Lean Mean Vegan Machine Marek Wins Edinburgh 24 Race

Vegan Sports Weekend of 2019

The weekend of July 13th & 14th  2019 was quite an eventful time for vegan sportsmen to say the least!

Lewis Hamilton achieved a record-breaking 6th British Grand Prix win at Silverstone which was also his 80th career victory. This Silverstone achievement has surpassed Alain Prost & Jim Clarks 5 Silverstone wins.

While in tennis Novak Djokovic won Wimbledon for the fifth time


and is close to passing Roger Federer on the all-time “Big Titles” leader board.

Polish vegan athlete Marek Sabadasz won a 24 hour running ultra-marathon event in Edinburgh called Edinburgh 24. We managed to catch up with Marek and ask him a few questions.

Like the other sportsmen that weekend, Marek’s achievements not only helped to raise awareness for veganism and prove the strength and stamina that following a plant-based diet gives us,  but Marek also raised awareness and money for animals and Lotus Heart Sanctuary (you can still donate here).

He ran wearing a Lotus fitness shirt with the slogan he lives by printed on the reverse

“Plant Based for Health, Vegan for the Animals” 

Read about Marek’s unbelievable journey to veganism and running here

Race Weekend Finally Arrived…

By the time race weekend had finally arrived, everyone in any way involved with Marek’s story was super excited. Some of our amazing people went through to Edinburgh specifically to cheer Marek on, capture some great photographs, and really just soak up the energy of such a great day.

They told us there was a great atmosphere; all the runners were really supporting each other as were friends and family.

People not lucky enough to be in Edinburgh could keep up with Marek’s number of laps, distance, average lap etc. via www.raceresults.com  – at Bohemian Hippy and Lotus Heart we were constantly hitting that refresh button to keep a close eye on his progress.  We shared all we could via all our social media channels so all our amazing followers felt part of the race too.

Car boot full of fruit

The race started at 09.00 on the morning of Saturday 13th July, and finished at 09.00 on Sunday morning. Marek’s girlfriend Justyna arrived at the scene well and truly prepared with his raw plant-based diet to keep him fuelled  for the next 24 hours!

Running for 24 hours straight…

As the time passed by it was really difficult to comprehend the hours that Marek (and the others) were actually running. As morning turned to afternoon, afternoon to evening and evening turned into a new day and we were all in bed….the realisation that Marek was still running was actually quite surreal. Posting an update before he was even half way just sent it home to many of us what he was actually doing!

Running for 24 hours

Many of us found it so hard to contain our excitement or concentrate on anything else over that 24 hours. Before going to bed we were excited to see Marek had been moving his way up the leader board and was in a steady 6th place. Trying to get to sleep and stay asleep that night was challenging for many of us, because we were constantly wondering how he was, how his feet were, how tired he was, how sore he was…and of course what position! Every time sleep was broken, a quick refresh on the results would happen.  At 03.00 on Sunday morning he had moved up to 4th place, then by 07.30 up to 3rd.

Marek has a very positive outlook and he did tell people he would win this race, and to be perfectly 100% honest, so believed he would win it too! We just had that gut feeling and vibe about him. However, even with that belief, to see him start creeping up the leader board like that was so exciting.

Marek uses positive visualisation so he has to constantly say he will win, he has to see it in his mind, and most of all, he has to believe it. When he talks about winning it is all done in the most humble, genuine and kind way – he is full of humility. Positive Visualisation is a method used by many sports people.

Around 08.20 Marek moved up to 2nd place – with only 40 minutes of the race left – this was real nail-biting stuff. My friend and I were texting constantly while watching with sheer anticipation. A couple of times the race times showed Marek still in 2nd place but having done an extra lap to Joanna Murphy so this was sending shock-waves through our systems.

