James founded Centurion Running in 2010. Having been fortunate enough to race frequently across both the UK and the World at that point he wanted to bring the supported style of racing he had enjoyed so much elsewhere to the UK. For the first 10 years following the initial North Downs Way events in 2011, he race directed all of the events bar the 2015 Autumn 100 which he enjoyed from the other side of the table as a runner instead. He set up the Centurion Coaching arm in 2012 which has now grown to a team of eight. And added the Centurion Store in 2013 as the demand grew for quality gear, apparel and footwear relevant to our trail and ultra scene here in the UK. He is a passionate runner himself, having competed in ultras since 2006. His proudest moments coming as he represented Team GB at the 24hr format.
Nici's background was as a volunteer as early as 2012, but she quickly progressed to join the staff team where she has been ever since. She co-ordinates all of our volunteers for the events, ensuring that over the course of the year, almost a thousand people are in the right place at the right time and are armed with all of the details to empower them to help our runners in the best way possible. On race day you will find her in charge of the registration and finish line teams. Day to day Nici handles most of the communication via our info email account. Dealing with the majority of requests and questions we get fielded from all groups. Harking back to her old 'day job' Nici is also in charge of all of the Health and Safety protocols and Risk Assessments. She is also the RD for the Track 100 and Wendover Woods Night 50km, having taken on those extra roles in 2022. Her enthusiasm also stems from her own running background, with her personal favourite the Lakeland 50 which she has finished multiple times.
Drew is one of our core staff, yet so much of what he does is behind the scenes. Along with James and Jan, Drew does all of the event logistics management, pre-race packing and post race clean up. On race day he is everywhere, from setting up the start, to managing all of the course markings for each event. He is always the first to arrive and the last to leave a race weekend, when everyone is tucked up in bed after an event, it is he and James clearing bin juice out of the back of the rental trucks - glamour!!! No job is ever too big or too small for him. Drew has worked every race since the Thames Path 100 in 2012, event two in our history. His own running career is extensive with dozens of finishes at the super long events, from flat to truly mountainous. Amongst other things he has finished finished UTMB, Leadville, Ehunmilak, GUCR, Lakeland 100, Arc of Attrition, Istria, 100 miles Sud De France, Ronda Del Cims three times and the WHW Race . He is the ultimate fan of the sport and can often be found crewing, pacing or just spectating at events up and down the country and internationally. He brings a true runners head to our events, which is a huge part of what makes them friendly and safe. Not least, he also 'invented' the Chiltern Wonderland and Wendover Woods 50 courses - so many have to thank him for those too! He is RD for the Chiltern Wonderland 50.
Paul joined the team in 2021 and came straight in as our Race Director for the North Downs Way 50 and Wendover Woods 50. He is an experienced endurance athlete and first attended a Centurion event back in 2015, when he finished the South Downs Way 50. He also went on to run the NDW50 in 2019. Paul's depth of experience as an RD prior to Centurion, came from his own company - Big Bear Events, a long distance running race organiser with events scattered across the Midlands, which has grown in reputation and standing thanks to the dedication and such high standards that Paul strives for.
Chris began life with Centurion as a runner back in 2013 where he finished the third edition of the NDW50. He went on to run the SDW50 in 2014 before moving through a number of different roles in the team. He is responsible today for having constructed and maintained our main website for which we are truly grateful. In 2017 he branched out to create his own company and then joined Open Tracking who provide all of our tracking and timing solutions. Behind the scenes he is our IT guru, communications master and bascially keeps Centurion above water on the tech side. He also handles all of the web side of the British Ultrarunning Podcast.
Neil is our head Logistics Sweeper. It's his role to set up and manage the first aid station on every course, before visiting and closing all aid stations down the course. In doing so he collects all of our equipment, accounts for every runner through every check point, manages the run sweepers that clear the markings behind our final runners and co-ordinates with staff up and down the route to ensure supplies are all in place. He is an avid ultra runner himself, recently finishing our inaugural Wendover Woods 50km and a huge fan of canicross!
Jan has been a regular face at our events since 2016, initially as a volunteer before going on to a fine Autumn 100 finish at the end of that year. After running both the SDW50 and NDW50 in 2017 she started volunteering more regularly and started 2019 on the Staff Team. She now manages the behind the scenes logistics, looking after the mountain of kit and equipment that we store for our events, stocking up on all the provisions to go out to the check points and helping load/ unload and clear up over each race weekend. A huge task! You can find her on race day helping with the set up of the check points up and down the course.
