 2 laps, yes.
Brad: Excuse me listeners, we’re both are here downing drinks and water after our run this morning. What goes through your head Ando, as you come through after your first lap. You’ve done a 110 km of running already and you still got another 50 something to go.
Anderson: I think by the 70k mark I was crying. I was literally crying. I have a friend with me, he bend the knee, he was my super crew. I call him Angel because of all I got. That dude man, I got 7ks mark, he say, “Come on, sit in the car man. Stop crying for now. Just remember, I’m going to be here for you. Whatever happen, I’m here.” I came through and run the 10ks. I was like woo, let’s get that done. I had a really bad time by 70ks and when I got to 110, that’s when I was like, wow race is on.
The second loop was; I enjoy more than the first loop.
Brad: Wow, I’ve never done an ultra-marathon as I have said a few times on the show and I certainly have the greatest respect for you guys getting that done at 60. Absolutely incredible.
Anderson: You’ve done the 50ks?
Brad: 50ks yeah. When I talk about ultra, I’m thinking a 100ks, so 50ks was enough. Anderson, what’s your morning routine look like?
Anderson: I run 6 times a week. I try run as much as I can in the mountains and a really hilly course. Most of the time I could be far away from home, from where I live. I live close to the beach. The night before, I always get a really cool motivation video to put in the car to listen before I get to the start.
Brad: What DVD or CD?
Anderson: Just like what you get on you tube but you can’t watch because you’re driving, so you just listen. I go listen … There’s some amazing things. YouTube is pretty fun. You’ve got those amazing videos and I always don’t eat before I run. I try go as minimum food because, I think if something bad happens in the race is because you’ve been trained in a minimum food, in a minimum hydration, you supports. I wake up, big smile on face, put the video on, brush my teeth, go to the whatever I want. Most of the time the ring and I get my session done.
Have a shower. The boys at work, they put a shower in the back of the work. Get a shower at work, have a breakfast and start my job.
Brad: You’ve changed careers I understand, from the kitchen, the cheffing for many years.
Anderson: It’s 6, 7 years working as a chef. Crazy hours. Hospitality is a really busy life. Now working like here with mountain bikes, like in the warehouse. Online shop. Pretty cool, different, more into the sports now. It’s pretty all right. I don’t know. Every job, everything I do in my life, I always try to pull everything. I always try to do my best. I changing my career now, but I’m still the same Ando, I’ll go there, hit a 110%, do my best and get the job done.
Brad: Then go running.
Anderson: And go running.
Brad: Let’s talk about how you got into running first. Then I want to dive deep into the story I know will move people and inspire people, which is your overcoming of a neurological disorder, Guillian Barre Syndrome. Let’s talk about how you got started in running first. Let’s talk about the condition first. You came to Australia, from my understanding, you were a Brazilian guy, a young guy. You were right into your surfing.
Anderson: I came here, the main reason was learning English and go back home and get back in my old job and my old routine, my life, which is live in a big city, working with magazines like marketing and promotion. I got here in December. I lived in Burleigh Heads, like paradise and surfing big waves every day. Start working being a hair stylist, just to make some money to pay the bills and stuff. That was December 2004. After 3 months, April just close to my birthday, I went surfing early, I hit the bank and my back was not getting better. I was like, “Awe, I have to see a doctor and see what’s going on.
I went to see a doctor and the doctor said, “That might be something you done with your back.” He gives me some pain killers, sent me back home, and the pain was not going away. It’s getting worse, worse and it gotten to a stage a week later, I couldn’t walk anymore. Couldn’t stand up without support. Everyone had to support me, had to help me have a shower. I was like, “Nah, that’s definitely not something normal, so I went back into the hospital.” The doctor and I, that was the craziest part, because we got the blood test, back in time I couldn’t speak English.
Not a single word. I always say, that’s the good thing about living in hospital because I learn English. I learn English in a bad way. People was asking me, “Did you have that injection yet?” I would say, “No.” And get another one because I wouldn’t understand what they’re saying. Anyways, I got the blood test, we got the injection in the spine, I don’t know how do you call?
Brad: To test.
Anderson: Yes to test.
Brad: I’ve gone blank. The cerebral spinal fluid sample.
