Quick-fire questions with ultra runner Lenka Istanova

LENKA ISTANOVA (www.runista.co.uk) answers a round of our 'quick-fire' questions.



What has been your biggest achievement in running to date?


It must the longest race I’ve done to date – 144K in the mountains. When I started running I never imagined I could run for 27 plus hours.


If you could accomplish one thing in the next five years what would that be?


Be an entrepreneur, set up my own business and travel and run the world – that’s actually my goal for 2016.


What’s your favourite movie?


Dirty Dancing! (Don’t laugh!)


And actor?


Patrick Swayze. When I was little (three years or something) my mum told me that I used to watch all his movies no matter the language they were in – even in German.


And musician/band?


Uff that’s a tough one. I used to be very much into hiphop but nowadays I listen to everything. My friends say that I’ve got a very weird taste – I really love 80’s, Italian music as well as new pop.


What’s your biggest regret?


Not learning Italian when I could. My boyfriend of five year was Italian and I never found the time to learn it properly. What a shame!


Is there another sport you’d love to give a go if time and money were no issue?


Hmm not really sure as I started off with swimming, tennis and skiing before my long basketball career. But probably surfing as I really want to try it.


Where’s your favourite place to relax?


My bed, which means that can be anywhere in the world. Also, my favourite running spots such as Alexandra Palace park in London.


Do you have or would you get a tattoo?


Have one already – it’s the name of my first ultra race which I ran for my uncle who died of cancer.


What’s your best characteristic?


Hmm, probably my determination. I also love failing and doing mistakes as that’s what push me forward. No failures equals no success.


And your most unappealing habit?


Being a perfectionist which leads to not appreciating what I’ve achieved so far. I’m in the process of learning to give myself ‘a pat on the shoulder’ more regularly.


If you could order any three-course meal what would that meal be?


Porridge, salmon with spinach, kale and sweet potatoes and eggs Benedict.


If you had to get stuck in an elevator with someone who would that person be?


My parents or my best friend. And also Steve Jobs.


What’s your most used curse word?




What are you most afraid of?


Losing my parents and not achieving my goals.


When are you happiest?


When I’m out running in the mountains with my parents. We have little Christmas tradition going on – on December 25 we put on our running gear on and head out. (Read and see more here.)


What drives you to keep pushing for success?


To some degree it’s fear but also my personality. I know what I want to achieve, who and where I want to be. I’m lucky to be surrounded by my brilliant friends who are all very successful and that makes a difference too.


What do you see yourself doing in ten years from now?


I’ll definitely be running and travelling and I’ll have my own business.


Which sports person do you most aspire to?


I’ve got a few but first is my mum. She might not be the typical sport person (she used to be a pro cross-country skier) but to me she is absolute star – kind, supportive, driven, determined, focused and ready to help anyone to lead healthier lifestyle.

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