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S I Got g” EALTH “HowrunninHE COMMONW into EBABS TO T

FEBRUARY 2017 – £4.50



SNOW PATROL Smash your winter targets 30


Is a low-carb diet actually good for runners?

Nail 26.2 miles with our busy man marathon plan



Usain Bolt uncut: Neverending the man behind storeys: tower the medals running special


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Editorial director David Castle Editor Rick Pearson Tel: 020 8996 5089 Assistant editor Isaac Williams


Art editor James Wilkinson Social media editor Melody Smith Multimedia editor Josh Puttock


Contributors Robbie Britton, Steve Way, Martin Yelling, Renee McGregor, Ceri Rees, Jim Old, Rob Griffiths, Damian Hall, Laura Fountain, Peter Liddiard, Tim Major, David Smyth, Matt Maynard


or any of you reading this magazine for the first time, I hope this will be the beginning of a long and exciting journey, both with MR and with running. For me, though, it’s also an ending of sorts: this is my last issue as editor of the magazine (sob, sob). From narrowly beating a steam train over 14 miles to being trounced by a horse over 24, via near-death at the Ennerdale Horseshoe and elation at the London Marathon, it’s been quite the three years. The best part, though, has been interacting with the MR community, in person and online, and hearing about the countless ways in which running has improved your lives. From weight-loss heroes to those who have used running to improve their mental health, ours is a sport filled with inspiring stories of self-improvement. When I spoke with Paul Sinton-Hewitt recently, the founder of parkrun told me he started the event because “I wanted to be with people – and running is about people.” And what a strange, brilliant, eclectic bunch we are. Having the chance to meet many of you, and put together a magazine about a subject as universal and life-changing as running, has been a great privilege. Thanks for reading.


To advertise call 020 8996 5058 Commercial director Allan Pattison Tel: 020 8996 5058 Advertising manager Cristina Slattery Lopez Tel: 020 8996 5167 Advertising executive Alex Sage Tel: 020 8896 5090 Senior marketing executive Paul Clayton Managing director Nick Troop

Published by Wild Bunch Media Ltd Gable House, 18-24 Turnham Green Terrace, London W4 1QP Tel: 020 8996 5100 Licensing and syndication Allan Pattison Tel: 020 8996 5058

TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 0844 245 6920

Printed by William Gibbons Tel: 01902 730011 Distribution by Marketforce (UK), 2nd Floor 5 Churchill Place, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5HU No part of this magazine may be copied, reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without prior written consent of the publisher. © Wild Bunch Media Ltd 2014. Men’s Running is a UK publication, published by Wild Bunch Media Ltd, and is not associated with any other men’s running magazines.


Journalist, PT and running coach extraordinnaire Laura explores an issue within the boggy world of crosscountry running (p41).


As a top trail runner and outdoor enthusiast, no one’s better placed than Ceri to reveal why you need to take a run on the wild side (p82).


Travel and adventure writer Matt’s new column is about all things uphill. This month he steps into the quad-busting world of tower running (92).

To subscribe call 0844 245 6920 UK standard annual subscription rate is £29.97 Europe standard annual subscription rate is £50 Rest of World standard annual subscription rate is £80 ISSN 2042-972X


Turn to page 36 and find out how you can subscribe and get five issues for £5

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SUBSCRIBE TODAY! see page 36 for details

Cover photo Paul Calver Cover model Matthew Ovens Clothing Asics Location Zermatt, Switzerland



Ultimate Race Guide

100 of the world’s must-run races: from 5Ks to ultramarathons


14  16  19  20  22  24 

Anatomy of a runner How did Ron Hill become one of the greatest British marathoners of all time? Gentleman’s guide Master the marathon: five golden rules to make your first 26.2 a success Cross-training Bouncing back: how can trampolining improve your running? Treatment room Why sitting at a desk all day may be ruining your running – and how to fix it Busy man marathon plan Resident coach Martin Yelling has some tips for the time-short runner Workout Improve your form and running efficiency with our upper-body circuit

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In the news All the need-to-know facts and figures from the world of running Survivor’s guide The low-down on the toughest runner of them all: the veteran Way’s world Steve Way on how he went from 40-a-day smoker to international athlete My running life Founder of parkrun Paul SintonHewitt talks miles and mental health The vaults Gritty, short-shorted cross-country action plucked from the year 1971 Superfood Why the old adage, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’ might just ring true Recipes Two simple, energy-boosting dishes to lift a lackluster run Fat to fit How one MR reader went from fitness-phobe to ultramarathon runner Runner’s digest The truth about dieting: Renee McGregor sorts the facts from the fads

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© Virgin Money London Marathon

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Big Marathon Challenge Meet the four men about to embark on the running journey of a lifetime I am Bolt Behind the scenes of the featurelength doc on the world’s fastest man Wild Running Trail running at its rule-free finest


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Project Trail Will the hard work pay off? Find out what happened at the Wendover 50 King of the mountain Our new column on all things uphill focuses on the world of tower running Road to recovery Robbie Britton reveals how to make the most of a spell on the sidelines


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Running tech The Garmin Forerunner 35 is among the gadgets reviewed this month Starter kit Top-to-toe kit for those just starting out on their running journey Marathon shoes Seven of the latest long-distance shoes made with the marathon in mind


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Valencia Marathon Assistant ed Isaac Williams takes one for the team and travels to Spain Self-Transcendence 3100 Fifty-two days of running round a 0.5-mile route in Queens, New York


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I’ve been a serious runner for a few years now. By serious, I mean I run several times a week, in any kind of weather, and when I’m not running I’m often thinking about running. I’ve completed a marathon, several halfs and numerous 10Ks, and religiously record my activity on various apps and social media. My training has pretty much always consisted of running various distances at around threshold pace and not much else – thinking that training programmes are for newbies or elites and that they couldn’t offer much to the middle-ground runner like me. Then, this summer I decided to try something different and incorporated shorter runs, intervals and fartleks into my


routine. As a result, in just a few weeks I’ve noticed a huge increase in my speed and strength, and have bagged PBs at half marathon and 10K distances, knocking some 40 seconds off my previous best at the shorter distance. Now I’m converted and will preach the importance of intervals to anyone who will listen. Who knows, I may even cotton on to the benefits of cross-training soon! Dave Mackinder, Kingston-upon-Hull Ed: Interval training is classic type 2 fun, in that it’s enjoyable only in retrospect. However, there’s no doubting it’s performance-boosting powers. Keep up the good work, Dave!

The writer of this month’s star letter receives a Soar Running voucher worth £100. Soar creates stylish, high-performance kit made from the best materials

WORTH £100

accused me of not stopping to check  if he was OK on my way past. The message is simple: if you are racing, take on plenty of water or gels, pace yourself correctly, or get your brother to push you over the line! Adam Page, Birmingham


I do various local running events and love racing, but three recent incidents got me thinking that some of us can overdo it in pursuit of a new PB. In a short five-mile event, a runner from my club came sprinting past me after one and a half miles. After four miles, I saw them struggling up ahead and grabbed their hand to encourage them to finish. At the finish line, they looked on the verge of collapse and in need of medical help. Then we had the now infamous Brownlee brother end-ofseason finish in Cozumel, Mexico, a couple of weeks later. And at another 10K event, I passed a guy in his sixties with an inhaler, shortly after the 5K mark, who 6 • February 2017

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Ed: Noted! In racing, as in life, there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity.


I’ve always prided myself on an ability to ‘hang tough’ in races: when my lungs were about to burst or my legs about to fall off, I could always seem to stick at it. Slowing down or – worse – stopping, was never an option. Recently, though, that steely resolve seems to be wavering. In my last few races, when the pain has set in I’ve been unable to simply shrug it off – I even stopped to walk briefly during a hilly 10K last month. Here’s hoping I’m not going soft with age! Kevin Rodgers, Bath Ed: Time to arrest the slump. In your next race, give it your best and hang in there.



@AllHailTheTrail – No time to tweet cos I’ve been too busy eating, but got the Wendover 50 done! Great race!!! @MensRunningUK #projecttrail @columbia_eu #ww50 @paulsintonhewit – I love this. Well done @MensRunningUK team for capturing my thoughts so clearly. Thank you. @parkrun @parkrunUK @parkrunIRE @parkrunAU @UKProform – Make sure you can taco(le) your training with these super snack tacos from @mensrunningUK #snacktime

@MrRickPearson – When the people @profeetcustom break it to you you won’t be going to Tokyo 2020. More on this (and their 3D Motion Lab) to come


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“We don’t stop when we’re tired, we stop when we’re done” Andrei, Marie Curie Nurse What motivates you? Like Andrei, who cares for people living with a terminal illness through the night, or the runner training hard for race day to help fund our services, we are all driven by something. Find your drive with us and sign up today to run for Marie Curie.

Charity reg no. 207994 (England & Wales), SC038731 (Scotland) B215f Photo: Adam Hinton/Marie Curie

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Š Valencia Ciudad Del Running (VCR) MR73_008-009.indd 8

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Valencia Marathon

The Valencian skyline in all its sun-soaked glory at the start of the Valencia Marathon. The race, consistently voted the best marathon in Spain, saw 15,000 runners take to the city’s streets.

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Pictures from the pain cave: a gallery of your grizzliest mid-race gurns. Send in your snaps!

Adam Cooke Swansea 10K



David Ewing (right) Chestnut Tree House 10K

Gav Parrot Great Birmingham Run


George Bartlett Wetherby 10K

Karl Thompson Bournemouth 10K

Rob Bartlett wins a ‘Wash Bag Set’ from ManCave: the supremeperformance, natural men’s grooming range with a premium fragrance 10 • February 2017

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Rob Bartlett (left) Wetherby 10K

Want to share your Race Face? email @mensrunninguk

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M A R AT H O N | H A L F M A R AT H O N | D U O M A R AT H O N | 5 M I L E R U N




29 OCTOBER 2017 L U C E R N E


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If you’re going to put yourself through hell, you might as well do it in heaven.



The Event Frontrunners

STAY IN TOUCH! You don’t have to wait for a month to get your Men’s Running fix! Whether you’re a beginner or improver, our website will help you run better. Visit for free training plans, nutritional tips, workouts and health info! MR73_012.indd 12


@mensrunninguk 14/12/2016 11:46




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A sub-three-hour marathon is a dream for most runners – so imagine running 10 of them in as many days. That’s exactly what Adam Holland has done, writing his way into the record books in the process. The 29-yearold completed the marathons in a total time of 28 hours 37 minutes, giving him an average marathon time of 2:51:44. Holland is no stranger to long-distance running, having run a whopping 287 marathon and ultramarathons, but he’s particularly proud of this record-breaking run. “It’s a big achievement,” he said. “I’ve taken quite a lot more time off than I thought I was going to.” Holland set the record at Saxon Shore Seaside Marathon Series ( around the Kent coast, bettering the time of former record holder Rik Vercoe by 1 hour 13 minutes.


A new kickstarter campaign is looking to raise £25,000 to produce a range of Contour Compression Leggings, based on the principles of kinesiology tape. K tape is used to create bloodflow and ease swelled or injured muscles, and Python Performance’s patent-pending ReForm technology – a method of weaving material to deliver pinpoint compression, heat regulation and joint stabilisation – has been hailed as “the next step in performance sportswear.”

BAREFOOT BELIEF A study of 29 runners, published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise journal, has added further weight to the argument that minimal shoes can reduce the risk of injury. Those who wore shoes with less cushioning and landed on the balls of their feet had significantly lower loading rates. Lead researcher, Dr Hannah Rice of the University of Exeter, said: “The loading rate is a useful measurement because it tells us how fast the forces are acting, and higher values have been associated with running injury. So in summary, our paper found that running in shoes that have no cushioning and landing on the ball of your foot may reduce the risk of injury in runners.”

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Words Isaac Williams / Rick Pearson


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“I’ve been running and racing for a few years now. My level is best summed up as towards the top of the middle of the pack, with a half marathon PB of 1:34. Occasionally I’d get a bit of cramp in the push for the line in the last 800m of a half marathon. In the last few half marathons, though, the cramp has kicked in every time, usually half a mile to a mile from the finish. Is the cause more likely to lie in the preparation or race nutrition? Max Mladenovic, Solihull


The most likely cause is electrolyte imbalance caused by excessive sweating and low sodium. One solution could be to take on an electrolyte drink (or a salt tablet washed down with water) at first sign of cramping. In your case, it sounds like you need to make use of the aid stations during the half marathons and have a few gulps of the sports drink on offer, when you can. Team MR



KOJO KYEREME EXPLAINS HOW HE FITS TRAINING AROUND HIS FAMILY AND LIFE-SAVING JOB The On 6am Club is about normal people with busy lives achieving some amazing things through early-morning runs. The club runners have been sharing their stories with us, and this month we speak to Kojo, one of the founding members of the club, to find out what motivates him…  “Fitting in training, competition, full-time work as a Cardiac Physiologist and having a young family has its challenges, which is why I started training with friends early in the morning. If I left my run until after work, the inevitable to-do list of bedtime routines and socialising would take priority.  “By making my run the first thing I do, I know I’m set for the day. When my children were younger it sometimes meant taking them along for the ride! I’d often be spotted pushing the multiterrain buggy up to 18 miles on a Sunday morning.  “I’m one of the oldest members of the club, at 41. The training is tougher than when I was in my 20s, but my motivation has never been greater – and my 6am Club mates are a part of that. “This year has been my most successful in cross-country, achieving lifetime best performances at County, Regional and National level among athletes half my age. Furthermore, I achieved a PB in the London Marathon of 2.21.28, finishing 31st. This led to my being selected for the first time to represent England at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where I finished 11th overall and 1st Masters athlete 40+, a real highlight for me.  



Richard McLaren, the lawyer appointed by the World AntiDoping Agency (WADA) to investigate the alleged Russian doping programme, has published a report claiming over 1,000 athletes are involved in an “institutional conspiracy”. In an uncompromising statement, McLaren said, “For years, international sports competitions have unknowingly been hijacked by Russians. Coaches and athletes have been playing on an uneven field. Sports fans and spectators have been deceived. It’s time that this stops.”

 “My goal for 2017 is to break 2:20 in the marathon, and sub-66 minutes in the half. I’ll be wearing my On Cloudflyers to do it. If I can achieve these targets, 2017 really will be special.”


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Meet the gnarliest breed of them all: the short-shorted, battle-hardened running veteran




HARD AS NAILS: Decades of running have made the vet the toughest of all the runners. His split times aren’t what they used to be but, boldly disregarding doctor’s orders, he commits 100% to every single race.

OLD CLUB VEST: The vet’s been at the same club since time began, and his trusty vest bears the scars of years gone by: notably, the stains of several spilled pints after a stellar performance at the Mansfield cross-country meet in the long cold winter of 1954.

SHORT SHORTS: With little more than a glorified loin cloth to protect his modesty, the vet cares not for compression tights or baselayers; the more battle-hardened thigh on display, the better. As superstar DJ Calvin Harris once said, “It was acceptable in the 80s”, and the veteran sees no reason why it shouldn’t be acceptable now.

ANALOGUE WATCH: While younger runners bankrupt themselves for the latest piece of “wrist-mounted technology”, the wise old vet remembers a time when people ran just as fast – or faster – with just a Casio.

HIGH SOCKS: “Targeted compression zones” and “sweat-wicking” fabric are of limited interest to the vet, who simply wants extra protection for his shoe’s battered soles. A sock’s a sock to this no-nonsense runner: nothing more, nothing less. TRUSTY TRAINERS: Raised in the Pre-Jargon Age of trainer buying, when deciding upon a shoe was simply a matter of finding a size that fits, the vet is unmoved by bold claims of “energy-returning outsoles”. He knows it’s the runner, not the shoe, that makes the difference.

