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Runner's World UK - June 2018

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IN THIS ISSUE
REGULARS
WARM-UPS
HUMAN RACE
FEATURES
JUNE
2018
COACH
GEAR
RACE
NATURAL HIGH
Ultrarunner Vassos Alexander sometimes
wonders why he tests his mind and body
to such extremes on brutal endurance
races, why he endures the pain. Then
he signs up for another race.
ON THE
COVER
Photographer
Natalia Weedy
Hair and makeup
Jamie Warzel
Styling Argy
Koutsothanasis
P14
The Superfruit That Speeds
Recovery Blackcurrants are
good news for runners
P30
Get Up And Go How to create
your ultimate running adventure
P42
The Life-Airming Lure Of
Ultras Radio 2 sports presenter
and dedicated ultrarunner
Vassos Alexander on the
strange joy of going very long
004 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
P46
Stepping Up In The World’s
Highest Stair Race How to
climb 11,674 steps to the top of
a Swiss mountain. And why
P54
Sun, Sand And Sufering
Welcome to the new Marathon
des Sables Peru, almost
250km over six days, through
desert and along the Paciic
coastline. Astonishing sights,
remarkable achievements
P66
Run Easier Right Now! Five
ways to unlock the power
of your glutes
P72
Curb Your Sugar Habit
Sometimes you don’t even
know it’s in your food
P80
20 Coolest Summer Tops
Running in the sun is all about
staying comfortable, but if you
happen to look good, so be it
FOAM
SWEET FOAM
Enjoy the support
TAKE THE
SKIP ROAD
Not just for kids
REGULARS
P6
Rave Run Arthur’s Seat,
Edinburgh
P98
I’m A Runner Comedian and
reality-TV star Joel Dommett
P28
P11
Fitness Skip your way to a
better running body
P17
Mind + Health Drink in
nature’s wonder to recover
P19
Social Climbing The inaugural
RW London Peaks Relay
P52
True Grip Trail shoes that will
eat up the toughest terrain
MOUNTAIN TOPS
P71
You’ll Go A Long Way How to
build up to a 10-mile run
P75
Have Your Cake And Eat It
Easy-to-make salmon ishcakes
P76
Strong-Arm Tactics Build those
arms to improve your technique
Sugar is a hard habit
to break. p72
Injury The resting squat is not
easy, but it’s worth the efort
P22
Stand Up And Be Counted
Running saved comedian
Liam Withnail from himself
Check out our
new Runner’s
World podcast at
soundcloud.com/
runnersworld.co.uk.
You can run to it!
COACH
HUMAN RACE
P20
Silver Sprinter Ida Keeling,
102-year-old record-breaker
P36
Gently Does It Low-intensity
steady-state exercise (LISS) is
the new kid on the block
P13
TUNE IN
FEATURES
WARM-UPS
S H O R T S , TO M TO M S PA R K 3 WATC H , AS I C S F U Z E X R U S H S H O E S
COV E R C LOT H I N G : ( L E F T ) AS I C S R AC E R BAC K B R A , L U L U L E M O N Q U I C K PAC E S H O R T S , G A R M I N F O R E R U N N E R 35 WATC H , A D I DAS S U P E R N OVA S T S H O E S ; ( R I G H T ) N E W BA L A N C E C B K B R E AT H E TA N K , T H E N O R T H FAC E B E T T E R T H A N N A K E D
WE’RE ALWAYS
RUNNING AT
RUNNERSWORLD.
CO.UK
The year the Barkley
won: the 2018
Barkley Marathons
from the perspective
of participant
Jamil Coury.
runnersworld.co.uk/
barkleymarathons
GEAR
P84
Sun’s out, runs out:
wear the right kit. p80
Murphy’s Lore For Sam,
running routes have meaning
Foam, A Friend Why the new
generation of foam midsoles
is a boost to your running
RACE
P23
By The Numbers Nick Butter
is running around the world
P88
The Main Event The Swansea
Half Marathon
P24
Your World Your views,
your news, your pages
P90
Race Recce The Strathearn
Marathon, Perthshire
P26
Tonky Talk This year’s Paul
misses last year’s Paul
P91
Short Haul/Long Haul
Tromsø Midnight Sun Marathon
and Kaunas Half Marathon
P27
My Running Life Andrew
Matthews, bobsleigh brakeman
P93
The Start List May races
SECURITY BREACH
Race organisers
have said runners’
credit card details
are potentially at
risk. Find out more at
runnersworld.co.uk/
activenetwork
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 005
RAVE RUN
ARTHUR’S SEAT,
EDINBURGH
THE EXPERIENCE
‘Last year, Rick Pearson,
RW section editor, told
me he was organising a
relay linking the highest
points of London’s 32
boroughs (see p36). Did
I want to arrange a sister
event in Edinburgh, my
home city? And so the
Edinburgh Peaks came
into being – a run
connecting the tops
of 17 city council wards,
beginning in the southwest Pentlands on East
Cairn Hill (567m) and
culminating under the
Forth Rail Bridge in South
Queensferry, 49 miles
away. Here’s the view
across to Arthur’s Seat
(251m), the ninth summit.’
To read the full account
of Edinburgh Peaks, visit
runnersworld.co.uk/
edinburghpeaks
PHOTOGRAPHER
Jonny Muir
ABOUT
Jonny Muir is an
Edinburgh-based runner
and writer. His book, The
Mountains are Calling:
Running in the High
Places of Scotland, is
published in May.
SEND YOUR RAVE RUN PICS TO
RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK/
RAVERUN
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK
ORLD.CO.UK 007
Andy Dixon
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
JOE MACKIE Deputy Editor
KERRY MCCARTHY
Commissioning Editor
RICK PEARSON Section Editor
JOHN CARROLL Chief Sub Editor
WAYNE HANNON
Creative Director
DEAN FARROW Art Editor
BEN HOBSON Digital Editor
JANE MCGUIRE Deputy Digital
Editor
JO PAVEY Contributing Editor
VASSOS ALEXANDER, KELLY
BASTONE, ANITA BEAN,
JONATHAN BEVERLY, IAN
CORLESS, DUNCAN CRAIG, JAY
DICHARRY, JEFF GALLOWAY,
WARREN GREENE, MICHAEL
JENNINGS, ROB KEMP, CINDY
KUZMA, SAMANTHA LEFAVE,
TOBIAS MEWS, ADRIAN MONTI,
JONNY MUIR, SAM MURPHY,
MOLLY RITTERBACK, MARTYN
SHORTEN, PAUL TONKINSON
JAMES WILDMAN CEO
CLAIRE BLUNT Chief Operating
Oicer
SURINDER SIMMONS HR Director
SOPHIE WILKINSON Acting Head
of Editorial Operations
PAUL CASSAR Chief Digital Oicer
CLARE GORMAN Chief
Operations Director
JUDITH SECOMBE Director,
Hearst Brand Services
ALUN WILLIAMS Managing
Director, Health & Fitness
NATASHA MANN Executive
Assistant to Chief Brand Oicer
and MD Health & Fitness
JANE SHACKLETON Head of
Marketing, Health & Fitness
PHILIPPA TURNER Senior
Marketing Executive
ANDREA SULLIVAN Director
of Sport
DENISE DEGROOT Director
of Travel
JIM CHAUDRY Director of Motors
JACQUIE DUCKWORTH Client
Director, Personal Finance
NATASHA BAILEY Client Direct
Director, Health and Sport
020 3640 2220
JANE WOLFSON Chief Agency
Oicer
JONI MORRISS Group Agency
Director
CLARE CROOKES Regional
Agency Director
VICTORIA SLESSAR Client
Manager, Fitness 020 7439 5252
LUCY PORTER Head of Business
Management 020 7439 5276
GEMMA THOMPSON Business
Manager 020 7297 3480
LEE RIMMER Head of Classiied
020 3728 7707
REID HOLLAND Marketing
& Circulation Director
010 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
What’s top
of your
runningadventure
bucket list?
‘The Italy Coast
to Coast Relay,
which takes
teams of three
or four from east
to west across
central Italy:
magniicent
landscape,
ideal runners’
fuel, some wine.
Perfect.’
– John Carroll
‘A bothy-to-bothy
run on the Isle
of Rum in the
Inner Hebrides
(population: 22).’
– Rick Pearson
‘The Inca Trail
Marathon in
Peru. It’s not
an organised
marathon event,
but you have to
run-hike your
way along a
suggested route
that culminates
at majestic
Machu Pichu.’
– Kerry McCarthy
‘The Big Five
Marathon in
South Africa –
in my head,
spotting an
elephant would
make those 26.2
miles easier!’
– Jane McGuire
MATT BLAIZE-SMITH Head of
Consumer Sales and Marketing
JUSTINE BOUCHER Head of
Subscriptions Marketing
VICKY CHANDLER Subscriptions
Marketing Manager
VICTORIA GREENWOOD
Subscriptions Marketing Executive
SEEMA KUMARI Digital Marketing
Director
BEN BOLTON Deputy Head of
PR & Comms
FAY JENNINGS Head of PR
Media enquiries:
media@hearst.co.uk
VICTORIA ARCHBOLD Director of
Events & Sponsorship, Hearst Live
JENNI WHALE Events Executive,
Hearst Live
EMMA KING Worklow Director
ROGER BILSLAND
Production Manager
JONATHAN STUART
Ad Production Controller
SIMON HORNE SVP/Managing
Director Asia Paciic & Russia
RICHARD BEAN Director of
International Licensing and
Business Development
KIM ST. CLAIR BODDEN SVP/
Editorial & Brand Director
CHLOE O’BRIEN Deputy Brands
Director
SHELLEY MEEKS Executive
Director, Content Services
Call our subscription enquiry line on 0844 848
5203 for annual rates for the UK, back issues,
enquiries, change of address and orders. Lines
open Mon to Fri, 8am to 9:30pm; Saturday,
8am to 4pm. Subscription address: Runner’s
World subscriptions, Hearst Magazines UK Ltd,
Tower House, Sovereign Park, Lathkill Street,
Market Harborough, Leicestershire LE16 9EF
RUNNER’S WORLD is published in the UK
Copyright © All rights reserved.
RUNNER’S WORLD is printed and bound by
Southernprint Ltd, 17-21 Factory Road,
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RUNNER’S WORLD is distributed by Frontline
Ltd, Peterborough. Tel: 01733 555161
RUNNER’S WORLD is a member of the
Independent Press Standards Organisation
(which regulates the UK’s magazine and
newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’
Code of Practice and are committed to
upholding the highest standards of journalism.
If you think that we have not met those
standards and want to make a complaint
please contact complaints@hearst.co.uk or
visit www.hearst.co.uk/hearst-magazinesuk-complaints-procedure. If we are unable to
resolve your complaint, or if you would like
more information about IPSO or the Editors’
Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit
www.ipso.co.uk
EDITOR’S
LETTER
HAVING BEEN A RUNNER for
over a decade, and lived in the
same city and run the same
routes for all that time, I feel I
have to work a bit harder to find
inspiration and fulfilment as the
years pass. Our goal in this
Adventure Issue of RW is to
inspire you to seek out new experiences and add
fun and challenge to your running.
When we think of adventure, we tend to think
of far-flung places, and we certainly tick those off
this month. On page 46, our reporter is surrounded
by the stunning beauty of the Swiss Alps, but does
not have the energy to appreciate it as he battles
the world’s longest stair race. Or if desert is more
your thing, check out our feature on the beautiful
but brutal Marathon des Sables Peru on page 54.
But we also wanted to show that you don’t need
to go far to enjoy a running escapade – all you
need is a shift in mindset. Our feature on page 30
shows you how you can create your own running
adventure on the streets of your hometown –
whether it’s racing buses or ticking off historical
landmarks on the move.
We were so inspired by this DIY ethos that
we created our own event on our doorstep –
the London Peaks Relay, in which a group of
like-minded friends were tasked with running
150 miles to the highest point in each of the
capital’s boroughs in less than 24 hours. Read all
about it on page 36, and then get planning your
own adventure. The only limit is your imagination.
CONTRIBUTORS
IAN CORLESS
TOBIAS MEWS
The accomplished
ultrarunner, Ironman
and 2:53 marathoner is
also a photographer and
writer who specialises
in covering trail, ultra
and mountain running.
He chronicled the irst
Marathon des Sables
Peru for us in Against
the Grains on p54 .
The adventure athlete,
journalist and author
has tackled many of the
world’s toughest races,
but in this issue he tells
us all about the idea that
inspired his latest book,
Go! An Inspirational
Guide to Getting Outside
and Challenging
Yourself, p30.
FITNESS
NUTRITION
MIND+
HEALTH
INJURY
WARM-UPS
The TIPS YOU NEED to GET UP to SPEED
GENTLY
DOES IT
When it comes to training,
LISS may well be more
MIND HOW YOU GO
Tortoises don’t
move fast, but they
can live to well
over 100 years, so
they must know
something
WO R D S : R I C K P E A R S O N . P H OTO G R A P H : G E T T Y I M AG E S
PERHAPS IT’S TIME TO GIVE high-intensity
interval training (HIIT) a miss. The latest
trend is for LISS: low-intensity steadystate exercise. LISS torches fat, it’s
enjoyable and you’re more likely to keep
doing it. A study by the University of
Bath has found that LISS can be just
as efective as HIIT when it comes to
weight loss. For the study, participants
exercised ive times a week at diferent
intensities – half the group worked out
intensely and the other half exercised
moderately. After three weeks, both
had lost the same amount of weight.
Another study, published in the journal
Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular
Diseases, found that ‘prescribing a
higher-intensity exercise decreases
adherence and results in less exercise’.
In other words, the softly-softly approach
may be the way forward.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 011
WARM-UPS
ROPE AND GLORY
WHO STAIRS WINS
Think skipping is just for 12-year-old girls and boxers? Wrong. It’s great for runners, as
it builds calf strength, boosts endurance and helps you reduce ground contact time
Limit your arm
movement. As
with running, you
want to reduce
any unnecessary
movement, so try
to let your wrists do
most of the work
with the rope.
WO R D S : R I C K P E A R S O N . P H OTO G R A P H : AU R O R A P H OTO S / Z AV E S M I T H 1. N O R T H A M E R I CA N M E N O PAU S E S O C I E T Y 2. B M C G E N O M I C S , N OV 2 01 7
Use the correct
rope length. ‘If you
bisect the rope by
putting it under your
feet, the handles
should reach your
sternum,’ says
Ruth Martindale,
Everyone Active
itness manager
(everyoneactive.com).
Feel the rhythm.
‘You can skip as fast
as you want,’ says
Martindale, ‘but
getting into a good
rhythm can make
it easier and much
more enjoyable’.
Don’t jump too
high. ‘You’re looking
for quick, shallow
jumps, not huge
leaps: remember,
the rope is only
an eighth of an
inch thick,’ says
Martindale.
FITNESS
A new study1 has found
that stair climbing lowers
blood pressure and builds
leg strength – particularly
in postmenopausal
women. Stair climbing
also aids fat loss and
reduces the risk of
osteoporosis. Women
in the study climbed
192 steps two to ive
times a week, leading
to reductions in arterial
stifness and blood
pressure, and increases
in leg strength.
50
Percentage of VO2
max governed by
genetics and
environmental
factors, according to
a study.2 The rest is
down to hard work.
Try this
LET’S GET DIGITAL
IF YOU’RE LOOKING for a quick, simple and
cost-efective way to improve your running
form, reach for the skipping rope. Skipping
can burn more than 1,000kcals an hour, but
its beneits for runners stretch far beyond the
aerobic. It also teaches you to land directly
underneath your body, rather than out in
front, and will help you to reduce your ground
contact time – a hallmark of quick, eicient
running. In addition, skipping can help to
increase calf and foot strength, while giving
your arms a workout, too. Seriously, you’d
be hopping mad not to do it.
TRY THIS SKIPPING SET:
Do two repetitions of this set, with a minute’s rest
between sets. Total time = 10 minutes
1 MINUTE OF SKIPPING
30 SECONDS OF HIGH KNEES
1 MINUTE OF SKIPPING
30 SECS OF SKIPPING (LEFT LEG ONLY)
1 MINUTE OF SKIPPING
30 SECS OF SKIPPING (RIGHT LEG ONLY)
The Zwift Running app
(zwift.com/run) is
transforming the treadmill
experience, ofering you
the chance to train with
others in the digital realm.
You’ll need to download
the app and purchase a
foot pod, such as Stryd
or Milestone. You then
choose from a variety of
workouts and locations,
and run with people
anywhere in the world.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 013
CURRANT AFFAIRS
Blackcurrants can speed up recovery, burn fat and boost performance
Try this
mentioned, blueberries tend to
grab the headlines. But it’s time
we talked about another B-word:
blackcurrants. Scientists are inding
that adding these nutritional pocket
rockets to your diet can result in
some remarkable beneits – from
speeding up recovery, to burning
fat, to enhancing performance.
That’s largely thanks to the fact
blackcurrants are loaded with
anthocyanins, which can increase
blood low by up to 35 per cent.
This, in turn, results in increased
haemoglobin and improved oxygen
uptake and utilisation during
exercise. They taste good, too.
TEN
Speed up
recovery
Boost your
performance
Burn off
the fat
A dose of
blackcurrant
extract could
help to speed up
your recovery. A
study1 found that
lactate clearance
was greater in
64 per cent of
participants
who had taken
blackcurrant
extract before
a high-intensity
interval session.
Another study2
found that taking
blackcurrant
extract triggered
a 6.9 to 8.2 per
cent increase
in the diameter
of the femoral
artery, resulting
in a 20-35 per
cent increase
in blood low.
Enhanced
blood low
means muscles
experience
less fatigue,
leading to better
performance.
A study by
the University
of Chichester
into the efects
of CurraNZ
blackcurrant
supplement
found that
it led to a
15-27 per cent
increase in fat
oxidation at low
and moderate
exercise
intensities.
Number of hours in
which you should
consume your daily
food – rather than
the more common
15 hours – to optimise
weight loss.3
014 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
QUALITY CONTROL
When it comes to weight loss,
it’s the quality of what you eat, not
the quantity, that counts. A new
study, published in the Journal of
the American Medical Association,
found those who cut back on
processed foods, added sugar and
reined grains, while still eating lots
of vegetables and whole foods,
BLACK FOR GOOD
CurraNZ blackcurrant
extract capsules
(£21.75 for 30 capsules,
curranz.com) are 100 per
cent natural and have
been shown to trigger
increases in running
performance, fat burning
and rates of recovery.
Each capsule contains
the equivalent of
83 blackcurrants.
FRUIT FORWARD
Blackcurrants
are big hitters
lost signiicant amounts of weight
over 12 months. Interestingly, the
strategy worked for people whether
they followed diets that were either
mostly low in fat or in carbs. The
indings suggest that concentrating
on the quality of food – rather than
counting calories or worrying about
portion size – is what helps people
to lose and better manage their
weight in the long run.
WO R D S : R I C K P E A R S O N . P H OTO G R A P H : G E T T Y I M AG E S 1. U N I V E R S I T Y O F C H I C E S T E R 2. N U T R I E N T S , J U N E 2 01 7 3. C E L L M E TA B O L I S M
WHEN ‘SUPERFRUITS’ are
WARM-UPS
MIND+HEALTH
BUZZWORD
AWESOME
RECOVERY!
Let the magnificence of nature
soothe your weary body
after a hard race
WO R D S : R I C K P E A R S O N . I L L U S T R AT I O N : JA N N I E I LVO N E N . P H OTO G R A P H : G E T T Y I M AG E S 1. U P P S A L A U N I V E R S I T Y, S W E D E N 2. J O U R N A L O F B O N E A N D M I N E R A L R E S E A R C H
ADD AWE TO
YOUR RUN
LOOKING TO RECOVER more quickly after a big race or
long, hard run? Take a walk somewhere that makes
your jaw drop in wonder. A study by the University
of California, US, found that the feeling of awe you
experience in beautiful outdoor places helps to
reduce IL6, a molecule that encourages inlammation
after trauma has occurred to tissue.
‘Awe has a strong negative relationship to [IL6], a
phenomenon that seems like it would be beneicial
to runners,’ says study author Dr Jennifer Stellar. So,
after your next race or long run, think about adding a
little natural wonder into your immediate recovery.
It’s certainly a great deal more inviting than an ice
bath, foam rolling and a deep-tissue sports massage.
GO OFFROAD: the
UK is blessed with
many awesome,
runner-friendly trails
– take this opportunity
to explore them.
GO POINT-TO-POINT:
starting and ending
in the same place
is practical but not
exciting – go from
A to B instead.
STATE OF
WONDER
Nature can add
a sense of magic
to any run
GO SLOW: if you’re
always staring down
at your split times,
or gunning for a PB,
you’re unlikely to
enjoy the views.
Plogging
The latest trend to sweep
Scandinavia: locals go
jogging and pick up litter
en route. They’re doing
themselves good while
helping the community.
It’s a win-win.
36%
The percentage
decrease in heart
disease among
people who own a
dog.1 Previous
studies have
suggested canine
ownership relieves
isolation and
depression, both of
which are linked to
an increased risk of
heart disease and
early death.
GOT YOUR BACK
DRINK TO YOUR HEALTH
A small amount of alcohol each
day can help the brain clear away
toxins, according to a study by the
University of Rochester in New York.
While excessive intake of alcohol
can have ruinous efects on the
central nervous system, a glass of
wine or a pint of beer may, it now
appears, do you some good. ‘In this
study, we have shown for the irst
time that low doses of alcohol are
potentially beneicial to brain health;
namely, it improves the brain’s ability
to remove waste,’ said Dr Maiken
Nedergaard, who led the study. We’ll
drink to that. But only a little.
There are many ways in
which running helps you
stay strong as you age: it
maintains the health of
your cardiovascular
system, builds strong
bones and improves
mental health. To that
list can now be added
the vital matter of spinal
marrow adipose tissue
(MAT). In a study2 that
involved runners, cyclists
and sedentary people,
runners had the lowest
levels of MAT, which
means they were better
able to keep making red
blood cells and bone.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 017
WARM-UPS
INJURY
SQUATTERS’ RIGHTS
Here’s an easy win: the resting squat, a common seated position in many
developing countries, can improve hip and ankle flexibility, and reset your posture –
all of which will help to create efficient, injury-free running. Here’s how you do it
Try this
JUMP TO IT
The Rebounder Bounce
& Burn Mini Trampoline
(rebound-uk.com, £89)
claims to absorb about
90 per cent of the impact
you experience when
running on a hard surface.
As such, it’s a great
cross-training tool for
those looking to give their
joints a rest. Fun, too.
