Zero to Hero with Benjamin Kane

Present yourself briefly.

My name is Benjamin Kane, I’m from Sunderland, England however, I’ve been living in Bulgaria since 2007. I currently live in Sofia where I run a small business called TechPods. I’m also the proud father of a wonderful little girl, oh, and I like to run – occasionally 🙂

When your Running journey started?

I have always loved being in the mountains, I suppose this was how Bulgaria seduced me during my first ever visit when I stayed near the Stara Planina mountains, although the whole trail running obsession didn’t start until 2015 when I became friends with a psychotic Spartan from Sopot who introduced me to the Bulgarian running scene. Since then, I have participated in most of the famous Bulgarian ultra races, including Vitosha 100, Persenk (Orehovo Ultra) and Pirin Ultra – although Pirin got the better of me so we still have some unfinished business there.  

When was your first ZERO moment in Running?

I’ve had quite a lot of ZERO moments to be honest, however I’ll never forget my first attempt at Vitosha 100. After running 10K at Pancharevo in 48 minutes, which was one of my first ever 10K runs, I decided I was ready to tackle Vitosha 100. Huge mistake. I collapsed somewhere between Yarlovo and Brezite and had to be evacuated. Krisok managed to get a picture of me whilst I was on the floor in Yarlovo bursting blisters as a one of the locals was cruising past on his horse and cart laughing at me. That picture that puts a smile on my face every time I look at it.

When was your HERO moment in Running?

It has to be Vitosha 100 again! This time I was one of 250 finishers in what was probably the most enjoyable ultra marathon I have ever participated in. You all remember Ж100 2017, right? Lot’s of rain (perfect conditions for the British), and the race organisers tried to stop the race at Chuipetlovo. I did two very specific things – first, I sat down at the aid station in Chuipetlovo and changed my socks, I then took a healthy swig of whisky and I was off for the win! Of course, the fresh socks were wet within 2 minutes of leaving Chuipetlovo but my spirits were high and that is what will get you through an ultra marathon. I even made one of those Божинка-esque clips, which thankfully was removed from Facebook shortly after I posted it.  

How running is helping you in your everyday/office life? 

Being a business owner is very similar to being an ultra runner. Sometimes life is beautiful and you enjoy every second of it, but most of the time it’s hell and you just have to be strong, grit your teeth and get through it. Finishing an ultra marathon requires careful planning, endless preparation, dedication and above all – resilience, all of which I use on a daily basis to keep the business running smoothly. When I started TechPods, I left the comfort of a secure monthly salary, flexible working hours and social benefits, which can be a scary thing to do if you don’t have the right mentality, the same applies with ultra running, you have to go way out of your comfort zone, and that is where all the good things happen 🙂  

What you’d advice the the people in ZERO stage?

Benjamin Franklin said “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” and I often tell myself that. Every runner you see out in the park is on a different journey, the most important thing is that they’re out there trying to achieve their goals and for that, every runner should be proud of themselves, regardless of what stage they’re at. Photos: KrisoK Photography 

Iliyan Lazarov

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