JUST A NUMBER In 2003, 72-year-old Ed Whitlock became the first person over 70 to run a sub-three-hour marathon. He then bettered his 2:59:10 time one year later, by running a frankly ridiculous 2:54:48 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Now 85, the Canadian runner holds multiple age-group world records, including a 3:56:34 marathon, set… earlier this year! Up next month: the running hippy.

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Illustration Peter Liddiard


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Elite insights from former ‘fat bloke’ turned celebrated marathon man Steve Way





Farlek is Swedish for “speed play”, and it’s one of the best ways to introduce a bit of speed work to your running. After a good warm-up jog, set your sights on an object in the near distance – be it a tree or lamppost – and run to it at a faster pace than you ordinarily would. Once there, go back to your warm-up pace until you’re recovered and then pick another target and go again. Keep that up for about 20 minutes in total (including your recovery jogs) before warming down. You can make it as easy or as hard as you like by varying the ratio of easy and hard running.


Got a question for Steve? Tweet us: @mensrunninguk


When I took my first tentative steps into running nearly 10 years ago, I didn’t realise what a huge impact on my life such a simple sport could have. And that’s the thing: it’s a simple sport. Remember that when you start to worry about all the little details and wonder whether you look like a novice. Find yourself a comfortable pair of trainers, some kit that doesn’t chafe and start putting one foot in front of the other. It’s that easy. Concentrate on just getting out there on a regular basis and putting in some effort; it won’t be long before you start seeing improvements. The key to your future running success is an aerobic base, and the key to that is consistency. One of my biggest concerns when I first started running was entering races. Was I ready? Would I make a fool of myself? It turns out I was fine, and it brought

a whole new dimension and purpose to my running. The beauty of taking the sport up now is you can take your first step towards road racing by going along to your local parkrun. It’s more relaxed than an official race but it will introduce you to the concept of timed group running and will also connect you to a community of likeminded people. The final big step for me in my first year of running was joining a club. I was worried that I just wouldn’t fit in, but it turns out club runners are no different to everyone else and it’s a great environment to be in when you want to start taking your training to the next level. All good clubs will be happy to have guests along to their training nights. And I guarantee you this: you won’t be the fastest, but you also won’t be the slowest.


RETURNING TO TRAINING AFTER A VIRUS If you’ve had a nasty cold or the flu and just got back into training, whatever you do, don’t worry about the pace of your runs. Just slowly get back into training, making sure you keep the effort levels (and heart rate) nice and low for at least a week; your body and mind don’t need the additional stress.

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Interview Isaac Williams Photography Dan Vernon /


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MY RUNNING LIFE Haile Gebrselassie

The retired long-distance legend talks heroes, highlights and whether anyone will ever run a marathon in under two hours


ou’re widely considered to be one of the greatest runners of all time, but what does running mean to you now that you’re retired? Running means everything. I need to run; it’s like having to eat every day. I run every morning before I go to my office (my alarm clock is set for 5.30am), to clear my head. My mind needs sweating. It keeps me healthy, in my mind and in my body. You ran 10K to and from school as a kid – did that help you become the runner you are today? Yes, that is one of the reasons. You can still see the way I carried my books to school under my left arm. But also because I come from a poor family and I learned to work hard and be disciplined. The secret of my success is the same: hard work and discipline. What was the highlight of your running career? I consider my best achievement to be winning the gold medal in the 10,000m at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. It was so close between me and [Kenyan runner] Paul Tergat: just 0.09 seconds difference, which was actually even

closer than the winning margin in the men’s 100m final that same year.  Who is your running hero? In my childhood I would listen to the radio commentary of my favourite runners in secret, because my father did not want me wasting time or batteries on such things. My running hero was Ethiopian Miruts Yifter, who won the gold medal in the 5000m and 10,000m at the 1980 Moscow Olympics. I was seven years old and I wanted to be like him. Where is your favourite place to run? Entoto, outside Addis Ababa, is a place where I have run innumerable miles. It’s my favourite training place. What’s the greatest lesson running has taught you? Never give up, work hard, stay focused, be prepared. Will anyone ever run a marathon in under two hours? Yes, for sure. It is just a matter of time. Would you like to see Mo Farah have another go at the marathon? Of course it is always exciting to see

great athletes try to attack the marathon. The marathon is the marathon – anything can happen, and that makes it so exciting.   What would be your one piece of advice to a beginner unner? Just start and go step by step. Enjoy the fact you can run. Don’t do it for anyone else, but for yourself. In the beginning it might be because you think you are too fat or to get more energy, but if you just carry on running, you will see that you do it for yourself, for just the running. You can look for other people to run with. It’s very important when you start that you find a trainer or coach who can help you.   Finally, describe yourself as a runner in one word. Dedicated. Fitmo, a mobile coaching platform, has launched an innovative new coaching service, created by running legend Haile Gebrselassie. Each programme contains exclusive videos of Haile, filmed at his home in Ethiopia. Haile is just the first in line as a celebrity coach for Fitmo, to go along with the worldclass coaches already using the app.

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Take a trip down memory lane with our selection of snaps from years gone by





unning for Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers, the mustachioed maverick Dave Bedford leads the field on his way to winning the English National Cross Country race at Norwich in 1971. Just two years later, Bedford would smash the 10,000m world record to pieces with a time of 27:30.80 – cutting 7.6 seconds off the previous best.

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Photography Mark Shearman


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Our Half Marathon Training Guide and Marathon Training Guide are both on sale now at the App Store via the Men’s Running App – they are your perfect training partners! 100





£2.99 Each guide features… ■ Step-by-step training plans ■ Tips on building mileage ■ Injury prevention ■ Nutrition advice

Download now from the App Store! MR73_023.indd 23

14/12/2016 11:49




Core blimey! Apples are cancer-curbing and immune-boosting WHAT ARE THEY? The fruit of the unoriginally named apple tree, apples have been cultivated for thousands of years. And with over 7,500 known varieties, there’s plenty of choice: from the crisp Cox to the plucky Pink Lady. Over 63 million tonnes of apples are produced worldwide, with China accounting for 40% of that total. WHAT DO I DO WITH THEM? Bite, bake, blend, boil, stew, slice, dice, fry or ferment; the humble apple is versatility itself. Scientists at the Institute of Food Research, however, have suggested that apples are best eaten with another superfood: green tea. Natural antioxidants in both are thought to blend together and block the growth of a molecule called endothelial growth factor, which can contribute to a hardening of the arteries and therefore an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. WHY ARE THEY GOOD FOR MY HEALTH? There are several good reasons ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. Apples are, for instance, rich in plant-based nutrients that are thought to reduce the risk of many cancers. Their high-fibre content – one medium-sized apple contains around four grams – is also thought to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s-related aging on the brain, and red apples, specifically, contain the immune-boosting antioxidant quercetin.

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Words Isaac Williams Photography


15/12/2016 12:29


THE UK SPECIALISTS IN RUNNING SHOES, GAIT ANALYSIS, BIOMECHANICAL ANALYSIS & CUSTOM INSOLES “ Running 261km in 24 hours means you need to look after your feet and no one does a better job than Profeet.” Robbie Britton Team GB Ultra runner

Personal assessment

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Walk, jog, run with jogscotland Get fit and have fun with our sociable, supportive jogging groups for all levels – beginners welcome! Affordable, friendly sessions with trained Jog Leaders.

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14/09/2016 09:03 15/12/2016 12:09

FAST FOOD 500 Low FODMAP Recipes, by Octopus Publishing Group,  available on iOS & Android, £2.99

CEREAL THRILLER Grab a bowl of nutty granola to power your long run CARBOHYDRATE RICH


Start your day right with this ‘get up and go’ granola – perfect for a pre-run boost


Serves 4 ■ 15g (½oz) golden syrup ■ 15g (½oz) maple syrup ■ 1 tbsp grapeseed oil ■ 1 tbsp warm water ■ 45g (2oz) dark muscovado sugar ■ 110g (4oz) jumbo oats ■ 40g (1½oz) whole almonds ■ 30 g (1¼oz) whole Brazil nuts, chopped ■ 25g (1oz) dried cranberries ■ 25g (1oz) desiccated coconut To serve ■ Lactose-free plain yogurt ■ Fresh blueberries


1. Whisk together the golden syrup, maple syrup, oil, measurement water and sugar 2. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except the cranberries and coconut, and mix well 3. Place the mixture on a baking sheet and spread evenly. Bake in a preheated oven, 150˚C (300˚F), Gas Mark 2, for 15 minutes, then add the cranberries and coconut and bake for a further 10 minutes 4. Remove from the oven and pour onto another baking sheet to cool. Leave the granola to cool completely and store in an airtight container 5. Serve with lactose-free natural yogurt and fresh blueberries

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BAR MADE Blueberry and oat bars for an on-the-run pick-me-up CARBOHYDRATE RICH


Stash these bars into your pack or pocket for an instant lift when you need it most


Serves 12 ■ 100g (3½oz) gluten-free wholemeal flour ■ 75g (3oz) gluten-free self-raising flour ■ 175g (6oz) slightly lactose-free salted butter, chilled and diced ■ ½ tsp ground cinnamon ■ 175g (6oz) porridge oats ■ 150g (5oz) light muscovado sugar ■ 200g (7oz) fresh blueberries


1. Put the flours in a bowl or food processor. Add the butter and rub in with the fingertips or process until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs 2. Add the cinnamon, oats and muscovado sugar and stir in or blend briefly until the mixture makes coarse crumbs and starts to cling together 3.Tip about half the mixture into a greased 28 x 18cm (11 x 7ins) shallow baking tin and spread in an even layer Pack down with the back of a spoon to make a firm base 4. Scatter with the fresh blueberries, then sprinkle with all the remaining crumble mixture 5. Bake in a preheated oven, 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for about 50–60 minutes until the crumble is deep golden 6. Leave to cool in the tin, before cutting into bars








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15/12/2016 12:31



Mark Kenna has gone from running-phobic couch potato to fitness-mad ultrarunner in the space of just three years – and he believes everyone is capable of getting fit fast



t the end of 2013, my weight had soared to 18st 4Ibs thanks to a diet of fast food and the struggles of starting a business. I had just turned 41 and knew I had to make some serious lifestyle changes. So, while on holiday with the family in 2014 (me, my wife and three kids), I took the plunge and signed up to a Tough Mudder event – I had exactly 226 days to prepare myself. I knew I was going to give up alcohol and would need to lay off the fast food, but I also didn’t want to join a gym! No, I needed something that I could do at home, something that didn’t cost much and, most importantly, offered little or no excuses for me not to do it. My only option: running. But, knowing I couldn’t even jog for a few minutes, my fitness journey began on the cross-trainer. I managed to build up my fitness to the point that, in March 2014, I plucked up the courage to run: a gentle 3K around the local housing estate. It was incredibly difficult, so much so that I had to stop 28 times! I made it round

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in 33 minutes and although I felt tired, I also felt incredible. Over four more runs, I managed the route without stopping and shaved 10 minutes off my time. I continued to incorporate running into my weekly fitness regime, mainly sticking to 5/10Ks around my local area while starting a number of other programmes such as high-intensity workouts and kettlebell training. In October 2015, I completed the Bear Grylls Ultimate Survivor 30K obstacle race. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was physically and emotionally testing. It was cold, I was cramping all over, and when I crossed the line I was an emotional wreck. It was a real lesson in training for an event. I had been training to improve my short runs when I should’ve been training for endurance. So, not long after, my brother suggested we run a marathon and we went ahead and applied for a London Marathon place. He also registered interest in the Brighton Marathon, just in case we didn’t get into London, which is notoriously difficullt to

get into. We decided to run for Cancer Research UK, in memory of our auntie who had passed away earlier in 2015 – and we ended up getting places in both! When the big day(s) came around, I managed a very painful Brighton in five hours, but London the following week was much more enjoyable – taking a slower, more consistent pace, I managed to finish in a time of 5:05. Not content with the marathons, though, I jumped onto week six of an ultramarathon training plan for Race to the Stones: a multi-day 100K race. My brother and I trained off-road as much as we could and, by the time the race arrived, we were more than ready. We ran the 100K over two days with a total time of 15 hours 47 minutes (with around three hours of that time spent eating at the checkpoints!) Ultrarunning, I decided, was the way forwards for me: a slower pace and wonderful locations – what’s not to like? There have been so many amazing moments over the past few years. To have the support of friends and family who have shared the journey and supported me all the way has been a true blessing and I would like to thank every single one of them, not least my wife and children – Lisa, Lucia, Naomi and Jay – who have put up with my constant running this past year. To finish the ultra and not feel broken was my biggest achievement to date, and just goes to show that anything is possible.


Have you gone from fat to fit? Email your weight-loss story to


15/12/2016 16:40
















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& SUBSCRIBE 14/12/2016 11:50


Renee McGregor cuts through the jargon to give you the lowdown on three popular diets

RUNNER’S DIGEST studies, the jury is out about how long compliance with such an extreme diet will last. When it comes to looking at weight loss alone, the evidence has concluded that after a two-year period, whether the individual had followed a ketogenic or low-fat diet, the amount of weight loss wasn’t significantly different.


few months ago, I was asked to present and tutor to third year medical students at a PREVENT study day at the University of Bristol. The aim was to introduce the importance of nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle choice as preventative medicine. Over the course of the day, it became apparent that, while we may assume there is a lot of miscommunication around nutrition, the real issue is that there are no generic guidelines that fit the whole population. The 2015 SACN report has suggested we reduce our intake of additional sugar to no more than 5% of our total energy intake. While I agree this is a useful guideline for children and those who are overweight or obese, is it really relevant for those of us who are physically active most days of the week? Obviously, I’m not suggesting sugar should make up a huge proportion of our daily intake, but if I have an athlete who is training for a marathon and putting in some

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Low-to-moderate carbohydrate diets: Carbohydrate intake contributes to around 50-60% of your total energy. From my experience, this seems like the best suited to the majority of the population who are moderately active – that is, taking part in a sport three to four times a week. The key in this case is to ensure that carbohydrate intake is made from nutrient-dense options, such as wholegrains, beans and pulses, fruits and vegetables. High-carbohydrate diets: Carbohydrate intake contributes to over 60% of your total energy. These really are for those of us who are very active, training for over an hour a day, every day, potentially even over multiple sessions. Again, intake should predominantly be made from nutrient-dense options but, in some cases, when high intakes of carbohydrates are required, it may be necessary to take on less nutrient-dense options in order to provide energy without bulk or volume.

high-intensity training sessions twice a week, does it matter if their sugar intake is 15-20% of their overall energy intake, if it helps them get the right amount of fuel they need? A further major area of confusion comes around carbohydrate guidelines. We hear lots about ketogenic diets, low-to-moderate carbohydrate diets, and high-carbohydrate diets. But do any of us know what these actually mean? Here’s the science bit… Ketogenic diets: Carbohydrate intake is reduced to less than or equal to 50g of carbohydrate a day. While many endurance athletes are favouring this way of eating, the reality is that so far all scientific evidence demonstrates that it is not conducive to sporting performance when speed is essential. On the other hand, when you look at these diets from a health point of view, there’s evidence to suggest they’re good for managing epilepsy and type 2 diabetes. However, as there have been few long-term

WHICH DIET IS BEST? For those of us who run regularly, it will actually probably be a case of mixing and matching from the above categories based on what we’re training for, what the session is that day and what the ultimate goal is. However, I would rarely advocate use of a ketogenic diet. While I may suggest some carbohydrate-depleted sessions, to help with fat oxidation, there needs to be more concrete evidence to suggest that this can be a useful performance aid.



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Hill didn’t believe in tempo training: for him, it was about putting it on the line, week in, week out. To keep his competitive edge, racing the shorter distances (five miles, 10K, half marathon) was a key component of his training week.


Hill was a pioneer in many areas, but it was his nutritional techniques that really helped him conquer his rivals. He popularised the glycogen diet (essentially carbo-loading) using information from former GB international Martin Hyman. “Low carbohydrates for three or four days and then high carbohydrates for three or four; it just worked a treat for me,” said Hill. “Anybody can do it.”