1 Stand upright
with your feet
shoulder-width
apart, and lower
yourself into
a deep-squat
position.
WO R D S : R I C K P E A R S O N . P H OTO G R A P H : M I TC H M A N D E L 1. J O U R N A L O F O R T H O P E D I C A N D S P O R T S P H Y S I CA L T H E R A P Y
2 Hold this
position for
30 seconds,
ensuring that
your heels stay
on the ground
and that you
are looking
straight ahead.
TIP: If you can’t
hold the position at
first, put a broom
handle under both
your heels to raise
them off the floor
3 Return to the
standing position
and repeat the
move twice more.
YOU KNEED SPEED
The faster you run, the less
stress you put on your knees
What role does speed play in the impact the knee experiences
when running? In a study,1 participants ran 1km at three diferent
speeds: 5mph, 7.3mph and 9.8mph. While the impact stress
per stride was greater at faster speeds, the total stress was
30 per cent less, owing to the fewer number of strides needed to
cover the same distance. Based on these indings, running longer
distances at slower speeds, particularly when you’re fatigued,
could contribute to overuse injuries of the knee.
PASS
WATER
A recent study,
published in
the Journal of
Strength and
Conditioning,
found that coldwater immersion
made little to
no difference to
recovery following
intermittent
running exercise.
‘Athletes and
coaches should
use this time for
more effective
and alternative
recovery
modalities,’ the
study concluded.
You won’t find us
complaining...
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 019
STAND UP
AND BE
COUNTED
How swapping booze for
running helped comedian
Liam Withnail hit his stride
020 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
THERE ARE SOME DATES
Liam Withnail never
forgets, including family
birthdays, his wedding day
and April 22 (this year’s London
Marathon – his irst). June 29,
2015, is another date that will
always stick in his mind.
‘That was the day when
I broke down crying while
speaking to a bunch of
recovering alcoholic people
about my drinking,’ recalls
Liam. He was 26 and it was
the irst time he’d attended a
meeting for people trying to
overcome a drinking problem.
‘They had diferent lengths of
sobriety, ranging from a few
months to 25 years. I wasn’t
sure I’d have deined myself
as an alcoholic; I just knew I
wanted to stop drinking and,
after failing, I needed help.’
His journey to that point began
at the age of 13, when he would
drink lager with mates in the
local park. At 15 he was getting
served in pubs; this often led to
him sleeping of the efects of
eight pints by curling up for the
night in a shop doorway.
‘At that time, I wouldn’t have
said I’d a drinking problem,’
says Liam, now 28. ‘It only
got bad when my friends
WO R D S : R I C K P E A R S O N . P H OTO G R A P H S : J O H A N L E Y
unplanned gap year wasn’t travelling
around Thailand or working abroad,
but sitting alone in my parents’
Essex house for weeks on end,
drinking vodka.’
By then – and for the next seven
years – he drank almost every day,
often until he blacked out. Things
got worse in 2008, when he moved
to Edinburgh to study, which gave
him free rein to live how he liked.
By then, he was not only drinking
heavily, but also experimenting
with various drugs.
‘I got a taste for a non-stop party
lifestyle and saw myself as some
sort of bohemian, when actually
I was living in a grotty lat with a
bunch of hippies,’ he says.
But the following year, his life
began heading in a diferent
direction. At an open mic night in
his students’ union, Liam found he
enjoyed – and had a talent for –
stand-up comedy. It eventually led
to him dropping out of university
and popping up on the Scottish
comedy circuit. But often it was
booze more than adrenaline that
fuelled his act.
‘Doing comedy is an ideal way to
hide your drinking,’ he says. ‘You’re
often performing in pubs where
people want to buy you a post-show
pint. Many times, I would drink into
oblivion, barely remembering the
next morning that I had even done
a gig the night before.
‘I would arrive at gigs drunk or
not arrive at all. I became that
man in the pub who has drunk too
much and is spouting nonsense.
Sometimes I did that on stage,
getting through my 20 minutes of
material without messing it up, but
not always. When it went badly, I
wouldn’t get booked there again.’
Finally, following yet another lost
weekend while doing several gigs in
Aberdeen, Liam realised his life was
stuck in a blurry, alcoholic loop.
‘The day after returning from
Aberdeen, I tried going for one
day without touching alcohol. I’d
successfully reached early evening
when someone asked me to meet
them in the pub. I ended up drinking
and so I failed miserably.’
His failure convinced Liam he
needed help. The next evening
H
R
JOKING ASIDE
Liam loves the feeling
of achievement he
gets from running
Liam’s tips for
kicking the
booze
1 / Stay out of the
pub: it sounds
obvious, but don’t
put temptation
in your way.
2 / There’s
strength in
numbers, so
join a support
group where
others share your
experience.
3 / Find a hobby
that gets you out
and is a healthy
distraction.
Running
worked for me.
he went to his irst meeting for
recovering alcoholics.
‘I’d seen these types of meetings
on TV, with people standing up
and talking about their drinking,
so it was weirdly familiar, but really
scary, too,’ he admits.
After discovering he shared many
similar experiences with those who
were there that evening, he vowed
to attend as often as possible,
especially during his irst three
months of recovery. He hasn’t had
a single drink since that day three
years ago. His sobriety has
stabilised his mental wellbeing, too.
It was during the six months
before he tackled his drinking that
he tentatively started running. Liam
describes himself back then as an
‘unit mess’ but his decision marked
a signiicant lifestyle change.
‘I’d read about the Couch to 5K
programme and it appealed to me
to follow a plan,’ says Liam, who
saw running as a way of adding
some much-needed routine to
his chaotic life. He loved building
up his strength and stamina by
regularly tackling the run up Arthur’s
Seat, Edinburgh’s famous peak.
‘Once I’d stopped drinking, I
would wake up refreshed, energised
and ready to run,’ he says. ‘I’d also
given up smoking and drugs, so the
more I ran, the itter I felt. I loved
that whole ritual of putting on my
‘I WOULD ARRIVE AT GIGS DRUNK OR NOT ARRIVE
AT ALL. I BECAME THAT MAN IN THE PUB WHO HAS
DRUNK TOO MUCH AND IS SPOUTING NONSENSE’
trainers, listening to my music and
feeling fresh air in my lungs.’
Liam was soon running every
other day. He entered 5K and 10K
races, and, in May 2016, ran his irst
half marathon. More followed.
‘I enjoyed the goal of training for
a race by following a plan. When
I was drinking I would think about
something I wanted to do, but it
never happened; I wouldn’t have
the drive to see it through. But now,
sober, I love the feeling that running
gives me of achieving something
totally by my own eforts.’
His love of running convinced him
to enter this year’s Virgin Money
London Marathon and fundraise for
the charity Scope, which supports
people with disabilities.
‘It seemed the next logical step,’
he says. ‘For 10 years I’d abused my
body with alcohol. So it felt right to
help Scope, which supports so many
people, some of whom who may
never be able to run a marathon.’
Liam believes he will always run,
as it’s now part of what deines him.
He hasn’t yet written any comedy
routines about running, but he has
toured with a show that mines his
old drinking habits for humour.
He still attends meetings for
recovering alcoholics and volunteers
at them, too, as a way of giving
back to those who helped him.
‘I never used to understand why
people exercised when they could
be in the pub,’ says Liam, who is now
married and settled in his career as
a stand-up and a comedy-club host.
‘But I’ve become that person who
would rather go for a long run, when
before it was drinking into oblivion.’
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 021
Murphy’s Lore
BY SAM MURPHY
WHAT SAM...
Attended…
I
come in from my run, grinning with the pleasure of it.
‘Where did you go?’ asks my husband, Jeff. We’re on holiday,
and just getting to know our surroundings.
‘Down the zigzag track, then up the path that turns back on
itself and through that dingly dell.’
He looks blankly at me.
‘Down the zigzags…’ I begin again.
‘Yes, I know the zigzags,’ he says impatiently.
‘Then up the path that takes a hairpin bend off the road…’
His eyes float upwards: he’s following my route in his head.
‘Then through that bit with the overhanging branches covered in moss.’
This evidently doesn’t tally with his own mental map, so he asks, ‘Which
path did you take out of the clearing?’
‘What clearing?’
‘At the top of the path, there’s a clearing with three different trails off it.
Which did you take?’
‘I don’t know,’ I shrug, as if it doesn’t matter – although I feel as if I’ve
failed some kind of test. ‘It felt like straight on to me.’
By now, both our moods have soured. But it’s not our fault that we can’t
share this visual joyride. We simply see the world differently – and the
map that each of us has created of this place in our mind’s eye is unique.
Mental maps aren’t clinical, like paper ones. They are shaped not by 2cm
squares but by the experiences we accrue as we run: here’s where I felt
scared by the remoteness of the trail; this is the route I ran the last weekend
I saw my nan before she died. We don’t just run a route, we engage with it.
What intrigues me, though, is what each of us senses in a landscape –
what landmarks we choose to plot our journey. Research has shown that
navigation develops new grey matter in the part of the brain responsible
for complex spatial representation. In a 2006 study, London taxi drivers
022 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
The Balanced
Runner's
Feldenkrais
and running
workshop in
London, with
Jae Gruenke
(balancedrunner.
com).
Ran…
A half marathon
in which I was
neck and neck
for much of the
way with a man
in Donald Trump
fancy dress.
Took part in…
The London
Peaks Relay –
the challenge
thought up by
RW’s own Rick
Pearson to race
to the highest
point in every
London borough
in under 24 hours
– a distance
of 150 miles
(see p36).
– tasked with holding an entire
‘A to Z’ of maps in their heads –
were found to have more grey
matter in this region of the brain.
Jeff orienteered at a national
level as a junior, before taking
degrees in geography and town
planning. It’s no wonder he sees
landscapes in terms of topography
and compass points. I spent most of
my childhood getting lost – literally,
or with my head in a book – and I
still find it hard to recreate even my
most well trodden running routes
in my mind’s eye. I can picture the
beginnings and ends, and recall
random landmarks – a majestic oak,
a dead owl, a discarded teddy – but
some of the middle miles are missing.
It’s the equivalent of losing your
GPS signal in a tunnel.
However dodgy my mental maps
are, though, I can trust my feet to
link together the missing pieces
once I’m out there. And, thankfully,
it’s not because I’m relying on GPS,
which scientists believe may erode
our mind-mapping skills. When
Japanese researchers1 tested the
navigational prowess of their
subjects on six routes, using either
GPS, a paper map or direct
experience, they found those using
GPS made the most mistakes and
afterwards were the least able to
sketch a map of where they’d been.
Other researchers have voiced
concerns that GPS is causing us to
disengage from our environment.
A couple of days after ‘nav-gate’,
Jeff and I are running together
through dense forest and we keep
losing the path. ‘Ah, it’s this way,’
I suddenly say, confident because
I’ve run this way before on my own
and remember having to crawl
through the mud under a fallen
branch. ‘Do you think you came
this far?’ Jeff asks doubtfully.
‘Yes. I remember seeing a Diet
Coke can on the ground.’
Moments later, we pass the can.
I L L U S T R AT I O N : P I E TA R I P O S T I 1. U N I V E R S I T Y O F TO K YO
WE DON’T JUST RUN A ROUTE –
WE ENGAGE WITH IT
H
R
CITIZEN OF THE WORLD
On his great adventure,
Nick has been alone for long
periods, suffered aches and
pains, met wonderful people,
seen some extraordinary
sights, made a smiley face
from a piece of watermelon
and, occasionally, tried to
remember which country
he was in. You can follow
his progress by visiting
nickbutterrunning.com
1,200,000
APPROXIMATE NUMBER OF STEPS TAKEN SO FAR ON THE ADVENTURE
BY THE NUMBERS
NICK
BUTTER
WO R D S : R I C K P E A R S O N . P H OTO G R A P H S : N I C K B U T T E R
28, BRISTOL, RUNNING A MARATHON IN
EVERY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
NICK BUTTER was in the Sahara
when he decided to run a marathon
in every country of the world. That’s
196 marathons. He was running the
Marathon des Sables and was bunking
with Kevin Webber (RW, April 2018), who
has terminal prostate cancer. ‘Kevin told
me, “Do what you really want to do,”’
says Nick. ‘And what I’d really wanted
to do for many years is to run a marathon
in every country.’ The journey itself is
remarkable, but it’s the message that
is truly important: raising awareness of
prostate cancer. ‘It’s such an underfunded,
poorly understood disease, so it’s great
to feel this challenge is helping to bring
it to people’s attention,’ says Nick.
Sixty
Average number of
hours spent in
each country
The number of days
the challenge will
take. (Rest days
are crucial!)
-26C
Coldest marathon
so far, in Toronto,
Canada. ‘It was the
first of the whole trip’
ZERO 4:11
19 TWO 15
THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT. ‘THE WHOLE TRIP
IS CARBON NEUTRAL,’ SAYS NICK
Number of
blisters Nick has
developed…so far
Bumps on the head to
date: one from a tree
and the other from
a road sign
£250,000
AMOUNT OF MONEY NICK IS AIMING TO RAISE FOR
PROSTATE CANCER UK (PROSTATECANCERUK.ORG).
Fastest marathon so
far, in Trinidad
Number of pairs
of trainers Nick
will wear out
Hottest marathon so
far, in Haiti. A support
car was used to
ensure Nick’s safety
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 023
YO U R
WORLD
LETTER OF THE MONTH
INJURY TIME TO THINK
BACK ON
THE ROAD
Joanne enjoys
her PB moment
MIND OVER MATTER
I picked up Runner’s World the
day before I was due to run the
Inverness Half Marathon. I was
reading it in the evening and came
across the breaking barriers article
(Smash that Wall, April). The bit
about the ‘mental wall’ caught my
eye, and I read it and reread it a
couple of times. The following day
arrived and of I went with my
running partner. The mantras kicked
in: I found myself mentally checking
in on my body and telling myself I
felt good. Even during the last mile,
when muscles hurt and energy
Injury happens to everyone. And it always
happens at the worst time. This is the hard
lesson I’ve been learning over the past four
weeks. There I was, running the fastest
I had ever been, all set for a PB in the
Cambridge Half Marathon and getting
ready for my irst marathon, in Brighton.
Then injury struck: a strained lower back
muscle. My initial reaction was devastation.
But the experience has taught me valuable
lessons. First, you’re not invincible.
Second, do some cross-training. Third,
even though you’re not running, you will
not lose all of your itness in the space of
a few weeks. Recently, I ran the London
Landmarks Half Marathon. It was my
second run in four weeks and I smashed it
– achieving that PB I had missed out on. Joanna Colley, Cambridge
levels were low, I kept going. Now
for the Dubrovnik Half Marathon at
the end of April. Thank you for a
short paragraph that changed my
run. Oh, as for time? I am not the
quickest, but I inished in 2:21.
Simon Venn, Tain, the Highlands
Advice from RW
kept Simon on
the road
THE POWER OF RUNNING
I work for Welsh Athletics’
social-running arm, Run Wales.
Carmarthenshire Council has
invested money in a mental health
project, trying to get people with
depression outside to do some
running, in a group environment,
with a goal of completing the
Swansea Half Marathon in June. My
role within the group is to motivate
and coach them towards the goal.
Through this work, I have been
reminded of the fundamental
reasons why I enjoy running: it makes
you feel better in every way. The
members of this group are open in
saying that they feel so much more
positive; they don't go back to bed
in the afternoon; one has gone back
to work; and on the days they meet,
they know they will smile that day. Sharon Leech, Cross Hands,
Carmarthenshire
WHAT UDDER RUBBISH!
I certainly do not disagree with the
Dear Dairy: It’s Over headline in the
May issue of RW. I accept that since
I stopped drinking normal milk I
have greatly enhanced my health
and lost weight. My issue with your
article is that you do not mention
goat’s milk. I can recommend this as
an alternative to normal milk. Your
article missed a trick, I am afraid. Keith Runciman, via email
In our defence, Keith, we
were looking at non-dairy
alternatives to milk – be
that milk from a cow or a goat.
MUM’S THE WORD
I am writing in the hope that you
may be able to recognise my
amazing mum, Julie, in your
magazine. She turns 70 in April,
although she probably won’t thank
SNAP CHAT
#RACEDAYKIT
We asked you to take a pic of your favourite go-faster clobber.
‘My daughter Daisy painted my
nails coral and blue to match.’
‘The hat makes me more
aerodynamic.’
– Theresa Slater
– Mike Harvey
‘Flamingo leggings!’
– Hannah Hunt
Next month: #SummerRunningKit. Show us your favourite piece of warm-weather clothing.
024 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
‘Last year’s Sheield
Half Marathon.’
– Lynne Gregory
H
Running has seen
Julie through
some dark times
RUNNING SHINES A LIGHT
Running is part of my identity and
is what brings extra light to life.
It became even more important to
me last summer, when my husband
left me after nine years together.
That meant, for me, quitting my job
and moving back to France, because
WE ASK, YOU ANSWER
‘IT’S NOT THE DISTANCE THAT HURTS –
IT’S THE SPEED.’ DO YOU AGREE?
‘100 per cent agree. 400m
is tougher than a half
marathon.’
– Mark Burns
‘Clearly, the harder your
heart has to work and
the more lactic acid
you produce by going
faster makes it hurt
more than miles at
lower intensities.
– Sam Paine
‘Deinitely. I can do
20 miles at 7:00min/miles
and feel I could turn round
and do it again. But I did
a 16:45 5K recently and
wanted to die in the last
half mile.’
– Kane Green
‘Absolutely. For me, a
very fast 5K is harder
than a decent-paced
half marathon.’
– Barry Clegg
‘Long runs you enjoy
at the time; fast runs
you enjoy after.’
– Gavin Strathearn
P H OTO G R A P H S : G E T T Y I M AG E S
‘I ind endurance harder.
I like speed. I feel more
tired from slower long
running and it takes me
longer to recover.’
– Catherine Daly
‘Speed only hurts if you get
your pacing wrong. 400m
pace doesn’t hurt if you run
it over 400m; it does if you
try it over 5K.’
– Martin McEwen
‘This is absolutely correct.
At steady pace, most
distances are easy up to a
half marathon’
– Dom Reed
‘Blimey, no. It’s the other way
around! I ran at much the
same speed for 5K or 10K.’
– Michele Tansley
R
my work status and visa were
dependent on him. Running kept
me going, got me to get up every
morning and ind a way to deal
with the pain and hardship of that
situation. When my grandmother,
whom I was very close to, died
exactly six months later, running
continued to support me through
my grief. One month later, a long
run was cut short because of a
stabbing pain in my pelvic bone.
After a month of not running,
X-rays and an MRI, I received
my diagnosis: a stress fracture.
I would be interested in hearing
from runners who sustained similar
injuries and how they got through
them and avoided re-injuring
themselves. I cannot wait to put on
my running shoes again and have
promised myself I will enjoy every
future run as if it were the last.
Julie Guillaume, Paris
THE POLL
What's your favourite time
of year to run?
50%
FROM HUNTER TO HUNTED
My rather simplistic and, I’m afraid,
somewhat ruthless running strategy
used to be to ind someone faster
to train and run with until I was able
to get past them, then look for the
next victim. Now, having reached
70 and picked up the cross-country
Scottish and GB masters prizes, the
tables have turned and I am now the
target for many younger runners to
get past. I even heard a father telling
his 16-year-old son to make sure he
got in front of that old guy! On the
other hand, there are some nice
compliments.
Alex Sutherland, via email
45%
24% 23%
8%
0%
me for telling you! Both my parents
came to running later in life. In fact,
they ran the London Marathon for
the irst time on my dad’s 50th
birthday, where he ran for Marie
Curie in honour of the passing of
his beloved dad, Harry. Since then,
my mum has raised thousands
of pounds for Children with
Leukaemia, and is now clocking up
times that see her place in the top
10 per cent of her age group. All this
from someone who sufered with
lymph-gland problems in her legs
for most of her 20s, 30s and 40s.
She’s a total inspiration.
Hannah Arrowsmith, via email
A
B
C
D
A. Spring
B. Summer
C. Autumn
D. Winter
WHAT’S INSPIRED, IMPRESSED OR, PERHAPS, ANNOYED YOU LATELY ABOUT RUNNING OR RUNNERS?
THE WRITER OF THE WINNING EMAIL OR LETTER RECEIVES A PAIR OF SAUCONY HURRICANE ISO 2S, WORTH £135
RUNNER’S WORLD, Unit 9, Apollo Business Centre, Trundleys Road, Deptford, London SE8 5JE
Email letters@runnersworld.co.uk Tweet @runnersworlduk Facebook runnersworlduk
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 025
Tonky Talk
BY PAUL TONKINSON
RUNNERPEDIA
Ice treatment (n)
How you make a
postrace gin and
tonic feel better.
Attitude
training (n)
t’s the last 600 metres of the South Manchester parkrun and
I’m gearing up for a big finish. Over the last quarter of a mile
or so runners have cruised steadily past me; it’s been a living
nightmare. My arms sag ineffectually by my side, my legs lost
in a lactic fog. I’m not very fit at the minute. The contrast
between this year and last is stark. In spring 2017 I was
cresting my highest mileage ever, merrily doing Yasso 800
sessions, 22-mile long runs and racking PBs every weekend.
I had a goal, a sub-three-hour marathon; it was magic and
all-consuming. But in spring 2018, Slacker Tonks is doing
half the mileage, mostly unable to make track Tuesday owing to work
commitments and posting personal worsts at every opportunity.
Today, for instance, I’ll be a minute and a half slower than I normally
am. Some of this is physical. I had back spasms that lost me two weeks;
then the ‘Beast from the East’ hit me hard and I had ‘that flu’ that everyone
got. I was in bed for a week and, three weeks later, I'm still not quite right.
But it goes deeper than that. I’m having a bit of a crisis. Strap in.
In Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right, a character says, ‘They
are most happy who have no story to tell.’ I wonder if it’s hard for me to be
happy about running unless I’ve got a race to aim for. I am like a character
in search of an author at the moment. The sub-three push was amazing,
but I’ve struggled to replace it. I lived, in essence, like a full-time athlete
for six weeks or so last year, knocking back work, sleeping during the day,
getting massages, chomping overpriced energy balls and visualising. It was
as committed as I’ll ever get, so I’ve had to accept that I’ll probably never
get faster over the marathon. If nothing else, my wife would leave me.
So what now? I fantasise about an ultra but don’t know if my body will
take it. My Morton’s toe is an issue. Every runner, it seems, gets an injury
to manage and this is mine. It seems to flare up if I go over 50 miles a week.
I
026 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
Running while
wearing an
expression
that says, ‘Don’t
even look at
me! Did you just
look at me?’