Anderson: Yes I got that. I got the man test. I got everything checked and then 20 minutes later, I got 8 doctors in my room. I was like, “Whoa, what’s going on here?” 8 doctors. This is at the Gold Coast hospital the old one. Basically they found out I had GBS which is Guillian-Barre Syndrome. It is pretty much like winning the lotto, 100,000 people, seven born with that. Some get healed, some would never get that, It’s a stress.
They came to me and said, “You have two options, one, go back home. Second one, trust and we see what we can do. I know there’s a lot of people who will recover. There’s a lot people, they don’t recover. There’s a lot of people, they recover 50% but we can’t tell you if it’s one week, two weeks, four weeks, four years. We know we can do everything and we are going to treat you real well. We can start today.”
I’m like, “Oh my God,” All my dreams went down now to that stage of my life. So I said, “all right, let’s start it.” They took me through to a room. They put a drip in for four days, 24 hours a day. Basically what they put is white gloves … Your body to fight against the disease. They don’t know how to prevent it but they know the cure. That’s when it starts. That’s when I found myself. That stage when you’re on the ground, you’re there by your own with people you don’t know, speak different language … I see this as one of the best moments of my life. I live my life pretty full before that. I didn’t have as much hope. I didn’t believe in God that much. I didn’t have a chance to be myself, be by my own to think what can I do in the future so I had one year to … Crazy times.
Brad: You were how old, Ando?
Anderson: I was 23, 24.
Brad: 23, 24. The doctors came in and said you’ve got this condition which you would have never have heard of?
Anderson: Yeah. they couldn’t say much because they-
Brad: The uncertainty. We learned about this in physiotherapy school and the neurological component. It’s one of those conditions that you know exists but you’re probably the second guy I’ve come across in ten years in clinical life that I know had it. That would probably been a life case study we’ve got in front of us. Your parents were back in Brazil at that stage?
Anderson: They were back in Brazil. Mum came here. Mum stayed for one month but she was full on. It got to the stage, I was like “Mum, please, I think it’s better you go home because I know it’s going to be such a hard time. I know you’re going to try to help but unfortunately you are going to end up not helping because those days there was no improvement. Those days we were going to do three physio sessions, one in the water, get those massages, everything and there was no improvement. I had to go at night time and still had to sticky tape my eyes because half of my face was paralysed.
Still had sticky tape my eyes. The headaches was stupid. I had to have injections for headaches.
Brad: How much movement did you lose?
Anderson: I lose half of my face and full body, from neck to my feet.
Brad: Explain that for listeners, you had no function from the neck to the feet?
Anderson: I had nothing in my legs, no functions.
Brad: Couldn’t walk?
Anderson: I couldn’t move my legs.
Brad: For how long?
Anderson: The legs took longer than the … The hand came first. Fingers-
Brad: Came first, in that you lost the movement of this. The back?
Anderson: Came back? After you take all the medicine for the four days, you go from 20% down to zero. I was pretty much laying down in the bed. My neck was working so I could look. I still could eat. I could drink in a straw. It didn’t affect my-
Brad: Your feeding?
Anderson: Yeah, my feeding. Half of my face and my body. I couldn’t move my hands.
Brad: How long were you paralysed for, effectively?
Anderson: Effectively, probably three weeks. Three weeks. Two, three weeks.
Brad: Is that the norm that you’d be for that long or is it because they detected it earlier?
Anderson: They detected it at the early stage so they were pretty good as I could still eat. The movements in my arm didn’t take as long. I think the worse was the legs. The legs took [probably about a month. I remember doing all those tests with hammer –
Brad: Reflexes?
Anderson: Reflexes does nothing.
Brad: How long, Ando, you got out of the hospital, after what, a month?
Anderson: I live in hospital from April until October.
Brad: Wow. As an in-patient though or you were in the hospital for what, six-?
Anderson: Six months living.
Brad: You were in the hospital for six months. Sorry I misunderstood. I knew you would have had a-
Anderson: It’s amazing. I loved that because they get the young people, back in the time I was pretty young. They get you and it’s like, “we’re going to put everything we can to make you feel great to leave. You’re not going to leave until we know you can walk to your house and walk out of your house.”