In 2014, Hill celebrated running every day for a whopping 50 years. That’s tenacity for you. It also helped him build enormous endurance reserves, honed by high-mileage weeks. This approach is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but Hill regularly topped 100 miles a week, peaking at around 130 miles three weeks out from race day.

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Just like his experimentation with clothing, Hill was constantly looking for an edge in training. Before the 1972 Olympics, Hill made his first foray into altitude training. He spent three weeks in St Moritz and upped his build-up by 25%. But he didn’t realise that the effects of altitude training aren’t felt at sea level until two weeks later. It was a risk, and one that misfired. Nonetheless, it demonstrated the fact he was never frightened to experiment.


Leg strength was one of the keys to Hill’s success. Not only did he compete over the marathon distance – setting an unofficial world record – but he regularly took to cross-country, winning The National on several occasions. His staple training diet was plenty of steady runs. Getting that base mileage up and ‘time on your feet’ may seem like an old-fashioned training style in today’s running world, but as Hill rightly asserts, “There are no quick fixes.”


Following legendary coach Percy Cerutty’s back-to-nature approach in Australia, which included a lot of barefoot running on sand dunes, Hill was one of several top English runners who began to train and compete barefoot. “I had started barefoot racing probably for two reasons. Firstly it fitted the image of the sort of athlete I wanted to be – a hard man, able to run without shoes – and secondly it was much easier to run, provided the ground was not slippery, because of reduced weight on the feet.” 

Words David Castle Photography Mark Shearman


15/12/2016 12:46



On 20 December 2014, Hill celebrated a run streak of 50 years. In that time, he has run a total of 134,502 miles. To put that into perspective, that’s like running just under 17 times the Earth’s diameter – and he’s still running today. You don’t build up 50 years of a run streak without massive mental strength.


Hill was a fanatical trainer. In the early part of his career, he would never take a rest day. This approach eventually saw him break down with illness and injury. It was only when he incorporated a more structured approach with recovery periods that he started to see real success. He came to realise that two recuperative periods a year were necessary. Once he learned how to avoid breaking down from his system of 13 training sessions a week, he became one of the best runners in the world.


OK, so it’s not really anatomy, but Hill was a pioneer in everything he did – not least in the kit he chose to race in. His iconic string vest was developed specifically for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico to keep him cool, while the Freedom Short was created after he couldn’t get full mobility in a cross-country race. Sometimes, it’s the marginal gains that can make the biggest difference.

■ KING OF THE HILL Born on 25 September 1938, Ron Hill was one of the most iconic and influential runners not just of his generation, but any generation. Possessed of “average” talent, he was an insatiable trainer who experimented with finding the perfect programme. He was the second man to break 2:10 in the marathon; he set world records at four other distances, but never laid claim to the marathon world record. In 1970, Hill won the 74th Boston Marathon in a course record 2:10:30. He also won gold medals for the marathon at the European Championships in 1969 and the Commonwealth Games in 1970. Hill was a racing machine, taking on all distances and surfaces before finally settling on the marathon where his 13-sessionsa-week regime and monster mileage brought him many successes – although arguably on the biggest stage (the Olympics) he didn’t do himself justice. Hill has not missed a day of running since December 1964. He defines a “run” as completing a distance of at least one mile at any pace. Ever the icon, Hill’s influence on today’s runners should never be underestimated.

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15/12/2016 12:46





Our monthly guide to running etiquette takes a look at how to master your first 26.2-miler

3. NO LASTMINUTE CHANGES You’ve been training in Hokas but those barefoot shoes at the Marathon Expo look incredible. Stop! Lastminute changes are the cause of many a marathon disaster. Keep your nerve and believe in your tried and tested kit. The same goes for your nutrition.

MARATHON MOMENTS The key points to remember during your debut marathon THE START: Despite the fact you slept for approximately 45 seconds last night, you’re absolutely buzzing. Not wanting to let excitement get the better of you, you deliberately start slowly. Then you look at your watch after a mile: 5:03. Damn it!


Too many printed-off-the-internet training plans prescribe an unrealistically high amount of miles. If you’re new to this marathon malarkey, be sensible and build your mileage gradually. Consider replacing a couple of your weekly runs with cross-training (pub darts doesn’t count).

2. ACCEPT THE INEVITABLE INJURY Injury-free build-ups to marathons occur about as frequently as blue moons. If/when the inevitable happens, don’t despair: a couple of run-free weeks does not spell the end of your marathon hopes. Cross-train, stretch and – please, please, please – don’t start harping on about your injury on Twitter. #NoOneCares. 34 • February 2017

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There may come a day when you ‘race’ the marathon. This is not that day. Marathon newbies are advised to respect the distance. That means an even-paced effort, with the first half of the race feeling comfortable. Save the Radcliffe-like heroics for your next marathon.


The support at many big-city marathons is as close as many of us will get to feeling like rockstars. Embrace it. High-five your fans… Accept the offer of a jelly baby… Break into a rousing rendition of ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’. OK, maybe not the last one. But you get the idea: enjoy the experience. Words Rick Pearson Illustrations Peter Liddiard @ Sudden Impact

HALFWAY: Still feeling good and in control. Perhaps this marathon malarkey isn’t so tough, after all. Now all you have to do is run that same distance again. I mean, how hard can it be? THE WALL: Uh-oh, spoke too soon. Why does it now feel as though you’re running through waist-high treacle? Maybe you shouldn’t have skipped that Sunday long run a few months ago in favour of watching the Liverpool vs Arsenal match at the pub. You don’t even like football. FINAL MILE: The end is in sight. Which is lucky, because you’re about to keel over. Look, a sign: 400m to go. You should probably sprint. Come on, legs: sprint. Nope. Going to have to jog this one in. Wait, why are you crying? Never mind, here’s the finish line! Exhaustion. Euphoria. Never again. OK, maybe next year…


Got an etiquette suggestion? Tweet us: @mensrunninguk


15/12/2016 12:51

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16/12/2016 14:54


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16/12/2016 13:03


Isaac Williams springs into action to answer the question you’ve all been asking: how can trampolining improve your running?


peaking as a man whose parents, in a moment of uncharacteristically carefree expenditure, bought me a trampoline for a childhood birthday – and safe in the knowledge that my belly flop was once as good as any kid's in the postcode – I made my way to the Kingston Trampoline Academy (KTA) full of confidence for the trial class ahead. On arrival, however, it became clear that my slightly nostalgic idea of trampolining was a little off. Packed into ‘The Hall’ were several shoulder-height trampolines being pushed to their limits by death-defying 12-year-olds; twists, flips and jumps were being performed with consummate ease. Impressive stuff, but not one attempt at the ‘flop’. Time to show these kids how it’s done… “Everyone can learn the basic jumps, twists and body landings in the first few sessions,” assures Andrew Freeman, managing director of KTA, as I attempt to get to grips with the trampoline's springiness (and my baby-giraffe-like coordination). But how can runners benefit from bouncing?


It’s an obvious point, but the best cross-training activities boost your

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fitness without jeopardising your running or leaving you injured. Trampolining is one such sport. “It’s a great workout for the whole body, but is particularly effective for the legs, glutes and core,” says Andrew. All that, with none of the knee-jarring risks that can come with pounding pavement. (Other risks associated with jumping 20 feet in the air may still apply.)


After working my way through the first few exercises in the coaching manual – which starts with the beginner-friendly (seat drops) and progresses to the Olympic (triple somersault with one and a half twists) – I find myself lying on my back, feet in the air, flapping about like a fish out of water in an attempt to bounce my back off the trampoline by kicking my legs. When I eventually find something like a rhythm, I look ridiculous, sure, but after just a minute or so my abs (or where they ought to be) are screaming out in pain. Core strength fosters an upright posture and, ultimately, efficient running. And trampolining is great for your core, because the unpredictability of each bounce means it's constantly engaged in an effort to maintain balance. Speaking of which...



As a runner, the better your balance the more relaxed you will be, because less energy is expelled simply trying to stay upright. “Trampolining develops your balance and coordination as you make small adjustments to stay upright,” says Andrew. And I can certainly attest to the balance-boosting powers of bouncing; simply staying in the centre of the trampoline is hard enough, and by the end of the session I felt mentally, as well as physically, tired – such is the level of concentration required.


Most people love the feeling after a long run or a tough workout. Other than running, though, keeping fit and having fun, in the moment, can be a rare thing. Trampolining is that rare thing, and I defy anyone to bounce around for a few minutes and not feel happier for it. Just don't expect your belly flop to impress anyone. GOT TO BOUNCE The trampoline was created by George Nissen, an American gymnast who, in the 1930s, marveled at the way trapeze artists would perform tricks when bouncing off the safety net. The sport of trampolining soon caught on and, in 2000, it became an Olympic sport. @mensrunninguk

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Injury-preventing advice from chiropractor and rehab therapist Robert Griffiths



If you sit at a desk all day, you may have poor thoracic spine extension – and that can make you a less efficient runner. Here’s a simple fix


s I sit here writing this article, I am sat down using my laptop, shoulders rounded, head forward, spine slouching. I look like a genetic cross between Mr Burns from The Simpsons and a T-Rex. Most runners I treat with injuries have this appalling posture. They have adopted this “couch potato” look as their permanent position, even when they run. Just for comparison, think about some of your favourite athletes when they are in full flight; Mo Farah certainly doesn’t have a slumped head, even at the very end of a 10,000m race. This ability to extend your thoracic spine is an important factor in aligning your hips, knees and back properly, allowing you to generate efficient forces to propel you forward. I would guess that 90% of the population have inadequate thoracic extension in their spines, due to sedentary lifestyles and the overuse of computers. Luckily, the easiest way to fix this is very simple. A daily maintenance exercise on a 30cm foam roller that only takes a minute will ensure that your Quasimodo posture is a thing of the past.

Robert Griffiths is a rehab therapist and chiropractor:

FOAM ROLLER FIX 1. Lie on your back 2. Position the foam roller in-between your shoulder blades, perpendicular to your spine 3. Raise your arms above your head and extend backwards over the roller. You will feel your spine clicking and releasing the tight joints 4. Move the roller up and down your back and repeat for one minute in total

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15/12/2016 14:21

Should men and women run the same distance at cross-country, asks Laura Fountain




Even field: is it time for men and women to run the same distance in cross-country?


he gun fires and 300 women fly off at the start of the season’s cross-country opener. It’s unseasonably sunny, warm and dry for the start of a winter of crosscountry racing. I’m feeling good after lap one, so I push on, because every person I overtake means more points for my team. I finish with my lungs burning and legs screaming. Hands on knees, I catch my breath. Truly racing any distance is hard. I talk to a male clubmate as we cheer on the rest of the finisher. “I wish we could do 6K” he says. “I don’t fancy three laps of this.” Men and women have traditionally raced different distances at cross-country events, and recently there have been more moves for parity in the distances. The IAAF World Cross-Country Championships have standardised distances for men and women at 10K. The senior men’s race had previously been 12K, with senior women competing over 8K.


“MY PROPOSAL IS TO KEEP BOTH DISTANCES BUT HAVE THEM OPEN TO BOTH GENDERS” It seems a fair compromise that the two distances should meet in the middle, although there’s bound to be some grumbling from athletes on both sides who feel the new distance doesn’t quite play to their strengths. Now national, regional and local cross-country leagues must decide what distances their athletes will run. The IAAF has recommended that national and international competitions follow its lead but there is, as yet, no hard and fast rule. At a local level, I fear that something would be lost by splitting the difference and making both genders race 7K. And for some races – with a rich history and

a layout that makes this new distance impossible – that could mean the women’s distance being raised to meet the men’s. I don’t for one second think that women aren’t capable of running the same distance as men. On the track and road we already compete on the same level, so it’s odd for the disparity on the mud. I know plenty of women who would welcome that third lap at my local race and I’d be happy to give it a go. But there would be a number of women that would be put off running cross-country by those extra painful kilometres, as I’m sure many men are already. So my proposal is to keep both distances but have them open to both genders. Let runners choose if they want to run 6K or 8K and have two finish chutes for men and women. I’m sure both distances would make for competitive races – after all, we don’t view the 5K Olympic final as inferior to the 10K. They’re different races suited to different athletes. But at the other end of the race where runners just want to complete, rather than compete, both men and women would have another option.

3 SPORTING INJUSTICES TOUR DE FRANCE VS LA COURSE Women get just one day of iconic racing. TENNIS Women’s Grand Slam matches are decided over the best of three sets while men play the best of five. OLYMPIC SKI JUMPING Women’s event wasn’t introduced to the Winter Olympics until 2014. They compete at one event versus the men’s three. February 2017 • 41

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15/12/2016 14:22

Marathon training doesn’t have to take over your life. With proper planning and realistic ambitions, you can enjoy a stress-free journey to your 26.2-miler

EXPERT ADVICE Martin Yelling is an endurance coach, ex-international athlete and husband to Olympic marathoner Liz Yelling. With a half marathon PB of 66 minutes, Martin specialises in running coaching and hosts the Marathon Talk podcast.

BUSY MAN MARATHON PLAN Firstly, realise that running a marathon is tough and does require a level of commitment and dedication from you. Although it’s certainly possible to bowl up on race day and get round, the likelihood with poor or no training is that you’ll have a terrible experience. Training for a marathon on a busy life schedule is possible, but you’ve got to know and understand your marathon motivations, commitments and constraints, and be happy with what you can realistically give.




ou’ve committed to training for a marathon. You’re also committed to your job, your family and your other interests. In fact, there’s plenty of other stuff you could be cracking on with. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done and before you know it the week, month, or perhaps even a year has flown by. In an ideal world, you’d follow a bespoke marathon training plan, build up progressively and appropriately, run four to six times a week, have plenty of time for stretching every day, eat really healthily, get loads of deep sleep, have regular physio, and have time to reflect and be mindful. Yeah. Right. If you’re not the type of bloke who feels content with purely rocking up on race day and giving it your best shot with little or no preparation (and you’re not because you’re reading this), I’ll offer some time-saving measures that can make marathon training more feasible for time-poor men.

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Runners arrive at marathon start lines with very different training journeys, backgrounds, fitness levels, degrees of training success and race-day aspirations. You might not to be in the best shape ever, but you do want to survive, get round and even enjoy the experience. To do so, there are some basics of being ready for a marathon that are non-negotiable. 1. Do a build-up. You can’t rush or squeeze the miles in. Ideally, you’ll have completed 12 weeks of regular running. Consistent, regular running matters more than irregular, stop-start workouts. ■ Weeks 1 to 4: Build a routine and identify opportunities to get out and run. Be firm with yourself but flexible with your week where possible. ■ Weeks 5 to 8: Crank it up. Focus on one longer run a week that progressively increases in distance. ■ Weeks 9-10: Not to be missed! These include the two longest runs you’ll aim to cover: 16 to 18 miles. ■ Weeks 11-12: Stick to the routine, reduce the distance and volume and be fresh for marathon day. 2. Actually do some running. Aim for three runs a week. In the first few weeks


these will likely be shorter (under 45 minutes) as you progress and build up, but by the time you are rolling into week four to 10 these should be 45 minutes, 60 minutes and one longer effort. 3. Do some distance. Run long. There’s no escaping the fact that a marathon is 26.2 miles. Run, jog, walk or crawl it; you’ve got to cover that distance to bag your medal at the end. Be ready to tackle some distance runs and find the time in your week to add a little more distance as the week’s progress.


■ Don’t procrastinate. If you can spy a training window in the day, make sure you take it. ■ Focus your time-commitments. Ask yourself honestly where you waste time, and re-prioritise to get your run in. ■ You can achieve a lot in 45 minutes. Run harder once a week to improve the benefits. ■ Plan your diary. Try running to or from work, or early in the morning or last thing at night. ■ Find slots (negotiate them!) that work around your family, work and other commitments. ■ Have a laugh. Don’t put a whole bunch of pressure on yourself. You’re supposed to want to do it. Drag a mate out for a few runs – they don’t have to be doing the marathon but might help to keep you on track.


