What food would you take if you had to spend 6 days crossing a 250 km long trail in a desert and had to carry everything on your back? Pavel Paloncý, or the Czech Machine as he is known in the ultra-runner community, decided to take cricket flour bars as his main source of fuel. How did he do?
Pavel is an accomplished ultra-runner, he is a three-time winner of The Spine Race, a brutal 430 km endurance race through England, where he also holds the course record at 81 hours and 34 minutes. He specializes in extreme races and competes at a very high level, he is truly a machine when it comes to covering long distances on foot.
6 days in a desert on your own
His latest race of choice was the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, a 6-day 250 km long stage race through the Kalahari Desert. It is a self-sufficient race, meaning participants have to run with a backpack that carries all necessary clothes, equipment, and food for the whole week.
Every gram of food matters
The organisers only provide a limited amount of water and a shelter after each stage. That’s why food selection is crucial. Pavel needed food that doesn’t weigh much but provides enough protein and overall energy to keep running and recover well after each stage. Dehydrated meals are the standard choice in these types of races but Pavel went a different direction.
Insects as a main source of fuel
Pavel’s whole nutrition plan was comprised of three things. Firstly, he had SENS cricket-flour bars (12 protein and 3 energy bars). They were his main meal after each stage, his main source of protein and energy. Second, he had some pemmican, a mixture of meat and dried fruit, for diversity and texture change. And lastly, he used a carbohydrate powder to make a drink that allowed him to refuel with something easy to digest while running.
Light weight, nutritious, and tasty
We asked Pavel about the inclusion of cricket-based bars and this is what he said: “The cricket bars were great. They weigh about 2x less than dehydrated meals, they are full of protein, low in carbs, and don’t spike blood sugar. Overall, I felt great after eating them, they are really tasty, they reminded me of halva. The only issue is they were a bit dry but I hear your new recipe fixed that issue.”
A strong finish
Pavel not only successfully fuelled his whole race with insects, he also ran it with a cast on his left arm because he was recovering from an injury. Despite all of this he managed to finish 4th among fierce competition. Congratulations, what an accomplishment!
We are happy Pavel is helping us spread the edible insect revolution. We feel like our cricket flour bars have now been tested beyond what we expected! You can read Pavel’s race log and more about his adventures on his facebook page. Go say hi to him!