“Ultra running in theory starts where marathon running ends. Ultra trails are even more spectacular and all of them are unique experiences. Running and racing in the middle of nature or in the mountains, on adventurous terrain, for hours or even days on end. Altitude differences, unpredictable weather conditions and the rough terrain make for an even heavier physical and mental challenge. But thesatisfaction of finishing an 100, 160 or even 250 km ultra run is invaluable and unforgettable.” Erik Michels
The driving force behind Sweet Spot Performance is Erik Michels. Erik has been a passionate ultra trail runner and allround outdoors athlete for years. In the past few years, more and more people started to ask him for ‘ultra-advice’. With Sweet Sport Performance, Erik wants to share his expertise. Meanwhile, Erik has obtained several certifications in sports technique and coaching:
As a PhD in Sciences he combines an active family life with his wife and 3 children with a busy job in a large company, as well as running ultra trails. This isn’t easy, but it proves that this is possible thanks to lots of drive, deliberate choices, the right focus and tons of passion.
Erik is certainly not a competitive character or someone who participates in a lot of races. In addition to his participation in the classic ultra trails in the Ardennes and iconic ultra trails in the Alps, such as the UltraTrail du Mont Blanc (CCC, TDS and UTMB), he has nevertheless finished on the podium or in the Top 10 in, among others, Bello Gallico 80 km (1st, 2016; 3rd, 2017); Great Escape 160 km (5th, 2016) and Legends Trail 250 km (2018, 6th). He was the first Belgian who managed to finish the Spine Challenger (UK, 170km) in 2017, landing an 8th place.
In addition, he has been in a lot of non-racing running adventures. He was the first Belgian to attempt to run the Bob Graham Round (2014), he took part in a running expedition in Greenland (2018) and several running and bivouac trips in the Ardennes. Together with polar explorer Dixie Dansercoer and ultra running Christophe Vandewiele, Erik is one of the founders of PolarRunningExpeditions.
In 2019, he was one of only three finishers in the brutal Esprit Montagne Invitational Extreme (2nd place), an out-of-category race that’s 170 km in length and covers no less than 18.000 altitude meters across very technical trails and narrow crests in the French Alps.
Meanwhile, he successfully coached several athletes to their first finish in tough 100-mile races or supported them in their transition from running to ultra trails. On Karel Sabbe’s request, Erik was keen to provide this Belgian ultra runner with practical ultra-advice during his preparations to set a new world record and the Fastest Known Time on the Appalachian Trail (3.500 km, US).