15/12/2016 15:26


TIME-SAVING MARATHON SESSIONS • 40min acceleration run

Great session for a good workout in a short time. Start the run at an easy pace for 10mins (around 50% of maximum effort). Every 10mins ramp up the pace a little (60%–70%–80%). You’ll be working hard by the end.

• 5 miles at marathon pace

This will really help you dial into your marathon pace and how it feels. It’s not going to knock you out but is a banker of a run to practise discipline and control.

• 60min test

Run as far as you can in 60mins. This is good as a benchmark run and will help you monitor your fitness and progress.


Do you have a question for Martin? Drop us an email at

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15/12/2016 15:27

UPPER-BODY BLAST Excess bulk is a runner’s worst nightmare, but upper-body strength work can’t be ignored; a functionally strong upper body creates stability, rhythm and a reduced a risk of injury

KETTLEBELL SWING 1 SINGLE-ARM Muscles: Lower back, shoulders, core, hamstrings

Why do it? To mobilise your joints and work your entire posterior chain Technique: Place a kettlebell between your feet Keeping a straight back, push your bum back and bend your knees Pick up the kettlebell, look straight ahead and forcefully swing the kettlebell between your legs Reverse the swing and drive with your hips to bring the kettlebell to around eye level Let it swing back between your legs and repeat Top tip: Keep a straight back throughout and make sure the momentum is coming from your hips

Reps and sets: Perform each exercise for one minute and complete all exercises as a circuit. Rest no more than 15 seconds between exercises and two minutes between circuits. Repeat the circuit three to five times

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Words Isaac Williams Illustrations Peter Liddiard @ Sudden Impact


15/12/2016 15:28



Return the dumbbells to the starting position Top tip: Keep your chest out and exhale as you push up

4 PUSH-UPS Muscles:

Lower, with control and elbows tucked in, until your chest is about an inch from the floor Exhale as you push back up to the starting position Top tip: For a tougher challenge, place your feet on an elevated platform to increase the resistance

Muscles: Shoulders, quads, triceps Why do it? To build full-body strength Technique: Hold a pair of dumbbells just above your shoulders, with palms facing each other Lower into a squat position Explosively stand back up and push the dumbbells overhead

Chest, shoulders, triceps Why do it? To improve functional upper-body strength for balance and power Technique: Lie on the floor with hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart Push yourself up until your arms are extended


Squeeze your back muscles at the top of the movement Lower the weights with control Top tip: Be careful not to arch your back and focus on the contraction at the top of the movement

DIPS 5 TRICEP Muscles:

elbows until your upper arm and forearm form a 90-degree angle Contract your triceps and push back up to the starting position Top tip: Don’t ‘flare’ your elbows: keep them tucked in, close to your torso

Muscles: Lats, upper back, biceps Why do it? To improve back strength to stabilise the spine and pelvis Technique: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, with palms facing each other Keep your back straight and bend at the waist until your torso is almost parallel to the floor Keeping your head up and elbows tucked in, raise the dumbbells to your side

Triceps, chest, shoulders Why do it? To build strong arms for a powerful sprint finish Technique: Sit on a flat bench Grab the edge and move your body away from the bench, so your arms are supporting you Lower your body by bending your

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Get an exclusive 10% discount when you sign up to any Fix Events race Each year, Fix Events organises over 50 events across the UK, including the hugely popular MoRunning Series, Triathlons, 5K and 10K runs, as well as charitable and corporate events. In addition, if you are looking to organise a run for your company or a team building day do get in touch to discuss bespoke event services. You don’t have to be super fit to join in. Fix Events welcomes entrants of all abilities and ages to their fun and friendly events such as the All Nations 5K and 10K runs, where you can feel like a champion representing your country as you take on the Olympic venue, Windsor’s Dorney Lake. If you fancy a slightly bigger challenge, then take on the All Nations Triathlon on the same day, which is always a superb event full of great national spirit. In the historic Greenwich Park, there are the Tough Runs if you feel like tackling an undulating 5K, 10K or 5K, or the competitive Battle of the Boroughs which pits areas against each other to crown the top London borough! There are many more events on the schedule, so check out the Fix Events diary. Visit for more information and to book online, and follow thefixevents on Facebook and Twitter @fixevents.


Fix Events have a packed diary for 2017. To enter any of the events below, book online at Don’t forget to use the promotional code FIXEBIRD-MWR-2017 to claim your 10% discount! For all future events, please visit DATES



JAN Sat 14 Jan

Richmond Park Race 1: 5K & 10K

Sat 28 Jan

Richmond Park Race 2: 5K & 10K



Sat 25 Feb Sat 18 March

Richmond Spring Riverside 10K

Fix Events is giving Men’s Running and Women’s Running readers an exclusive 10% discount to any of its upcoming events with promotional code FIXEBIRD-MWR-2017. Book online at to redeem this offer. Limited availability.

Sat 25 March

Tough 5K, 10K and 15K Run

Richmond Park Race 3: 5K & 10K




APRIL Sat 1 April

Richmond Park Race 4: 5K & 10K

Sat 22 April

Richmond Park Race 5: 5K & 10K


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Sat 13 May

All Nations Triathlon

Sat 13 May

All Nations 5K & 10K

Sat 20 May

Battle of the Boroughs London

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ultimate race guide Looking for your next running challenge? Check out these top 100 winter/spring 2017 races from around the UK and overseas. From 5Ks to ultras, and everything in between, you won’t want to miss these events… 5K


half marathon


overseas marathon

obstacle and ultra

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THE SUFFERING 5K MUD RUN, LEICESTERSHIRE 11 MARCH 2017 This 5K obstacle race through the idyllic grounds of Rockingham Castle is described as an ‘entry-level race’, but don’t be fooled; it’s tough. And great fun too! So if you love a bit of mucky tomfoolery this is the one for you. Expect mud water and a lot of laughs as you work your way round the 15-obstacle course.

THE GRAVESEND FLOODLIT 5K, KENT 5 JANUARY 2017 An evening run, this event starts at 7pm in the Cyclopark in Gravesend and is ideal for those wanting to push a bit harder and work on their speedwork during the winter months. The two-lap, floodlit race is on a tarmac cycling track. The self-contained course also incorporates plenty of car parking, great spectator viewing and refreshment facilities.

THE DIRTY DEVIL STAMPEDE, BOVINGTON 17 JANUARY 2017 The Dirty Devil returns to The Bovington Tank Range for its second year. The land is usually solely reserved for army training, but they make an exception for this tough multi-terrain mud run. The race takes place over the Army’s vehicle testing tracks so expect it to be dirty, gritty and interesting!

THE LEICESTER CITY 5K WINTER SERIES, LEICESTER 1 FEBRUARY 2017 This race takes place in Leicester’s Victoria Park and features two laps of the park. It’s undulating, with frequent water stops and distance markers at every kilometre. It’s a traffic–free course with supervised bag storage. All finishers receive a medal, prizes and finish-line goodies.

RUN ETON DORNEY, WINDSOR 4 FEBRUARY 2017 The Run Eton 5K race is the perfect winter training run. Ideal for

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notching a quick time, the route circles the 5K lake and offers smooth, flat and fast paths and roads. Whether you’re looking to beat your PB or not, don’t miss out!

RUN FOR CHOCOLATE 5K, VARIOUS LOCATIONS FEBRUARY 2017 Chocolate lovers, this race is calling you! The emphasis is on fun for this event. You won’t be timed, so forget about that PB and just concentrate on having a good time. Bring your friends and family along to cheer you on – they’ll love the party atmosphere, live music and unlimited luxury hot chocolate.

MILTON KEYNES FESTIVAL OF RUNNING 5K, MILTON KEYNES 5 MARCH 2017 Starting at the Xscape Centre, this one–lap course leads you through town and country and is mostly flat. All finishers receive a medal and this event, as part of a festival, offers competitors that big race feel.

INVERNESS 5K FUN RUN, INVERNESS 12 MARCH 2017 This entry-level race is great for all types of runners, from experienced racers to children just starting out. The route heads towards Inverness city centre before crossing the River Ness, then heading under Ness Castle and alongside the river. Runners then cross through the Ness Islands before heading into Queens Park Stadium. The race is beautifully scenic, and great fun!


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CANCER RESEARCH UK WINTER RUN, MANCHESTER 12 FEBRUARY 2017 Whether you’re looking to liven up your standard 10K with some epic winter fun, train for a spring marathon, or raise money to help beat cancer sooner, this is the event to keep you active this winter. Expect snow machines, partying penguins and polar bears.

INFLATABLE 5K, WOLVERHAMPTON 21 MAY 2017 Like a 5K and love a bouncy castle? Then this race is for you. Get on over to Wolverhampton and prepare for this inflatable challenge. Don’t expect to be walking on air though. You’ll be pitting yourself against 10 extreme inflatable challenges that will let you flip, bounce and boing your way to that finish line.

■ 10K RACES KNACKER CRACKER, SURREY 1 JANUARY 2017 An aptly named race that will be sure to shake off your New Year’s Eve hangover. It’s still a family affair though; ladies can sign up for the Knicker Knacker and then there’s the Nipper Knacker for the kids. Now, can you say all of that three times fast? ENDURANCELIFE COASTAL TRAIL SERIES, DOVER 14 JANUARY 2017 The Coastal Trail Series is truly incredible. Whether the race is in Suffolk or Northumberland, 44 miles in length or 10K, it’s bound to be special. This race sees runners take on a wonderful course situated near the iconic White Cliffs tower. The coastal path skims the Kent Downs and makes for a fantastic route.

VICTORIA PARK 10K, LONDON 22 JANUARY 2017 Held in London’s oldest park, this race is fast, flat and perfect if

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you’re after a PB. But if you want to take it slow and steady, you’ll enjoy the beautiful and historic setting – listed on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, no less.

QUEEN ELIZABETH OLYMPIC PARK 10K RUN, LONDON 4 MARCH 2017 This new park is situated at the heart of east London and was called Olympic Park before it was renamed to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The race is a 10K jog through the park to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation, while taking in the impressive, world–famous London 2012 Olympic village. There’s also a 5K option if you prefer.

RICHMOND SPRING RIVERSIDE 10K 18 MARCH 2017 Join The Fix Events for this fast and flat riverside race. The location is amazing, with stunning scenery. Running along the riverside, from Richmond towards Kingston and back, you can enjoy views of the river for most of the way.

THE 6TH LLANDUDNO EASTER 5K PROMENADE DASH, LLANDUDNO, CONWY 15 APRIL 2017 Make like the Easter Bunny and hop along to this fast and flat 5K – good for beginners and those looking to crack a new PB. Cross that finish line and you’ll be rewarded with Easter eggs.


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WHERE’S WALLY? FUN RUN, LONDON 19 MARCH 2017 This Clapham Common race is back; bigger and better than ever. Fancy dress is a must, but you won’t be hard to spot wearing Wally’s outfit in south London. It’s a real family affair with 10K, 5K and 1K options available. All adults are asked to fundraise £100 to help the National Literacy Trust support those in need. fundraising_and_events/fun_run

THE GLENLIVET 10K, CAIRNGORMS NATIONAL PARK 9 APRIL 2017 This race takes place in the stunning Glenlivet Estate in the Cairngorms National Park, giving it the title of the ‘most beautiful run in Scotland’. The start and finish of the event are based at the Glenlivet Distillery and every runner will receive a special event memento and a goody bag.–for–us/events/ glenlivet–10k

ASDA FOUNDATION CITY OF LINCOLN 10K, LINCOLN 2 APRIL 2017 The City of Lincoln 10K, which is a part of the Run For All 10K Series, is as good a race as you’ll come across. The event is run by the Asda Foundation, and is a fantastic occasion for both runners and spectators. Full of character, the location fits the bill in terms of scenery and atmosphere, making the day a lively and entertaining occasion.

GREAT RUN BRISTOL 10K, BRISTOL 7 MAY 2017 Starting and finishing in Bristol’s historic Harbourside, the race takes runners on a fast point–to–point loop. The route sees participants travel along the Harbourside, Portway, through Avon Gorge and twice under Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge.

SCIMITAR LIGHTNING RUN 12HR 10K, DERBYSHIRE 29-30 APRIL 2017 Taking place in Walton upon Trent’s Catton Park, this event

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requires you to run as many times as you can round the 10K off– road course. Runners have 12 hours to tally up as many laps as possible, and can run it solo or as part of a team. The ultimate test of strength and endurance.

BUPA GREAT MANCHESTER RUN, MANCHESTER 28 MAY 2017 Europe’s leading 10K starts and finishes in Manchester City centre, and includes a ‘run–through’ shower and a few ‘Bands on the Run’ throughout the course. So there’s no need to worry about a lack of music or refreshment on the day.

VITALITY LONDON 10,000, LONDON 29 MAY 2017 Starting and finishing in St James’s Park, this 10K takes in all of London’s main attractions. This year, it also features the British 10K Championships, with eligible British Athletes being given complimentary entry to the event.

CHELTENHAM CHALLENGE, CHELTENHAM 18 JUNE 2017 An off–road event with a scenic course on sections of the Cheltenham Circular Footpath, Cotswold Way and Winchcombe Way. The event is organised by County Community Projects, who provide a range of services aimed at preventing homelessness, strengthening families and supporting independence, so you’ll be running for a great cause.


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! E S A E S I D T R A E H T S N I A G A T H G I F JOIN US IN OUR Take on a BHF Run in 2017 and join the fight for every heartbeat. From muddy trail runs, to running in World Heritage sites, to street jogs in the Capital, with 5k, 10k and Half Marathon distances to choose from, there is something to suit all. Sunday 26 February 2017

Wednesday 17 May 2017



Take on 10k or a Half Marathon across muddy off-road tracks and steep forest inclines, all set within the stunning grounds of Yorkshire’s historic Harewood House.

Sunday 5th March 2017


Starting and finishing at Warwick Racecourse, join thousands of runners on this completely traffic-free route around the beautiful town of Warwick and its surrounding countryside.

Saturday 18 March 2017


Join thousands of Heart Runners and choose from a 5k or 10k run at the Capital’s famous Royal park, with incredible views of London zoo.

Take on 5k or 10k and explore the wonders of this historic fortress at the Tower’s only running event.

September 2017


Run 5 or 10k at this popular street jog in the heart of London’s business district, a great way to end your working day, while joining the fight against heart disease.

Sunday 1 October 2017


This impressive World Heritage site provides the backdrop for the Half Marathon, 10k or 2k Family Fun Run, offering something for all ages and abilities.

Sunday 26 March 2017


Run 5k or 10k where Olympic greats made their name in 2012 and become a heart hero.

To register for one of our events, please visit or call 0300 330 3322 © British Heart Foundation, registered charity in England and Wales (225971) and in Scotland (SC039426)

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half marathon

■ HALF MARATHON VITALITY BRIGHTON HALF MARATHON, BRIGHTON 26 FEBRUARY 2017 Organised by the charity Sussex Beacon – which supports men, women and families living with HIV – this is one of the UK’s most popular races. Starting at the seafront on Madeira Drive, runners head north past the Brighton Pavilion before turning back towards the coast, and ultimately the finish. The course is fun and enjoyable, and the atmosphere on race day is electric!

MILTON KEYNES HALF MARATHON, MILTON KEYNES 5 MARCH 2017 Taking place under the Festival of Running, this race is a real treat. Starting on the central dual–carriageways of Milton Keynes, runners then get to enjoy a winding run towards the finish. The half marathon, given the date of the race, is ideal for those wanting to train for the London Marathon.

INVERNESS HALF MARATHON, INVERNESS 12 MARCH 2017 A huge turnout of 3,000 runners took part in the half marathon last year, and it’s expected to be just as popular this year. The race starts along the banks of the River Ness. Following the river, it then continues under the impressive outline of Inverness Castle before finishing at the city’s Queens Park Stadium.

