I've dabbled in ultras from multi-day desert races to slightly less successful mountain endeavours and, five or so years later, despite loving hilly trails the most, I've come to learn through experimentation that runnable courses are probably my thing (partly because London isn't blessed with mountains, but also because I seem to be able to run relatively slowly for a long time). I also love a road marathon for the speed-endurance factor and have a famous Dad who crews all my races (and seems to have a magic sixth sense about my next races, even before I've decided myself). If there's one thing I like more than racing it's training - I love nothing better than getting really stuck into the process - it's partly due to being a bit all-or-nothing, but also because I don't believe in only being half prepared (although I may contradict myself about this at Lakeland50 this year).
1. Winning Grand Union Canal Race this year in 27:26 and breaking the female course record. Probably the race where the penny finally dropped that runnable courses are my thing.
2. The NDW100 in 2015: my gateway 100 miler which I was massively underprepared for, but taking over 25 hours gave me the confidence for GUCR that I could survive for over a day on my feet, plus it made my time at the SDW100 the following year, which was a 6.5 hour 100 mile PB, sound even more impressive.
3. Finally breaking my longstanding marathon PB in Zurich this year with a 3:06 finish. After trying and failing for four years and pretty much giving up, it finally came when I was least expecting (or trying for) it. Made even sweeter by the fact I beat my husband's PB by one second.
4. The Toad Challenge in 2013, my first proper ultra where I made some lifelong friends.
5. Playing a small role with a good friend bringing together an all female team for Race to the Stones in 2014 and filling the start line with female runners.
I have been running since I was 6 years old so have over 30 years of running experience. In that time I have done almost every type of running you can think off, for example as teenager I came 6th in the English schools decathlon. An injury leading up to the 2011 London Marathon led me to question what I wanted from running. This led to my wife Abbie buying me entry into the Thames Path 100 as a surprise birthday present, and the rest as they say is history.
1. Winschotten 2015 – Finally a good performance in a GB Vest. It was a race I hadn’t intended to do but the day after the ACP in Redwick my daughters convinced me to go for it. The training, the build up and the race itself all went well. Going into the last lap still feeling good and knowing that sub 7hr was there for the taking was a fantastic. Breaking 7 hrs, a great atmosphere, a World masters medal and all in front of my family.
2. Doha 2014 - After 3 attempts I finally got my GB vest for 100km. I was third counter for the team competition that GB got the Bronze medal. A PB and 16th place when many a better runner than me fell apart. Another tough night in the GB vest but a whole bunch of experiences I will never forget.
3. World Trail Championships - My worst performance in an Ultra on a course that didn't suit me. However, it was my first GB vest and I was lucky enough to be part of a fantastic winning GB team, so I got to sing the national anthem on the podium. To live two childhood dreams in one day is priceless
4. Mile 16 at the Wymondham 20 miler - My running at the start of 2013 was rubbish, my training was poor, I got ill and ran badly at the Thames Trot. I had already told family that I was pulling out of the Anglo Celtic Plate but gave myself one last chance to test my fitness before notifying the England team. I got dropped at 11miles but something happened at 16miles I came back to life and ran the last 4 miles at 10k pace. Perth was back on. I ran a solid, sensible race in the cold, I still can't believe I am UK 100km champion
5. Redwick ACP 100km 2012 - My first England vest made even more special as that day was the last day I saw my mother alive. After 30 years of running she finally got to see her son run for his country
I like to race any distance from parkrun to multi-days to 100 miles, ideally off-road and preferably somewhere interesting like in the mountains or the desert. I still like to run a standard road marathon every now and then as a bit of speedwork and an objective fitness test.
Running brings me peace. I feel so grateful to commune with nature each day and spend time in stillness. Being an Ultra Runner I am part of an adventurous and warm community with whom I can enjoy the most awe-inspiring places in the world. My mission is to continue to do what I love. I believe we are born to run and are limitless beings, capable of anything we put our minds to. It's magical and I feel so lucky that my sport is my life, my joy, my profession and that I get to live it every day. #thankyouuniverse.
Past Results (Brief)
2017: Ultra Trail Gobi 400km Course Record
2017: Ultrabalton 218km Winner
2017: Steenbergen 12 Hour Course Record
2016: Mt Gaoligong 100 Mile Course Record
2016: European 24 Hour Champion, Albi, France
2016: Badwater, 3rd
2015: Spartathlon, 2nd
2015: Ridgeway Race, Course Record
2015: Grand Union Canal Race Course Record
I started running in 2005 to challenge myself to run a half marathon and fortunately ended up doing 2 marathons (one of them snowdonia) and realised the true pleasure of running in beautiful places for a long time. My favourite race distance is 100 miles although these days, the exploration of new mountains and views is as big a motivator along with sharing the training process with others.
UK Ultra running legend and writer.
I'm a trail and ultra runner specialising at the 24hr/100mile distance, representing Team GB at the 2013 24hr World Champs. Shortly afterwards I ran a 15:47 trail 100 mile PB in winning the Petzl SDW100.
My motivation for running ultras is the scenery and running in stunning locations. I prefer hills, mud and nasty weather which levels the playing field. Ideally I look for races which I perhaps wouldn’t get to explore otherwise in this incredible planet and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to explore it. Ultimately I like the mini adventure aspect, seeing the sun set and rise in a race is very special and makes me appreciate the world around me. It doesn’t have to be fun to be fun. My early season races usually included a couple in the mountains and heavy rain of South Wales. Looking ahead I need to head back to the Bear, and Sud de France for redemption one day. 2016 wasn’t my most successful year so I know I have some work to do. Not a race but planning a multi-day trip of the GR54 in France before heading back to Ronda cel Cims.
Finishes (longer stuff)
2015 Hardrock CCW (Finally a real hardrocker)
2014 Hardrock C/W
2012 Hardrock 100 C/W
1 - Hardrock. There is something very special about this race, the course, the people and the ethos. It’s an old school ultra which has got better with age, the meaning and the accomplishment deepens. I feel privileged to have been involved and would love to go back to spend time in the San Juan’s. Each time I have had the privilege to run this race I have been blessed with incredible pacers and crew seriously accomplished winners of 100 and 50 mile events and their families, who gave up their time to help me achieve my goals.
2. Leadville. My first 100, I was the lightest I have been and I was scared as the furthest I had run before this was 50 miles. I ran scared (of the clock) most of the day. I entered not knowing any other runners and because sometimes you have to go big or go home. I was fortunate Drew Sheffield and James Elson (who I didn’t know beforehand) entered and we shared a house and a weeklong adventure together, returning with three for three (buckles). Doesn’t get better than that.
3 Namibia – A multi day event in Sousevlei. After being turned around en route to Libya for the Libyan challenge, 3 weeks later I flew to the heat of Namibia. A very hot desert multi day ultra , camping out and visiting locations such as dead vlei, Big Daddy and Dune 45 as well as running with Ostrich springbok amongst others. The stars and night sky was beyond description.
4 The Bear 100 DNF supported by Azusa my girlfriend my mind and soul didn’t join me at the start line and I pulled out for no good reason...It gives me a reason to return and motivation not have this experience again. I love standing on the start line felling the anticipation, knowing that the finish line has to be earned and times like this are a reminder how easy it is to come up short.
5 Country to capital specifically ‘Race to the gate’. C2C was my first ultra and goes right past my door and uses the trails I often run on, it’s the perfect start to the year.