Brad: They wouldn’t let you out of the hospital until you could do that.
Anderson: Back home they would stay there with me for an hour or something and they would prepare the whole grounds, make a ramp on the stairs and stuff for the wheelchairs so I could go on weekends. After four months I could go and spend the day at home. After five months, two days, the whole weekend until they came and say, “all right, you’re ready to go.”
Brad: Tell us about what that feeling was like. You spent six months in hospital, going from 90% paralysed … Because the condition affects the … from memory, going back to my university years, the transmission of the nerves, that’s what gets attacked, isn’t it?
Anderson: Brad, they were amazing. They made me feel I was not sick. They made me feel I was in surfing accident and the recovery would be like, that.
Brad: At any point did you have doubt in your mind that you would get back to … Because at this stage you would have entertained marathon-
Anderson: I go down on those nights, sleep tape your eyes. You have no hope. 11 o’clock, you get some injection for you headache and you’re like,  “ Seriously, why that happened to me and what is next?”  You feel that energy. You feel that something is with you. I could feel every time, I was not alone. I was there. That was good because every morning I had someone who would get there and work so hard with me.  The physiotherapists, they were amazing. The people there, the nurses and everyone, they just feel like a big family. They made me feel so welcome. People coming for new awards, I could hear that’s how you speak English. It was amazing. I don’t think it was the worst time in my life, I think it was the time to really learn about life. I really learned about humanity, how so many people loved the job they do and they put so much love. They make you feel so good. They can change your life.
Brad: At that point, you had an experience, say in your life, that sense of, as you put, humanity?
Anderson: I was being a nice person. Always try to do, but I didn’t have that. I was not close to humans like I am now. I didn’t have the chance to. I didn’t have anything to share.
Brad: That was a real humbling, strip you bare to your core. As you say, as a beautiful saying I often think of and that’s, “The only man that’s progressing, is the man that’s on his knees.” When you’re stripped bare of a lot of things you’re left with, nothing but the rock bottom in trying to navigate through the valley. It’s a real perspective change isn’t it.
Anderson: It’s amazing because a lot of people, they complain for nothing. They are constantly not enjoying life and that life is such a beautiful, magical thing. I think when you are awake, that’s when you’re dreaming I think. That’s when you can do whatever you put your mind into. That’s incredible.
Brad: I like that. When you’re awake, that’s when you’re dreaming. Very nice. Ando, let’s talk about if the old you could see the new you Ando, what will the old you say?
Anderson: I would change that question, to one thing. I was never really close to my dad. I would put my dad as the old Ando. My dad was always busy working with … My dad had some problems and that affect our family a lot. Two weeks ago, my daddy came in and send me a text Facebook and I see my old Ando as if it was my dad.  He say, “Son, I love you. I’m really proud of what you’re doing.” That’s what the old Ando would say to me right now.  What you’re doing now is amazing, all the things you’ve been in your life-
Brad: That just happened?
Anderson: Yeah, that just happened in the last two weeks. He’d send me a mail, because we are boys. We’re always daddy’s boys. We had bad times as kids. Daddy was always busy. Of course, we had good times too but daddy is not that emotional, he not sharing much. You doubt sometimes. Daddy loves me? I don’t know. Anderson:  We always had bad times. Dad was always busy. Of course we had good time too. Dad was not that emotional, not sharing much so you doubt sometimes, “Daddy loves me or not.” He came two weeks ago and asked me that, I was like, far out and then I cried and kicked and I was like, “Oh my God, I’m done completely.”
Brad: When was the last time you saw your father?
Anderson: Two years ago.
Brad: Two years ago.
Anderson: Two years ago when I went to Brazil. That man is incredible. He cooked some amazing barbecues and he done a lunch for us. We had such a good time. I never had a chance to talk to him till I came to Australia and every holidays I go there. We have a day or two together. He talks about when he was kids and things I didn’t know until that time. Pretty cool.
Brad: That’s a great recent development. Do you credit any of your … what do you think shifted that in your father? What do you think prompted that?
Anderson: I don’t know, Brad. It’s pretty hard. I was raised by my grandma and I was a strict boy in life. Not a strict boy, I was the good version of strict boy. We were a bunch of crazy kids who played sports.