VITALITY BATH HALF MARATHON, BATH 12 MARCH 2017 This ‘Big City’ race is a real cracker. Starting and finishing at Great Pulteney Street, runners tackle two loops of a fast and flat course. Including both sides of the river Avon, it leads through the centre of the historic city on a route that’s been unchanged since 2006.

ADIDAS SILVERSTONE HALF MARATHON, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE 12 MARCH 2017 The motor racing circuit plays a superb host to this fantastic race, which is a suitable choice for both novice and experienced runners. The flat course makes this approachable, but beatable.

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So whether you’re aiming for a quick time or to run your first half marathon, this is for you.

VITALITY LIVERPOOL HALF MARATHON, LIVERPOOL 25 MARCH 2017 This scenic half marathon, through the streets and parks of Liverpool, is a real catch. The race starts and finishes around the Pier Head area and the only incline comes after the one-mile mark, when runners make their way up Upper Parliament Street. The final stretch along the prom can also be quite windy, so save yourself for the end!

VITALITY NORTH LONDON HALF MARATHON, LONDON 12 MARCH 2017 Like your team sports? Well then, this might just be for you. The race starts at Saracens Rugby Club’s Allianz Park, and takes runners through the streets of north London, and then on to Wembley Stadium. Here, a length of England’s iconic ground will be covered before then heading back to a packed Allianz Park.

THE HASTINGS HALF MARATHON, HASTINGS 19 MARCH 2017 Expect fantastic crowd support along this course which circumnavigates the ancient town of Hastings, starting at the seafront and following the route of William the Conqueror towards Battle, round the back of the town and down to the famous ‘Old Town’ and fishing Village of Hastings


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rd Hastings

Half Marathon plus

Mini Run for 11-16 ages

Sunday 19th March, 2017 - Start 10.30am  Open to all abilities, and you can raise monies for your own needy causes.  Fantastic crowd support, six bands, two discos, two choirs on route.  Unique ‘Hastings Brass’ to all finishers, plus a hot drink.  Free quality programme, free parking.  Good train service to nearby station.

Enter now by going to our website: MR73_055.indd 55

Photographs courtesy of:

Organised by

The Lions Club of Hastings Registered Charity No. 293745

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half marathon

THE BROOKS FLEET HALF MARATHON, HAMPSHIRE 19 MARCH 2017 Now in its 35th year, this is one of the longest running half marathons in the UK. Extremely popular around fleet and its surrounding towns, the race uses a flat course and takes runners across a mix of urban and rural roads. The event is perfect for those planning to run a spring marathon, and a few thousand participants are expected to again turn up on the day. This is a well organised and friendly event, so give it a go!

CAMBRIDGE HALF MARATHON, CAMBRIDGE 5 MARCH 2017 Beginning on Victoria Avenue and ending on Midsummer Common, the race passes some of the city’s most iconic locations. Places including the Market Square and the Round Church are featured on the route, which takes runners on two laps round the stunning course. The roads are pretty flat, too, which makes for a great run. The event has sold out, but you can still bag a charity place, so sign up now to make a difference to those in need.

WARWICK HALF MARATHON, WARWICKSHIRE 5 MARCH 2017 Organised by the British Heart Foundation, this race is both good fun and in aid of a great cause. The half marathon starts and finishes at Warwick Racecourse, following an undulating route through the town and its beautiful countryside.

VITALITY READING HALF MARATHON, READING 19 MARCH 2017 This all-abilities race starts at Green Park and then heads through the town centre of Reading. Runners then make their way through the stunning grounds of the University campus before finish inside the Majeski Stadium. The course can yield a PB, but it is also a great choice for new and leisurely runners.

PLUSNET YORKSHIRE HALF MARATHON, SHEFFIELD 9 APRIL 2017 With a city centre start and finish, this event boasts a super scenic

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route – with stunning views of the Peak District for those who conquer the climb to Ringinglow. Finishers will be rewarded with a technical t-shirt, goody bag and an exclusive medal. ABP SOUTHAMPTON HALF, SOUTHAMPTON 23 APRIL 2017 This run is the perfect event for first–timers and old pros alike. Starting at Hoglands Park this is a fairly flat route – but you can expect a unique ascent up the Itchen Bridge, which will be specially closed for the event, so you can expect sprawling views over the river and the city’s commercial centre.

SIGLION SUNDERLAND HALF MARATHON, SUNDERLAND 7 MAY 2017 After five years based at the Stadium of Light, the Sunderland Half Marathon (and the Sunderland City 10K) has a new home at Keel Square, a symbol of the city’s renewal and regeneration. Although this takes the race closer to the city centre, most of the city’s most iconic landmarks will remain on the route. Spectacular coastal views and a brilliant atmosphere are guaranteed.

VITALITY RUN HACKNEY HALF MARATHON, LONDON 7 MAY 2017 Want to get a new PB? Then this fast and flat race through Hackney and the iconic Queen Elizabeth Royal Park is for you. Enthusiastic spectators and live entertainment lend a carnival atmosphere to the event, lifting you over the finish line.


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7 1 0 2 h c r a 5 M th


iff d r a C , k r a Bute P om

run.c y a d s d i v tda s . w w w e onlin







10K Affiliated Fee Non-affiliated Fee 5K Affiliated Fee Non-affiliated Fee 1K Fee

£19 £21 £12 £14 £6

Contact Tel: 08442 438438

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half marathon

PLUSNET RUN FOR ALL LEEDS HALF MARATHON, LEEDS 14 MAY 2017 This highly rated race is bursting with life. As one of the largest annual sporting events in Leeds, Yorkshire’s biggest hospice run raises money for a number of local and national charities. The race starts on The Headrow and finishes in Cookridge Street – to the side of landmark Millennium Square – taking in the city centre and suburbs. So join the fun and enter this brilliant event today!

HENLEY HALF MARATHON TRAIL RUN, HENLEY ON THAMES 14 MAY 2017 If you’re not a local then this is a great opportunity to visit the idyllic Henley On Thames. The trail run starts and finishes at Temple Island Meadows, the official start line for the Royal Henley Regatta. There’s a 10K option, too.

which starts and finishes at the foot of Windsor Castle. There’s a 10K option too, but the cut-off time for the half marathon is 3:30, making it achievable if you’d like to mix running and walking so you can admire the sights at your leisure.

EMF EDINBURGH HALF MARATHON, EDINBURGH 28 MAY 2017 Following the fast Edinburgh Marathon route, this half marathon is just as quick. The course is incredibly flat so makes for great first– time racing, and it’s also ideal for those seeking a PB. This is one of the largest UK half marathons, but it has sold out every year since 2012. Sign up quick to secure your place.

ESSAR CHESTER HALF MARATHON, CHESTER 21 MAY 2017 Chester is full of character, and this vibrant race is no different. Starting at Chester Racecourse, the route runs north–west out of the city before turning back and finishing outside of the Town Hall and Cathedral. Runners get to travel across some (usually much– welcomed!) wide roads, and the fast and relatively flat nature of the course allows for a smooth start to finish. Bursting with energy and life, this race is definitely worth a go!

SNOWDONIA HALF MARATHON, SNOWDONIA NATIONAL PARK 21 MAY 2017 Snowdonia National Park is a runners’ paradise. Starting and finishing in the village of Llanrwst, this scenic North Wales race is wonderfully inspiring. Deep forests, rocky mountains and cascading rivers accompany participants on their way to the finish. Are you up for the challenge?

ROYAL WINDSOR HALF MARATHON RIVER TRAIL RUN, BERKSHIRE 21 MAY 2017 Experience the historic Thames Valley with this fantastic race

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SOUTH DOWNS TRAIL HALF MARATHON, HAMPSHIRE 17 JUNE 2017 This trail race sets the tone early on, so don’t expect an easy ride. The start of the half marathon sees runners tackle a one-mile climb up the South Downs Way to the radio mast at the top of Butser Hill. Hilly and testing, this is a real off–road challenge.

SALOMON TRAIL HALF MARATHON WALES, COED Y BRENIN 17 JUNE 2017 Wales’ Coed y Brenin forest, located in Snowdonia National Park, is a place of amazing beauty. So as you might well imagine, running within its surroundings is pretty amazing. The half marathon race lets you do just that. The event also holds a marathon race, so there’s something for everyone.


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half marathon


JCP SWANSEA HALF MARATHON, SWANSEA 25 JUNE 2017 You’ll be able to take in the sights of Swansea if you take on this race which starts and ends in the heart of the city; from the historic Swansea Castle, to stunning views over Swansea Bay and the famous St Helen’s Rugby Ground. As you head towards the Meridian Tower, the fast and flat promenade onto Swansea Marina will give you perfect conditions if you’re aiming for a PB. Expect this to be a lively event.

TORBAY HALF MARATHON, DEVON 25 JUNE 2017 This half marathon in Torbay is a great choice for all you seaside lovers. Devon plays the perfect host to this coastal classic. Runners are taken on a two-lap route where they’ll head towards Torquay – passing Torre Abbey and the Princess Gardens before returning to Paignton. This lively event has a real buzz!

■ MARATHONS STEYNING STINGER MARATHON, WEST SUSSEX 5 MARCH 2017 This isn’t called the ‘Stinger’ for nothing. Taking place on the South Downs, on the outskirts of the quaint town of Steyning, the course covers countryside, roads and four hills (also known as ‘stings’). So hold on tight, as this is one tricky ride – but you can look forward to a full English when you cross that finish line.

ASICS GREATER MANCHESTER MARATHON, LANCASHIRE 2 APRIL 2017 The Greater Manchester Marathon is a real cracker. The ASICSsponsored event gives runners the chance to partake in a fast and flat course that finishes at Manchester United’s spectacular Old Trafford stadium.

BRIGHTON MARATHON, BRIGHTON 9 APRIL 2017 This is one of the UK’s most popular events. Renowned for its

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lively atmosphere, the event seems to grow bigger and better each year. Weaving through the streets of Brighton, the race then continues alongside the bright blue of the ocean before finally ending on the city’s magnificent seafront.

GREAT WELSH MARATHON, CARMARTHENSHIRE 30 APRIL 2017 - TBC Over 60% of those who have taken part in this event have come away with a PB. It comes as no surprise given the race’s incredibly fast, traffic–free route, that takes runners in and around Llanelli’s Millennium Coastal Park. A real treat of a race, so don’t miss out!

BARRINGTONS GREAT LIMERICK RUN, LIMERICK, IRELAND 30 APRIL 2017 Part of the Riverfest Limerick weekend, this race promises to be good craic. The medieval city will welcome over 14,000 runners and 40,000 spectators along the course of the sixth Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run, with a route that takes in picturesque countryside and riverside locations.

ROTARY SHAKESPEARE MARATHON, STAFFORDSHIRE 7 MAY 2017 Starting and finishing in Stratford–upon–Avon, this race takes runners on a two–lap course through the town and its surrounding countryside. The route is pretty flat and mainly covers road or gritty terrain. The event donates over 60% of your entree fee to charity, and prides itself on only having a few sponsors.


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VIRGIN MONEY LONDON MARATHON, LONDON 23 APRIL 2017 The London Marathon is one of the world’s showcase running events, drawing in worldclass athletes, regular racers and fun runners. First held in 1981, the race has since catapulted in size but tends to still follow a similar route. The course is relatively flat and fast and runners are taken from Blackheath through to Buckingham Palace. This highly-rated race is extremely popular so, if accepted to run, make the most of it!

BLACKPOOL MARATHON, BLACKPOOL 23 APRIL 2017 This fun event is a great day out for friends and family. The marathon is joined by 10K and half marathon races, so there’s something for runners of all abilities and experience. The longest race follows a two–lap course over fast and flat tarmac terrain, making for a quick run.

MILTON KEYNES MARATHON, MILTON KEYNES 1 MAY 2017 The Milton Keynes Marathon has a total elevation of just 315 feet, so ready that stopwatch. The route sees participants complete one single loop, on scenic lake and canal-side ground as well as through the leafy city centre. Starting and finishing inside the MK Dons stadium, this is a must-run race.

DEEP RIVER ROCK BELFAST CITY MARATHON, BELFAST 1 MAY 2017 Most of the course is reasonably flat, but expect a few hills through miles nine to fourteen. Asics are official partners for the event and will be offering training advice to all runners via MY ASICS, a free online service to help you achieve your running goals. Expect amazing support from the crowd, too.

HALSTEAD AND ESSEX MARATHON, ESSEX 7 MAY 2017 North Essex isn’t best known for its natural beauty. But the scenic location does actually make for a great race setting, the type

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perfect for a marathon. The marathon makes use of the area’s rolling hills, forests and quiet back roads. Smooth running and well organised, this pretty race is great fun.

BRATHAY WINDERMERE MARATHON, CUMBRIA 21 MAY 2017 Starting and finishing at Brathay Hall in the heart of the Lake District, this stunning race follows an anti–clockwise route around Lake Windermere. Runners are taken through Hawkshead, Newby Bridge, Bowness–on–Windermere and Ambleside. Tough at times but friendly enough for most runners, this scenic event is certainly one for the calendar.

RICHMOND PARK MARATHON, SURREY 21 MAY 2017 The beautiful location of Richmond Park is the capital’s biggest enclosed space, so makes the perfect place for a long-distance race. The course is made up of three laps of the park, with the first being longer in length than the last two. The route is not the easiest, but the setting makes for a great occasion.

EDINBURGH MARATHON, EDINBURGH 28 MAY 2017 Now officially the fastest marathon in the UK, you won’t want to miss this one. The Edinburgh race, now in its 13th year, is the largest of its kind in Scotland. The course is fast and flat and has an elevation drop of almost 40 metres, perfect for achieving a PB.


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overseas marathon

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL LIVERPOOL MARATHON, LIVERPOOL 28 MAY 2017 Love music? This marathon is the one for you. The start line is on the Liverpool Waterfront at the Albert Dock, a few minutes walk from the Liverpool One Shopping complex and Liverpool Echo Arena. This fun and friendly event has live bands playing round the course to spur you on, a fantastic atmosphere and lots of runners in fancy dress. The course has some hills but over 30 live bands will get you round. At the end, you’ll get a very blingy medal and more food than you can carry. Brilliant fun.

BOLTON HILL MARATHON, LANCASHIRE 10 JUNE 2017 This is one of the toughest marathons around. Extremely hilly, the course boasts a total ascent of 2,997ft – reaching 1,050ft on the first climb alone. Starting and finishing in the same area, the route follows some of the West Pennine Moors’ most beautiful country roads and trails.

SOUTH DOWNS RELAY MARATHON, WEST SUSSEX 17 JUNE 2017 As far as trail races go, this is one of the best out there. The route takes in some of the South Downs’ most stunning scenery and the race itself is great fun, too. The relay race is split into quarters, so give your mates a call and give it a go!

MIDNIGHT MOUNTAIN MARATHON, POWYS 24 JUNE 2017 The Midnight Marathon, held in Wales’ stunning Brecon Beacons, is one gruelling challenge. Runners are given between 5.30pm and midnight to finish the race, which travels through forests, over streams and up mountains. The course follows part of a route used by the British Special Forces, so don’t expect an easy ride.

■ OVERSEAS VODAFONE MALTA MARATHON, MALTA 5 MARCH 2017 This holiday hotspot is home to many medieval structures and

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runners will feel like they’re taking a cultural tour as the island has been described as ‘one big open–air museum’. Whether you opt the full or half marathon, both routes are predominantly downhill.

ZURICH MARATO BARCELONA MARATHON, SPAIN 12 MARCH 2017 This urban circuit is one of the most attractive in Europe, passing by the main city landmarks. This event has a real festival feel and there will be lots of animation points offering free entertainment from live bands. As well as the marathon, you can also take part in a free 4K breakfast where you can enjoy breakfast after the race – and there’s a pasta party to get you ready for the main event.