Warm up (v)
Prepare for a run
with a lovely cup
of coffee.
Enough, but restrictive and possibly
harmful if I push into an ultra.
I have another fantasy about
being one of those happy runners
unmotivated by time – just running
for experience. You know the type
– they wave to all the spectators,
thank all the marshals, talk during
the race and smile throughout.
I like this. I can see this being the
future. I do love running and I want
to encourage others.
But in some way I’m wrapped up
in the idea of being fast, and I’m
annoying myself. This morning, for
instance – I am trying my best, it’s
just nowhere near enough. And the
less fit you are, the less you’re used
to really surging into pain. As we
approach the track for the last
300 metres or so, an old and quite
fit bloke high-steps it past me. For
some reason, he becomes my target
– runners of all shapes, men and
women, have gone past me this
morning, but he’s the benchmark.
I stay in contact, tuck in and as we
hit the synthetic surface, a sense
memory hits me. I’m back at school,
or even last spring, and I pass him
(I later find out he is 64) and then
someone else. There’s a runner 10
metres in front of me. I know I can
take him, but I slow down. I feel
embarrassed, I feel that I don’t
deserve to go past. Let him have it.
In the chute I am leg-weary and
breathing hard. There’s a pleasure
in that, certainly, but I’m feeling
a bit stupid. This isn’t me; it’s an
impersonation. As track season
approaches, I know that the only way
through this is to run hard. I just
haven’t been training hard enough.
Everyone runs for different
reasons and all running is good,
but I’ve realised there’s still a bit
of pride in it for me. My identity is
tied up in it. Happy comes later.
I L L U S T R AT I O N : P I E TA R I P O S T I
‘I’LL PROBABLY NEVER GET
FASTER OVER THE MARATHON’
MY
RUNNING
LIFE
H
R
‘BOBSLEIGH WAS NOTHING
LIKE I EXPECTED’
ANDREW MATTHEWS, 33, SLOUGH, BOBSLEIGHER
BIG CHANGE
Andrew was brakeman in Team
GB’s four-man bobsleigh crew
at this year’s Winter Olympics
sprint skills to push a training trolley at
a track in Bath. I was hesitant at first.
I N T E R V I E W: R O B K E M P. P H OTO G R A P H S : G E T T Y I M AG E S
When I began bobsleigh
racing, the behind-the-scenes work
put me of. It wasn’t like athletics,
where you just turn up and run. We
do all the humping and dumping.
We’re constantly polishing and
maintaining the sleigh, rehearsing
our start technique, training and then
travelling between events.
He had a calming influence on me. He
taught me masses, including patience.
That’s where my talent
for running really took of. I was
quicker than everyone else, beating
other footballers to the ball and
winning the school races. I really
didn’t take running seriously until
I was in my late teens, when I joined
a running club at Windsor. A coach
there gave me the confidence to
compete and I made the Team GB
squad a couple of times.
I had some great successes as a
sprinter. I was national and European
60m champion but when I went to the
trials for London, I was carrying an
injury. I hurt my groin and had to pull
out. I was devastated. I’d been running
for 14 years and thought it was all over
and time to look for a new career.
He took over my
coaching. What an inspirational guy.
if I fancied trying out for
winter-sports bobsleigh, using my
CURB YOUR
ENTHUSIASM
‘Linford helped
me realise that I
was sometimes
too eager to be
the best. I’d get
frustrated too
easily. He’d rein
me in and get
me to go back
to working on
the basics.’
You’re thrown around,
turning over and over. You go into
survival mode, preparing the body for
impact, trying to keep yourself moving
to stop getting ice burns. That said,
I had more injuries as a sprinter.
I was coaching with a guy
from GB Active. He asked me to
come along and run some fitness boot
camps, which I do with other Team
GB athletes. I incorporate a lot of
plyometric and resistance work
into fun fitness sessions.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 027
SILVER SPRINTER
Ida Keeling is 102 years old. Here, she tells RW the secrets to her long life and running success
028 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
.
.
H
R
Ida has some sound advice for younger runners: ‘Stay
strong, love yourself and do what you need to do’
Well, I didn’t expect
so much, but I’m very
happy it turned out
this way. I was just
exercising and now
I’m all over the world.
I wrote about it, but
it’s over. The past
is sometimes kind,
sometimes horrible
and miserable.
Feeling miserable is
a bad thing; it slows
you down. I don’t like
to slow down. I want
to be ready to move.
WO R D S : C I N DY KU Z M A . P H OTO G R A P H S : P O O N WATC H A R A-A M P H A I WA N
TWO YEARS AGO, IDA KEELING RAN THE 100-METRE DASH in 1 minute
and 17.33 seconds to set the world record for women aged 100-104 – then
she dropped to the track to do press-ups as the crowd roared. In her new
book, Can’t Nothing Bring Me Down, Keeling, now 102, talks about thrilling
moments such as this, but also her struggles: growing up poor in Harlem,
New York, working in factories during the Great Depression to raise four
children as a single mother, and losing two adult sons to unsolved cases of
drug-related violence. This last one sank Keeling into a depression at the age
of 67. So her daughter Shelley, a track-and-field and cross-country coach,
took Keeling to a local 5K. Miss Ida, as she’s known, felt clumsy at first, but
ultimately uplifted. ‘The good part was that the sad part left,’ she says.
‘Running to me is like medicine.’ Since then, the 4ft 6in, 37.6kg (6st) dynamo
has raced all over the world and set multiple world records. ‘Every day is
another day forward,’ she says. In February, she broke the 100-and-older
60-metre record, finishing in 58.34. Here, she tells Runner’s World about her
life, her training regime and the importance of Hennessy brandy.
FOUNTAINS
OF YOUTH
MISS IDA’S KEYS TO
LIFELONG RUNNING:
START EARLY
Keeling circles her legs in
bed – ‘I’m up, they got to
wake up.’ She also squats
as she cooks and cleans.
REST
Take breaks before races.
‘If you get tired, don't
push it. Put your legs
up on the couch.’
Your balance is more
off than normal.
You have to think
everything through
before you take your
steps. So you pay
more attention to
things, stay alert.
That was terrible, but
I said, ‘Well, I got to
get up from here.’
I’ve been doing well;
I just don't want to
overdo it. People
make mistakes, they
say, ‘I won't pay the
pain no mind.’ That's
stupid. The pain –
you better pay it
some mind. It’s telling
you something.
I go to the gym, take
a strengthening class
that has some dance
steps. Other days,
I’ve got my bike and
my running and my
[1kg] weights. I squat
with them, stretch
my arms out. I try to
do 10 minutes, three
times a day – then
it's nap time. When
a race gets closer,
I also go with my
daughter to the track
for a 40-minute
session of warm-up
drills and a single
60-metre run.
Stay strong, love
yourself and do what
you need to do, not
what you want to do.
GOOD NUTRITION
Her diet includes greens,
fruits, nuts, orange juice,
and cod liver oil and
molasses for joint health.
HENNESSY
Three or four times per
week, ‘I put a little bit
in my cofee or in some
water’ to aid circulation.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 029
030 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
DIY EVENTS
UR E
THE
ADV E NT
ISS UE
JUNE 2018 RUNNER’SWORLD.CO.UK 031
very adventure
I’ve embarked on
seems to begin
with this simple
statement: ‘I’ve
got an idea…’
These are words
my friends and
family are now
accustomed to – they usually result
in a few raised eyebrows, a snort of
laughter and, if circumstances allow,
another drink as we discuss the
merits of my idea. I’ll admit that some
have been pretty out there, but as
extreme adventurer Anna McNuff
once told me, the genesis of every
great idea starts off as ‘bonkers’ and
goes through the reining-in process
until it becomes ‘just about possible’.
Ever since I pinned on my first bib
number to represent the Royal
Military Academy Sandhurst in
cross-country, some 15 years ago, I’ve
been on a journey of self-discovery.
The army awoke in me this nagging
feeling that I was not tapping into my
true capabilities. Through my
training, as I delved deeper into the
unknown, I learned to read my
surroundings – the going of the land,
access and escape routes, moving at
night. Having retired my commission,
the same drive led me to complete
some 250 races, but then I started to
look for something beyond organised
events. Yes, they offer support staff,
marked routes, medical backup,
goody bags, timing chips, aid stations
and all those confidence-inspiring
things that mean you just have to turn
up and run. But that very buffer can
diminish the sense of adventure.
For one thing, a great part of any
adventure is the planning – coming
up with that bonkers idea, spreading
a map on the table, chatting with
friends and working it all out. This is
the bit race directors get to do.
And, of course, organised races
happen in set places and on set days.
When I finished the Dragon’s Back
Race in 2015, which formed the final
chapter of my first book, 50 Races to
Run Before You Die (Aurum), I was
blown away by what I’d experienced,
but gutted when I realised I’d have to
wait another two years to repeat it.
Then it occurred to me: what if you
were your own race director, creating
your own race, that you can do any
time, anywhere? Wouldn’t that be
great? The race-it-yourself running
adventure concept was born.
But how do you go about creating
your own running adventure? Well,
whether you’re planning a 60-minute
challenge or one that will take years,
the first key ingredient is a map. The
next (optional) ingredient is a drop of
alcohol to fire the more adventurous
032 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
of your synapses. (Man v Horse was
born in a pub; even the genesis of the
super-serious Ironman came about
over a drunken wager.) And the third
ingredient is friends. A running
adventure shared is the best kind.
Next is time. The most accessible
running adventures are those you can
do in and around your working day:
racing the commute; a 60-minute
running adventure during your lunch
break; perhaps following underground
rivers or running your city’s bridges.
But there are also more expansive
and creative things you can do with
longer stretches of time, which is
why, over the following pages, I have
broken up the whys and wherefores of
various running adventures by time.
Now you have a decision to make: just
like in the film The Matrix, you can
swallow the blue pill (by skipping the
next few pages) and you’ll continue
just as you were. Or you can take the
red pill (by reading on) and you’ll see
the world in a new light – one filled
with possibilities.
Time. It’s our biggest constraint,
our most valuable asset and, so, our
favourite excuse for not doing
something. We say we don’t have
enough of it: too much is spent
commuting, working, feeding the
kids, catching up with friends, or on
our DIY. But there are 1,440 minutes
in every day and you can achieve
a lot by running for just 60 of them,
or even less. The late Sir Roger
Bannister managed to squeeze
something rather amazing into just
four. With that as inspiration, your
own challenge could be broken down
into either ‘How far can I run in four
minutes?’ or, as Bannister preferred
to see it, ‘How fast can I run a mile?’
Of course, you may not have
the extra time needed to get to a
running track, but the key to any
DIY EVENTS
Collect as many blue plaques (or
similar) as you can in 60 minutes.
GPS-enabled smartphone with
camera, running shoes.
SIGN UP
Even time-constrained
runners can add a little
adventure to a run.
And some culture, too
time-pressed running adventure is
adapting it to your surroundings.
With almost 90 per cent of the UK’s
population living in urban areas,
it’s easy to think we urbanites are
hamstrung in our ability to create
adventures. On the contrary, towns
and cities are a veritable playground
for running mischief.
If you live in an urban sprawl, you
may assume that adding ascent to
your runs is asking a lot. But running
the New York City Marathon gave me
a new appreciation for bridges. The
blighters had me huffing and puffing,
and the different perspectives they
gave on the city were wonderful, too.
If there’s a river in your hometown,
try running a stretch, crossing each
bridge as you go. This can be a lot of
fun, and surprisingly tough.
Talking of rivers, in some cities
they are hidden beneath our feet.
London has dozens, invisibly
meandering deep below the
metropolitan maze. With a little
research you can lace up your
trainers and try to trace their watery
courses as faithfully as the city will
allow. One of my favourite running
adventures was following one of
London’s subterranean rivers, the
Fleet, from the trickle of water at its
source on Hampstead Heath down to
the mighty Thames.
Thinking bigger, there are your
five-to-nine possibilities. Adventurer
and author Alastair Humphreys is
a proponent of using this 16-hour
window to do a micro-adventure. You
could even fit in an ultramarathon
between leaving work on Tuesday
night and the ‘cut-off’ of being back
at your desk on Wednesday morning.
You will probably be in need of a lot
more coffee than usual.
There are a huge number of
possibilities on our urban doorsteps –
you can vertically challenge yourself
by running up skyscrapers; run
underground routes overground; race
boats, trains and buses; or throw dice
to determine your running challenge.
The only limit is your imagination.
Time limited to 60 minutes.
Penalties given for going over
time – deduction of points,
buying a round of drinks etc.
Proof of plaque recorded with
selfie photo. All plaques get
one point, with bonus points
awarded as follows:
Playwright – 2 points
Knight of the Realm – 2 points
Statesmen – 3 points
Prime Minister – 4 points
Field Marshal – 4 points
Houses with two plaques –
5 points (there are 18 houses
with two blue plaques)
London Underground plaques
– 6 points (there are only four
with the ‘Johnston’ typeface)
London’s blue plaques have been
commemorating notable men
and women for over 150 years.
This is your chance to pay
homage. Do it alone or, better
yet, grab a few friends and
make it sociable. Set the
countdown timer on your phone
to 60 minutes and start running,
aiming to find as many of the
900-plus plaques adorning
London’s buildings as you can.
To make it more challenging,
give bonus points as outlined
above, or you could set a
boundary, such as a postcode
or borough to limit your search.
The City of London has around
160 commemorative blue
plaques within its borders. If you
are doing it with friends, finish in
a pub, with points deducted for
every minute over the 60. Loser
buys the round. Obviously.
Download the English Heritage
blue plaques app to assist you
in your search.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 033
NATURE’S CALL
Tackle a sea-tosummit challenge
Those precious hours between
finishing work on Friday and being
back at our desks on Monday morning
offer the perfect opportunity to
squeeze in an adventure on a slightly
grander scale. Something that takes
more planning and a few more glasses
of wine to lubricate the grey matter as
you hover near the bonkers end of the
bonkers-possible continuum.
In every running adventure, you
are your own race director. You
decide how long you’ll give yourself
to complete the challenge, who you
would like to join you and what time
you set off. Many of my favourite
adventures have taken me through
the night. I love the potent cocktail of
trepidation and excitement as I watch
the sun go down, then switch on my
headtorch, knowing that a new world
awaits me, one where my senses are
heightened as I become more focused
on my immediate surroundings, not
what’s over the horizon. And, of
course, revelling in the knowledge
that while my friends and loved ones
sleep, I’ve got this world to myself.
If running in darkness isn’t for you,
try a race-the-sun challenge. I was
inspired by the Outrun the Sun
challenge, where two relay teams
battled it out to run around Mont
Blanc before the sun set. But instead
of running around a mountain,
I challenged my best friend, Phil, to
map, running shoes, food/
water, passport.
An adventure between the first
flight out and last flight home.
GPS watch, running backpack,
034 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
The run challenge must be
completed within a day. Costs
should be kept to a minimum
(less than the entry to a Tough
Mudder or similar event).
Skip the entry fees and
accommodation costs of a
destination race; just shell out
run with me across one, connecting
the Atlantic Ocean with the Indian
Ocean via the spine of Cape Town’s
Table Mountain National Park in
South Africa. We stopped for lunch in
a gastropub, took tons of photos, had
a picnic, climbed Table Mountain,
descended by its treacherous trails
and finished off with a well-earned
pint on the beach. It was glorious,
but you can race the sun anywhere
– from city limit to city limit, across
postcodes or from town to town,
along rivers or canals, around local
hills or along nearby trails.
As a trail runner and wannabe
fell runner, I’ve long been fascinated
by the Bob Graham Round [BGR].
It’s one of the greatest running
adventures in the UK, but to run
to 42 of the highest peaks in the Lake
District within 24 hours is a bit steep
for most of us. However, as with
many great challenges, you can break
it down to the core elements and
build back up to an adventure tailored
to your ability and location. The BGR
is basically a peak-to-peak adventure
and you can replicate that idea very
easily, even in a city, as seen in our
own Runner’s World London Peaks
Relay. In March, RW recruited a team
of runners (including me) to run a
150-mile relay route that included the
highest points in each of London’s
32 boroughs (see p36).
If you live within striking distance
of the coast, you could try a sea-tosummit challenge. Pick a point on the
coast, then plot an interesting route
that will take you to the highest point
in the county. A classic example is
Caernarfon to Snowdon, the highest
peak in Wales. If you don’t live near
the coast, you could adapt this idea
to start at a lake or reservoir.
Lateral thinking is the key. One
New Year’s Eve, I persuaded my
girlfriend (now wife), to forgo a night
of partying and accompany me in
running the Monopoly Board – which
turned into a 50km adventure. We
still regard this as one of the best
New Year’s Eves we’ve ever spent.
on a single-day return flight
that allows you to complete
an epic adventure in time to
catch the last flight home.
Choose a destination where
you don’t have to go far from
the airport to escape built-up
areas. And pack light, travelling
in your kit, with your running
pack as hand luggage. I once
tried to run around the island
of Jersey as a one-day flight
challenge, reaching 26 miles
before I realised I was going to
miss my flight. I turned back
and had to sprint to the gate
at the airport. Though I ‘failed’,
I had an awesome time and
made some friends.
If you can’t find a flight, take
the same principle and apply
it to ferries and trains.
DIY EVENTS
Grab your trail shoes and follow
in the footsteps of our ancestors.
P H OTO G R A P H S : JA M E S CA R N E G I E
A LEAP OF FAITH
Take your time,
make a plan and go
as long as you can
Midweek and weekend miniadventures are great for a quick fix
and allow a degree of spontaneity, but
sometimes you want to go a bit more
epic. When you feel that irresistible
itch to tackle something worthy of
mention in the history books, try a
long-term burner.
There are challenges that might
take as long as a couple of weeks
to complete, but could still fit into
a holiday. And then there are more
ambitious challenges that can take
a lifetime to achieve. The individual
components may be achievable in
a weekend, or less, but the sum of
those parts gives us the focus of an
enormous long-term goal.
An excellent source of a long-term
burner is the art of peak bagging.
Many people aim to bag a list of peaks
over the course of a year, or a lifetime.
Or there’s Steve Birkinshaw, who, in
2014, broke Joss Naylor’s 27-year
record for the fastest completion of
the Lake District’s 214 Wainwrights,
finishing in six days and 13 hours
(Naylor’s time was seven days, one
hour and 25 minutes).
There are also more theoretical
challenges. For instance, over the
past few years, come January 1, I’ve
set about racing to space. Not literally
of course, but figuratively, by trying
as quickly as possible to accumulate
100km of vertical gain through the
course of my running – the equivalent
height of the Kármán Line, which
marks the edge of outer space. Aiming
a little lower, you could try to run
8,848m, matching the height of
Everest. Or you could think flatter
and try for 24,900 miles, equal to
running round the equator, plotting
your progress on a map as you go.
Whether it’s a race to space or a
historical trail run, following in the
footsteps of our forebears, a longterm burner can keep you motivated
for many years to come.
Trail shoes, GPS device, 20-litre
running backpack, waterproofs,
food and water, emergency kit.
None.
As I ran along the chalky surface
of Britain’s oldest road, The
Ridgeway, passing 5,000-yearold burial mounds and ancient
stone circles, and following in
the footsteps of monks, soldiers
and pilgrims, it felt as if I was
travelling back in time.
There are ancient footpaths all
over the UK and beyond. The
Ridgeway is an excellent example,
or you could head further afield
to the Camino de Santiago
pilgrims’ route across Spain,
tackling the 500 miles in one long
holiday, or split into sections
over several trips. The essence
of this challenge is to run or
fastpack (backpack at speed)
along an ancient trail, learning
about its history as you go. Turn
this into a running holiday where
time stands still. It’s just you, the
trail and your imagination.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 035
SOCIAL
CLIMBING
UR E
THE
ADV E NT
ISS UE
Inspired to create an epic running adventure on our doorstep,
RW gathered a group of friends to run 150 miles, reaching the highest
point in every London borough in under 24 hours. This is the story of
the irst London Peaks Relay. RW’s Rick Pearson hits the high notes
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 037
W
Kensal Green tube station and a prominent mound on Putney
Heath? They’re all the highest points in their respective
London boroughs. How has Runner’s World acquired
this rather esoteric knowledge? By running to
them, of course – as part of the recent London
Damian Hall and Dan
Peaks Relay, a race against the clock to the
Hallam cross under
the A13; then they
summit of each London borough.
scale the Beckton
When we talk about adventure, most of us
Alps; the entire route
probably think of places such as the Amazon, the
on Strava
Himalayas or the Sahara. Very few of us think of
Bromley...Enfield…Croydon. But we wanted to
explore the idea that adventure can begin at home
– or, at least, a short tube ride away.
I must confess to having ‘previous’ in this area. As part of my
podcast, London’s Peaks, I’m attempting to walk to the highest
point in each London borough with an interesting person from
each locale. While hiking in the highlands of Hammersmith and
scaling Mount Merton, an idea had hatched in my mind: might it
be possible to run to all the London summits in 24 hours?
I’d be lying if I said this idea was without precedence. In 2014,
ultrarunner Jonny Muir – a friend of mine and veteran of the
more illustrious and less carbon monoxide-fuelled Bob Graham
Round in the Lake District – ran to the highest point in each of
the 12 inner London boroughs, a distance of 41 miles. However,
no individual or group had been brave – or, indeed, foolish
– enough to attempt to run to all the
London summits in one go. Until now.
Our venture soon became known as the
Smog Graham Round.
Having the idea is one thing; making
it a reality is another. There was no
London Peaks map to follow; no
Runner’s World forum on the subject.
This was something new: a voyage
into the unknown. Having
established where each of the
summits is located, it was then a
that included authors and
matter of picking the most efficient
ultrarunners, City types, a nurse,
route between them. Undoubtedly,
even a magician – all united by a
there is a scholarly way of doing
love of running in London and
this, involving complex algorithmic
a willingness to get involved in a
formulas and highly dexterous
daft do-it-yourself adventure.
mental arithmetic. However, with
For reasons of safety and
only a mathematics GCSE to my name, I was forced to
sociability, runners would take
adopt a less cerebral approach: pick a peak in one of the outer
part in teams of two, completing
London boroughs – in this case, Bromley, southeast London –
two nonconsecutive legs of the relay. At
and create a route that corkscrewed inwards, finishing at the
the summit of each borough, the ‘baton’ – an iPhone X inside a
towering 52m summit of the City of Westminster. (Or, more
waist belt – would be passed on to the next pair, and all this
accurately, at The Washington pub in Hampstead, about a mile
would be tracked using the nifty tech of Strava Beacon, a safety
past it, as no feat on this grand scale should end anywhere that
feature allowing runners to follow each other’s progress in
doesn’t serve beer, wine and an expansive selection of crisps.)
real time. The London Peaks Relay would begin at midnight
The route was 150 miles in total. Now, there are individuals
on Friday, March 23, and our aim was to finish before the clock
who can cover such distances alone within 24 hours, but none of
struck midnight on Saturday the 24th. While oxygen would
them currently work for Runner’s World. And nor would a solo
not be required to scale the peaks – the highest summit is a
distinctly un-alpine 245m, the lowest a flood-vulnerable 16m –
effort generate the camaraderie we felt was an essential element
we would have to average 9:30min/miles to complete it within
of this endeavour. So we began contacting friends, and friends
24 hours. When you factor in that many of these miles would be
of friends, and the team began to assemble: a disparate group
038 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
P H OTO G R A P H S : JA M E S CA R N E G I E
hat links a toxic spoil heap in Newham, a nondescript road by
LONDON PEAKS RELAY
that it’s possible to climb the
Alps without leaving the M25
or venturing higher than 35m?