Brad: Straight out of Compton?
Anderson: I grew up in Brazil and I never had drugs. We would see someone and we get scared. We were the good version of the street boys. We’d play soccer every day. I was pretty much raised by my friend’s family. I’m a grown man, all those things. Now I understand. Life was pretty hard. Mum had to work hard. They had bills to pay. We need clothes. We need food, we need lot of those things. I don’t know how it is, life was pretty cool. You don’t blame anyone. I understand my daddy now, he made a mistake. I know he feels bad and now I think he’s good.
Brad: Now it all maturity to get through your life and relationships are the greatest currency. Sporting trophies and physical performances are nice things to collect for life but when it comes to the cracks you don’t take anything. All you’re remembered for is your relationships, isn’t it?
Anderson: It’s true. Same as the race. You forget the bad times.
Brad: You remember the moments and people that you talk and encounter in those events. That’s often what sticks with me. What’s the single greatest learning that you will pass on to someone about how they can discover their physical best performance?
Anderson: I heard a lot about talent, about gift but I think first of all you need to love what you do. You see those people, “Oh my God. Soccer player. They get so much money.” But it’s about the love. Once you love … You’re going to train hard. You’re going to eat good. You’re going to sleep well. You’re going to put everything. You’re going to do your best all the time. You’re going to get the group of people who love the same as you.
You’re going to be surrounded by amazing people. You’re going to dedicate yourself to this, no matter if that involve sports, physical or mental or at work as a chef. You need to find a love and from there on, you dedicate yourself.
Brad: Find a passion and then apply yourself and dedicate yourself. Does that apply to when you’re tired and you don’t feel like getting up?
Anderson: 100%. I think there’s always 30 minutes. If you’re tired, there’s 30 minutes, you do a little work out, is going to make the difference in the future. It’s going to make a big difference in the race day. When that hits your mind, you’re going to be like wow, I was super tired and I still made the 30 minutes, so I’m going to keep moving.
Brad: That’s good. I like that story of Michael Phelps leading into one of his numerous, successful Olympic campaigns. He trained an extra day of the week that everyone else would effectively have off and so when you added that up cumulatively, that added up to about 10 or 12 extra weeks of preparation you would have had leading up to the Olympic games.
Coming out of Guillian Barre Syndrome paralysed, yes you got out of hospital and you’re able to walk to and from your house, which is a pretty basic function, how on earth did you then discover the world of running?
Anderson: Well that’s very funny. Like I said, life is a massive connection because I was a street boy. Always running around, playing soccer bare foot.
Brad: Where’d you grow up in Brazil?
Anderson: Sao Paulo.
Brad: Big city?
Anderson: Big city. Massive city.
Brad: You’re out literally on the streets with a bunch of other kids.
Anderson: 20 kids playing soccer every day. A friend of mine, she started doing triathlon. Her name is Kara. Kara, I think she came the other time.
Brad: Kara Briggs.
Anderson: Yeah, Kara Briggs. She say, “Why you don’t try to run or do triathlon as well?” I was like, “I never thought about it. I don’t think I’ll like it.” Then I was like, “Oh, probably I’m going to sign for one of those race.” I signed for the good coast half marathon and I trained. I trained for it. It’s not something I just went and ran. I trained under a base. I joined the gym. Started doing those training videos.
Boom, cracked 1:24:54 for my first half marathon.
Brad: What year was this?
Anderson: That was 2011. That’s 4 years ago or something like that. The funny part, my first walk after the disease, I was walking Broad beach and I was tackled by a magpie.
Brad: Good old magpies.
Anderson: Good old magies but that’s when I realized that walking hurts. I want to try something faster than walk because I had to. That’s when the click came up and I then I did the half marathon. I was alive. I finished the first half marathon.
I remember staring at the finish line with all those people coming through and I was like, “Wow, that thing is so good. “I tried a few triathlons. I remember, even Kara used to say, “Ando, I think you born to run man. You run so well.” I didn’t know what’s times and bases and anything. I was just like, “Cool, running thing is fun.”