JERUSALEM MARATHON, ISRAEL 17 MARCH 2017 This event mixes physical challenge with exquisite landscapes, fresh mountain air and unique culture and heritage sites showcasing 3,000 years of history. There are also options for a half marathon, 10K, 5K and a 800m community race, so everyone can get involved.

ROME MARATHON, ITALY 2 APRIL 2017 When in Rome… run a marathon. And why not? This beautiful and ancient city with its winding marathon course may not the ideal location to chase a PB, but its certainly one for your bucket list. Rome’s not a bad spot to go carb-loading either – enjoy!


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overseas marathon

SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC PARIS MARATHON, FRANCE 9 APRIL 2017 The Paris Marathon is one of the biggest races on the international circuit. The flat course makes for a smooth and enjoyable race, which passes some of the city’s most famous landmarks. Starting at Champs–Elysees, the course then heads down the Rue de Rivoli before weaving through the outskirts of east Paris. Then, the seasonally leafy roads take runners into Paris’ largest park, Bois de Vincennes.

MARATHON DES SABLES, MOROCCO 7 APRIL 2017 Runners are expected to be self–sufficient as they make their way though the Sahara Desert, the world’s most inhospitable climate, in five to six days. Mental strength will be just as important as physical fitness to make it through this challenge. However, those who are brave enough will know they’re capable of anything.

VIENNA CITY MARATHON, AUSTRIA 23 APRIL 2017 Take a tour of Vienna’s most modern and historic sites on this marathon route. Run by the bank of the beautiful River Danube, past the famous opera house and Schönbrunn Castle and many other superb examples of Vienna’s architecture.

NN ROTTERDAM MARATHON, HOLLAND 9 APRIL 2017 Combining top sporting action with a festival feel, the programme of events includes fun runs, a pasta party and a quarter marathon. It’s all for a good cause, too, as money raised goes towards Jeugdsportfonds, the Youth Sports Fund which creates sporting opportunities for children from low–income families.

BOSTON MARATHON, USA 17 APRIL 2017 Who wouldn’t love to run the world’s oldest marathon? From its humble beginning in 1897, the Boston marathon has become an iconic race. Starting from the rural New England town of

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Hopkinton and finishing at the John Hancock Tower in Copley Square at the heart of the city.

ZURICH MARATHON, SWITZERLAND 9 APRIL 2017 Noted for being well organised, this race loops through the city centre so you can expect an amazing crowd of spectators to cheer you on. It’s not exactly a flat route, but there are no sizeable hills of note either, so this is a great choice if you’re after a more intermediate challenge.

ROCK ‘N’ ROLL MADRID MARATHON, SPAIN 23 APRIL 2017 This is one of Spain’s best running events, and as such is given a lot of attention across the border. The marathon, although quite hilly and challenging, is extremely popular amongst most runners. The route is changed and adapted each year, but the course usually takes in Madrid’s most famous sites. So, race your way to the city’s Retiro Park in style, and top up that tan in the process!

GOOD LIFE FITNESS TORONTO MARATHON, CANADA 7 MAY 2017 In 2013, over half of this beautiful event’s participants clocked a PB. Starting at Mel Lastman Square in North York and ending at Ontario Place, the speedy race takes runners along a fast and downhill course. Suitable for all types of racers, the road run takes in most of the city’s stunning views.


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overseas marathon

HARMONY GENEVA MARATHON, SWITZERLAND 7 MAY 2017 This beautiful race takes in some of the finest views that Geneva has to offer. Switzerland is a stunning country, and this city marathon is truly delightful. The course is 42,195K in length and includes the picturesque city centre, some beautiful locations and scenic countryside areas. Considering the nature of the country, the route is relatively flat too. So pack your bags and prepare for a great trip!

VOLKSWAGEN PRAGUE MARATHON, CZECH REPUBLIC 7 MAY 2017 The incredible architecture and scenery will keep you occupied while you run this city marathon. You’ll get a text message with your finish time at the end and free entry to selected museums and historic sites, so you can make a weekend of it as well as enjoying the marathon.

GREAT WALL MARATHON, CHINA 20 MAY 2017 Races don’t get much more spectacular, or physically demanding, than the Great Wall Marathon. China’s iconic landmark is globally recognised, and tourists travel from far and wide to walk it. But, what’s it like to race on? Tough, really tough. The stunning route sees runners travel through the lower valley and into the villages, on a monstrous journey.

COPENHAGAN MARATHON, DENMARK 21 MAY 2017 Runners will get to enjoy the sites of central Copenhagan as they make their way round this route which starts and finishes at the harbor front on Islands Brygge. The course is mainly flat so it’s a good overseas option for first–timers. Little ones can take part in the mini-marathon so there’s family fun to be had all round.

SCOTIABANK OTTAWA MARATHON, CANADA 28 MAY 2017 Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Canada’s capital as you take on this

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fast course which is perfect for first–timers and those seeking a PB. The event is the finale of the Ottawa Race Weekend which includes a health and fitness expo, various races for runners of all abilities and ages, and a pasta dinner at the Marriott hotel.

THE SEMI–MARATHON DE PARIS, FRANCE 5 MARCH 2017 It may be the fashion capital of the world, but it’s time to swap couture for trainers to take on the Paris half marathon. The race, which is in its 24th year, takes you past all of the tourist hotspots and it’s a good bet for anyone looking to run quick.

GOZO HALF MARATHON, MALTA 30 APRIL 2017 If you fancy a half marathon overseas, try this half marathon on the Maltese island of Gozo. The island is full of rustic, rural charm which you won’t find on Malta. The event, which is now in it’s 40th year, is smaller than most, so it’s got a close-knit feel.

WALT DISNEY WORLD® MARATHON WEEKEND, CALIFORNIA 4-8 JANUARY 2017 Celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World® Half Marathon with this spectacular weekend of amazing runs and endless fun in ‘the most magical place on Earth’. There’s more than one race on offer and runners can choose from a number of distances – and there’s also a fun run for the kids (who would never forgive you if you left them at home).


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Supporting your local community

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obstacle & ultra

■ OBSTACLE & ULTRA HELL DOWN SOUTH, HAMPSHIRE 14 JANUARY 2017 Longmoor Camp is the official home of the original HellRunner event. This race is tough and it’s grim, and now it’s wilder and wetter, hillier and hellier than ever. So lace up, wrap up and prepare to do battle with whatever this race throws at you.

BRUTAL 10, SURREY 25 FEBRUARY 2017 Even though this 10K event uses only natural obstacles to challenge your resolve, it really is brutal. Expect a lot of hills, water, mud and uneven ground – so make sure you’re wearing sturdy trail shoes to see you through. Great fun on your own or if you’re thinking of entering as part of a team.

SPRING WOLF RUN, WARWICKSHIRE 8-9 APRIL 2017 Whether you take it on as a lone wolf or as part of a pack, this 10K off–road run will test you to your limits. The course is packed with man–made and natural obstacles. This is really wild running which will take you through woods, lakes and fields.

choose from various distances from eight to 20 miles, making this event a great practice run if you’re marathon training.

REEBOK SPARTAN SOUTH WEST SUPER SPRINT WEEKEND, GLOUCESTERSHIRE 20-21 MAY 2017 Making a return to the hilly terrain of Aston Down Airfield, the Spartan Race Series is not for the faint-hearted. The Hurricane Heat race has now sold out, but you can still take part in Sunday’s Super Sprint. A 5-6K race with 20-23 obstacles standing between you and the finish line. You’ll need to crawl and climb your way through this one – but when you do emerge victorious, you can celebrate in the rocking festival area.

THE MIGHTY DEERSTALKER, PEEBLESSHIRE 11 MARCH 2017 Runners are in for a good time with this pitch–dark race deep in the Scottish borders. Sign up for the full marathon, but if that gets too much you can drop out at the halfway mark then make your way over to the after party to enjoy grub, beers and bands. Don’t forget your headtorch!

LIDL KINGSTON BREAKFAST RUN, SURREY 26 MARCH 2017 Running on your own is great, but we recommend taking this one on with a friend. The course will take you through the historic and pretty market town of Kingston–Upon–Thames and you can

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LONDON GAUNTLET GAMES, TRENT PARK 24 JUNE 2017 Londoners needn’t think they’re excused from mucky racing – take the Tube to the end of the Piccadilly Line, where you’ll find this frenzied fancy dress event. There are 15 obstacles to conquer, including See Saw and the worryingly named Swing and Smash.

GRIM CHALLENGE BEAST IN THE EAST, KENT 6 MAY 2017 This super tough 10K will test your metal. Make your way though mud, sand and hills of the country’s best motocross circuit. But be warned, going downhill is just as tough as the uphill, so there’s no rest for the wicked.


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100 BEST RACES KESWICK MOUNTAIN FESTIVAL, CUMBRIA 8-11 JUNE 2017 Catering for runners of all abilities, the festival is made up of numerous trail running events from 5K to ultra trail marathon. Each race offers a real mix of terrain and runners can expect wide open trails, tough descents and open valleys all set against beautiful scenery. Afterwards, camp out at the Festival Village where you can listen to live music, sample great food and drink and try your hand at various activities.

WILLOW WARRIOR, ESSEX JUNE 2017 – TBC Unleash your inner warrior with this muddy obstacle course. You’ll need agility and speed to successfully dodge paint guns, crawl under cargo nets and take on the giant slippery slope to name but a few of the natural and man–made obstacles. Go it alone or compete as part of a team – you’ll have fun either way!

obstacle & ultra

undulating route takes you through the South Downs National Park for a climactic finish on the steps of Winchester Cathedral, the burial place of the first Kings of England.

THE ROYAL BRITISH LEGIONS MAJOR MIDLANDS, MIDLANDS 11 MARCH 2017 There’s not much we can tell you about this race at a brand new venue for the Midlands. That’s because it’s top secret. However, we’re guessing runners should prepare themselves for obstacles, mud, wild terrain and some pretty cold water. So you had better be fighting fit to take on the challenge, but luckily a 40–strong troop of elite service men and women will line the course ready to offer you encouragement and a helping hand should you need it.

RACE TO THE KING, WEST SUSSEX 24-25 JUNE 2017 It doesn’t matter if you walk, run or jog. What does matter is that you enjoy the breathtaking scenery of the South Downs on this 52–mile ultramarathon challenge. Starting near Arundel, the



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Albatros Adventure Marathons | Tøndergade 16 | DK-1752 Copenhagen V | Tel. +45 36 98 98 38 |

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! e m i t big XXXXXXX

What do you enjoy most about running? There are so many things I enjoy about running. In particular, it helps me to deal with the stresses and strains of everyday life, especially work, and makes me feel really good, both physically and mentally. The fact that it is so easy just to put on a pair of trainers and go for a run wherever I am can be so liberating – you could say it is a form of escapism. I also love the challenge and opportunity to improve my running performances and times, especially through races ranging from parkruns to marathons.


What marathon are you running, why did you choose it, and what time are you hoping for? I am doing the London Marathon in April. It will be five years since I last did London, which was my very first marathon. Since 2012, I’ve gone on to do another eight marathons and each year have gradually improved my times. My personal best so far is 3:09, which I set at Edinburgh last year, and I thought London would be a great venue to attempt a sub-3hr time at the age of 55.


hat do a speedy septuagenarian, a bagpipe player, a busy father-oftwo and an almost-professional footballer have in common? Big Answer: they’re all part of this year’s in your ied appl You . Team e leng Marathon Chal four just ing pick and , part take to reds hund a winners was almost as hard as running team the ths, mon four next marathon. Over the Full from ick Barw Ben by up ed will be train can Potential to run a spring marathon. You on the and azine mag follow their progress in the be ’ll there re whe site, Men’s Running web out blogging about their training. So, with . team the t mee to time it’s ado, er furth

Why did you want to be part of the Big Marathon Challenge? To achieve my ambition of a sub-3hr marathon, I know I need as much help and advice as I can get and this is why I was keen to be a member of the BMC team. Running is a very personal and individual pursuit and that is one of the great things about this form of activity. However, it also means it can be very lonely sometimes, especially when I know there is so much to learn from others. Being part of a team where I can learn and share experiences on nutrition, training plans, strength exercises and injury prevention is going to be invaluable.

Name: Stephen Ingledew Age: 54 Job: Financial services executive Location: Edinburgh Marathon: London Twitter: @IngledewStephen

When and why did you start running, and what races have you run so far? I started running just over 10 years ago when my wife entered me into the Reading Half Marathon to raise money for a local children’s charity. She advised me of this on Christmas day as one of my presents! The following Boxing Day morning, my brother-inlaw (who was a keen runner) took me out on my first run since I was at school. Despite struggling a bit due to excesses from the day before, from that moment on I had the running ‘bug’. Ten years on, it’s such an important part of my life.

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Tell us one interesting fact about you. Before I got into running, I was on the books at Reading and Leicester football clubs. I’m a year older than Gary Lineker and played against him a couple of times. Strangely enough, he wasn’t exceptionally good back then, although he was a natural goalscorer. I like to think I was more of a box-to-box midfielder in the Bryan Robson mould!

Words Rick Pearson Photography Eddie Macdonald


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Name: Derek James Age: 73 Job: Retired teacher Location: London Marathon: London Twitter: @derekjohnjames

When and why did you start running, and what races have you run so far? When I was 35, a prefect at the school I taught in suggested that we organise a 10-mile run for the staff and pupils. I agreed reluctantly as I had never enjoyed running, but I did quite well and beat a lot of people that I thought were faster than me. Running then became my main sport. I took part in lots of races and, in 1985, ran the London Marathon in 3:05. I ran it three more times then decided to have one last attempt in 2013, a week after my 70th birthday. I enjoyed it so much that, as I crossed the finish line, I decided to do it again. The same thing has happened every year since then.

Nutrition: Raphael Deinhart HIGH5 A former elite-level cyclist, Raphael is HIGH5’s technical and marketing coordinator. He’ll be providing expert advice on pre-, mid- and post-exercise nutrition.

Coach: Ben Barwick Full Potential Ben is a biomechanics expert and running coach. He loves seeing the progression of those he coaches, and he’ll help the gents reach the form of their lives.

What do you enjoy most about running? I have always been a poor sprinter, but have good stamina and endurance and quite a high pain threshold. I enjoy the feeling of physical tiredness at the end of a run. I enjoy almost anything in the fresh air, and have a good tolerance of cold, heat, wind, rain and snow. Virtually all the runners I know are really nice people, whose company I enjoy. What marathon are you running, why did you choose it, and what time are you hoping for? I am running the London Marathon for which I have a ‘Good For Age’ place. This is for the ninth time and the fifth since I turned 70. London is the only marathon I have run. I wish I had done others when I was younger and faster. I love the course and the crowds and its prestige. Richard House Children’s Hospice is such a good cause and I like being one of the 25 or so people who run for it. I hope to finish in under four hours – even a second under would be great. Why did you want to be part of the Big Marathon Challenge? I feel that under four hours is not unrealistic – in spite of getting slower with age – if I have the extra help and incentive the challenge provides. My fastest time since turning 70 is 4:03. The following year, I almost made four hours, but got cramp in both calves at mile 21, and only managed 4:16. I have enjoyed reading about

Kit: Michael Moore ASICS Michael is a technical representative with a deep knowledge of running apparel. He’ll help the team to get the most from their shoes and kit.

Supplements: Paul Chamberlain Solgar Paul is nutrition and education director for Solgar UK. He has an MSc in Sport and Exercise Nutrition, and over 20 years of experience in the health sector.

previous participants in the Challenge, envying them and in a way willing them on to achieve their aims as if I knew them. Tell us one interesting fact about you. I think I have had an active and interesting retirement for 13 years. I regularly go running, kayaking, sailing, walking and scrambling in the mountains. I do some voluntary work and I paint. I have also skied across the Greenland ice cap, climbed to 7,000 metres up Mt Aconcagua in Argentina, backpacked the John Muir Trail in California and been horse-trekking in Mongolia.