(That’s the Beckton Alps, in
case you’re wondering, the
highest point in the borough
of Newham).
Just ahead of the runners
trundled our state-of-the-art
support vehicle – a minibus
borrowed from a south London
At its outer limits, London doesn’t feel very much like London at
Methodist church – which was
all. Large parts of the night route were testament to this. We ran
stocked with the latest in
across muddy fields, forest tracks and empty roads: the stuff of
performance sports nutrition:
the countryside, not the city. But to run to London’s summits is to
cold Co-op pizzas and a multipack of crisps. Powered by such
be continually surprised. Who knew, for example, that someone
attention to marginal gains, we bagged Bromley, Croydon,
has constructed a tree fort at the highest point in Croydon? Or
Sutton, Kingston, Merton and Richmond before sunrise and
were five minutes ahead of schedule. However, with Horsenden
Hill next to come, followed by the highlands of Hillingdon and
Harrow, keeping on track would be a test of our runners’
endurance and navigational skills.
Not that this was a clock-watching exercise. On the contrary,
focusing your run on a geographical feature – in this case, a
summit – forces you to truly engage with the landscape in a way
you don’t when your only concerns are distance and time. Small
changes in elevation are registered; innocuous high points
become places of celebration.
To Barnet and Enfield next, following the northern fringes of
Monken Hadley Common, before the baton was handed over at
the summit of Pole Hill, the highest point in Waltham Forest
(91m). Now on the outskirts of Epping Forest – former hunting
ground of highwayman Dick Turpin – the route became even
more rural, causing one runner to almost lose a shoe in the
muddy foothills of Havering.
From the hills to the tunnels, as our runners crossed under
the Thames via the Greenwich foot tunnel, re-emerging south
of the river to summit Shooters Hill. At this point we were
scheduled for a 10:45pm finish, but with the packed pavements
of the inner London boroughs to come, there was a good chance
our pace would drop.
But it did not. In fact, by the time our runners had
reached the crest of Crystal Palace and then the high
ground of Haringey, we were 15 minutes ahead of
Alison Hamlett and
schedule. Excitement began to build at our race
John Carroll set off
HQ, The Washington pub, with many forced
from Horsenden
to calm their nerves by imbibing that ancient
Hill; James Poole
medicinal combination of a pint and a Jägerbomb.
and David Smyth
Tracking the dot on Strava Beacon, we knew
cross the M11
our runners had left Kensington & Chelsea and
were headed to the final peak, in the City of
Westminster. A sudden bout of altitude sickness
notwithstanding, they would surely get the baton home
on time, wouldn’t they?
Then we saw them, charging up the final hill to the pub door.
I glanced at the time on the iPhone: 22:35:36. We’d done it! Cue
huge celebrations, a few more pints and the unbeatable feeling
that we had, in our own small way, made history.
So, what has the London Peaks Relay proved? Certainly it
proved that a lot can be accomplished in 24 hours, if you have a
wonderful group of people and industrial amounts of caffeine.
But, more than that, we hope it shows that adventure is really
just a state of mind. If you can reimagine London as a mountain
range, you can do something similar in any UK city. It needn’t be
based around peaks, either: you could just as easily theme an
event around following rivers, forgotten pathways or favourite
pubs. Or you could, of course, try to beat our time…
run in the dark, and that all them would be unmarked and
involve numerous road crossings, it was no easy undertaking.
But this wasn’t about setting a FKT (fastest known time) or
indeed an OKT (only known time). This was about adventure –
in its purest, silliest form – and about the shift in mindset that
can unlock the hidden potential in all our towns and cities. The
molehills were calling…
If you’re inspired to create
your own running adventure,
please get in touch to tell us
about it at rick.pearson@
rw.co.uk. And send us
some pictures, as we’d
love to share your story
and spread the word on
runnersworld.co.uk
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 039
Friends in
Camaraderie, friendship, adventure, unhealthy snacks:
14
BARNET
Leg 11 Hillingdon
to Harrow (4.1
miles) 08:10
Leg 9 Ealing to
Brent (1.7 miles)
7:00am
●
Runners: John
Carroll and
Alison Hamlett
‘Our irst leg
began at around
7am, on top of
Horsenden Hill,
west London,’
says John. ‘This
meant getting
up at 5am, but
given that other
runners were
only going to
bed at that time,
I’m reluctant to
complain. Which
is a shame.
Much later on,
our second leg,
in southeast
London, included
some thrilling
descents but we
always knew a
long, exhausting
climb would
follow. High
points: the whole
day and telling
a man that his
house was the
highest point
in Bexley. Low
point: being
asked by the
photographer
if we’d take a
detour at the end
our long second
leg and run up a
series of steps in
Crystal Palace.
Then another.’
Runners: Anna
McNuf and
Jonty McNuf
‘The London
Peaks Relay had
everything a
great adventure
should have:
uncharted
territory,
snack stops, a
willingness to
embrace the
unknown and,
above all, a irm
commitment not
to take things too
seriously,’ says
Anna. ‘I loved
the chance to
scamper through
London streets
and past green
ields in suburbia
that I’d never
seen before (and
perhaps won’t
ever see again).’
13
Runners: Georgina Pearson
and Tariq Knight ‘We
discovered a side of London
previously unknown to us,’
says Georgina. ‘We weren’t
particularly fast, but we
felt like heroes reaching
our destination.’
11
EDGWARE
5.5 miles
10
27
HARROW
26
25
28
9
BRENT PARK
WEMBLEY
FIN
29
ISH
30
0.1 miles
8
6.2 miles
RICHMOND
HOUNSLOW
7
6
Leg 7: Richmond
to Hounslow
(6.2 miles) 05:10
Runners: Tobias Mews
and Vassos Alexander
‘Most people will have
reasons why you shouldn’t
get up at 4:30am,’ says
Tobias, ‘especially while
it’s still drizzling and dark,
to meet two other runners
at the highest point in
Richmond, before darting of in the opposite direction
towards a random street a little south of Heathrow, some
10km away. But it’s enormous fun; it’s diferent from
anything we’d done before; it felt like a team efort; and,
most of all, it makes me want to do it all over again.’
040 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
Leg 13: Barnet to Enfield
(4 miles) 09:40
5.2 miles
12
WATFORD
23
TWICKENHAM
5
MITCHAM
Leg 4: Kingston to Merton
(9.8 miles) 03:00
Runners: Susie Chan and
Cat Simpson ‘The lowlight
was having to get up at
1:30am,’ says Susie, ‘but I
got over that pretty quickly.
There is something serene
about running at night
through empty streets. I
enjoyed ticking of the miles
and putting the world to
rights with my friend, Cat.’
SUTTON
3
4
8.5 miles
22
LONDON PEAKS RELAY
high places
RW’s inaugural London Peaks Challenge had it all. And more…
Leg 15: Waltham
Forest to
Redbridge (7.5
miles) 11:45
●
15
2.8 miles
16
17
Leg 24: Tower Hamlets
to Hackney (4.2 miles) 20:10
Runners: Kate Carter and
Adharanand Finn ‘My highlight
was the man who yelled “F***ing
weirdos” as we ran through (hipster
central) Shoreditch,’ says Kate. ‘As
Adharanand said, if we had gone
through there while ire-juggling on
unicycles, no-one would have batted
an eyelid. But running! That’s insane!’
HOLLOWAY
18
7.8 miles
19
Runners: David
Smyth and
James Poole
‘Unlike some of
the runners on the outskirts, James
and I had a couple of sights on the
route,’ says David. ‘Soon after we
started we went past Queen
Elizabeth’s hunting lodge from 1543.
Then we found what appeared to be a
carving of a dementor from Harry
Potter in the woods in Hainault. Ours
was a greener route than many: we
got muddy in Hainault Forest Country
Park. But we also crossed the M11.’
Leg 18: Barking to Newham
(7.8 miles) 14:00
ILFORD
24
Runners: Damian Hall and Dan Hallam
‘Our second leg, from Barking to Newham, was
a revelation,’ says Damian. ‘The inish point
was a genuine steep hill, the excellently named
Beckton Alps. This former dry ski slope towered
above all of London. It was exciting – and not
exactly easy – to run up and reach the top, and
see London spread out in all directions below us.’
9.3 miles
Leg 17:
Havering to
Barking (3.5
miles) 13:20
●
20
WELLING
DULWICH VILLAGE
9.0 miles
21
Leg 1: Bromley to Croydon
(8.4 miles) 00:00
CROYDON
2
Runners: Rick Pearson and Stephen
Pinkster ‘We set of at midnight,’ says
Rick. ‘Our route was a celebration of
remote London: empty ields, muddy
tracks, panoramic views, nocturnal
wildlife. Baton passed over, it was
back in the support van to follow
the runners through the night.’
AR
ST
1
T
Leg 30: Kensington & Chelsea to City of Westminster
(3.5 miles) 22:05
●
Runners: Brian Otten and John Pickup ‘I was honoured to
be part of the team that took the baton home,’ says Brian.
‘There was a really nice gradual incline to inish things of,
and the streets were a lot less crowded than I thought they
might be, which allowed us to run fast and freely. There is
adventure to be had everywhere, folks!’
Runners: Carla
Molinaro
and Helen
Coachman
‘Helen and I met
at a beautiful
village green
105m above sea
level,’ says Carla.
‘We had great
views of London,
Essex and Kent.
Barking is a place
that seems to be
obsessed with
whales: we ran
past whales
carved out
of wood,
roundabouts
named after
Moby-Dick and
we ended up
on Whalebone
Road.’
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 041
042 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
THE LONG WAY
UR E
THE
ADV E NT
ISS UE
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 043
2
1
They just follow me limply about,
attached to my waist but utterly
incapable of independent action.
I haul myself where I need to go.
That first night, I flop onto the
mattress, with my legs hanging
over the side. And that’s how I stay,
sleeping in the shape of a twisted
right angle. The prospect of having
to sit up and force my legs into a
position where they’re not making my
lower back ache is worse than the
pain I already feel. I’m thankful that
I’m too dehydrated to need the loo.
The following day, I muster all my
remaining energy and crawl to the
044 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
3
bathroom, slither over the edge of the
bath and lower myself into the water
head first. It takes an hour to get
washed and dressed, and I’m proud
I manage it so quickly.
I need wheelchairs to get me
through the airports. At Heathrow
my children are somewhat taken
aback to see me so incapacitated.
I suspect my wife is, too, but she’s
better at hiding it. I’ve never been
happier to see them.
We head straight to hospital, where
I'm given a walking frame. Over the
next few days, life slowly begins
seeping back into my legs.
Meanwhile, goodness knows what
I’m sweating out. I spend the first
week sleeping on the sofa (the stairs
being a challenge too far) and wake
up every morning with the cushions
soaking wet. We end up having to
buy a new sofa.
And it’s while I am researching
the sofa purchase online that it
happens: my browser search history
changes from ‘London sofa shops’
to ‘worldwide ultramarathons’.
When you run silly distances, the
question ‘why’ pops up a lot. Why
run for five hours when you could
stay in shape in 20 minutes? Why
push yourself to extremes? Why
isn’t a marathon enough?
Why choose a sport in which
blisters are a badge of honour and
suffering is mandatory? Why, when
there’s little prize money on offer?
Why, when even the very best
endurance runners are not well
known and most have to work
proper jobs just to get by? Why,
when training requires so many
hours alone on the trail?
Why aren’t you normal?
That’s the heart of the matter.
Are we really ‘mad’, like so many
people seem to suggest?
Many years ago, I was told the
following tale by my grandfather,
as I sat on his knee one sweltering
summer afternoon in the house
he built by the sea. For a long time
I believed it was ancient Greek
wisdom, passed down from
generation to generation. I liked
THE LONG WAY
4
S PA R TA P H OTO G R A P H Y C L U B
P H OTO G R A P H S : I A N C O R L E S S (O P E N E R ) , A L A M Y, S T UA R T M A R C H P H OTO G R A P H Y, VAS S O S A L E X A N D E R,
5
to think you could trace its origins
back through the mists of our family,
through Cretan mountains and
remote island fishing ports, way
back to the great Athenian empire,
to the dawn of philosophy and
civilisation. Back, in fact, to the
original ultrarunners. To those
legendary long-distance messengers
such as Pheidippides.
As it turns out, it’s actually a
Cherokee parable from Tennessee, US.
An old man is teaching his
grandson about life. ‘A fight is going
on inside me,’ he explains to the boy.
‘It is a terrible fight and it is between
two wolves. One is evil – he is anger,
envy, sorrow, regret, arrogance,
self-pity, resentment and ego. The
other is good – he is joy, peace, love,
hope, determination, humility,
fortitude, compassion and truth.
‘The same fight is going on inside
you – and it’s going on inside every
other person, too.’
The boy thinks about it for a
minute and then asks his grandfather,
‘Which wolf will win?’
6
The old Cherokee smiles and
replies simply, ‘The one you feed.’
And that’s the point of this, really.
All this endless running. All the
wonderful people who enter all these
stupidly long races knowing they’ll
frequently fail to finish. All the pain
they suffer, all the injuries, the
failures. All the lost toenails.
But also the successes. The feeling
of having pushed yourself to the edge
of your limitations – and deciding not
to quit. To push on regardless. To
keep on running. The satisfaction of
helping a fellow runner in trouble;
the comfort of being helped. The
lifelong friendships formed. The
exhilaration of getting your body to
achieve the impossible. You break
yourself down, like stripping an
engine, yet emerge more whole.
Training for and achieving a
desired time can be enormously
rewarding. For ages, my holy grail
was a marathon time starting with a
‘2’. Pulling that off remains one of my
proudest moments. But the journey
as a whole, while satisfying and
7
Opening spread:
Vassos Alexander
on the Dragon’s
Back, Wales
1. The happy
ultrarunner
2. Vassos and
running pal Nick
3. Vassos
touches the
statue of Spartan
warrior king
Leonidas at the
end of the
Spartathlon
4. The start
of the 2017
Spartathlon
eventful, was never especially joyful.
Definitely not the training, and not
many of the races, either. Running
on the trail, on the other hand...
I don’t much like the word
‘ultrarunning’ because it sounds
exclusive, which is the opposite of
what it should be – and is. Endurance
running is inclusive and quietly
seems to make you a better version of
yourself. For me, and so many of the
runners I’ve spoken to over the years,
running long gives a powerful sense
of joy and serenity.
There’s the warm blanket of
community, too. The generosity and
positivity of runners and volunteers,
as well as supportive, long-suffering
friends and family behind the scenes.
Out on the trail, there’s the slow
accumulation of problems, and the
even slower process of solving them
one by one. You’re in the moment. It
can be like therapy, or an exorcism.
A journey of self-knowledge. You’re
feeling liberated from daily life but
you’re also taking control, escaping
into a more simple world.
I’m a father to three terrific
children. When each of them came
into the world, I experienced a deep
sense of contentment that stuck
around for weeks. It seemed like
everything was going to be OK
and that nothing could burst my
private bubble of joy.
When I finished my first 100-mile
race, I felt that same elation. For a
month, I told everyone who’d listen
how amazing it is to run 100 miles in
one go. How they should try it.
And so they should. I know it
sounds like a long way and, of course,
it is. If you’d told me five years ago
that I’d be running these silly
distances, I simply wouldn’t have
believed you. But it comes in stages.
First-ever run, then first 5K, 10K,
half-marathon, marathon...and
anything beyond is an ultra. Just
build it up slowly.
Reaching the finishing line is
exquisite. Life-affirming and
renewing. But the journey can be
so very tough, and the urge to stop
almost overwhelming. So why do
we put ourselves through it? Simple,
really. We’re feeding the good wolf.
5,6. Par for
the course
7. Vassos
with his very
understanding
family
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 045
S TA I R WAY
ON THE RAILS
Duncan Craig hits
the 10,000-step
mark – and hits it
hard. Not far to go…
046 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
GIANT STEPS
TO HELL
UR E
THE
ADV E NT
ISS UE
STEPPING UP TO THE
CHALLENGE OF 11,674 STEPS
RISING PRECIPITOUSLY
TO THE SUMMIT OF
A SWISS MOUNTAIN,
DUNCAN CRAIG TACKLES
EUROPE’S CRAZIEST RACE
AND INVESTIGATES THE
GROWING APPEAL OF
STAIR RUNNING
Basic race etiquette was one of the earliest
casualties. The organisers had been quite
clear – should we become aware of someone
trying to pass us on the single-file steps during
our interminable ascent, the would-be overtaker
should say ‘treppe’ (‘stairway’ in Swiss-German)
and we should step aside. But there’s something
about being in the red zone – deeper in the red
zone, in fact, that you’ve ever been – that relegates
basic manners to the most inconsequential of
matters. Survival instincts kick in and you become
a selfish bugger. Or at least I did – ignoring pleas
from behind, sticking to my line, forcing overtakers
to brave the steeply sloping, chute-like channel
that separates the steps from the funicular tracks.
There was no way I was surrendering even the
faintest sliver of momentum. When you have
thousands of steps still ahead of you, such things
take on an absurd importance.
The Niesen-Treppen-Lauf (Niesenbahn stair
race) had captivated me since I first read of it a
decade ago. The Niesenbahn funicular railway is
one of the Alps’ most accomplished engineering
feats. Extending up the Tobleronic slopes of Mount
Niesen, in Switzerland’s Bernese-Oberland, it cuts
a neat swathe through the forested foothills and
clings, stiff-fingeredly, to the barren upper slopes
like a freeclimber. But it was not so much this
engineering marvel that interested me, as what
ran alongside it, as a contingency for an emergency
evacuation of the railway: the world’s longest
staircase – a flight of 11,674 steps.
●
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 047
MY LEGS ARE STRONG AND MY
BREATHING IS REGULAR, AND
THE MORNING SUN HAS JUST
CREPT OVER THE MOUNTAIN
Just imagine trying to run up it, was my first thought. My second, to Google
just that. And, sure enough, since 1990 – but with a 13-year hiatus as it changed its
focus from a small group of niche professional endurance athletes to a larger field
of amateur loons – there’s been a race. Once a year, the railway comes to a standstill
until 10am to allow a field of 300 or so to subject themselves to untold suffering in
idyllic surroundings. The rewards? Prestige and a few spectacularly unglamorous
prizes (Odor-Eaters stood out here). The race is a vertical mile – you run from the
693m valley floor to the 2,362m summit – the incline approaches 70 per cent in
places and nearly all the competitors are local. It was an impossibly seductive mix.
Arriving at Mülenen, the village at the foot of the mountain from where the
funicular begins, at 6:20am on race day, I find an atmosphere similar to any midsize parochial race. Names are being taken; numbers pinned; timing chips adjusted;
gels stored; stretching routines flirted with. The race organisers keep up a crackly
monologue of instructions, struggling to be heard over the sound of the surging
meltwater river we’ll immediately cross when the race gets under way.
As with every stair race, a mass start is impossible. At the Niesenbahn, it’s
organised into pulses of two runners every 20 seconds, with the best stacked towards
the final slots. Most seem to be runners rather than step specialists, though there’s a
conspicuous glut of rippling quads on show. Advice varies. There is little consensus
on the number of steps to take in one go: some say one; others are adamant it should
be two; one even suggests three – the strategy employed by Colombian Francisco
Sanchez, who won the 1991 race in a record time of 52:22. In 2004, it was decided
to end the race at the Niesen summit, rather than the last step, adding 250m to the
distance. The record for the new course, set in 2011 by Emmanuel Vaudan, is 55:55.
Step tactics may differ but everyone is in agreement about one thing: don’t go
off too hard. I don’t need to be told. At my first step race, the inaugural Spinnaker
Tower run in Portsmouth six years ago, I went off like the clappers, completed the
final few floors on my hands and knees, and spent 20 minutes dry-retching in the
toilets at the finish. Chastened, I ran the Empire State Building (ESB) Run-Up six
months later listening to classical music, with my heart rate hardly deviating from
150bpm. That had been encouraging – but that race’s 1,576 steps were a little more
than a seventh of what I’m about to tackle.
Am I prepared? Difficult to say. My training has been improvised, at best, built on
three central pillars: strapping myself to the gym’s Versaclimber until my quads and
glutes groaned and the cleaners moaned at the puddle of sweat; tackling as many
hills as possible on my road bike; and hitting the stairwell at work. Hard.
all the time. There’s a growing scene in India,
China, Hong Kong.’
Gallagher did his first race, at the Gherkin in
London, in 2013. Instantly hooked, he then tackled
the Heron Tower and Tower 42, the Spinnaker, the
Empire State Building and a string of others. He’s
an ultramarathoner but he’s yet to find anything
that comes close to the physical and mental
torment of a stair race: ‘I really like the honesty of
the sport. There’s no fooling the stairs: you try to
take it easy but the stairs won’t let you. In other
races, there are times when you can cruise a bit,
but this isn’t possible in stair running.’
Many stair runners trumpet the crossover
b enef it s . Q u a d s , g lut e s a nd core a re a l l
strengthened, lactate thresholds increased and
utilising the handrail to help pull yourself up (a bona
fide technique that the pros spend years honing)
provides a full-body workout. Bad weather is no
barrier to training on your nearest stairwell and
its quick-hit-return equation is another plus in our
time-starved times; if you’re prepared to embrace
the pain, results are pretty much guaranteed.
‘I took about four minutes off my 5K after six weeks
of just stair running,’ says Gallagher.
Then there’s the lack of impact. As any runner
knows, the attrition rate of churning out dozens
of miles a week can be high and the consequent
injuries are spirit-sapping. But on the stairs, while
Ten of the world’s most gruelling
stair races. Tempted?