However, Joanna was still in 1st place and had been for the entire time we had been watching the race results. It came to 08.59 and still he was showing 2nd. It came to 09.01 and still 2nd. I texted my friend and said to her “Marek appears to have come 2nd” – but she texted back and explained there was a delay in the leader board updating – so the adrenaline started all over again. I kept refreshing and refreshing but still he was 2nd. But then I refreshed and I literally thought my vision had blurred because I had been looking at it so much – I saw  –1. Marek Sabadasz – I looked again and squinted my eyes – no I was definitely correct – Marek had clearly saved that little bit of extra energy until the end…I don’t quite know how after running for 24 hours he was able to, but he pulled on that energy when it mattered most and he passed Joanna and came in to win the entire race! What an incredible achievement.

Coming Up The Ranks

Marek overtook some serious athletes in Karen Wallace and Joanna Murphy…both are amazing and accomplished runners and have been for years. Marek only began running just 2 years ago and did his first ultra-run at Buff Joust 24 hour Race in September 2018 where he came in an amazing 3rd place!

After September 2018, he knew he wanted more.  He said – “I took the personal challenge of running 1000 km in October; there are 31 days in October so it was 32.2 km a day. Maybe that’s not a lot but with also working full time it was a hard month.  For a further 2 months I ran about 150 km a week with breaks for a few days detox”.

Marek signed up at the start of 2019 for Edinburgh 24.  We asked him a few questions about how he prepared for the event, if he had a strategy and what’s next for him. Here’s what Marek had to say to us!  

Marek how did you prepare your fitness for this event?

The beginning of the year was nothing special… I began training at the gym but I am not a fan of the atmosphere there, so I was still running in Glasgow. I was doing about 150 km per week; I wanted to do more but I could just not find the time.  For June, I was planning another challenge – Ultra Month – 30 days of 50 km a day; however that failed due to time constraints; I realised after the first week that even if I finished work at 3.00 pm, I would still not have enough time for 50 km a day. Instead I decided to do a month of marathons which I finished successfully totalling 1226 km.  After the month of marathons, I took the following took weeks much easier.  The first week I ran a little and in the second I did a 2-day dry fast and rest; that was the week before race, and that is what preparations for the run in Edinburgh looked like. 

Marek you are vegan and often Raw Vegan, so how did you prepare for Edinburgh 24 in relation to your diet? 

It was a 100% plant based diet. 2 years I went 90% raw. I always feel my very best on a fruitarian diet.  Fruits are perfect food for us, and with fasting, they allow me to recover faster.  Nature and simplicity is absolute key. At the race itself I drank fresh fruit juices, I ate my secret recipe raw date chocolates and bananas, but I did also ate two energy gels and a tube of glucose – I needed fuel.  I know that it is not exactly natural, but running 24 hours is also not natural so we need to compensate.  I often do juice detoxes or dry fasting. 


At Lotus Holistic Healing we have used a lot of Positive Visualisation, Positive Thinking and Positive Affirmations with our clients – especially athletes – how did you prepare mentally Marek?

When you are preparing to run 24 hours, you have to run a lot but there’s more to it than just the health & fitness. Sometimes you feel that you want to switch off and listen to your breathing and the rhythm of your shoes. Sometimes you are listening to music and sometimes you just feel that you want to call someone you miss, someone you love. I often like listening to motivating quotes.  Oh Yes…I like someone shouting through my headphones “You can do it”!

One of my favourite motivating quotes is “Everything happens twice, the first time in your head the second time in reality” 

I do not like to talk big but when I registered for the Edinburgh  24 race I told everyone I would win. This is just because I wanted it so badly I knew I had to believe it. In all rooms of our flat and in the car I hung a photo of a beautiful plate of fruit with the inscription of my race goal – 201.6 km. On the day of signing up for the races I won it in my head.


After only starting to run 2 years ago, why did you decide to make your 2nd race an ultra-race?

To be perfectly honest I do not really know why ultra, it just appeared in my life together with veganism & fruitarianism.  I thought about stopping eating meat & dairy long before I found out that is called veganism. It was the same with fruitarianism and ultra.  Everything was like a puzzle.  Something in my head told me that this is the way I want to go! Life is a gift and we should do everything to enjoy this gift. I believe that we as humans have no rights to take this gift from anyone else. It’s about returning something to nature. I know that ultra-running is not really natural, but it is probably a great way to show that  a plant-based diet works for health, stamina and endurance

Tell us about your feelings during the race

The first race in September was calm; Edinburgh was very different.  I felt quite stressed because I went there to win.  I had told my friends and family about it. My Dad and Uncle came over from Poland  to see race, and I was trying to raise awareness for veganism, the animals, and also raise money and awareness for Lotus Heart Sanctuary. It all made me feel like I was under some pressure, but it was fine, I handled it ok. 