To put it mildly, Nina does it all. Her role over race weekend is usually setting up the check point out the front of the course but the reality is she is on the go non-stop from Friday morning until the Sunday evening, every time. No task is too big or too small. Nina is the cog that keeps the wheel turning and goes to any lengths to make sure runners' and volunteers' every need is taken into account. Bearing in mind she worked in her previous life as a bomb disposal expert in the army, she is used to hardship, sleep deprivation and is able to catch forty winks pretty much anywhere, which is a crucial skill! She is a an avid runner herself, having completed dozens of ultras including pretty much all of our events.
Ed is one of the longest standing members of our team having signed up as aid station set up and sweeper at the end of 2011! You will find him these days managing the overnight sweep at the 100s, and the full course sweep at the 50s alongisde Neil Mckie. Ed comes on during the 100s in the dead of night and cleans up and takes care of all of the back half of the field right through until the race closes down. He loves the all nighter!
Dave ran our South Downs Way 100 in 2012, earning a 100 miles One Day buckle in the process. He then volunteered at the two other 2012 events before he made the step up to staff. Since the start of 2013, he has driven our sweeper minibus. He is there for the runners no matter the time of day or night, picking them up and re-uniting them with their bags or loved ones up and down the course. Those who are regularly towards the rear of the field in our events know Dave well, he is so supportive and will bend over backwards to help everyone.
Nick provides the cherry on the icing on the cake at our events. The professional chef from Northampton is in charge of cooking the hot food for runners at all of our finish lines. Whilst this gig is far below the incredibly cooking abilities, Nick loves it because as he says 'this is real world cooking'!! Nick goes the extra mile to provide everyone with options- he can usually be found cooking hot dogs, bacon rolls or hot chilli - always with vegan and gluten free options. He also happens to be Drew Sheffields Dad, so comes with all of the kudos that entails !
Michelle was one of the earliest members of our team, having been on the set up crew from the Thames Path in 2012 right through to today, in between doing her regular day job working for the emergency services in Brighton. She has worked dozens of our races and knows the aid stations like the back of her hand! She too is an avid runner but tends to stick more sensibly to marathon distance and below.
Louise has been an ever present at our events, right from the start. Over the years she has found the time to volunteer, run and now staff almost every race we have held, often pulling huge shifts, up before the first runners before often dropping stranded runners home, hundreds of miles in the wrong direction. She has previously finished many of our events, including the Grand Slam of 100s. These days she can most often be found managing the 50 mile/ half way check point at each of our point to point 100s and managing major check points at our 50 milers. But the chances are if you hang around a race weekend long enough you will see her multiple times, as long as it is not whilst parkrun is on.
Alma has completed the double slam of volunteering/ staffing our events more than any other person. If you run with us, you will see her working check points up and down the course. Her main role at the 100s is in charge of the hot food at the major/ half way aid stations for which she is adored. She is a crucial member of the team and continues to be inspired by and inspire so many runners every time she attends an event.
Natalie manages all of our social media accounts, communicating to our runners and followers all of the information we need and want them to know. Her knowledge and experience as a runner and coach make her uniquely placed to get that communication across in the right way, in the past she has been British and English fell running champion, but these days has turned her hand to longer stuff from her base in Italy with recent finishes at monster events like TDG and Adamello Ultra Trail.
Lisa manages our online store and the pop-up shop at each of our events. As James' long suffering wife she deserves the biggest credit of all, not least the name Centurion Running was her idea all the way back in the summer of 2010!
When James founded Centurion Running in October 2010, it was Al who was first on board to bring the dream to life. At the time he was working with James at a company called Clear Channel based in Golden Square, London. James was in the trading team and Al was Head of design. But the main efforts around that period were extra curricular with regular late nights and early mornings in Als Brick Lane abode. When James brought the idea of Centurion to Al, he jumped on it straight away and built the original website. In the first couple of years, Al did everything alongside James. Packing vans, sweeping the courses, logistics, IT and sometimes when we had time - the design work! He is reponsible for all of our logos, awards and works with Chris Mills to keep our website looking good. Now based once again in his native Australia, we do most things remotely. And miss his presence at the events greatly.
Marc is a keen biker and runner - and joined us on incredibly short notice in 2016 when he stepped in to do aid station set up for us at the South Downs Way 100. Having plenty of experience working at endurance events he took straight to it and hasn't looked back. You can find him at our events in charge of the Drop and Finish Line Bag logistics.
Sylvie joined the Staff team at the start of the 2021 season as Start/ Finish Set up Manager working alongside Nici Griffin and Andy Wollaston to make sure our start and finish lines are the best in the business. She has competed in triathlons for many years and is a passionate runner, with one eye on stepping up to ultra distances in 2022.