12,000
●
●
●
One World Trade Center
New York – 2,226 steps
●
8,000
Rose Bowl
Pasadena – 2,128 steps
ON THE UP
048 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
Shanghai Tower
Shanghai – 3,398 steps
●
If I’d been looking for evidence of stair-running’s growth in the years since I nearly
redecorated the Spinnaker Tower, it came in the response of those colleagues who
caught me in the act. Six years ago, I might as well have been openly urinating in my
chosen training stairwell, such were the looks of bewildered indignation. But this
time round, there was altogether more understanding; all seemed to have heard of
stair running, and a few had even tackled one of the UK’s growing number of races
such as London’s Tower 42 or the Christie Tower Run in Manchester.
There is empirical data, too. The Towerrunning World Association, the sport’s
international governing body (the mere existence of such tells its own story),
estimates that the number of races worldwide has more than doubled since 2010.
A record 266 events in more than 50 countries were staged in 2017, from Bogota to
Beijing, Pasadena to Penang, Ljubljana to Las Vegas. That’s close to 140,000 stair
runners of all levels competing each year, and a growing number of these events
are in the UK. ‘There are new races all the time,’ says Patrick Gallagher, founder
of the independent Tower Running UK organisation. ‘When I set this up, in 2013,
there were six races. Last year there were 14. Globally it’s popping up in new places
Niesen-Treppen-Lauf
Switzerland – 11,674 steps
International Conference
Centre
Hong Kong – 2,120 steps
●
Willis Tower
Chicago – 2,115 steps
●
4,000
Menara Tower
Kuala Lumpur – 2,058 steps
●
Taipei 101
Taiwan – 2,046 steps
●
●
0
China World Summit Wing
Hotel Beijing – 2,041 steps
Eureka Tower
Melbourne – 1,958 steps
GIANT STEPS
EARLY RISERS
(top to bottom): Almost a vertical mile from
the valley floor; the course featured a series
of covered sections; on top of the world
the cardiovascular system may be stretched to breaking point, your joints enjoy
something close to a free ride. ‘I was very injury-prone as a track athlete,’ says
Suzy Walsham, stair-running ‘galactico’ and multiple winner of the rival world
championships staged by the Towerrunning World Association (TWA) and the
Vertical World Circuit (VWC). ‘But stairs being non-impact means I don’t get injured
at all. In fact, I can still train and race even when I’m carrying injuries that prevent
me from running.’ At 44, Suzy is lean, bursting with vitality and seemingly getting
better with every race. She runs an estimated 200,000 steps a year and shows no
signs of slowing down. The former Commonwealth Games 800m and 1500m runner
is convinced that such longevity would not be possible in more conventional racing.
N E V E R - E N D I N G S T O R E YS
Back at the Niesenbahn, those Odor-Eaters won’t win themselves. My number
– siebenundsiebzig (77) – is called and I and my randomly assigned race buddy
(CamelBak, neat Germanic glasses, hair as white as his knee-high socks) are ushered
through the door of the base station and towards an electronic counter. This works
down from 20 seconds, during which we share a handshake, and then the starter’s
arm goes down and we’re trundling over the river on the elevated steel walkway.
‘Don’t go off too hard.’ The mantra repeats in my mind as I slip into a cautious
early pace, aided by the walkway ramping up alarmingly, like a reverse ski jump.
White socks is even slower. ‘Treppe,’ I announce proudly and he steps aside with a
cheery nod. Early days. We’re all friends.
I feel good. My legs are strong and my breathing is regular, and the morning sun
has just crept over the mountain, flooding the valley with sunlight and taking the
edge off the crisp air. I allow myself the occasional glance left and right to admire
the valley opening up below. Cattle bells tinkle in the distance. I’m enjoying this.
And then, all too soon, everything starts to fall apart. There’s just no let-up. In
a conventional run, as Gallagher points out, you can vary the intensity, commit,
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 049
Stair-running know-how from Suzy Walsham, eight-time winner of the ESB Run-Up
If you’re going to race on stairs,
train on stairs. Start small and
build from there. If you attempt
40 storeys straight of, you’ll
fail and it will knock your
conidence. Far better to do
10 loors, then have a rest.
Walking two stairs at a time is
faster than running one at a
time, so aim for this. Running
up the steps two at a time,
as I do, is quite tough for the
beginner but it is possible
with some practice.
In races with a handrail, use
it to pull yourself up. It’s
allowed and it helps take
some of the load of your
legs. Techniques vary; some
runners use a double handhold
to haul themselves up.
then coast, then commit a bit more. This is relentless. A dull ache takes hold of my
quads and calves, which, over the next hour or so, will morph into a jagged, burning
sensation, and a stream of sweat falls from the peak of my cap.
The variable surface is another challenge I’ve not anticipated. Single flight this
may be, but it’s divided into multiple short segments: neat trellised steel steps;
narrow, bricked ones; improvised stone steps so high you need both hands, and a
little momentum, to even scale. Some sections have handrails, others have nothing.
One unstable stretch has an accompanying rope, which I flail at.
I dig in and clamber on, ignoring my first ‘treppe’ request from behind for a good
10 seconds before relenting. The gradient is shocking in places; a stone I dislodge
slips into the track-side channel and bounces off down the mountainside to land in
the river possibly as much as a minute later. Running down this staircase would be
not just impossible, but quite possibly lethal.
The first and only refreshment station comes just over halfway, at around 6,000
steps in, at the Schwandegg or middle station. I enter a cool, dimly lit tunnel and
then, abruptly, the staircase stops and a walkway takes me 20 metres across to a
parallel track. This is the point where passengers on the Niesenbahn must change
from one distinctive red carriage to another. This enables the railway to operate on
two wires rather than a single, impractically heavy one.
I gulp down multiple plastic cups of water and orange squash, suddenly chilly
in my saturated top and shorts, and dine liberally at the refuelling buffet. It’s fairly
standard stuff, save for the enormous hunks of chocolate that I almost instantly
regret gorging on. ‘Ah, you’re English!’ one of the volunteers says, when I offer my
thanks. ‘Keep going. You’re almost there.’
Well, not really. Not at all, in fact. Another 5,000 steps (give or take), is going to
sting a bit, I’m fairly certain of it. Exiting the tunnel, I get on the heels of a woman
who has a neat, efficient technique and slipstream her for a welcome 10 minutes or
so. If my pained wheezing bothers her, she has the grace not to let it show. I steal
a look back: behind, stretching away to little more than dots far below, figures are
bowed against the gradient, emerging from tunnels and scrambling up the track like
rodents. It’s a surreal sight: part race, part train-crash evacuation. It’s around three-quarters of the way through that I spot Bruno. A tall,
effervescent fellow and a training partner of the late Ueli Steck (a legendary
mountaineer a nd speed climber), he’s performing the role of of f icial
photographer this year. But he would, clearly, rather be out here taking part,
as he has done every year since the race began. A paragliding accident has
forced him to pull out; the hand he damaged is bandaged up, his telephoto lens
propped in his cocked wrist. I’m fading fast, and craving some encouragement.
I don’t get it from Bruno. ‘Here he is – the Brit!’ he shouts. ‘What took you so long?’
I CAN BARELY STAND, MY VISION
IS OBSCURED BY SWEAT AND I’M
SEEING STARS. WHEN THESE CLEAR,
I SPOT A TENT SERVING BEERS
050 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
Start far slower than you think
you need to. If you go too fast
you’ll blow up, which, I can tell
you, is horriic. I try to maintain
a constant pace and rhythm all
the way up, but some people
get overexcited.
I hang on and count the last several hundred
steps to the final tunnel. It’s long and dark but at
the end I know I’ll find what my legs and lungs
yearn for: relief from the tyranny of the treppe.
We’re spat back out into the sunshine onto a
paved path, which meanders, step-free, up to the
summit finish. I experience the most incredible
and unexpected second wind, tearing past five, 10,
20 competitors plodding, zombie-like, towards the
finish line as if in a protracted fall. I respond to the
whoops from the surprisingly large crowd gathered
by the terrace of the restaurant-hotel, hare it up the
final stretch and collapse over the finish line.
I can barely stand, my vision is obscured by
sweat and I’m seeing stars. When these clear, I
spot a finisher’s tent serving beers. You’ve got to
be kidding, I think. Then I take one.
RU N N E RS H I G H
Three-quarters of an hour, two beers and one
unisex changing room later and I’m sitting on
the dazzlingly bright terrace of Restaurant Hotel
Niesen-Kulm, taking it all in. It’s an extraordinary
spot. I never imagined that the ESB Run-Up would
be bettered for stop-and-gawp finish-line impact,
but the summit of the Swiss Pyramid, as the
Niesen is fondly known, is out on its own. I have
a pilot’s-eye view of the cloud-dappled valley floor
far below, yet sit above the cloud line. There’s the
visceral thrill of knowing that I’ve got all the way
up here under my own steam; and it’s not often you
get to run a (linear) race for 90-odd minutes yet
can still make out the start line when you’re done.
The race is won by 25-year-old Jonathan
Schmid, in what must surely have been an
infuriating one hour and 20 seconds. A quick chat
with the tall Swiss confirms as much. ‘I really
wanted to break the hour mark,’ he says, mustering
an unconvincing smile. Second is Friedrich Dahler,
a man with some serious vertical pedigree – he
holds the world record for the most metres climbed
in 24 hours (20,407m). It’s pretty much a rule, I’ve
found, that whenever you do something extreme,
there’s always someone who’s way out in front of
you on the scale.
Prizes are handed out in a low-key ceremony on
the terrace (fourth, Silas Walther, gets the OdorEaters) and everyone settles down to eat, drink and
recover. I sit with Bruno and race organiser Urs
Wohler, a jovial bear of a man. Bruno, who loves
this mountain so much he wrote a book about it
– Der Niesen und seine Bahn (there’s a chapter on
GIANT STEPS
the race) – regales us with stories of Francisco Sanchez’s record-breaking ascent in
1991. ‘He had incredible power,’ he enthuses. ‘He was like an antelope – it was the
Niesenbahn’s “were you there?” moment.’
I quiz Urs about expansion of the race, whose limited places are known to sell out
quickly. There’s clearly scope to internationalise it: the highest-placed non-Swiss
runner is 38th, and I’m one of just three Brits among 227 finishers. Rather than just
a few hours a year, why not take the railway over for a day? Make a party of it? Have
music at the top? A festival atmosphere? Clearly, I’ve had too much beer.
Urs indulges me but isn’t entirely convinced. A bigger field would have its benefits,
sure, but at what price to this race’s considerable charm?
I speak to Patrick Gallagher on my return to the UK. He’s a huge fan of
the Niesenbahn stair race, but sees the event as something of an anomaly on the
circuit (‘uniquely different’, he calls it), though an important component in raising
the profile of the sport – and in helping it to earn the respect he believes it deserves.
‘It does annoy me the way that stair running is treated in some quarters,’ he
says. ‘I’ve seen races screened on TV with commentators treating it as an absolute
running joke. But that doesn’t make any sense: the men and women at the top level of
the sport are 30-minute 10K runners. And I can tell you this: it’s certainly not a joke
for anyone who has trained for one, or who has actually stepped up and done one.’
As I finish my beer, collect my sodden kit and join the queue for the Niesenbahn’s
long, slow, treacherously steep descent, I can certainly vouch for that.
P H OTO G R A P H S : B R U N O P E T R O N I / N I E S E N BA H N
HIGH TIME
(top to bottom): Duncan at the inish; from
this height, paragliding is not a problem;
the inal few agonising paces to the summit,
the inish line and an ill-advised beer
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 051
TRUE
GRIP
Adidas Terrex TrailMaker
£90, adidas.co.uk
THE NEED -TO -KNOW
Built for long days of the
road, the TrailMaker is a solid
choice for runners who want
to take on a variety of surfaces
without losing conidence in
their traction.
The 4-5mm lugs grip well
on a wide range of technical
challenges, from rocks to
gravel; the tread pattern and
durable Continental rubber
outsole help you stick your
landing, even when the rain
turns the conditions slick
underfoot; and the reinforced,
seamless upper holds your
foot in place.
052 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE
XXXXXXXX
2018 2017
Wear-testers gave the
lexibility low marks, but
they liked the one-pull lacing
system and commended the
overall running experience.
‘I WAS VERY PLEASANTLY
SURPRISED BY HOW THIS
SHOE FITTED AND PERFORMED
– IT RODE WELL ON TOUGH
TERRAIN, HAD GREAT TRACTION
AND ALWAYS FELT STURDY.’
– LYNNE SCHEETZ
Hoka One One ATR 4
£110, runnersneed.com
THE NEED -TO -KNOW
Think of the ATR 4 as an
all-terrain version of the Hoka
Clifton. It features deep lugs to
deliver a super-solid grip and
– as you would expect from
maximum-cushioning
cheerleaders Hoka – a thick
layer of light foam underfoot
(this was the thickest of the
shoes we tested in the lab).
Our testers noticed this,
too, saying the supple ride felt
like the perfect combination
of plush cushioning and surefootedness, and gave the ATR
top scores in both the comfort
and cushioning departments.
The upper has been changed:
there are fewer overlays
and it has been reinforced
with internal bands over the
midfoot to lock the foot down.
‘THIS SHOE PROVIDES THE
TRACTION AND STABILITY THAT
ARE ESSENTIAL FOR OFFROAD
RUNNING, WHILE STILL MAKING
MY FEET, SHINS AND JOINTS
FEEL CUSHIONED AND LOVED.’
– KIEREN BECKER
WORDS: MOLLY RITTERBECK, WARREN GREENE, MARTYN SHORTEN. PHOTOGRAPHS: MATT RAINEY
Four great trail
shoes to take you
of the beaten
track and help
you tackle any
ofroad adventure
TRAIL SHOES
ADV E NT
THE
UR E
ISS UE
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro V3
THE NEED -TO -KNOW
The Hierro is a versatile shoe
that can easily transition to the
pavement when necessary,
thanks to its soft cushioning.
That makes it ideal for those
whose adventures take in a bit
of road along with the trail.
A stretchy ilm wraps the
upper to provide structure
and protection while allowing
the foot to lex freely. Testers
loved the knit around the
ankle, which keeps out debris.
This sole is softer than that
of the V2, but the shoe is a
bit less lexible and heavier
overall. Though our testers
£110, newbalance.co.uk
noticed this, they still gave
the shoe a high overall mark
because of its excellent allround feel and performance.
‘THIS SHOE HANDLED BUMPS
ON THE TRAIL SO WELL, I
FOUND MYSELF SHUTTING
OFF AND FOCUSING MORE ON
MY SURROUNDINGS THAN MY
FOOTING. FROM MILE ONE TO
15, THE OVERALL RIDE WAS A
JOY.’ – JONATHAN DURAND
Brooks Caldera 2
£110, brooksrunning.com
THE NEED -TO -KNOW
This shoe is all about
maximum comfort. Our
testers raved about the
cushioning, noting the supple
feel on both road and trail,
and our lab tests conirmed
it was the softest of the
shoes we tested.
The new upper is made
from breathable mesh that
is designed to improve
drainage when things get
soggy. There is also an added
layer of ilm over key areas of
the foot to provide extra
support, and a lace pocket
on the tongue.
While this version tested
stifer than the original
Caldera – in the lab and on
foot – it performed superbly.
‘THIS IS EASILY ONE OF
THE MOST COMFORTABLE
SHOES I HAVE WORN IN 28
YEARS OF RUNNING. I PUT IN
A LOT OF MILES ON TOUGH,
HILLY TRAILS AND THE CALDERA
PERFORMED FLAWLESSLY.’
– JIM DEMSKO
XXXXXXXX
JUNE 2018
2017 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 053
ADV E NT
THE
UR E
Ag
A
gainst
the grains
ISS UE
WHEN THE SAND, SUFFERING AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY OF THE
MARATHON DES SABLES WAS EXPORTED FROM MOROCCO TO
THE HARSH BUT BEAUTIFUL ICA DESERT ON PERU’S PACIFIC
COAST, THE RUNNING ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME WAS BORN
054 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
MDS PERU
SAND AMBITIONS:
Among the many
spectacular sights
to be marvelled at
during the Marathon
des Sables Peru were
the rolling dunes that
stretched for miles
in every direction
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 055
It all
started back
in 1984, when
Frenchman
Patrick Bauer
completed a solo journey through
the Sahara on foot, carrying
everything he needed. Two years
later the first edition of the race his
adventure inspired him to create –
the Marathon des Sables – featured
a handful of runners, but in the
32 years since then it has become a
flagship global event, with its 1,000+
places vastly over-subscribed.
The MdS Morocco helped to pave
the way for multiday races around
056 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
the world and in November last year
the organisation spread its own
wings at the inaugural Marathon des
Sables Peru. This was the MdS, but
on a new continent and in a new
wild and spectacular landscape, the
Ica desert, sandwiched between the
rollers of the Pacific Ocean and the
towering peaks of the Andes.
Staying true to the values that
have made the Moroccan journey so
loved, MdS Peru aimed to help
1
5
4
MDS PERU
WO R D S A N D P H OTO G R A P H S : I A N CO R L E S S
1 PASSING THROUGH
Julien Chorier runs
through a tiny rustic
village on Day 1.
2 ROCKY ROAD
Runners found
themselves amid epic
landscapes, tackling
torturous terrain.
3 THAT SINKING
FEELING As runners
approach a coastal
inish, the sun melts
into the Paciic.
4 IN THE ZONE Some
early morning focus to
prep for a long, hard
day ahead. They
say ultrarunning is
more about the mind
than the legs.
5 HAIR APPARENT
It may be 250km
through hostile terrain
in searing heat, but
that doesn’t mean
you can neglect your
grooming routine…
2
3
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 057
1 GROUP DYNAMIC
Early in the day,
runners are bunched
together, but the miles
will separate them
2 LOCAL HEROES
Support for the race
and a desire to meet
runners added to
the experience.
3 TRACK AND
SHIELD Spot trackers
are provided to
all runners so the
organisers can track
their location; help
can be summoned at
the touch of a button.
4 FASTER CHEF
Runners must carry all
their own provisions
and prepare their
meals in camp
5 DOWNTIME Race
winner Rachid El
Morabity, from
Morocco, tackles
a dune descent.
5
058 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
MDS PERU
In stages
DAY 1: 37.2 km
From Cahuachi, at
just over 350m, to
Coyungo, at just
above sea level.
2
DAY 2: 40.2km
From Coyungo to
Samaca, with a more
challenging gradient
proile than Day 1; a
long climb early on,
a rollercoaster of
small inclines and
descents, plus the
canyon of Rio Ica.
1
4
DAY 3: 32.7km
To Ocucaje on a
mixed day of lunar
landscapes, stony
terrain and dunes,
with 550m of ascent
in the irst 13km.
DAY 4: 68.3km
A long day. The irst
40km undulates,
then it’s down to sea
level before rising
again. It’s tough, but
Paciic views help.
DAY 5: 42.2km
Running along
the coastline on
possibly the most
spectacular of all
the stages, taking in
beaches, clifs,
archaeological
zones and a most
welcome breeze en
route to Mendieta.
DAY 6 :19.6km
The big push to
the inish in La
Catedral is another
coastal day, but
with less elevation.
3
people fulfil dreams, develop their
potential and open a doorway to a
new world over six days and almost
250km of running. The race followed
the protocols of MdS Morocco,
covering the same total distance,
split into six one-day stages and
demanding full self-sufficiency from
runners, with only shelter and
rationed water provided.
Nonetheless, the Ica provided a
very different experience to the
Sahara. The early days were raw,
particularly Day 1, which covered
37.2km from Cahuachi to Coyungu
– it was a day of local villages,
farms, riverbeds and, surprisingly,
lush vegetation. Day 2 brought
rolling dunes, expansive landscapes
and widescreen vistas of sandy
plateaus hemmed in by jagged
mountains. And by Day 4 the race
had really stepped out of its sibling’s
shadow, as the Pacific Ocean came
into view, bringing a new outlook to
racing in the desert. The following
day took runners on a rollercoaster
ride that weaved along the rocky
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 059
1 SHORE THING
Added to the classic
elements of the
original MdS –
sand, heat and selfsuiciency – is the
highlight of hugging
the Paciic coastline
for large stretches.
2 WATER WORKS
With rationed water
part of the challenge,
runners grab any
opportunity to drink.
3 CAMP SIGHT
Sharing the day’s
events with fellow
runners in the glow
of headtorches
is a special part
of the event.
4 SCREEN TIME
Spending up to
eight hours under
a relentless sun
means the skin needs
serious protection.
4
060 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
3
MDS PERU
1
The view
from the
trail
‘The most beautiful
thing is the bivouac:
listening to diferent
languages; spending
moments with
people who share
your passion, sufer
like you and understand you. This
communion with
other people
rejoiced me.’
ROCIO CARRIÓN (Peru)
‘I liked the idea of
being a pioneer, of
entering history.’
NAHO FUKUNAGA (Japan)
‘It’s more of an
adventure and an
inner exploration
than a race.’
GEDIMINAS GRINIUS
(Lithuania)
‘You return home
with great stories of
friendship, but what
I learned about
myself, this force
deep inside, is the
most amazing thing!’
BEATRIZ CAMIADE
(Mexico)
2
coastline, with the mighty breakers
of the Pacific a constant presence all
the way to the finish in Barlovento.
Runners came from more than 30
countries. The largest contingent
came from France, followed by the
UK and then Japan. At the front
of the field, elite sand specialists
led the way, with five-time MdS
Morocco champion Rachid El
Morabity dominating the men’s race
from start to finish and multiple IAU
world champ Nathalie Mauclair
winning all six stages of the women’s
race. The home nation was well
represented, too, with Peruvians
Aydee Soto Quispe and Renee
Romero placing fourth and fifth
in the women’s field.
Runners of all levels shared the
same experience of self-reliance and
full immersion in nature. Deprived of
any creature comforts, they ran the
full distance carrying everything
they needed to survive – food,
clothes, sleeping bag, sleeping mat
and any luxuries they deemed worth
the weight. The only thing provided
by the race was rationed water and
a tent to sleep in. The course was
spectacular, with huge, empty,
landscapes, but battling the
harshness of the elements and an
arduous mix of soft sand and steep
gradients pushed many runners to
their limits. All of which made this
new adventure feel very much part
of the MdS ethos, a fitting addition
to the legacy of the pioneering
Patrick Bauer and an instant
addition to the bucket lists of
running adventurers everywhere.
