You all may know Sinith Suong by many names – Beast, Bad Ass, Legend, Calves of Steel. He races more in a month than most people do all year, and he crushes them! He’s known for his crazy race schedule, his back flip(s), and for being a little more on the reserved side in a world full of loud-mouths. After he raced Bourbon Chase AND our Defeated Creek Trail Half this weekend, we wanted to know more about Sinith, and thankfully, he’s agreed to “come out of the shadows for his fans.”
NRC: You're known for doing a lot of races, sometimes on the same weekend or even the same day. How long have you been running and racing?
Sinith: Got to say, I’ve only been running and racing for 6-7 hectic years. My first race experience was the Ragnar Relay in 2011 Chattanooga to Nashville, and I didn’t start racing 5k and ½ marathon distances until early 2012. As I progressed through the 2012 season, I wanted to start training properly in early 2013 for the Nashville Country Music Marathon which was in April of that year. That’s when I started training with awesome running clubs like East Nasty and Nashville Striders. Once I knocked the marathon off the bucket list, I wanted to go bigger . . . so I signed up Music City Trail Ultra 50K. This race totally destroyed my ego since trail running was fairly new to me. Hello, bonk-fest and misery!! Soon after that race, my journey to trail running and ultras opened to a whole new horizon. If you don’t believe me, look me up @ultrasignup. (NRC: Seriously, look up his results. It’ll blow your mind!)
NRC: How did you start running?
Sinith: For me, I just wanted to wear nice fitting clothing so I started forcing myself to jog 10-15 miles a week with most of the runs being only 2-3 miles a day. These runs were in and around the East Nashville Five Points area in early spring 2011. As the month passed by, the pounds started to drop and pants size shrank a full inch; that’s when running became my go-to exercise that actually worked and got real results. I’m pretty much a well-rounded sports fanatic, not just the endurance type. Sometime during the end of summer 2011, my boss at VF (who is somewhat a runner) also invited me to run this race called the Ragnar Relay, 200 miles from Chattanooga to Nashville. It sounded insane to me, but I said “hey let give it a try”. I ran the Ragnar with a bunch of army/helicopter pilots buddy and new friends. I was just a regular mid-pack runner while most of the guys were blazing fast. We finished Ragnar in the 27hrs mark. After that, I finally knew what a runner’s high felt like and have been hooked to running ever since.
NRC: You’re also a staple with the RunWILD crew -- both the training group and Tuesday night trails. What do you like about the RunWILD group?
Sinith: Everyone is just plain awesome, and they really like hitting the trail and then filling up with food and beer afterward. From my POV, it’s just an excuse to go roaming the woods with modest, entertaining group of friends. The coaches are great and very knowledgeable in the field of trail running. It’s thanks to them and the training crew that made 2014 the best year of my running journey. I conquered my first 100 mile race, The Thunder Rock 100 in May 2014. TR100 taught me the key of perseverance in racing ultramarathon distances, and you really know your full potential in the running community.
NRC: What's your favorite race you've done? What's your favorite distance to race?
Sinith: I really enjoyed the Rock/Creek Stump Jump 50k, especially with the new course (bye-bye Spiral of Death). It’s fun being out there with people you know and trained with. Running 10+hrs is great, but my favorite distance will always be the ½ marathon. It’s like a full marathon with exhilarating 5k feels. It’s also fast and not quite long that will not hinder my recovery time to run the next day. (NRC: Probably because he has another race to run the next day!)
NRC: What's the hardest race you've run?
Sinith: The hardest race to date is the 2016 Barkley Fall Classic 50k aka the ¼ taste of the infamous Barkley Marathons. It took nearly 13hrs to finish. Nothing but massive climbs one after the other. You don’t know the Barkley until you really experienced it yourself; that race is no joke! And oh yeah, there’s this 106ish mile, the CREW JEWEL 100, that took hella long --nearly 45hrs in the treacherous Georgia Mtn w/ 30,000+ elevation gain and loss.
NRC: What does a typical week of training for you look like? And with those calves, you must do some cross-training as well?
Sinith: I don’t really emphasize any typical training anymore since I started to plateau in 2015. I just run 30-40 min during my lunch break, hit the gym after work for maybe 1-2hrs, and then another short run after that. Weekends are my long run sessions, usually just 2-3hrs on the road and sometimes at Percy Warner trails. I’m sorry to say, my tree-trunk calves are genetics. I noticed it in the six grade when I participated in many extracurricular activities. And yes, basically, I cross-train and lift heavy weights almost every day except the weekend, that’s my long run day.
NRC: What races do you have coming up/what are you training for?
Sinith: Planning on another 100 miler in 2017, the No Business 100 in Kentucky. If not, going to take a break from the racing scene and just start a road marathon training plan. (NRC: check out the No Business 100 which takes place in Big South Fork)
NRC: Outside of running, what do you do for work and for fun?
Sinith: I work for an apparel company, VF Imagewear. I mainly focus on workforce, everyday uniforms and apparel brands, brands like the North Face, Wrangler, and Major League BB uniforms. I’m more of the guy behind the desk that take cares of everyone’s shipping needs. For me, running is already fun, but I just like to stay home and work on my to-be project drift and track cars. I love to watch anime series like Naruto and Dragon Ball Super.
NRC: Signature flip -- where did you learn that??
Sinith: It all started during 3rd grade at Cora Howe Elementary in East Nashville when I first saw this older student flipping down the hill during PE time. I attempted the first time and nearly bogged my head to the ground. After many tries (who knows how many), I finally mastered the back handspring. By the time I moved to 4th grade at Warner Elementary, flipping just started to be natural, from your typical multiple back handspring flip to a back and front, no hander somersault. My signature flip is the double handspring into a “monkey flip” at the end aka the 180 back somersault. I will only perform this move if I’m at my best or during a good run.
NRC: Sinith, you are amazing and a rock star! Thank you for being a loyal customer, RunWILDer, and friend. And thank you for taking the time out of your incredibly busy schedule to let everyone out there get to know the legend that is Sinith Suong. See you on the trails!