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Name: Ben Smith Age: 38 Job: HR Project Manager at MoD Location: Kent Marathon: Brighton Twitter: @BenSmith01803147

When and why did you start running, and what races have you run so far? I started running as a way of keeping fit. I began with just a mile each day and enjoyed the buzz of being able to see progress quite quickly. I ran my first marathon at London in April 2003, which I found very tough as it was raining heavily and I vowed never to run another one! After getting over the pain of the first marathon, I went on to run the London Marathon each year until 2011, when I decided to try the Brighton Marathon, which I have run every year since. What do you enjoy most about running? I enjoy the release from the everyday stresses of life that running gives me. My head clears when I run and problems I have failed to find solutions for at work can become much clearer. I work in central London so have the joy of running in a number of great parks and along the South Bank. What marathon are you running, why did you choose it, and what time are you hoping for? I am running the Brighton Marathon in April and I chose this one as it’s flat, familiar and well supported. I have some good memories of running Brighton but the final five miles are very tough indeed. I am hoping for a finish time this year of under 3:20. I finished in 3:24 last year but think I can take off at least five minutes with proper training. Why did you want to be part of the Big Marathon Challenge? I have subscribed to Men’s Running for quite a while now and have always wanted to apply for this challenge but never have. When it came up this year, I made a point of tearing out the two-page advertisement so I wouldn’t forget to do it. I applied that night and felt better for it. I honestly didn’t think I would be chosen, though! Tell us one interesting fact about you. I have always been active and played tennis to a good standard when I was younger. I wasn’t quite Andy Murray, but I did a bit of coaching and still follow the big tournaments on TV. 76 • February 2017

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BIG MARATHON CHALLENGE Name: Neil Clark Age: 52 Job: Bagpipes teacher Location: Larbert, Falkirk Marathon: Blackpool Twitter: @NeilCThePiper

When and why did you start running, and what races have you run so far? When I was in the Scots Guards, I used to run but hated it. I did my first marathon, Loch Ness, in 2005 and finished in 5:25. I hadn’t trained properly so enjoyed the last eight miles not one bit. I ran Loch Ness again in 2009, finishing in 4:38, but my running lapsed again after that. Then, when my best pal from the Guards died from cancer in March 2016, I decided to do the 5x50 Challenge for Macmillan in his honour. I played bagpipes for the full length of the last five kilometres. What do you enjoy most about running? The requirement to discipline myself and stick to the challenge. I can be quite chaotic, so I like the solitude and the time to think. I like the simplicity and the chance to see places in a way most people don’t. I’m also lucky in that I can run in some great areas near to where I live. What marathon are you running, why did you choose it, and what time are you hoping for? I’m running the Blackpool Marathon. It’s on the same day as London, and I’ve already done London, so I thought I’d try something different. It’s also a lot closer to home, so I can work Saturday, drive the campervan down and do the race in the morning. I might even have a day in the Lakes on the way back home. It looks like a relatively fast marathon, too. Why did you want to be part of the Big Marathon Challenge? My training for my previous marathons has been a wee bit haphazard and disorganised. A programme like this will help me stick to a regime. I really haven’t had a proper training programme till now. I’m self employed so, to a certain extent, I can adjust my work around my running. Tell us one interesting fact about you. I’m a professional bagpipes teacher. I teach from home and also over Skype. I have pupils in every continent in the world. I also play whistles, harmonica, smallpipes and sing in a folk duo, Glenbervie, with my wife Kathryn, who sings and plays guitar and clarinet. February 2017 • 77

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Photography Courtesy of Fullwell 73


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The new feature-length documentary I Am Bolt takes a behind-the-scenes look at the fastest man on the planet. David Smyth met up with its directors to talk ice baths, vomiting and Manchester United


poiler alert! There’s a new film out about Usain Bolt, and I can tell you exactly how it ends. The man they call “Lightning” defeats the baddies, wins all the medals and returns home to Jamaica covered in more glory than a Magnum ice cream is covered in delicious chocolate. It was a slight problem for British brothers and co-directors Ben and Gabe Turner: how do you give a documentary film the required dramatic tension when practically everybody in the world already saw your finale in Rio, August 2016? Besides that, how do you maintain interest in a protagonist who has barely put a foot wrong since his first spectacular trio of gold medals in Beijing 2008? Even the cheesiest Hollywood blockbuster puts its hero in grave peril before the obligatory happy ending. “With a guy like Usain, who’s given so many interviews and had the same questions constantly asked of him, it’s not interesting to make a film telling you stuff you’ve heard again and again,” admits older brother Ben, 39. “We wanted to find out what HE wanted to say about his life. What’s it like for him to be this dominant athlete? He’s the fastest human being in the world so to get into his perspective and find out what it’s like to be him – that’s fascinating to me.” The brothers spent a year and a half following Bolt, beginning a few months

before the World Championships in Beijing in August 2015. They captured him training hard, hating ice baths as much as anyone, dying of boredom in hotel rooms and, yes, partying hard too. Crucially for the film’s dramatic value, the Bolt of these World Championships and Rio is a different man from the one who set the 100m and 200m World Records in Beijing 2008 looking like he was just nipping past on his way to the shops. Having raced less regularly than others, he’s got the USA’s

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Justin Gatlin – an easy sell as the villain of the piece – snapping at his heels. A few months before Rio, he suffers an ankle injury that he must go all the way to Germany to get treated. “The older I get, the less fun it is,” he complains. He’s no longer the clear favourite. “He blew the field away in 2008. He won that on talent, on sheer God-given ability,” says Ben. “But by the time we got to Rio, others could run faster times than him. He won that with character. He won because of who he is, not because of talent. That’s a tribute to what it is to be a champion.”

Clockwise from here: Bolt assumes a familiar position; the film portrays a man who, when not in training, is as down to earth as the rest of us; Bolt with his long-time coach, Glen Mills; Mills’ laidback approach has enabled him to connect with Bolt the man, as well as Bolt the athlete


Watching the film, the man who smiles, dances, then opens his stride and puts acres between himself and the seven other fastest men in the world, does turn out to be human. He struggles with motivation, given this unprecedented physical gift but preferring to go quad biking. He shows his father, Wellesley, and his second father, coach Glen Mills, quiet respect. He irons his own shirts! Viewers may be surprised by his training setup, which appears to be a handful of people, including his schoolfriend and manager Nugent ‘NJ’ Walker, and a tent in a dusty field in Jamaica. Coach Mills is a star of the film, a man so chilled that hospitals could boil him down and use him as morphine. He looks like he should be playing dominoes outside a rum shack, but if he tells the fastest man on the planet to sprint up and down dragging a sledge loaded with weights, Bolt will do it. “We don’t need to have a military thing. If you can reach people you tend to get more out of them – that’s my philosophy,” he says, very slowly. The Turners didn’t have much trouble winning Bolt’s trust. They arrived on the project fresh from making a documentary about the sprinter’s favourite football team, Manchester United. Class of ’92 told the story of the blessed batch of United youngsters that included David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and the Neville Brothers. Helpfully, Bolt had no problem with being on camera all day. “He’s very of the modern world,” says Ben. “He’s always filming himself on his phone.” At one point they were worried that his Snapchat feed was going to be more revealing than the documentary. But it’s the self-shot footage from Bolt and other members of the Jamaica team that gives a new perspective on events that might otherwise be overfamiliar. You 80 • February 2017

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can see part of the 2008 triumph on decathlete Maurice Smith’s tiny, flickering athlete’s village television, and hear Smith’s jubilant reaction. And you get a sense of the flipside of that ecstasy when Bolt is sluggish and contemplative in hotel rooms, talking to his phone camera because he has nothing else to do.


It’s not an unbalanced idealisation of the 30-year-old, though you’re unlikely to come away from it loving him any less. It’s simple, says Turner: he really is as cool as you hoped he would be. “He’s not actually a dickhead who’s pretending to be a good bloke. He just is who he is. He’s a special man and doesn’t think that he’s a better human being than other people. He restores your faith in everything you hope sport should be.” So when he looks straight at the camera and says: “I am the greatest,” it’s not the big talk of an idiot. He just is. Who else could prompt Pele to announce that he is “one of my idols”? These are the stellar circles in which he now exists. There’s Serena Williams comparing him to Pele, Muhammad Ali, @mensrunninguk

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I AM BOLT Michael Jordan and, um, herself, as “amazing athletes that reached beyond what any other athlete has reached.” There’s Sebastian Coe saying, “Nobody since Muhammad Ali has grabbed the stage in any sport in the way Usain did.” So there may not be much that we can glean from the film to help our own running. His is an ability that will remain in a different universe to ours no matter how many extra parkruns we do. “What did I learn from him? Just that I’m a very ordinary human being physically,” says Ben. “I’ll never forget the sight of him in full flight. It’s beautiful. Everyone runs, it’s part of humanity, so to see the fastest person ever recorded, the idea of what that represents… You’re dead if you don’t care about that. It’s like the Moon landing.”

5 SURPRISING BOLT FACTS 1: HE WORKS HARDER THAN YOU THINK Supposedly he won his Beijing Olympic titles fuelled by chicken nuggets, but by the run-up to London 2012 he was fully committed to training. “I vomitted daily,” he reveals. 2: HIS GREATEST MOMENT CAME WHEN HE WAS 15 Never mind the world records. According to Bolt, it doesn’t get any better than winning the 200m at the 2002 World Junior Championships in front of a home crowd in Kingston, Jamaica. 3: HE WANTS TO PLAY FOOTBALL FOR MANCHESTER UNITED For his post-athletics career, Bolt hopes to avoid the pundits’ box and switch to the top level of another sport entirely. It would be unprecedented, but so was the triple-triple. 4: HE DOESN’T THINK TALENT COMES NATURALLY “If you want to be a winner, you have to work hard to be a winner,” he says in the film, suggesting that those who aren’t prepared to graft should take up, “What’s that sport called with the broom? Curling!” 5: HE’S A TERRIBLE SINGER After all the elation, the enduring image of I Am Bolt might actually be the fastest man on earth rolling around his hotel room on a hoverboard scooter, crooning R Kelly like a cat on an operating table. I Am Bolt is out in cinemas, on digital download, Blu-Ray and DVD.

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Having spent his youth running round a track, Ceri Rees made a volte-face in his late-30s and set up a social enterprise that aimed to get unemployed people out on the trails. Here he tells MR why we should all add a little wildness into our running


ncreasingly, we have come to define ourselves by what we do in our leisure time. The quest for going in search of wild places – whether running, climbing, kayaking or adventure racing – shows there is a fundamental yearning in many of us to reconnect with nature. Before moving to Devon on the southern edges of Dartmoor National Park about seven years ago, I had mainly lived and worked in large towns and cities: Newcastle, Madrid, Paris, Buenos Aires, Cusco. The first thing I always checked out when arriving in a new city was its proximity to a park or some little strip of green: a welcome piece of wildness in a manicured landscape. It provided me with a haven, a navigational waymark and, of course, a place to run. But it took an 800K walk across Spain, the Camino de Santiago, for me to finally quit my job as a newspaper journalist. It flashed up the need to do something I loved doing. So, five years ago, I set up my own business called Wild Running and was given an UnLtd Social Entrepreneurs Award.

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Photography Scott Hunter and Alex Bland


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The moor the merrier: the rugged expanse of Dartmoor is one of Ceri’s favourite training grounds

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FOUR WAYS TO MAKE YOUR RUN MORE FUN ■ Lose the watch and find another intention other than running 10K in under 45mins. ■ Think about how to get the most out of your run, instead of just going for a run. ■ Find something you can focus on: hill runs on park steps or slag heaps; slaloming in and out of bollards; a fartlek between lampposts; sprinting along a canal side or a promenade. ■ Lift-share or take a train to a place where you can notice the landscape, even if it’s the docklands at night, which is bristling with nocturnal energy. If you need to buddy up, do it.

The aim was simple: to take unemployed people out running on Dartmoor once a week. We provided the transport and picked people up en route. I knew firsthand about the benefits of off-road running for boosting resilience and wellbeing, as well as improving your running longevity. I have little cartilage left in my knees (a legacy of my years playing rugby) and find road running a challenge. Like many people, I’ve endured brief periods of winter blues and occasionally been stuck in jobs that didn’t fit. Running was one way of regaining some autonomy and helped to put things in perspective.


The spirit of community and camaraderie at our group night runs has cemented many friendships since we began. The plan was and still is to replicate this in our Wild Running camps. Both our Beginner’s Fell Camps in the Lake District and Natural Running Camp on Dartmoor involve sharing communal meals in a lamp-lit camping barn, while our Scotland Camps involve sharing a cottage and listening to talks about the local geology and whisky tasting. The chance to run on a guided route over a munro is a central – but by no means only – part of the experience. This year, for instance, I learned a lot about “hygge” (a Danish word for living well and living simply) when a large group of Danes signed up for our Scotland trip. When Wild Running began, hardly anyone was doing this as a business in the South West. Now there are several 84 • February 2017

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“I was once arrested for running around President Moi’s gardens in Nairobi, but it was worth it”


trail running companies operating here. I’d like to think we were the trailblazers. My company has grown to become something much more inclusive, and regular Thursday night attendees are mostly dynamic professionals who want to shake off the shackles of their day jobs and home commitments. Many of them are NHS workers new to the area who are keen to explore. The end goal is not to chip away at your 10K time but to enjoy the process of running. Over the years, our group has included Channel swimmers, brickies, GPs, business leaders, mechanics, teachers and even a Duchess.

Wild Running (it could also have been called “playful running” or “natural running”) satisfies our curiosity for landscapes and reminds us of the impermanence of physical and mental discomfort. The aim is to engage in the kind of activities that grown-up, adult life frowns upon. This can occasionally get you in a few close scrapes. I was once arrested for running around President Moi’s gardens in Nairobi, but it was worth it. I was also questioned by security after crossing a barrier at Dinorwig power station in Llanberis. But I always close a gate after legging across a farmer’s field. The message we give to young athletes at our Wild Running Junior Camps is to enjoy competing in a playful way. Sport should not be a means to an end, but an end in itself. Some of our clients have suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress, or a potentially life-threatening condition such as diabetes. We have also had mental health referrals from progressive practitioners who recognise that there is something therapeutic about spending time outdoors. Since running wires your serotonin tap to your musculature in ways we are just beginning to understand, it has a positive cognitive function. This doesn’t have to involve trekking through isolated wilderness or attending boot camps aimed at pushing people to their physical limits in order to reveal something of their inner emotional resources. But it can if you want it to. At its essence, Wild Running can address the very basic need in humans to inhabit and know their landscape – offering benefits to people of all ages, from all walks of life.

To find out more about Wild Running camps, Wild Night Runs, guided weekends, navigation courses or events, go to, or email Ceri at


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WILD RUNNING Top to bottom: a snow-covered Dartmoor; participants on a Wild Running weekend

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Bored of the same old races? Find something different with Racebook, the new fullyinteractive online race listing from Wild Bunch Media, publishers of Men’s Running and Women’s Running. Racebook features the best events with images, video content, location maps and as much detail as anyone interested in running a race will ever need to know – from 5K to ultramarathons.