The next Marathon des Sables Peru is
scheduled to take place in November
2018 (date tbc). For more information
and news, and to register to take part,
visit marathondessables.com
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 061
Running rewired .......................p66
Building up to a long run ............p71
Why sugar is not so sweet...........p72
Delicious salmon ishcakes.........p75
Strengthen those other limbs .....p76
P H OTO G R A P H S : C H R I S TA A N F E L B E R ( M A I N ), L U C K Y I F S H A R P (C O F F E E )
REACH your PERSONAL BEST
A CALL TO ARMS
When it comes to training, most
runners ignore their upper body.
But if you do some work on your
arms, your technique will improve,
especially on long, tiring runs. The
heavy lifting is worth the weight.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 065
REWIRE YOUR
RUNNING
The typical runner is quad-heavy and glutelight, says physio and coach Jay Dicharry. He
explains how you can rebalance those muscles
to become stronger, faster and more stable
066 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
TRAINING
THE THRILL OF RUNNING CAN
distract us from the
reality of what is
happening to you with
every stride. Your heart beats
harder, pumping blood throughout
your body. Sweat drips down your
forehead as your body temperature
rises. You feel the wind on your face
as you turn up the trail or down the
road. These are the images running
conjures up in our heads and they
are real, but while your heart and
lungs are driving your engine, your
chassis is under a lot of stress. Like
it or not, your body must deal with
two-and-a-half to three times its
weight with every stride.
Think about this. If you stand on
both legs, you have half your weight
on each leg. If you stand on one leg,
that’s 100 per cent of your weight
on one leg. Now take a barbell, add
about 150 per cent of your weight
to it and hoist the load onto your
shoulders; then stand on one leg.
Like it or not, this is how much
stress your bones, tendons, muscles,
cartilage and ligaments support
with every stride you take. As
runners, we’ve been told distance
running is a small amount of stress
applied to your body for a long
time. If anything, we could say that
running is large stresses acting on
our body for a long time.
Further complicating matters is
the fact that running isn’t just a
single-plane sport. In addition to
these vertical forces, we have to
deal with braking and acceleration
forces that amount to 40-50 per
cent of our body’s weight. And
that’s while our body is kicked
laterally by forces of around 15 per
cent of our weight just from the
effort of running. Running creates
huge amounts of stress that acts on
the body from all sides.
This load acting on your body is
absolute and rather mechanical. But
your body’s response isn’t just
mechanical. Imagine a rubber ball.
If you throw a rubber ball off the
roof, it will first accelerate to the
ground. When it collides with the
ground, the energy of the impact
will flatten the ball out a bit and
then the ball will rebound off the
ground and spring back up again.
The ball is passive – it compresses
and rebounds based on the density
of the rubber from which it is made.
This is a simple illustration of how a
passive object responds to load.
Now imagine you are soaring
through the air in mid-stride and the
same gravity that accelerated the
rubber ball takes you back to earth.
That’s where the similarity ends,
because the body isn’t passive. It’s
WHEN YOU RUN, ESPECIALLY
AS YOUR SPEED INCREASES,
MORE OOMPH NEEDS TO
COME FROM THE MUSCLES
THAT EXTEND THE HIPS
a complex system of parts, with a
neuromuscular system that actively
moves, adjusts and coordinates
these parts in response to the
mechanical forces of running.
Don’t neglect the glute
When you run, especially as your
speed increases, more and more
oomph needs to come from the
muscles that extend the hips. But
it’s likely that years of overstriding
have wired your muscle memory to
favour the quads and neglect the
glutes. Put simply, the typical runner
is quad-heavy and glute-light.
Most runners overstride. The lab
data I’ve collected over a decade
reveals that most runners don’t
know how to fully use the muscles
in their backside. It would be much
easier if muscle control was
balanced around the body, but the
reality is most people are out of
balance, a problem that is not
exclusive to running. Dr Vladimir
Janda, a pioneer in muscular
therapy, coined the term ‘lower
crossed syndrome’ to describe the
imbalance that occurs when the hip
flexors, quads and lower back
muscles are tight and overused, and
the deep-core and gluteus maximus
are asleep at the wheel.
The best way to inhibit the
muscles around your hips is to
screw up your posture. And then
there’s the issue of tight hips. If
those muscles are tight, your hip
won’t have full extension to both
sides of your pelvis. This imbalance
isn’t a running problem; it’s a body
problem. But if it’s not corrected,
you’ll never be able to correct your
stride. About 80 per cent of runners
will need to do a lot of hip flexor
stretches to improve this.
Your quads are big muscles,
capable of producing a huge
amount of force. No matter what
your running form, you need your
quads to work hard. But muscles
don’t act alone, and we certainly
don’t want the quads to carry the
torch when running. Changing your
dominant muscles for moving and
running is critical to improving joint
health and performance.
1 / HIP-MOBILITY TEST
Kneel inside a doorway, with
your mid-back touching the
doorframe. The thigh of your
kneeling leg should be vertical
and the shin of your opposite leg
should also be vertical. In this
position, you’ll have a small gap
between your lower back and
the doorframe.
Now, tuck your tailbone under
so that the hollow between your
lower back and the doorframe
disappears. To make this happen,
imagine your pelvis as a bowl of
cereal that you are trying to spill
behind you. This movement is
commonly referred to as pelvic
tilt. Once you are in this position,
what do you feel?
If you feel a huge pull in front of
the thigh, incorporate the kneeling
hip flexor stretch (below) into your
weekly maintenance work.
If you feel nothing or just a
gentle lengthening, there is no
need to do any static stretches
of the hip flexors. The Running
Rewired workouts build in plenty
of dynamic mobility movement
to ensure you use the hip motion
you do have.
2 / KNEELING HIP
FLEXOR STRETCH
Kneel on a pad or pillow, making
sure to keep the thigh of the leg
you are kneeling on vertical.
Tuck your pelvis under (see the
posterior pelvic-tilt instruction in
the hip-mobility test above). Hold
this position for three minutes.
To increase the stretch, position
the foot of your kneeling leg out to
the side a few inches (this will
rotate your thigh inward) before
moving into a posterior pelvic tilt.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 067
The problem with
quad dependency
Being overly reliant on your quads
creates three big problems. First, it
can wreck your knees. Nearly every
study on running injuries ranks
patellafemoral pain in the top three
injuries affecting runners. Your
patella (kneecap) is basically a pulley
for your quad. When you overstride,
the torque – mechanical load – on
the knee is greater. The quad has to
work harder, creating more shear
across the surface of the patella,
which isn’t the best thing for the
long-term health of the cartilage
underneath it. Changing your
muscle dominance will reduce
stress on the knee.
Second, there are performance
implications for our bias toward the
quads. Your quad has a greater
percentage of fast-twitch fibres.
So, for a given running pace, your
quads will be working closer to
peak capacity and enter into a
fatigued state – or acidic state –
sooner. When the muscle gets too
acidic, the pH level drops and the
muscle can’t contract and relax as
well, so you end up hitting the wall.
Since the glute has more slowtwitch fibres, it produces smaller
amounts of acidic waste products
and can last longer before building
up a lot of waste. This means you
can maintain a harder pace for a
little longer without falling apart.
Finally, your quads simply can't
match the total body control your
glutes are capable of setting in
motion. Your gluteus maximus has
three primary functions, all of which
benefit your running:
1. It is an incredibly powerful,
fatigue-resistant muscle that
drives your hip from the front of
your body to the back. Your quads
do the opposite.
2. It is also your primary hip
external rotator; in other words,
it prevents your knees from
crashing in when you run.
3. Finally, your gluteus maximus
plays a huge role in postural
control; if your glute isn't firing
properly, your torso will pitch
forward and cause you to
overstride. Overstriding means
very high loading rates with each
step, putting the body under more
stress with every stride.
This stuff matters. See right for
three glute-activating moves from
the 83 exercises in Running Rewired.
068 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
IF YOUR GLUTE ISN’T
FIRING PROPERLY, YOUR
TORSO WILL PITCH
FORWARD AND CAUSE
YOU TO OVERSTRIDE
TRAINING
1 / SUITCASE CARRY
Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell
in one hand and let it hang down
at your side.
Keep your shoulder blades
flattened down along your ribs
and actively counter your
tendency to lean away from
the asymmetric load.
Hold yourself vertical as
you walk for 30 seconds.
Do four 30-second carries.
P H OTO G R A P H S : G E T T Y ( M A I N I M AG E S ), V E LO P R E S S
2 / KETTLEBELL SQUAT
Hold a kettlebell tight to your
chest in both hands, with shoulder
blades spread wide and locked
down on the back. Your feet
should be slightly more than
shoulder-width apart.
Staying centred over your feet,
sink your hips down in a squat until
your elbows touch your thighs.
Keeping a neutral spine, drive
back up to a standing position.
Don’t arch your back at the top
of the movement to counter the
weight. Maintaining a neutral
spine ensures that your core works
as much as your legs.
Do three sets of eight reps.
You can also use a dumbbell,
sandbag or any kind of weight
for this exercise.
3 / LANDMINE
SINGLE-LEG DEAD LIFT
Place one end of a 20kg bar on
the floor. Anchor it in a corner.
With the free end of the bar
perpendicular to your body, stand
on your outside leg and hold the
bar in the opposite hand; let your
arm hang down. Raise your free
arm out to the side for balance.
Hinge your hips back while
keeping your spine completely
straight, and lower the bar while
raising your back leg behind you.
Look in the same direction as
your chest is facing. Moving your
head before beginning the bend
will bring the spine out of neutral.
Push your hips forward to return
to the starting position.
Turn around to work on
the other side.
Do three sets of eight
reps on each leg.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 069
TRAINING
TIPS FOR BEGINNERS FROM
AN EASYGOING COACH
BY JEFF GALLOWAY
YOU’LL
GO A LONG
WAY
How to work your
way up to 10 miles
and beyond
WHEN YOU need
two numerals
instead of one
to log how far
you’ve run in a single
outing, you’ve reached
a major milestone: many
recreational runners
never make it that far. The
reason you should bother
striving for 10 – beyond
the bragging rights – is
that going long, no matter
how slowly you’re moving,
is the best way to increase
your endurance. More
endurance often means
faster race inishes. And
long, aerobic eforts can
help you lose weight and
keep it of. Trouble is, if
you go too far, too soon,
too fast, you could end
up injured. Here’s how
to join the Mile 10 Club
without getting hurt.
I L L U S T R AT I O N : R A M I N I E M I
Jeff Galloway is a
10,000-metre Olympian
and well-known coach
who promotes the
run-walk method
THE PROBLEM
I find my short runs
boring. How will I ever
survive a long one?
FUEL INJECTION
On long runs, don’t
let the tank run dry
1. Build wisely
2. Move slowly
3. Add fuel
4. Recover right
Plan a long run every
other weekend (add a
half mile to the distance
each time). Maintain
your itness by running
for at least 30 mins every
other day. On long-run
days, choose a route
that loops past your car
or home so you can pick
up water and snacks.
Your long-run pace
should be one to two
minutes per mile slower
than your short-run pace.
If you usually run nonstop, take a walk break
after every mile or so
on long runs. If you runwalk the rest of the
week, lengthen the walk
periods on the long run.
If you’ll be out for more
than an hour or so,
have a sweet snack (eg
a few jelly babies) of
30-40kcals every two
miles. This will top up
your muscles’ glycogen
stores. Wash snacks
down with sips of water,
and drink more when
you feel thirsty.
Have a snack (about
250kcals) containing
carbs and protein within
30 mins of inishing your
run – chocolate milk is
a good choice. A 10-15minute walk after your
run can prevent soreness
in the following days.
To soothe tired muscles,
have a hot bath.
THE FIX
Running with friends is the surest way to beat
boredom, but only if you’re all comfortable
holding the same pace. Beyond that, you can
experiment. Try different routes. Run with
music or a podcast (at a safe, low volume, of
course). Do some mental maths. Compose
a poem. Your brain might just need a while
to remember how to daydream. Once it does,
time will pass much more quickly.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 071
HOW
SWEET
IT ISN’T
You can’t outrun a sugar
addiction. Kick it to the
kerb with these tips
SUGAR IS EVERYWHERE . It’s
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That forces your body to
quickly process huge levels of sugar. ‘We get less eicient at this
over time, which is why we become more susceptible to problems
such as diabetes as we age,’ says Gradney.
That means even healthy people – such as runners – should
trim their daily intake of added sugar to less than 25g per day,
as recommended by the World Health Organization. (There’s
no need to avoid naturally sweet, whole foods, which have
water, ibre and/or protein that slow the sugar’s path into your
system.) Runners can quell the sugar lood and help break a
not-so-sweet habit with these strategies.
Many of us are turning to ‘detox’ plans that eliminate all sugar for 30 days or more. Converts say cutting out refined
sugars improves sleep, cures acne, trims pounds and boosts mood and focus. Though definitely not a panacea,
smoothing out fluctuations in blood sugar could improve your energy, says Kelly Pritchett, an assistant professor
in clinical nutrition at Central Washington University, US. You also may break bad food habits and form new ones
that are less sugar-dependent. However, ‘completely eliminating all added sugars from your diet may not be
sustainable in the long term’, she says.
072 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
L U C K Y I F S H A R P ( P R O D U C T S H OT S )
SHOULD YOU
GO COLD
TURKEY?
GET THE POINT?
It’s all too easy to
get a lot of sugar
into your system
WO R D S : K E L LY BAS TO N E . P H OTO G R A P H S : DA N S A E L I N G E R / T R U N K A R C H I V E .CO M ,
in practically every food
we eat and though we
know it’s not good for us
in excess, it’s also so hard to resist.
That’s because eating sugar lights
up our brains’ dopamine receptors
(the same ones that trigger drug
addiction), making us feel fantastic
– and eager for another hit. As
runners, our sugar problem is even stickier, as we rely on gels and
energy drinks (and sometimes just plain sweets) to fuel up for and
recover from workouts.
Sadly, running doesn’t make you immune to the detrimental
health efects of eating too much reined sugar. The nearly 30kg
(66lb) of sugar that each UK adult consumes a year increases our
risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression and sleep
disorders. That’s true whether you exercise or not.
Reined sweeteners ‘go right from your lips into your
bloodstream’, says Kristen Gradney, a spokesperson for the
FUEL
BY GRANTING YOURSELF THE LICENCE TO ENJOY ONE
OR TWO BITES OF YOUR FAVOURITE TREAT, YOU GET
MAXIMUM ENJOYMENT FOR MINIMAL DAMAGE
Go natural
Replace foods that
have lots of added
sugar (such as sweets
or muins) with ones
that are high in natural
sugar (eg apples and
dates), which ofer a
hit of sweetness that’s
lower in calories and
higher in nutrients.
‘Sweet fruits and
vegetables might not
seem as appealing
as a cupcake, but
they’ll satisfy your
physiological need for
sugar and make those
intense cravings fade
away,’ says Gradney.
Make a
sweet deal
‘Earning’ your sweet
treat can also help
curb cravings,
suggests researcher
Brian Wansink, author
of Slim by Design
(William Morrow).
‘You impose a
trade-of, so that
you’re not saying no to
something, but you do
make it harder to get,’
he says. Want ice
cream after lunch?
Earn it by completing
a chore you’ve been
dreading, or taking
the stairs instead
of the lift. These
negotiations cut down
on impulse eating by
delaying gratiication.
They can also replace
your craving with selfsatisfaction – you’re so
pleased you cleaned
out the garage that
you no longer need
biscuits to celebrate.
Dilute it
Mix the sugary stuf
with something that
is much better for you.
Combine cranberry
juice with soda water,
mix hot cocoa with
unsweetened cofee,
swirl a scoop of ice
cream into an equal
quantity of berries,
and mix your honeycoated granola with
Shredded Wheat
(which contains
almost no sugar per
serving). ‘You lower
the overall sugar
content but don’t end
up feeling deprived,’
says Gradney.
Portion it out
Choosing singleserving packages
of ice cream and
biscuits can enforce a
healthy-portion habit
and keep you from
devouring that entire
pack of Hobnobs. One
2012 study, published
in Health Psychology,
found that people who
snacked on portioned
crisps ate 50 per cent
less (translating to
250 fewer calories).
Just be sure to read
the labels, because
some packaging
contains more than
one serving. And keep
your cache of treats
out of view, says
Gradney, so you aren’t
tempted to reach for
seconds…or thirds.
Time your
treats
Runners do get two
short windows of
sugar-immunity:
during and then
immediately after a
workout, when the
body metabolises
sugar for fuel and
replenishes muscle
glycogen for recovery.
And all other times?
‘The sugar that you
eat when you’re
sedentary is more
likely to go to stored
fat, once glycogen
stores are full,’ says
Pritchett. And yes,
you will get more
nutritional value from
eating pineapple or
chocolate milk, but if
doughnuts are your
guilty pleasure, it may
be better to have that
type of occasional
indulgence within
about 30 minutes of
inishing a workout.
Savour flavour
Studies have found
that the irst bite of
any food yields the
most pleasure – and
that people who
eat large servings
of indulgent foods
actually feel less
satisied than those
consuming smaller
portions. When you
do crave something
sweet, try taking just
a taste. ‘We’ve found
that total deprivation
just isn‘t sustainable,
because many people
may fall of the wagon
and give up hope for
healthier eating,’ says
Wansink. By granting
yourself the licence to
enjoy one or two bites
of your favourite treat,
you’ll get maximum
enjoyment for minimal
damage. And that’s
especially true when
it’s a high-quality
food: one square of
high-cocoa content
dark chocolate can
often deliver far
more satisfaction
than an entire bar of
poor-quality stuf.
SUG AR
SHOCKERS
Runners should eat no more than 25g
of added sugar a day. Processed foods
crack that ceiling quickly. Check out
the estimated grams in the examples
below. Just one can of fizzy drink can
blow your quota for the day.
11
21.7
25
35
KELLOGG'S CRUNCHY NUT
CEREAL (30G SERVING)
SNICKERS BAR
STARBUCKS TALL
CARAMEL MACCHIATO
COCA-COLA (330ML CAN)
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 073
RW / / PROMOTION
NAIL YOUR
RACE GOALS
Dream big but
think small: sweat
the details
DRESS FOR
SUCCESS
No, that doesn’t mean
colour-coordinating
your outit or buying
shiny new clobber for
the big day; it means
wearing your favourite
running outit, the one
you’ve worn on those
long miles. Eliminate
distractions (and
chaing) by wearing
something that will
enhance, not hinder,
your performance.
EAT, DRINK AND
BE MERRY
Training for a big event is
exciting, isn’t it? Signing up for
the race; following a programme;
seeing and feeling yourself get fitter,
faster, stronger. Science in Sport was
founded by – and exists for – people like
you. They get how much sweat, energy
and commitment it takes to hit your goals,
so they work just as hard at pushing their
own boundaries to create the very best
sports nutrition, for elite competitors and
everyday athletes alike. Their newest
innovation, WHEY20, is a game-changer
and will redefine the way you think about
post-training nutrition.
You may know that protein is essential
to help repair the muscles after exercise,
but which type of protein to take? And is
messing about with powders and shakes
really for you? WHEY20 is the only whey
protein supplement on the market to
come in gel form. It has a yoghurt-like
consistency that is easy to swallow, needs
no refrigeration and is simple to transport
– so making it part of your regular routine
is a no-brainer. At this point you may be
wondering, ‘Why Whey?’ Well, Science
in Sport use it because whey protein has
one of the fastest-known digestion rates,
meaning it’ll start repairing your body
quicker and with minimum fuss, leaving
you to focus on the important business of
smashing out tomorrow’s session with
supreme confidence.
You’ve trained for this
day, so fuel up properly
by working out your
food and hydration
needs in advance for
before, during and after
the event. What are you
going to take? How
much are you going to
need? Be sure to take on
protein 30-60 minutes
after the race ends to
start your recovery, so
you’re ready for the
next challenge.
RUN YOUR RACE
PACK A PUNCH
Available in Mango Passion
Fruit, Chocolate Orange,
Caramel, Lemon and
Strawberry lavour. Each gel
contains 20g of quality
protein, 6g of BCAAs
(essential for the growth and
maintenance of lean muscle
mass) and just 1.8g of carbs,
0.1g of fat and 88 calories.
GIVE YOUR BODY THE FUEL IT DESERVES,
CHECK OUT SCIENCEINSPORT.COM
See those runners a
few hundred metres in
front, runners you can
deinitely overtake?
Ignore them. It’s good
to be competitive, but
do it with yourself,
not others. So stick to
your plan, maintain
your target speed
and inish with a huge
grin on your face.
FUEL
WO R D S : A N I TA B E A N . P H OTO G R A P H : A D R I A N L AW R E N C E
NUTRITION
per serving
556kcal, 31g
protein, 29g fat (10g
saturates), 41g carbs
(8g sugars), 4g fibre
HAVE YOUR
CAKE AND EAT IT
Get yourself into the recovery position
with these delicious fishcakes
These fishcakes are a great
source of carbs, protein
and anti-inflammatory
omega-3s, which makes
them the perfect recovery
food after a hard run.
They contain sweet
potatoes, which have
more beta-carotene and
vitamin E than ordinary
spuds. Save time by baking
the potatoes in advance.
SWEET POTATOES
HAVE MORE BETACAROTENE AND
VITAMIN E THAN
ORDINARY SPUDS
Serves 4 (makes
8 fishcakes)
sweet potatoes
salmon illets, skinned
butter
milk
fresh parsley,
chopped
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground
black pepper, to season
egg, beaten
(approx.) plain lour
dried breadcrumbs
rapeseed or light olive
oil for frying
rocket and
watercress salad
1 Bake potatoes at 200C/
180C fan/gas mark 6 for
about 45 minutes until
cooked. Leave to cool.
Alternatively, peel, cut
into large cubes and boil
for 10 minutes until soft.
2 Meanwhile, poach fish
for 10 minutes in enough
water to just cover. Drain
and flake, checking for
any remaining bones.
3 Cut the baked sweet
potatoes in half and scoop
out the flesh (or, if boiling,
drain) and mash with the
butter, milk, parsley,
lemon zest, and salt and
pepper. Mix in flaked fish.
4 In three separate shallow
bowls, place the beaten
egg, flour and dried breadcrumbs. With floured
hands, shape mix into
eight round cakes. Coat
each cake with the flour,
egg, then the dried breadcrumbs and, ideally, leave
in the fridge for about
30 minutes to firm up.
5 Heat the oil in a large
frying pan over medium
heat and fry fishcakes for
4-5 minutes each side, or
until golden. Drain on
kitchen paper and serve
immediately. Alternatively,
bake them in the oven:
lightly brush with a little
olive oil, place on a baking
sheet and cook in the oven
at 200C/180C fan/gas
mark 6 for 15-20 minutes.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 075
STRONG-ARM
TACTICS
LET’S FACE IT: runners aren’t
known for their arms.