I joined some triathlons and then I was just went like, “Nah, I’m going to do the marathon.” I got one of those programs on the Internet. I have a help back in the time, Brandon. He supported me and stuff. I had no idea what’s going on. I had no idea it was 42ks. I put myself in the line and I remember I had really bad start.
I started with 3:45 pace and I’m like, “Oh my god, that thing is so slow. I got to-“
Brad: This is 3 hours, 45 in a pace?
Anderson: Yeah, 3 hours, 45 in a pace and I was like, “I’m going to give a crack.” I ended up 2:59 and something, on my first marathon. Then that was the line. That was the beginning. That was, I think, half in 2010 and then Gold Coast full one 2011, if I’m not wrong, or 11, 12, something like that. Then it was like, I love this place. I love running.
I going to build it up to have a really good … I want to go-
Brad: Faster.
Anderson: I want to go as long as I can. I want to run. A lot of running.
Brad: Your marathon PB got down to 2:49, in Melbourne?
Anderson: Melbourne.
Brad: Couple years ago?
Anderson: Yeah. I remember you passing me by, 25ks and give me a tap on the back. I was like,” Oh. Dammit.”
Brad: I remember running pass you. That was the only marathons I think I actually paced well. That’s your current PB. I’m sure that would be lowered in coming years but then you got into ultra-marathons.
Anderson: Then I got in to ultra-marathons. I started doing 50ks. Back in 2013, I’d done I think 10 – 15ks I think.
Brad: If you could only choose one?
Anderson: I had a really good one, which was not a 50k, it was 45ks, it was beach run. It was right through crafts harbor.
Brad: Along the beach?
Anderson: Along the beach. I won and I had the course record. The course record was there since 1997. I had such a good time. The time was not bad. It was 3:17 I think it was for the 45k beach run. I remember because I had no watch and I remember … The guy who was organising, he had to be at the start and the finish line.
Brad: Still beverage.
Anderson: He was in the starting line and he joked, “I hope you guys can get to the finish line before me.” That happened. I got to the finish line and there was no one there. I was like, Oh my God, is that the finish line?” I had no water. Didn’t know what was going on. Then I saw a guy with a camera, so I asked him. “Oh my God, I’m sorry.” Then he stopped the time. Then that was the 3:17.
Brad: What was the gap between you getting there and-
Anderson: I think it was … It was so long ago, but I wait for a life.
Brad: You didn’t have a watch, so who knows. What’s to date your life’s greatest regret. You don’t strike me as the sort of guy that lives with regrets but is there any?
Anderson: There’s a race. My dream race which I didn’t finish. It was last year. I went there maybe because I had that thing, always go for it. I didn’t finish. It was 242k, maybe I shouldn’t have go because I think I wasn’t prepared for that. That was a maybe a bit of regret. I ran a half way, 120 and then-
Brad: 120ks in the race?
Anderson: Yeah and I felt my stomach start vomiting and started seeing the monkeys-
Brad: The monkeys?
Anderson: Yes started seeing things.
Brad: For listeners, this is the Coast to Kosciusko from the Eden on the South Coast of New south Wales or Victoria and then straight up to Australia’s highest point, which is Mt. Kosciusko. A future guest, Sam Weir, also hails from the gold coast, jump over and listen to his interview. We speak a little bit about that.
That was the race that you really wanted to run.
Anderson: That was the race of my dreams. That’s why I had done north Face and rolled my ankle but the last month of preparation, everything went wrong and I think I should put it off. Not do it but I tried. I think it still was a good crack and I know what’s the race like now. I know what I need to improve. I know I need a coach. I know I need to organize my nutrition better. That was a big learning.
I learn from a big mistake. There is almost dying to get a lot of things, to learn so much.
Brad: In wrapping or close to wrapping up, what’s your favourite training session?
Anderson: My favourite training session? I think every day is favourite. Every day when I lace my shoes, I’m so blessed that I so enjoy it. I always run with people and I always cross in people’s way and I always high five and say good mornings. Every session is good.
Brad: I think we must have seen a lot, about 50, 60 people this morning on our 23k loop. Every session. What’s a session you least like? Is there one? As you said, you recognize, coming from the background that you had, where you were paralysed, laying in a hospital bed to everyday that you put your shoes on, you recognise that it is a gift. It’s a blessing, so is there ever a session that you don’t like going to?
