World Record Holder Denis Mikhaylove Interview

Published: Wed, 15 Apr 2015


Tell us a little about yourself

I’m 30 years old, I was born in Russia and currently live in New York City with my wife Veronica. In the past I have worked for over 6 years as a corporate financial analyst and a lawyer, but since 2014 I'm a full-time athlete and a health/fitness coach with certifications from USATF and Cornell University.

How long have you been pursuing the 80/10/10 lifestyle?

I switched to the 80/10/10 regimen (and at the same time started my running training) in the summer of 2010.
Until then all my life I had a standard diet that included meat and dairy.

How has eating a raw 80/10/10 diet impacted your fitness performance?

Ever since I began my studies back in 1996 and especially from 2000 and onwards I slowly got progressively more and more ill.

In 3 years since going raw vegan, I went from just starting my running training and participating in my first ever running race (NYC Half-Marathon) - to winning a competitive 100-mile running race in the mountains. By now I have won several competitive running races, in the distances that range from 10 miles to 100 miles, and set few course records. On March 8th 2015 I also broke a Guinness World Record in the "Greatest distance run on a treadmill in 12 hours".

Why did you choose the treadmill for 12 hours, as your record attempting running event?

I like to challenge myself and push the limits. My specialty as a runner is gnarly, steep, and very long courses in the mountains. Road running and treadmill running is very different from the kind of terrain on which I excel. But this winter in New York was especially cold, and I found myself having to train on a treadmill occasionally. After my wife accidentally discovered that the treadmill Guinness Record for 12 hours is less than 80 miles, we thought "this is doable, let's give it a shot". Why not, right? On a road and a track athletes have gone well over 80 miles in 12 hours.

My specialty as a runner is gnarly, steep, and very long courses in the mountains.
It took us several weeks to properly prepare for the record attempt. There are a lot of rules, organization, and paperwork involved. But my team and I succeeded, and currently I am an official Guinness World Record holder (80.54 miles).

What was going through your mind during the 12th hour of your Guinness record breaking run?

In the ultra-marathon races it is often a good idea to set your brain on "autopilot" and "zone out" in order to let time pass faster and distract yourself from pain. Scenery helps too. My record run was a different story. As I was running on the treadmill I couldn't get distracted even for few minutes as I had to constantly monitor my mileage and pace. Every mile had to be called out and then recorded in the log books by the official witnesses. Mentally is was very hard, you can't help this painful count: "10 more hours to go, 9 more hours to go...". That part was not fun, I was stuck staring at the numbers for 12 hours straight. Also, after few hours, occasionally the brain gets confused and wants to pull the brakes, because the legs are moving but at the same time the scenery doesn't change. Overall it was a very different running feeling compared to my usual running on trails. Much harder mentally. I never got off the treadmill or even paused it, the treadmill was spinning all 12 hours non-stop, I just slowed it down few times to walk and stretch.

Do you have any big races or world-record setting attempts in your future? If so, please do tell.

This attempt was quite spontaneous, so I can't rule out more similar attempts in the future, but as new mountain running season starts now, I think that running on trails would be my main focus for some time. There are several tough trail races lined up, but the most significant start for me this year will be "Hardrock100" in July in Colorado. It's probably the hardest 100-mile mountain race that exists, and I was fortunate to get accepted this year to race next to the fastest mountain runners in the world. Here are few facts about this race from the official website: “To complete the Hardrock Hundred demands that an athlete runs elevation gains comparable to running from sea level to the top of Mt. Everest and back at an average elevation of more than 2 miles above sea level. This running includes going over 12,000 ft. above sea level thirteen times, above 13,000 feet an additional seven times and summitting one of Colorado’s famed “14er’s”, Handies Peak, 14,048 feet above sea level”.

Give us a sample of your daily diet and lifestyle routine...

My daily diet varies depending on the season (in order to have the best quality fruit) and on my training cycle. Right now it is still my "citrus time" and I'm enjoying plenty of juice oranges and grapefruits. I also eat loads of raw spinach or kale every single day. Other staples are bananas, tomatoes, grapes, pineapples and mangoes. For my primary training and racing fuel I choose fresh orange juice.

I run or ride my bike almost every day, having at least one long training run a week on the trails with my team.

Outside of athletics, what are some of the personal benefits you have experienced since transitioning to 811rv diet?

First of all, it's the feeling of health and high energy. I started to feel very comfortable inside my body. It was a huge relief to stop thinking and worrying about possible negative health consequences of each meal. There is this peace and confidence that comes from knowing that I do my best and I nurture my body with the exact fuel for which the body was designed.

This means that I can direct more of my energy into achieving my goals in life, without distractions or hesitations related to diet and health.

How have you found it socially eating this way?

I've never had too many issues with this. During my office days I had a huge basket of fruit on my desk and was sharing it with anyone who cared to take some, not forcing my opinion on other people's habits, but simply answering the questions if they had any. And that way I had mostly pleasant experience while communicating with others about my lifestyle.

I'm also trying to avoid any verbal disputes that involve discussing different diet theories, because nowadays each of these contradicting theories can be seemingly backed up by a myriad of "studies", which can sound rather legit to some people. The search of the truth can turn into an endless quest and source of great confusion for anyone who chooses to do the research on the topic of optimal nutrition. There is an overload of contradicting information around us, which is why I prefer to appeal to common sense and speak from the point of personal experience (something tangible).

I like to point out that I don't exactly know how all biochemical processes play out in our bodies (and who does, really?), but based on my own experience, my state of health, my race results, and my blood work, this lifestyle really works.

What advice would you give to a newbie to 80/10/10?

If you're having any lack of confidence or information on this path, I would remind you to have patience, and if needed, seek advice of people with real proven experience and real health. Most of us were disrupting our original bodily functions for quite a long time with far from ideal diet and lifestyle. So, now be patient and allow a little time for your body to clean the house and re-adjust, and you will be greatly rewarded.

You can find Denis Mikhaylove's list of his most notable race results on his website, and see more about his trail running team at

Additional Resources



Practical Skills To Thrive
Empower Your Inner Goddess


Solidify Your Foundation

Lifestyle To The Next Level

Self-Study Materials:

The 80/10/10
Get Started
Mabel and
the Label

Nurturing Peace
(2-CD Audio Set)