That’s not a dig – it’s just
that it’s easy to neglect
your top half when it seems like
your legs do all the work. But failing
to train your upper body can hold
you back on the run.
‘Have you ever tried to run
without using your arms? It’s weird,
ineicient and hard as hell,’ says
exercise physiologist Pamela Geisel.
‘Arm drive is a big part of running
– when your legs get tired, you use
your arms more because of the
kinetic chain; you can’t have one
without the other.’
076 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
That means your strength training
has to include more than just dead
lifts and squats. Building a strong
upper body will help you maintain
good form as the miles tick by,
and that stable, upright posture
can increase your endurance by
improving your lung capacity,
explains Geisel. ‘Improved upperbody strength also reduces oxygen
requirement, meaning you’ll run
faster while using the same amount
of energy.’ In other words, you slice
seconds of your splits.
And a faster pace is not the only
reason to strengthen from the
waist up. ‘Just pumping your arms
back and forth only builds muscle
endurance, but you need to also
build muscular strength to create
bone density and prevent injury,’
says personal trainer Nick Pags.
Why? Remember, our nerves, bones
and joints are interconnected.
‘The gold standard for runners is
165-180 strides per minute – if every
one of those strides is bad, that’s
thousands of strides per run that
you’re doing poorly, often leading
to injuries such as tendinopathy
and stress fractures,’ says Geisel.
‘It all goes back to poor mechanics,
and that results from not strengthtraining your entire body.’
WO R D S : S A M A N T H A L E FAV E . P H OTO G R A P H : C H R I S TA A N F E L B E R
To become a better runner
you need a strong upper
body. It’s time to reach for
the heavy stuff
BODY+MIND
The solution, however, isn’t
picking up weights at the light end
of the rack. ‘If you want to prevent
injury, improve your speed and last
longer, you have to be willing to lift
heavier things,’ says Pags. Lifting
light weights for a high number of
reps isn’t bad; it just achieves the
same goal as running – building
endurance, not strength. ‘The
goal is to stress the muscle to the
point that the tissue is breaking
down, creating micro-tears.
When the muscle rebuilds, it
is stronger and leaner, which
doesn’t necessarily happen with
endurance training,’ says Pags.
‘IF YOU WANT TO
PREVENT INJURY
AND IMPROVE YOUR
SPEED, YOU HAVE TO
BE WILLING TO LIFT
HEAVIER THINGS’
That’s why he recommends lifting
heavy weights and using exercises
that speciically target your arms,
lats (the wide, lat muscles that
run from the lower back to the
upper arm) and core two or three
times per week. We’re not talking
bodybuilding stuf here, but a focus
on building strength in the muscles
that help propel you forward. If that
dedicated strength work sounds
like a chore, Geisel says it’s OK to
break it into 10-minute increments.
‘Runners often don’t strength-train,
because they think there’s no time,
but a strength session doesn’t have
to last for 60 minutes for it to be
efective,’ she explains. ‘Taking
10 minutes of the duration of
your run and doing a quick strength
set provides more beneits than
10 more minutes on the road.’
If your goal is to get a PB, save
the hardcore lifting for your crosstraining days so you can focus on
getting in a quality, high-intensity
run, says Geisel. (And skip heavy
lifting altogether two weeks prior
to race day, so you don’t wear
yourself out or pick up an injury.)
Otherwise, schedule a short circuit
of prerun strength exercises: a
study in The Journal of Strength
and Conditioning Research found
that doing so can make you more
likely to do extra reps and help you
maintain proper form throughout.
And if walking into a weights
room makes you want to gouge out
your eyes, Geisel says you shouldn’t
worry. Your body weight can be
more than enough, especially if
you’re new to strength training.
Think about how much you weigh
– being able to move that much
weight through exercises such as
press-ups means you’re lifting far
more than 5kg dumbbells. ‘I think
it’s the most beneicial to runners,
too, because your body is what
you’re moving in space,’ she says.
Whatever you do, be sure
to warm up with foundational
exercises such as hip bridges,
planks and side planks. Geisel
recommends performing each
for one minute (switch after
30 seconds on the side plank),
then move into upper-body work.
‘They’re activation patterns that
ire your glutes, core and hips, all
of which you want to wake up
before you lift heavy, so you can do
so safely,’ she says. The extra efort
– and weight – will all be worth it
for faster, easier runs.
HOW HE AV Y
IS HE AV Y?
Now that you know
why you need to
increase the weight
you have to lift, how far
can you go and still stay
safe? Here’s how to
work out what ‘heavy’
means for you
Focus on form
No matter how much
you’re lifting, if your
form is poor, then you
won’t see the beneits
and you risk injury, says
Pags. Ask a trainer how
to correctly perform
rows, chest presses,
triceps kickbacks and
curl variations, he
suggests. Then set up in
front of a mirror to keep
an eye on technique.
Fatigue the muscle
To reap heavy-lifter
rewards, Geisel says
you need to exhaust
the muscle 100 per cent,
meaning that you can’t
do another rep at that
weight. If you’re new
to strength-training,
practise your form with
a lighter weight, then
start with 5kg to 10kg
for eight to 12 reps until
you have nothing left to
give. Once your form is
solid, go for fewer reps
(ive to eight) and more
weight (10-20kg).
Go for broke
If you reach 10 reps
and aren’t feeling the
burn, increase your load
by 5kg to 10kg, says
Geisel. And be honest
with yourself. Are you
calling it quits because
you can’t physically do
another rep, or because
you’ve mentally checked
out? Pushing your limits
(safely) is how you’ll
create real change.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 077
LAST
CHANCE
TO ENTER
RUNNER’S
WORLD
RUNSTOCK!
ENTER FROM
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for every 5K you complete!
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Runstock features a 5K lapped offroad course and a glorious summerfestival feel within the stunning grounds of Boughton House,
Northamptonshire. Run solo, with a team or even the whole family
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JUNE 9, 2018
•FESTIVAL WEEKEND
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RW / / EVENT
GEAR
GIVE YOURSELF the EDGE
1
3
4
SWEAT
AND WILD
Summer tops that offer a
blend of fashion and function
5
2
Women
1. Columbia
Titan Ultra
2. Saucony
Freedom Tank
3. Asics FuseX
V-Neck
From £25,
columbiasportswear.co.uk
£35, saucony.com
£30, asics.co.uk
This lightweight vest is
a great option for races
and speed sessions – the
anatomical cut means it’s
not too tight and will move
nicely with your body. It
features a scoop neck,
racerback (put on sun
cream unless you want a
diamond-shaped tan mark)
and an extended lower
hem for extra coverage.
This is an excellent training
top that works well over
a variety of distances and
is ideal for cross-training,
too, as it’s durable, soft
and unfussy. It comes in
several colours, but the
white option is a little
see-through, so wear
a boldly coloured layer
underneath or give it a miss
if you’re on the shy side.
This is packed with smart
features: a dropped rear
hem to cover your bum,
fast-wicking polyester, an
antimicrobial treatment
to ward of odour and a
series of small blue circles
woven on the inside of
the top that react with
your sweat to generate
a cooling sensation.
080 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
4. Tribesports
Engineered ShortSleeve Tee
5. Ashmei
:RPHQ·V7HH
£35, tribesports.com
No, we haven’t lost our
minds; we know that £75
is very pricey for a T-shirt,
but if you have the money
to spend, you’ll ind the
premium blend of merino
and carbon results in a
piece of kit that helps to
regulate your temperature,
wicks superbly, dries
quickly and feels utterly
dreamy against your skin.
A itted T-shirt that is best
suited to those who have
an athletic physique. The
ergonomic panels allow
it to move in perfect sync
with your body on the run.
Minimal seams cut down
on irritation, while mesh
panels on the back and
the chest ofer excellent
breathability.
£75, ashmei.com
6
9
8
7
6. Canterbury
Racer Vest
7. On Tank Tee
£19, canterbury.com
About as loaty and
lightweight a top as you’ll
ind. Some sports tops get
heavier as they absorb
sweat, but there’s no risk
of that here because the
breathability of the stretchy
fabric is excellent. The tee
sits loosely on the hips,
lares subtly at the bottom,
has large arm holes and
will keep you cool on the
hottest summer runs.
Rugby brand Canterbury
has branched out into
kit for running and other
sports. This entry-level
vest does everything that
you would expect for
the price: it’s a standard
cut with medium-sized
arm holes; and wicking
and breathability are
reasonable. The latlock
seams are a bonus.
£60, on-running.com
10
8. 2XU Ghst
SS Top
9. Crewroom
Essence Tee
10. Adidas
Ultra Primeknit
Parley Tank
£40, 2xu.com
£34, crewroom.com
If you’re going to a hot
country for your summer
holiday, bung this top into
your suitcase. Not only
does it weigh a mere 96g
– so it won’t put you over
your allowance – but also
the weave contains xylitol,
which produces a cooling
sensation when in contact
with moisture and also
acts as a UV relector.
A decent mid-range top
that will serve you just as
well out on the roads as it
will in a gym class or yoga
studio. Its wide neckline
and loose it around the
hips mean it’s suitable
for a variety of body
shapes, and the supersoft weave is stretchy
and also wicks away
sweat with ease.
£60, adidas.com/uk
This top keeps you cool,
dry and comfy, and you’ll
be doing some good for
the environment: as with
all products in the Parley
range, some of the yarn
is made from recycled
plastic waste that’s been
taken from beaches and
coastal areas before it
gets to the ocean.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 081
1
5
3
4
2
Men
1. Under Armour
Swyft Hoodie
2. Patagonia
Windchaser Shirt
£60, underamour.co.uk
£55, patagonia.eu
This loose-itting top will
suit most shapes, although
dedicated club runners
might ind it a tad heavier
than is comfortable. As part
of UA’s HeatGear range, it
does a good job of wicking
sweat away and the huge
ventilation strips also work
well. The hood will keep the
sun at bay and could prove
handy in a summer shower.
This is a super-light
polyester top that does
everything you would
want from a warmweather T-shirt, but
the bigger story here
is an ethical one: it’s
part of Patagonia’s Fair
Trade Certiied sewing
programme, so the
factory workers share
in the proits from sales.
082 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
3. Sundried
Les Diablons
Muscle Tank
4. Adidas Freelift
Climachill Tee
5. Dhb Run Singlet
£40, adidas.com/uk
£30, sundried.com
A mass-appeal tee of
the type that Adidas is
so good at: boxy cut for
all body types, a weave
that wicks superbly and
a durability that means
it retains its shape wash
after wash. There are also
small aluminium-silver
dots on the inside back
that conduct heat away
from the body.
If you saw this without
the Dhb logo you’d never
guess it was an entry-level
vest. It looks and feels like
a pricier top: ergonomic
cut, latlock seams for
minimal chaing, arm holes
that aren’t too cavernous
and lappy, and even the
presence of anti-odour
treatment Polygiene in the
weave, so you won’t have
to bin it after a few races.
The name of this top
is a little misleading: it
is just as good for race
day as it is for treating
everyone to a gun show
in the gym. The polyester
and polymide mix of the
fabric makes it soft and
stretchy – and durable
enough to last you a
couple of summers.
£11.99, wiggle.co.uk
GEAR
9
7
8
10
WO R D S : K E R R Y M CCA R T H Y. P H OTO G R A P H S : L U C K Y I F S H A R P
6
6. Castore
Harrop Tee
7. Björn Borg Tee
8. 2XU Ghst Tee
£25, bjornborg.com/uk
£40, 2xu.com
£95, castore.com
This one comes with
a bold claim from the
company: ‘this T-shirt is
one you’ll want to buy in
bulk.’ Asking for trouble,
you might think, but this is
excellent value. It has few
bells and whistles but it’s
comfy, reliable, distinctive,
hard-wearing and comes
in a standard cut that’s
accommodating without
being shapeless.
We like this top so much
that it features in both
the women’s and men’s
line-ups in this review.
Its primary function is
to be comfortable and
light enough to make
you almost forget you’re
wearing it, and it does a
great job. For long training
runs in the dog days of
August, this should be a
go-to piece of kit.
A premium price, but if
you have the money, this
is a good investment. It
features some of the best
anti-odour technology
we’ve come across and is
cut from one piece of
cloth to limit chaing. It
may be a little heavy for
some, but the weave helps
to regulate temperature,
so you’ll stay cool.
9. Falke Air
Ventilation
Tank Top
10. Soar Raglan
T-Shirt
£80, falke.com
Raglan sleeves are always
welcome in a running top
– the greater freedom of
movement they ofer means
there’ll be no riding up or
underarm chaing on long
runs. It’s a semi-itted cut,
so it sits quite close around
the hips and stomach.
There are relective logos
on the front and back for
running in the twilight.
£69, soarrunning.com
The clue is in the name
here. It’s a close-itting
top that is, in essence,
just one big mesh panel.
But it manages to be
breathable, ventilated,
wicking and fast-drying
with no fuss. Think of
this as the butler of your
running wardrobe: classy,
unobtrusive and eicient.
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 083
FOAM,
A FRIEND
Soft and bouncy
midsoles are the hottest
feature in shoes right
now. Here’s what that
means for your running
084 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
GEAR
WO R D S : J O N AT H A N B E V E R LY. S H O E P H OTO G R A P H S : M I TC H M A N D E L & M AT T R A I N E Y; CO U R T E S Y O F AS I C S ( A S I C S M E TA R U N )
It’s a sleek little number with a simple knitted upper that sits on
top of a single layer of extra-thick ‘React’ foam. In a trend
sweeping the running-shoe industry, Nike is centering its
attention and fanfare on the properties of this newfangled foam,
rather than highlighting other parts of the shoe.
‘React is our most complete foam ever,’ says Ernest Kim,
director of advanced footwear at Nike Running. ‘You not only get
great energy return – 13 per cent greater than Lunarlon – but a
much softer experience as well.’ For a runner who wants a shoe
that feels springy and light, and can hold up through plenty of
miles, Kim believes Nike nailed it with React.
Sound familiar? No doubt.
Last September, Brooks
revealed its DNA AMP
foam, also touting a blend
of cushioning and energy
return. In 2017, we saw
Altra design its first
shoes with the cleverly
named Altra Ego foam,
which – you guessed it –
distinguishes itself by
its soft step-in feel and
bouncy ride. There’s also
Under Armour’s new
HOVR foam, Reebok
Floatride Foam, Saucony
Everun and New Balance
Fresh Foam. It seems
that every major shoe
company now makes its
own hero foam. But the
question is: does it really
make for a better run?
How we
got here
To understand what
made the world ready for
bouncy-foam shoes, let’s
rewind a few years.
In 2009, Christopher
McDougall wrote a book
called Born to Run, which
challenged what was
historically accepted
about running shoes
– namely, that perhaps
we didn’t need so much
shoe – and some believe it
launched the barefoot or
minimalist movement.
Propelled by plenty of
new research touting
the benefits of light,
barefoot-like shoes,
minimalism experienced
a meteoric rise. But in
2012, a class-action
lawsuit against Vibram
FiveFingers for deceptive
advertising was the loud
thud that marked the end
of the minimalist running
movement. At that point,
many runners sidelined
with injuries found
minimalist shoes
to be untenable, and
most of the running
community quickly
returned to shoes that
offered more padding.
But by that point, the
world had changed. The
research that led the
minimalist movement,
proving that shoes didn’t
work to prevent injury as
we had once believed,
didn’t just disappear.
Throwing out running
shoes altogether wasn’t
the answer, but neither
was turning back to
overbuilt, stiff, heavy,
controlling shoes. One
researcher, Benno Nigg,
professor emeritus of
kinesiology and director of
the Human Performance
Lab at the University
of Calgary, Canada,
suggested that your body
knows best. His studies
revealed that running
shoes chosen simply
by which felt the most
comfortable were also the
most efficient and best at
reducing injury. Common
runner knowledge
shifted and comfort
usurped control as the
basis for shoe selection.
With running-shoe
companies no longer able
to successfully market
their multi-density
ADIDAS BOOST:
ENERGY BOOST, 2013
soles with plastic posts,
shanks and trusses, the
properties of the foam
itself rose in importance
– and runners were ready
to pay attention.
The energy surge
Enter the Adidas Boost.
You can trace the running
industry’s foam obsession
back to a compound in
this shoe, introduced in
2013. While running
shoes have used foam for
cushioning since Forrest
Gump’s 1972 Nike Cortez,
Adidas’s Boost foam
promised something new:
energy return.
The term, while great
for marketing, can be a bit
deceptive. Let’s be clear,
no shoe will defy the
second law of thermodynamics and actually
create energy that will do
the running for you. The
energy for your stride
comes from you pushing
against the ground.
‘When you put something
soft underfoot, it’s
robbing energy,’ says
Golden Harper, founder
of Altra. ‘The best foam
in the world will never
return energy.’
Martyn Shorten, a
biomechanics expert and
director of the RW Shoe
Lab, can quantify that
energy loss. Most shoes
with traditional foam
(called EVA) tend to
dissipate 40-60 per cent
of the force needed to
compress them. The best
new foams lose only
HOKA RMAT:
CONQUEST, 2014
NEW BALANCE FRESH FOAM:
FRESH FOAM 980 V1, 2014
PUMA IGNITE:
IGNITE, 2015
ASICS FLYTEFOAM:
METARUN, 2015
SAUCONY EVERUN:
TRIUMPH ISO 2, 2016
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 085
SIGN UP FOR THE
SPITFIRE
London: Saturday 1 September, 9.00am
Cosford: Sunday 2 September, 10.00am
Standard Entry: £22.50
Discounted Entry: £20.50*
(*Members of UK Athletics affiliated clubs and Armed Forces Personnel)
For more information about the race, how to enter
the Spitfire 10K and the new Spitfire Family Run
please visit our website www.rafmuseum.org
All runners must be 15 years and older –
under 16s to be accompanied by an adult.
Held under UK Athletic Rules.
UKA Licence applied for.
RAF Museum (Charity No. 244708) RAF 100 Appeal (Charity No. 1167398)
Align.
Strengthen.
Restore.
SPREAD YOUR TOES
Anatomical toe spacers, designed by a sports
podiatrist, to be worn while running. Footwear
must be widest at the ends of the toes.
Learn more at
CorrectToes.com
UK stockist since 2011
EmperorsNewShoes.co.uk
GEAR
REEBOK FLOATRIDE FOAM:
FLOATRIDE RUN, 2017
ALTRA EGO:
ESCALANTE, 2017
around 30 per cent of the
energy. Though ‘energyreturn foam’ is a bit of a
misnomer, we admit it is
sexier than ‘less-energylost foam’, so we’ll stick
with it. And, while not
as amazing as gaining
energy, losing less energy
is a good thing.
And consumers agreed.
Sales of Boost shoes
fuelled double-digit
growth in running
revenue for Adidas in the
ensuing years, and the
Boost foam rejuvenated
the once-slumping brand
among retailers and
runners – so much so that
Adidas has struggled to
keep up with demand.
Hooked on
a feeling
BROOKS DNA AMP:
LEVITATE, 2017
UNDER ARMOUR HOVR:
NIKE REACT:
EPIC REACT FLYKNIT, 2018
To foam or
not to foam?
As magical as new foams
may feel, they aren’t for
everyone. ‘Shoes are so
personal,’ says Harper.
‘There will be people
who put on an Ego shoe,
and it doesn’t connect
with their stride, doesn’t
feel good underfoot.’
This has always been
the case with shoes, but
new foams can be even
more finicky because
of the timing of the
bounce-back. ‘The
response is focused to
a narrower range of
runners,’ says Shorten.
Which is why there will
never be a holy grail of
foam for all. ‘In the past,
we searched for the one
perfect shoe,’ says Kim.
‘What we’re realising
now is that doesn’t exist.
There are distinct
populations in the huge
world of runners. The
idea that you can make
one shoe that can work
for all the runners in the
world seems just a little
bit crazy.‘
Instead of making one
ideal, brands are finetuning foams to maximise
different experiences and
letting runners decide
what they like best. The
feel of each foam differs
depending on each
runner’s unique weight,
stride, speed and mileage,
which also means you
might prefer a different
foam on different days.
Kim says Eliud Kipchoge
– he of the 2:00:25
marathon – likes the new
Epic React, but only for
easy runs. You may find
one foam feels best for
your fast days but that
you prefer another foam
for going long.
What’s next?
Where will the shoe
industry go from here?
The experts we consulted
agree that the focus on
foam will continue and
even more advances are
just around the corner.
That’s all good news for
runners, too, because
as foam continues to
dominate and brands
create increasingly
refined rides to match
every possible taste, the
chances that you’ll find
your perfect road partner
get better and better.
▲
S H O E P H OTO G R A P H : C O U R T E S Y A D I DA S ( A D I DA S + K A N Y E W E S T Y E E Z Y B O O S T 3 5 0 V 2 )
SONIC, 2018
Put aside physics and
what the new foams can’t
do, and what really
matters is how the
material interacts with
your stride. New foams
deliver two properties
that had been mutually
exclusive: cushioning
and responsiveness.
Before Boost, shoes felt
soft or fast, but never both.
Energy-return foams
accomplish both with a
well-timed reaction. The
cushioning dissipates
excess forces, but unlike
old marshmallowy foams,
energy-return soles then
firm up underfoot, which
allows you to push off
powerfully. ‘It’s not about
absorbing energy,’ says
Spencer White, vice
president of Saucony’s
Human Performance &
Innovation Lab. ‘We want
to take that force you
create in landing and help
you generate force so you
can move.’ It’s the
difference between
bouncing on a soft pillow
and on a trampoline.
In the end, as Nigg’s
research shows, it comes
down to what you feel.
And what you feel is
probably something new
and amazing. ‘[Foam]
feels soft and comfy when
standing, and firmer and
faster when moving
quickly,’ says Harper.
Perhaps more revealing
than the physical feel is
the emotional response.
‘We’ve heard a lot of “It
makes running feel fun!”’
says Kim. ‘It’s not something we usually hear.’
W H E R E F O A M M E E T S F A S H I O N While new foams may have
emerged primarily for function, the shoes that feature them
have slid smoothly into streetwear. The versatile comfort
of foam midsoles makes them suitable for all-day wear,
and without visually screaming, ‘I’m a runner!’ Plus, brands
are increasingly topping foam midsoles with simpler, knit
uppers that look and feel as much like clothing as they do
footwear. The result: shoes that look as appropriate when
you’re running errands as they do when you’re putting in the
miles. It’s a win-win-win blend of comfort, function and style.