Anderson: I think, some of those you will start not liking it but when you finish you will like it. Take Sedan, today was hard, but I done. It’s not that I dislike it, it’s stuff. Some days you are really tired and your body really doesn’t want to respond and it still go. When you finish, it feels better. Feels like-
Brad: Feeling of satisfaction?
Anderson: Satisfaction. It’s hard to explain. I think everyone should try running.
Brad: I agree.
Anderson: It’s the best thing. I think it’s magical.
Brad: Character building isn’t it?
Anderson: It connects to life, what life is. It’s up and downs. Some moments you never forget and some moments you wish that didn’t happen. People going to come along and people go away and the kilometres is like those days. The hard times, good times and the hydrations and the feeling great. Think it’s the same as in life. Some days you can make everyone feel incredible good. You can inspire, motivate and some other days you need that. The running community is amazing. They are people with different career, different concept about life but who love the same thing.
Brad: One commonality.
Anderson: One commonality. Yeah. I respect everyone who runs and even those who don’t run or run the 100 meters or walk. They’re out there, living the life. I think, especially in the morning, that’s when you feel your feet connect to the earth and that’s when energy comes to your body. The suns come up and people feel like they’re smelling something so amazing. We’re all one soul.
The running community, when you’re at the start line, everyone is the same and it’s incredible, you don’t know who is next to you. You don’t know what it’s been, the times he had in his life but he’s there with the same smile. Some come and hug you and like, “Ooh.” It’s pretty cool. No money, no ego, no anything.
Brad: Runs on the same start line, same finish line, one course.
Anderson: Same arc, same vault. Super cool.
Brad: That’s a good analogy with life. People run the race at different paces but it’s ultimately, the finish line is all the same. That say our days on earth are numbered. On that last sequel here, What’s on your personal bucket list, non-sporting related?
Anderson: Well Brad, we would want to work with kids who suffer from mass violence, have problem with alcohol and stuff. I have so much to give because I got so much, Brad, when I was sick, I had so many people who gave everything to make me the guy I am today. Thanks is not enough and I want to give that back. I want to give to kids because if you change the kids, there’s a massive chance here, the whole next generation … The world is a beautiful place.
What makes the world bad sometimes is the people so why put it to those kids. That’s what they are going to take with them for the end of their lives. If you can show them like, “there’s someone who is not even part of my family, believe me, trust me. That’s everything. You need someone out there who believe in yourself to make you believe in yourself. Sometimes you need help. I really want to work, even volunteer, but I’m more with people who suffer from alcohol and drugs and kids who suffer domestic violence, that’s how you call it eh?
Brad: What about your sporting bucket list, what would be one thing?
Anderson: I really want to finish that course because you ask.
Brad: Go back and redeem yourself.
Anderson: It’s gone bad, made me feel like, “well, there’s a lot of things you shroud learn, but welcome back.” You’re going to come back strong. They’re going to smile the whole way. When you come to the top of that thing, that’s going to be the day of my life. I know they put that piece of cloth there, the minute you conquer that thing. I really want to finish that race.
Brad: Well Ando, I have no doubt you’ll show in that race just what you’ve got and definitely finishing with a smile. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a finishing photo of you without a big smile. Thank you very much for your time today and sharing that incredible story and giving listeners an insight into something that … When people hear the story going from paralysed on a hospital bed as a mid-twenty year old, literally at this stage, still discovering your physical best. I know your best running is ahead of you.
Anderson: That’s true. When I was in North Face, I met Tim. Tim has same disease and he is fine, really good right now. He’s back to his walking. He’s doing great. I went to see him when he was in hospital after the race and I had such a good time with him. Tim, I love you, man. You’re my inspiration. I can’t wait to see you. Do you know the Iron Man, you are our Iron Man and Bam. Do it. You are a champion.
Brad: Thank you, mate. Absolute pleasure. Great way to start the morning, particularly after a run. There you have it. I trust you enjoyed this episode. I f you did, I would love it if you would jump over to our channels and leave a review.
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Until next time, keep pursuing you physical best performance. I’m Brad Beer and this is the Physical Performance Show.
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