Did you have a strategy? 

The strategy was to keep up the pace constantly and not let myself be carried away by emotions.  From the beginning of the race I knew that the others  were too fast. I did have a couple of doubts, but everything went to plan…that was because I had the best team in the world. 

Marek how did you feel after running for 24 hours?

Physically I felt like an elephant had stepped on me.  Mentally, I had very excitable feelings and I was crying.

How did your feet cope?

The feet coped without major problems.  The shoes were a bit wet but I do not have any blisters.  During the race I had a few bad cramps but my girlfriend is the best physiotherapist in Glasgow and she did a great job with oils…a combination of nature and her magic hands.  Today is Tuesday and I can walk ok, tomorrow I will probably go for a slow jog.

How did you find strength to overtake Joanna and come in to win?

I think that she and most competitors ran quite fast in the beginning.  I got a sense that many people wanted to beat the world record 24 hour run.  I knew I would manage. The second half of the race was better for me. Every time I got closer to them, I became stronger and stronger. But on a small loop it was interesting to see two of us run 5 min per km.  I do not know how it is possible after 23 hours of running…I still think about it. Joanna is great runner. 

Did you have a lot of support from friends & family?

Yes, before and after the race I had a lot of support from vegan and fruitarian friends, and also from a loving family.  I would never do it without the love & support of all of you.  I love you, I thank you.
My family were very proud and very happy.  I know that no matter what, they always support me, but in the past I’ve had a lot of ideas for life that I started and then never finished.  But this time it worked.  Of course, this is not the end but just a beginning.

How did you feel knowing the legendary superhero vegan runner Fiona Oakes was supporting you and sending messages while you were running?

Well immediately after the race I missed many of my messages as there were so many, but it was amazing to be supported by a legend like Fiona Oakes – the work she has done and is doing is for veganism and animals through running is incredible and inspirational.

Fiona Oakes – powered by plants

(If you have not already watched Running For Good on Netflix, watch it today – she is incredible)!

What now Marek?

In September, the next 24 run The Buff Joust 24 which I took part last year and finished 3rd.  This time I will go for the route record.  After that race I have no further plans as yet…

When the season for planting fruit trees starts I will be very busy.  Last year I managed to plant with my friends 10 trees in Glasgow parks.  The fruits must be everywhere, this is real fast food.

I am currently waiting for the council to give me help/promotion to make a fruit forest in one of the parks.



In Gratitude – 

Marek isn’t only an amazing athlete, but he is a wonderful person too, as is his girlfriend Justyna.

The Sunday before the race they both gave their entire day up to help out on the Lotus/Bohemian Hippy stall at Vegan Connections in Glasgow. Justyna donated a voucher for massage to a raffle for Lotus, and she spent her day selling tickets for us.

Marek’s slogan is “Plant-based for health, vegan for the animals” – as it says on the back of the Lotus fitness shirt he wore to run in. His efforts raised an outstanding £660 for Lotus which will be very useful for fencing we will be requiring very soon; it couldn’t have come at a better time!

We want to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Marek for all his efforts for veganism and the animals and also for being part of Team Lotus, we feel honoured, blessed and humbled to have him in the team and supporting the work we do together for other beings who need our help.

One of the team Lisa made a great play with words on Marek’s surname “SaBADASz” – he is definitely a vegan bad ass! His name will definitely be making an appearance somewhere at Lotus land.

Watch out for this next event in September – he’s definitely a runner to keep your eyes on!

You can still donate to Marek’s fundraiser here


Help & Support

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For further info watch these life changing documentaries





On Netflix

Running For Good (Fiona Oakes)

What The Health


Forks Over Knives

Live & Let Live




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