Adidas +
Kanye West
Yeezy Boost
350 V2
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 87
RACE
A WALES OF
A TIME
RW’s Adrian Monti finds the
Swansea Half Marathon is
really a race of two halves
TO BE HONEST, I’m not a fan of most
out-and-back courses. Running to a
set marker before heading back the
same way leaves my running mojo deep in
sleep mode. I’ve run enough of them on dull
streets, in uninspiring locations, to know that
if it’s ‘meh’ on the way out, it’s going to be
‘double meh’ on the return.
So when I was asked to race and review the
Swansea Half Marathon, my expectations
dipped somewhat once I saw the course map.
But at the same time I was intrigued to find
out why this race has become so popular in
such a short time. With a field of 6,000 (up
from 2,000 when it began in 2014), it’s now
second only in size to Cardiff in the Welsh
half-marathon pecking order. I soon
discovered the excellent reasons why.
088 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
LET YOUR RUNNING LOOSE
We began in the hub
of Swansea, close to its
ancient castle ruins and
the modern high street. On
cue, moments before the
off, the steady drizzle that
threatened to dampen
proceedings ceased and
sunshine took over.
As a first-time visitor to
Swansea, I was happy to
circle and see the city
before heading out along
the main coast road. As
well as noting the civic
buildings, the university
and the superb national
swimming centre, the
towering floodlights of
St Helen’s Rugby and
Cricket Ground caught
my eye, at mile two. Being
something of a sportingtrivia anorak, I knew this
was where West Indian
great Gary Sobers made
history in 1968 when
he smashed six sixes
off a single over in a
cricket match.
P H OTO G R A P H S : R U P E R T F OW L E R
SWANSEA HALF MARATHON
Most of the course was
as flat as the wicket
Sobers batted on that
day. Only as we neared
Mumbles, the pretty
fishing village on the
western fringes of
Swansea Bay, was there
the hint of a climb.
With the sea to the left
and inviting cafes, pubs
and shops to the right,
this area is easy on the
eye and the legs. No
wonder it was a favourite
haunt of one of Swansea’s
favourite sons, the poet
Dylan Thomas.
There was the promise
of more stunning beaches
beyond, where the coast
curved away towards the
Gower Peninsular. But as
we reached the ice cream
parlour on the prom, it
was time to turn.
And this is where I was
pleasantly surprised. I was
running along a cycle path
only a few feet from the
natural sweep of sandy
Swansea Bay. This smooth
path cut through two
miles of delightfully lush,
green parkland space.
Through the trees I could
glimpse some of my
fellow runners heading
in the opposite direction
SWANSEA, UK
THE RUNDOWN
Swansea Half
Marathon
(2017 results)
First man: Dewi
Griffiths, 1:04:48
First woman: Claire
Gibbons-McCarthy,
1:14:35
No. of finishers:
4,867
Last finisher 4:09:49
Finishing stats
● 1:00-1:30: 4%
● 1:30-2:00: 40%
● 2:00-2:30: 38%
● 2:30-3:00: 15%
● 3:00-4:15: 3%
before turning, but I still
felt I was in a totally
different race to the first
half. Even though I was
going back on myself,
I had no sense that I
was retracing my steps.
Simply by swapping the
road for the trees and
street signs for the
seashore, it felt like a new
racing experience rather
than a repeat journey.
My visual guide on the
horizon was the Meridian
Tower, the shiny, modern,
29-storey residential
high-rise with a restaurant
at its pinnacle. It’s the
tallest building in Wales
and so, unsurprisingly, it
dominated the skyline.
With water stations
manned by scores of
well-drilled army cadets,
enthusiastic crowds
strung along the course
and live music along the
bay area, I could see
why this race was such
a winner. Little things
impressed me, too; having
runners’ names on their
bib numbers meant we
all received shout-outs
along the way, while
pacers at a selection of
times ensured there was
someone for runners of all
levels to chase.
As we returned to the
city, we snaked through
the Maritime Quarter and
then SA1, the rejuvenated
waterfront area that was
once the city’s docks.
And after our trainers
had echoed across the
sail-shaped Millennium
Bridge, which spans the
River Tawe, there was
only a mile to go to the
finish. There were no
festivals, hog roasts, beer
tents or other add-ons
currently popular at larger
races, but there were
plenty of volunteers going
about their business with
an air of unflappable
efficiency, mingling with
hundreds of runners who
were happily donning
lurid-pink finishers’
T-shirts and inspecting
the contents of their
generous goody bags.
I tried hard to find fault,
simply to confirm my
pre-event prejudice, but
RACE
the only thing I could
come up with was that my
banana was too green. In
truth, this race thoroughly
deserves its reputation
and in the years to come it
will surely be luring even
more runners across the
Severn Bridge to join the
plethora of Welsh club
vests already among
those in the know.
The 2018 Swansea Half
Marathon takes place on
June 24. For more info, visit
swanseahalfmarathon.co.uk
Like this? Try... Three more Welsh wizards
CHAPARRAL ABERSOCH HALF MARATHON
WALES MARATHON
ANGLESEY HALF MARATHON
This popular resort in North Wales
is the backdrop to a race that uses
its sandy beach as a memorable
home straight. The half, along
with a 10K and triathlon sprint,
make up a unique Triple Crown
series of summer events. The half
is the last of the three; the irst
two take place in June.
With climbs galore, this is not a
race for runners who dislike our
sport’s ups and downs. You’ll
encounter the irst ierce hill soon
after you leave the seaside town
of Tenby. Then it’s on to historic
Pembroke before you loop back to
the town where you began. It’s a
toughie, but the scenery is a joy.
After crossing the magniicent
Menai Suspension Bridge, a
glorious run along the island’s
coastline leads you to Beaumaris
Castle before you return the
way you came on a course that
somehow manages to be both
undulating and fast. Try not to be
distracted by the views.
North Wales, September 22,
abersochtriplecrown.com
South Wales, July 15,
thewalesmarathon.com
North Wales, March 3, 2019,
alwaysaimhighevents.com
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 089
RACE RECCE
STRATHEARN
MARATHON
Race director Cathy
Tilbrook guides you
along this road marathon
through rural Perthshire
‘The race, which was irst
staged in 2012, is organised
by Strathearn Harriers club,’
says Tilbrook. ‘It’s got some nice
quirky touches that make it a bit
diferent. For instance, runners
can request the Comrie Pipe Band
that are here on the day to play
their favourite tune on parts of
the course. It’s a hilly route through
farmland and past a few villages
and settlements. But despite about
450m of climb (mostly in the irst
13 miles), some runners do achieve
their Good for Age London Marathon
qualifying time here. The feedback
we get always includes comments
on the beautiful views on the route
and how friendly the event feels.’
START
You begin at Cultybraggan Camp,
where German POWs were kept
during the Second World War. As
the pipe band sends you on your
way, you pass some of the Nissen
huts used to house the POWs.
MILE 2
MILE 4
Here you
climb out of
Glen Artney,
a beautiful
valley that
was namechecked in
the famous
Sir Walter
Scott
narrative
poem The
Lady of
the Lake,
published
in 1810.
Enjoy the stirring views across
the rolling landscape of heather
moorland and keep an eye out
for wildlife such as red kites
(pictured below) and buzzards.
COMRIE
CRIEFF
River Earn
22
25 24
23
19
20
21
Strowan Road
26
AUCHINGARRICH
START FINISH W I L D L I F E C E N T R E
18
17
01
02
16 D R U M M O N D
CASTLE
03
CULLOCH
04
15
*The 2018 race is on June 10.
Visit strathearnharriers.org.uk
05
MILE 10
MUTHILL
14
06
13
Here you will pass the site of Ardoch Fort,
regarded as one of the most complete
Roman strongholds in Britain before it was
abandoned in the second century AD.
07
B827
12
08
09
11
FEET
BRACO
FINISH
800
600
400
200
0
5
10
15
MILES
MILE 15
MILE 18
Another ascent leads
you round the back of
the Drummond Castle
estate. This location
was featured in the 1995
ilm Rob Roy, which
starred Liam Neeson
as the Scottish outlaw
and folk hero.
Here you run alongside
the River Earn and
skirt the edges of the
town of Crief, home of
Caithness Glass, where
the trophy given to the
winner of Mastermind
was designed in 1972
by Denis Mann.
090 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
The red squirrel
is common in
this part of
Scotland;
hence the
medal design.
20
25
You now drop
back into
Cultybraggan
and inish
your race
to the sound
of bagpipes.
Then you tuck
into a muchdeserved
feast that’s
largely made
from crops
grown on the
allotments at
the camp.
WO R D S : A D R I A N M O N T I . P H OTO G R A P H S : G O R D O N D O N N AC H I E ( R AC E I M AG E ) , G E T T Y
10
RACE
MY FAVOURITE FIVE
LONG HAUL/SHORT HAUL
The races that really
get you going
NIGHT AND DAY
HARMANDER
SINGH
Age: 58
Job: Social Policy Analyst
Years running: 40
GREAT
NORTH RUN
My uncle got me to
step up from 10K and I
did this as my first half
marathon in 1985. This
year will be my 34th.
September 9,
greatrun.com
TORONTO
WATERFRONT
MARATHON
I did my 100th
marathon there and
have now done it
15 times. October 21,
torontowaterfront
marathon.com
LUXEMBOURG
NIGHT
MARATHON
Look further aield for your race ix
Tromsø Midnight Sun
Marathon
Kaunas Half Marathon
NORWAY, JUNE 16
This is an event where the lines
between night and day are blurred.
In northern Norway, the sun does
not set between May and July,
so while the clock may say that
it’s the witching hour, you’ll
be running in broad daylight.
Good thing, too, as Tromsø is a
stunning location. So take your
place alongside 8,000 other
runners to gawp in wonder at
the mountains, fjords and islands
you’ll pass along the way.
Flights from…14 UK airports via
numerous airlines. One stop and
prices from £140 return.
While you’re there…Visit the
Polaria Arctic Aquarium (polaria.no).
The building resembles a series of
ice floes set at alarming angles.
A good example of the type of thing
you typically get at Baltic races:
huge crowd enthusiasm; a flat
course (just 14m of elevation);
some old-school architecture to
enjoy – including, in this case,
Medieval, Gothic, Renaissance,
Baroque and Soviet – and an
endearingly chaotic but eagerto-please vibe at the race village.
There are also marathon, 10K, 5K
and 1.5km fun run options.
Flights from…London, Edinburgh
and Bristol direct to Kaunas from
£40 return.
While you’re there…Scare
yourself into being better behaved
with a trip to the Devil’s Museum.
It contains over 2,000 depictions
of Satan in paintings, carvings,
sculptures and, er, soft toys.
msm.no
kaunasmarathon.lt
LITHUANIA, JUNE 10
SPOT THE
DIFFERENCE
Running at night in
Tromsø and (inset)
during the day in
Kaunas
WO R D S : K E R R Y M C CA R T H Y. P H OTO G R A P H S : TO N E M E T T E Y T T E R G A R D/ M S M ( T R O M S Ø)
I love the experience of
starting a race in the
evening and the Samba
bands are fantastic.
May 12, ing-nightmarathon.lu/en
SIKHS IN THE
CITY DAWN TO
DUSK SUNLIGHT
ULTRA
A 2km multi-lap event
in London, with onion
bhajis as you go.
December 19,
sikhsinthecity.org
HONG KONG
MARATHON
There are plenty of
amazing sights, such
as the Tsim Sha Tsui
Clock Tower.
February 17, 2019,
hkmarathon.com
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 091
START LIST
RACE
THE START LIST
Our selection of the best, fastest,
toughest, quirkiest and most
enjoyable UK races this month
Summer Welly 10K
A new event hoping to match the
success of its winter forerunner,
which also takes participants
through the picturesque grounds
of Wellington College. If you’re
feeling speedy on the day, it might
be because the aura of alumnus and
1976 F1 champion James Hunt is
hanging about the place.
Berkshire, June 2, muddywelly.com
FESTIVAL OF FILTH
Mud Monsters Run
The organisers of this East Grinstead
event have done a terrific job of
summing it up: ‘This obstacle run
takes you across muddy fields, up
steep hills, through woods, fighting
your way through deep muddy bogs,
with 130+ obstacles along the way.’
Choose from 5K, 10K or 20km – and
it might be an idea to avoid public
transport on the way home.
P H OTO G R A P H S : S T E P H E N H A N C O C K ( WO O L AC O M B E ) . * BA S E D O N A N R W O N L I N E P O L L O F 3 9 9 VOT E S
West Sussex, June 3, mudmonstersrun.co.uk
RW POLL
Would a midrace
injury make you
drop out?*
1%
13%
ULTRA GORGEOUS
Defo. I hate pain.
Yes, if I thought
carrying on would
make it worse.
58%
Race to the Tower
A double marathon through the finest scenery the Cotswolds can muster.
You’ll travel north from Stroud, in Gloucestershire, passing charming
villages, medieval burial grounds and historic landmarks along the way,
before crossing the county border to Worcestershire, finishing at Broadway
Tower. You can run it or walk it, complete it over two days or in one epic
effort. Brought to you by the organisers of the popular Race to the Stones
ultra, it’s impeccably signposted and picturesque throughout.
Gloucestershire, June 9-10, racetothetower.com
Only if I physically
couldn’t run.
28%
Never! I am the
William Wallace
of running.
WET WET WET
Beat the Tide
One of the Stroke Association’s
stable of fundraising events, this is a
gorgeous 10K through the seaside
resort of Hunstanton in Norfolk. The
route – which is as flat as a Dutch
motorway – takes you right along
the beach towards Heacham, then
heads back again before the tide
comes in. At least, that’s the plan…
Prepare to get very sandy feet.
June 24, Norfolk, stroke.org.uk
Yeovil Marathon
Stick on your finest retro running gear and get ready to
pound unsteadily along the golden sands and over the
dunes of this gorgeous stretch of coastline. You might
want to do some ankle-strengthening exercises in
preparation for this one. That tune in your head is from
Chariots of Fire, but please, no running in slow motion…
This is a great event, with a boutiquesized field (just over 200 finished
last year) and a military flavour. The
lumpy route takes in the picturesque
country villages surrounding Royal
Naval Air Station Yeovilton. Support
is thin on the ground on this two-lap
course of quiet country lanes, but
many of the views are stunning.
The race proceeds go to the Royal
Navy & Royal Marines Charity,
St Margaret’s Hospice and the
Yeovilton Military Wives Choir,
who will be bellowing out the
tunes at the finishing line.
Devon, June 10, woolacombebeachrun.co.uk
Somerset, June 10, yeovilmarathon.com
SAND AND DELIVER
Woolacombe Beach Run 10K
London Cardiff 24 Team Relay
Teams of eight to 12 runners have up
to 33 hours (but can you do in 24?) to
complete a 24-stage, 160-mile route
from Twickenham to the centre of
Cardiff. So, who’s doing the muchloved 3am stint? Someone has to…
June 1-2, Middlesex, wolfpackrunning.com
Southend Half Marathon
Squeeze the last pips out of your
spring training and see how fast you
can do this flyer along the Essex
seafront, which attracted almost
2,000 runners last year. It’s quick,
the air is bracing and the views over
the Thames Estuary are splendid.
Essex, June 10, havenshospices.org.uk
JUNE 2018 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK 093
START LIST
HILLS AND SPILLS
Endurancelife
Classic Quarter
Endurancelife has become
renowned for its scenic coastal
courses – and this one is the jewel in
the crown. You make your way from
Lizard Point to Land’s End (the most
southerly and westerly parts of
England), so you’ll be running
90 degrees of the compass. The
44.5-mile route is incredibly varied
and tough: as the organisers say, it’s
‘the ultimate trail-runner’s rush, all
just a stone’s throw away from the
potentially pounding Atlantic swells’.
WE ASKED
READERS:
WHAT’S YOUR
MOST DRAMATIC
RACE STORY
‘I had a heart attack
at mile 10 of the
Richmond Half. There
was no-one to help
me, so I walked the
inal three miles,
inished in 2:22 and
got my medal. Then
I went to hospital for
a week, had three
stents put in and
couldn’t run for
several months.’
– Rikus Maximus
Cornwall, June 9, endurancelife.com
‘I broke my femur at a
10K race, about two
miles from the end.
Managed to run it all
and inished among
the irst 15.’
– Joana Marini
‘Tore my plantar
fascia at mile seven
of a half. Hobbled
the inal six miles and
inished in 3:25; even
the inish-line photo
guys had gone home!’
– Michelle
Lewandowski
Derby Half Marathon
This beaut of a race takes runners on
a flat, fast route through Derby city
centre before winding through the
extremely scenic Elvaston Country
Park and back again. Football fans
will be delighted to know that the
start and finish are both at Pride
Park Stadium, home of the mighty
Derby County.
FAMILY FUN
Runstock
This one is staged by your favourite running magazine, in collaboration with
Rat Race. The running bit is a 5K obstacle-filled route round the grounds of
Boughton House, near Kettering, which you can repeat as many times as you
like within eight hours. Elsewhere there’s a camping village, full-on festival,
kids’ activities, beer tent, live music and postrace party. It’s a family-friendly
event and a celebration of all things running.
Northamptonshire, June 9, ratrace.com
SPEED DEMON
Gosport Golden Mile
‘My friend farted
and “followed
through” ive minutes
before the start
of a marathon. He
didn’t have a change
of shorts so ran
regardless – the mess
had turned to a sort of
dust by the end.’
– Ryan Donaldson
Last year, 600 budding speedsters
forked out £10 to belt along this
promenade in South Hampshire.
There are senior and junior versions
of the event, so drag your kids away
from their computer games and get
them in on the fun, too.
Hampshire, June 17, nice-work.org.uk
Ranelagh Harriers
Richmond 10K
Derbyshire, June 3, runforall.com
A RACE ON THE UP AND UP
Glencoe Trail Running
Challenge
If you’re familiar with gentle Sundaynight BBC drama Monarch of the
Glen, you’ll have a fair idea of what
this lovely event offers. It’s set in the
Glencoe Mountain Centre and you
can choose the 10K, ‘half’ (15 miles),
‘marathon’ (27 miles) or an ultra
(distance yet to be determined).
Take advantage of the fierce climbs
and majestic scenery, and treat this
one as more of a leisurely amble
than a race; it’s well worth it.
Argyll & Bute, June 16, trailevents.co
094 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
RW ONLINE
RACE LISTINGS
Thirsty
for more?
Simply go to
runnersworld.
co.uk/events,
the UK’s most
comprehensive
race database,
where you can
search over
4,500 races
by location,
terrain,
distance
and more.
FOUR-DAY BENDER
Tour of Tameside
What’s better than one race in one
day? Answer: four races in four
days. Each event in the Tour of
Tameside has its own personality.
There’s a 10K trail race, a six-mile fell
event, a half marathon and, finally, a
flat seven-mile road race to test how
much speed you have left in your
legs. (Clue: not a lot, probably.) You
can sign up for individual events or,
if you’re feeling brave/bullish, do the
whole thing.
Greater Manchester, June 14-17,
sportstoursinternational.co.uk
A chance for London-based runners
to bag a 10K PB. This incorporates
the Surrey 10K Championships,
which is testament to how flat and
fast the course is. But it also attracts
loads of recreational runners, who
come to enjoy the views as they run
along the Thames towpath.
Surrey, June 17, primoevents.com
Welsh 1,000m Peaks Race
One for veteran fell runners. A 30km
mountain race, it starts at sea level,
finishes on top of Snowdon and
takes in the five peaks in Snowdonia
that exceed one vertical kilometre.
Oh, you’re busy that day, too?
Gwynedd, Wales, June 2, welsh1000m.org
P H OTO G R A P H S : E P I C AC T I O N I M AG E RY ( D E R B Y H A L F )
RACE
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Greetings cards for those who are mad about running – or know
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I’M A RUNNER
JOEL DOMMETT
THE COMIC AND REALITY-TV STAR ON MIDRUN CRYING AND KEEPING UP WITH JESUS
‘There’s nothing
like that postlong-run hunger
– it’s much more
intense than
anything else’
I RUN THREE MILES EVERY DAY during
the week (it’s a mile and a half to
the gym) and then do a long run
every weekend. I recently went to
Japan, Peru, Tahiti and India for
my TV series and I loved training
while I was out there because I
got to go out and see all these
incredible places. Running is the
best way to see a city.
MY TOUGHEST RACE was an ultra
I did in Mexico a few years ago.
It was 32 miles of crazy hills and
mountains. At 25 miles, I couldn’t
stop crying. Running makes me
emotional, anyway; I don’t know
why. People in the village ofered
us little bits of food to keep us
going but I was being overtaken
by these 60-year-old guys in jeans
and Iron Maiden T-shirts; it was
surreal. I crossed the line in 5:15
and just burst into tears again.
I’d run the first eight miles in
sandals because I tried to run it
authentically, like the local tribes
do, but my ankles and toes were
bleeding, so I had to put on trainers.
I wore their natural dress too,
which was actually really handy, as
it was a loose-fitting red top and
white skirt, so it was chafe-free.
SPORTS-WISE , running is the only
thing I’ve ever been half-decent at.
I’ve got pretty good 5K and 10K
times (18:30 and 39:30). Recently,
I’ve been doing loads of parkruns,
which I love so much.
DECIDING NOT TO WEAR HEADPHONES
and also to run alone changed
everything for me. I write a list
on my hand of five things I want
to think about before I go running.
I think up a lot of my stand-up
098 RUNNERSWORLD.CO.UK JUNE 2018
routines on a run, as there are no
distractions. By the end of the
session I feel that I have really
cleared my head of all the clutter.
I RAN THE LONDON MARATHON this
year. It’s always felt like the ultimate
run to me, ever since I bought a
London Marathon medal at a car
boot sale as a kid. I had it on my
bedside table for years and always
said one day I’d run London, so
this year felt like a coming of age.
Follow Joel
on social media:
@joeldommett on
both Twitter and
Instagram
I PLAN MY RUNNING OUTFIT carefully,
based on what the weather’s going
to be like – there’s nothing worse
than getting cold extremities on a
run. And I’ve just started running
in the New Balance 1080v8, which
I love. They’re so comfortable.
THERE ARE SEVERAL PEOPLE I’d really
love to run with, but I reckon Jesus
would be the best, as he’d have
some great stories for a long run
and when you got thirsty he could
turn your water into wine. He looks
pretty lean, too, so I think he’d be a
good pace-setter.
I N T E R V I E W: M I C H A E L J E N N I N G S . P H OTO G R A P H : I A N H A R R I S O N
THERE’S NOTHING QUITE LIKE that
post-long-run hunger – it’s so much
more intense than anything else.
A Sunday roast is usually my go-to.
Mind you, a new poké [raw fish and
salad] bowl place has opened where
I live, so at the moment I’m just
living on poké bowls and protein
shakes, which I’m also addicted to.
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