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ent day m e g d u j , raining mile t d r a h onths of a gruelling 50- on? m e v i f After shape of id the guys get e h t n i arrived thon. So, how d ra ultrama

Words Rick Pearson Photography Stuart March


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hey’ve been logging the miles, braving foul weather and perfecting their race strategies. All for this: Wendover Woods 50, an ultramarathon with more hills than you could shake a muddy trail shoe at. Having never run this distance before, Nic, Dan and Jon were heading bravely into the unknown; three compression-clad compadres pushing themselves to their very limits. So, was it an ultra success or a 50-mile fail? Name: Jon Gurney Age: 51 Hometown: Gravesend Job: Bank manager Twitter: @RunRonneyRun

FINISHING TIME: 13:30:05 Was the Wendover Woods 50 as hard as you’d imagined? It was physically as hard as I could have imagined, if not more so. I hadn’t anticipated the course itself being so challenging, let alone the distance. That said, I found it wasn’t as tough mentally as I had imagined. It played out exactly as I thought it would: 30 miles were going to be OK, and then it would be a case of seeing it out. I expected that during the last 20 miles there would be moments of doubt about completing, but the reality was I never once thought about stopping or the possibility of not finishing.   What kept you moving forwards during the tough moments? Having company was a big help. I lost both Nic and Dan on the third lap and it was pretty lonely. Catching up with Nic at the end of lap three was a real bonus, as doing the final 20 miles together provided a great distraction to the physical pain that was setting in. It’s also amazing the things you can find to talk about when you have lots of time to pass!

training was always going to be a compromise in some areas and this was clear after 30 miles: I just didn’t have the depth of endurance training in my legs. The other helpful elements of training were the nuggets of wisdom that Robbie provided. At the end of the day, he’s been there and done it and his comments on nutrition, using energy sensibly and keeping a positive mindset all helped. Centurion races are famous for their well-stocked aid stations. Did you use these or stick to your own food? Following conversations with Robbie and based on my own experience of other endurance events, I had prepared food and drink for my drop bag. In hindsight, the nutrition and fluids I packed were probably enough for an assault on the summit of Everest, but I thought it better to have more than I needed than not enough. As it turned out, though, the

What aspect of your training was most helpful during the race? Although the hills on the course were brutal, and in several cases not runnable, the hill sessions in training proved to be of great benefit. My mixed bag of crossOUR PROJECT TRAIL PARTNERS 2016

Centurion food stations were so good that I hardly touched my own supplies. How did you celebrate afterwards? In my extensive selection of supplies was a bottle of my favourite Kentish ale, which was supposed to be my end-of-race reward. When I did eventually finish the race, after 13.5 hours, I was having severe stomach cramps and couldn’t face drinking it. Instead my sister kindly drove me home, where I had a shower and collapsed into bed.   Having run 50 miles, are you tempted to go longer still? I have targeted an event in June next year, where 100K will be my aim. If I can do that without a break, I would then like to attempt a 100-miler. Centurion’s Thames Path 100 looks a possible first one, maybe in 2018. I never thought I’d say that a few months ago! Left to right: Jon (second from left), Dan (centre) and Nic (right) during the first half of the race; Jon at the finish

ROBBIE SAYS : “Jon and Nic ran together for most of the 50 miles and crossed the finish line seconds apart. They slowed a bit more than Dan, but worked together to finish strongly. Hopefully the 50-mile training will mean that Jon is running around the hockey pitch even quicker this season. Minimal mileage and plenty of cross-training still allowed Jon to run 50 miles. So, what’s your excuse?”

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Name: Nic Porter Age: 41 Hometown: London Job: HR manager Twitter: @trailrunnernic

FINISH TIME: 13:30:07 Was the Wendover Woods 50 as hard as you’d imagined? Yes, absolutely. In fact, it was even tougher than I’d imagined. For the first half, the uphills were the hardest part; for the second half, it was the downhills. Going through the Start/Finish area made it extra tough and I saw my fair share of people drop out. Once I was on the last lap, though, there was no way I wasn’t going to finish. What kept you moving forwards during the tough moments? To be honest, it was probably entirely down to having Jon for company. We all started off together – Jon, Dan and I – and the conversation was good: we talked about running, races, the weather and how we were feeling. After Dan disappeared into the distance and we got increasingly tired, the conversation turned to everything from hockey and baby names to housing markets – basically anything to get us to the end of each of lap and take our minds off the pain. What aspect of your training was most helpful during the race? The hill repeats. Although there isn’t anything in west London that could accurately recreate some of the climbs in Wendover Woods, the conversations I had with Robbie Britton really helped. He was able to talk about what I would feel like at 40, 45 and 50 miles, and suggest strategies for coping. It was good being able to take food and not have to carry it all the way, as you would in a point-topoint race. Centurion races are famous for their well-stocked aid stations. Did you use these or stick to your own food? A mixture of both. I started by having my own food at the Start/Finish area and using the aid station at halfway to restock on Jelly Babies. By the end of lap three, I was eating anything that was on offer, and the hot soup and sweet tea at the aid stations served a duel purpose of warming my hands and my insides. It wasn’t just that the aid stations were well-stocked; 90 • February 2017

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it was the volunteers at each station, who looked just as tired as us, that made them so good. How did you celebrate afterwards? I was staying with my cousin down the road, so I only had a short drive back. When I got in, I had a hot shower, cup of tea, some salty crisps and watched Match of the Day on TV. I didn’t sleep great that night as every time I moved something hurt. I got back home to London on Sunday afternoon and I haven’t stopped eating since. Of course, I’ve posted pictures of my Strava file and my medal all over social media, so everyone can see what I did. I got some funny looks on Monday at work when it took me a long time to get up the stairs… Having run 50 miles, are you tempted to go longer still? I think I’m going to see if I can do another one next year – maybe a flatter one – and

see if I can extend it to 100K. I am doing the London Marathon in April so I am hoping that this has given me the base to go sub-3 for that. I’m looking forward to having a week off running and then getting slowly back into it. I have a 5K planned around Christmas time that I am sure will a challenge in itself!

ROBBIE SAYS : “After crossing the finish line with Jon, Nic was pleased to have ground out the finish on such a tough course. Next year he is already thinking about one of the South Downs Way races – a lot more runnable than Wendover Woods – and a 50-mile PB will be in his sights. It’s been great to work with Nic during the last few months to make sure that he got to the end of that fifth lap.”


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Name: Dan Stinton Age: 37 Hometown: Manchester Job: Transport project manager Twitter: @AllHailTheTrail

FINISH TIME: 11:02:15 Was the Wendover Woods 50 as hard as you’d imagined? In a word: yes. You know you’re in for a tough run when the organisers have given various part of the route ominous names such as ‘Hell’s Road’ and ‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’. There were some very steep sections, which slowed all but the very fastest down to a hike. The elevation was published as 2,900m, which I can now tell you from experience is a lot. This being the furthest I’ve ever run, with the most climbing, I knew it was always going to be a challenge. And while it was undoubtedly a hard slog, I tried to make the most of it and can genuinely say that I enjoyed the whole experience.

What kept you moving forwards during the tough moments? I had a plan and stuck to it. I knew what and when I was going to eat and drink, and looking back I think this kept me energised to maintain a reasonably consistent pace even during the final lap. I also adopted a mental strategy of dedicating each loop to someone to inspire me and keep the spirits up, and this helped break the race down into manageable segments. Some people had talked to me about “dark times” on these long ultra runs, but I decided I was having none of that. I tried to stay happy, be positive and talk to people.   What aspect of your training was most helpful during the race? I think I was prepared both mentally and physically. Robbie had increased the frequency and focus of my running, particularly during the final two months, which meant my body was ready to keep going the full distance and I remained

injury-free. The advice I received on nutrition was also exceptionally valuable and I kept myself fully fuelled throughout. By the time race-day arrived, I’d decided to put any worries behind me and that the best tactic was to just get on with it.    Centurion races are famous for their well-stocked aid stations. Did you use these or stick to your own food? What a fine spread they put on! However, I had a definite food plan with a package of food prepared for each lap in my drop bag so I mainly stuck to that, knowing that the foods agree with me. I couldn’t resist a rogue ham sandwich on white bread at one of the aid stations, though, but that sat uncomfortably somewhere in my digestive system for at least an hour. A lesson learned on knowing what is best for your stomach!   How did you celebrate afterwards? I did some careful stretching and foam rolling, put on my compression gear, ate a perfect balance of carbs/protein, rehydrated and had an early night. Actually, I did very few of those things and found myself in the pub clutching a pint of Hobgoblin (packed with vitamins, surely?) and celebrating a massive year of running and racing.   Having run 50 miles, are you tempted to go longer still? This is not the end of ultrarunning for me. I’m already booked into three ultras in 2017: the Oldham Way 40-miler, Liverpool to Manchester 50-miler and the Lakeland Trails 110K. I’ll still be doing the faster/ shorter runs, though; I’ve learned from Project Trail that much of the training is similar/interchangeable and I’ve smashed all of my shorter PBs while training for this one!

ROBBIE SAYS : “Considering it was Dan’s first ultra race, he paced it brilliantly. Running the last lap at the same pace as the 2nd and 3rd is no mean feat, given that it was done in the dark. Dan has progressed physiologically and mentally, getting to the startline of the Wendover 50 with the best possible chance of finishing. Then he stuffed his face with food the whole way round like a CHAMPION!”

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Left to right: Tower 42 in Central London; MR's editorial director David Castle tackles last year's Vertical Rush

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Photography Eddie Macdonald


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STAIR WARS Our new monthly article about all things uphill begins by taking a look at the quad-wrecking world of tower running

EXPERT ADVICE Matt Maynard is a British runner based in the Chilean Andes. His monthly column, King of the Mountain, is all about running when the terrain gets steep


en have probably been running up stairs to collect forgotten possessions since the first staircase was built around 6,000BC. It wasn’t until 1905, however, that a race was held at the Eiffel Tower (then the world’s tallest building). The 1,665 steps and 276m tower have since been ascended by World Champion Piotr Łobodziński at an ascent rate of almost 0.6 vertical metres/second. The Americans, of course, have done it bigger, and the race at One World Trade Centre – with 541m of ascent – is the tallest on the Vertical World Circuit. The UK has been slower to catch on, with a sprinkling of races held mainly in the capital and competed by a small, slightly quirky but very fit group of runners. Last month in

London was the fifth race in the UK Championship: The Broadgate Tower Run Up by Total Motion events. I caught up with organiser Matt Hudson. “Tower running is a more intense sport than most flat running events and is a fantastic alternative for runners,” says Hudson. “Tower runners often find inventive ways to train, squeezing in training sessions in their office stairwells during lunchtime or after work.” While some MR readers might feel they already waste enough time running in circles in company offices, there is no doubt the intensity and convenience of the sport is well suited to busy urban lifestyles. Mark Sims is currently ranked second in the UK and since 1999 he has been nipping into his office stairwell at the 360-step Royal Liver Building. He has competed both abroad and on British soil against celebrity Olympians such as Chris Boardman and Ewan Thomas. “There is no denying that the sport is currently a bit niche and quirky,” admits Sims. “We use special gloves to help pull on handrails and have preferences over which way the staircases turn, but tower running has a friendly atmosphere, and you’ll see many of the same people from race to race.”


In training for tower running, Matt Hudson suggests high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in stairwells, accompanied by a variety of lunges and squats. On race day, champion Piotr Łobodziński recommends MR readers should “eat your last meal three hours before the start. Begin your warm-up 40 minutes before racing [including a two-mile jog, stretching, and then some speed work]. Then prepare for battle.”


In writing this article I experimented with taking the stairs two at once, but as a tower running novice I found this unsustainable after about eight floors. If weight loss is your primary fitness goal, research shows the single-step strategy burns more total calories. If, however you want to challenge World Champion Piotr Łobodziński, take them three at a time.


The shorter the race, the higher the effort level – but never go off too fast. The most successful runners maintain a constant vertical speed and heart rate throughout races. Once at the top, collapse into a palpitating mess on the floor before admiring the rooftop view.

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ 5 TOWER RUNNING EVENTS TO TRY ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ THE BROADGATE TOWER RUN UP, NOVEMBER 2017 Raise a glass once you’ve made it up this glazed giant in The City of London. 877 steps, 165m

VERTICAL RUSH, MARCH 2017 Stunning, panoramic views of the capital await if you can conquer the 932 steps of Tower 42. 932 steps, 183m

LA VERTICALE DE LA TOUR EIFFEL, MARCH 2017 Reduce yourself to a sweaty, trembling mess atop the Eiffel Tower. 1,665 steps, 276m

SPINNAKER TOWER-THON, OCTOBER 2017 Five hundred and thirty steps stand between you and head-spinning glory on the South Coast. 530 steps, 170m

GHERKIN CHALLENGE, OCTOBER 2017 Relish the opportunity to dash up one of London’s most instantly recognisable landmarks. 1036 steps, 180m

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International ultrarunner Robbie Britton has some lessons from the frontline

BRITT’S SCHOOL Down but not out: being injured can allow you to work on neglected aspects of your fitness, so you can come back a better runner than before

Focus on aspects of your running that you would usually ignore, be it your core strength, race research or nutrition. And, finally, don’t try to rush things. Instead, focus on the small daily victories. If your head goes down, store that moment for when you’re back training, digging deep in a race or just feeling low. It’s all ammunition for dedicated running in the future.

ULTRA RULE #7 You don’t have to run hundreds of miles in training to be able to complete an ultra. It’s more important to focus on your fitness and strength, and build experience that will make race day go a little easier. The longer the race, theless that fitness is a determinant of the result – although it always helps.

■RACE THIS Unless you’re Wolverine from the X-Men, injury is something you’ll have to deal with at some point. Whether it’s shin splints, sprained ankles, a break or something even more serious, running is an impact sport and your body can’t always take it. Ten years ago, two heavily padded young men smashed the crap out of me during an American football match. A knee operation followed, but it was promptly forgotten about as university flew past in a whirlwind of booze and good times.  Complete neglect of any rehab meant that this autumn, in the build-up to the European 24hr Champs, something went wrong. My training could continue but, in-between sessions, walking was getting more and more difficult. Complete rest ensued for the 10 days before the race in

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the hope it was a muscle injury, but around four or five hours in, my race was over. Keyhole surgery to clean the meniscus was successful and six weeks of no running prescribed. So how do you come back from an injury that completely stops you in your tracks? Firstly, set goals – short-term rehab goals and long-term race goals. The World 24hr Champs in July 2017 is my ultimate aim, the thing that will keep me going during simple but time-consuming physio exercises. These may seem pointless one at a time, but they’re gradually building a protective wall against injury. Work with good people; people who know what it is like to run for the love of it. And, this is the key bit, LISTEN TO THEM. Working with great specialists is pointless if you ignore their advice.

ESCAPE FROM MERIDEN A new concept where you have to get as far as possible from the start, as the crow flies, in 24 hours. Meriden is a village at the centre of England and competitors (or prisoners, as they’re called on the website) can travel in any direction as long as they are on foot. An athlete I work with, Ry Webb, may have won by the time you’ve read this [not quite: he came 47th – Ed] or he’ll be really lost somewhere [yeah, must have took a wrong turn]. ©



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HIT THE TRAILS RUNNING WITH OUR SNEAK PEAK OF THE BEST NEW OFF-ROAD KIT Sherpa Jumla Hat With the Jumla Hat, Sherpa has justified its reputation for making high-quality, hard-wearing outdoor kit. It’s best saved for the deepest depths of winter but, when the weather necessitates, a cold-defying run is guaranteed. RRP: £25 Two Chicks Chirps OK, so crispy egg white might not be top of your running snacks wish-list, but Two Chicks Chirps are a low-fat, high-protein alternative to standard crisps. With 50% less fat, 9g protein and 110 calories per pack, they’re a guilt-free post-run recovery option. RRP: £1.99

North Ridge Merino Convect LS Top A baselayer that’s as comfy and stylish as it is warming, the Merino Convect LS Top is also antimicrobial (read: resistant to the smell of a sweaty runner), breathable and quick-drying. RRP: £45

Leki Micro Trail Pole A favourite among ultrarunners, the Micro Trail Pole is extremely lightweight – thanks to the 100% carbon shaft – easy to pack, and responsive. The grip is soft enough to absorb the shock of compact trails, and it’s also sweat-wicking to prevent your hands from slipping. RRP: £134.95

Icebreaker Winter Zone Leggings Icebreaker’s BodyfitZONE™ construction is the star of the show here, offering lightweight, heat-regulating merino wool with mesh panels for breathability. Abrasion-resistant padding around the knees, meanwhile, offers a degree of protection against any trail-related scrapes. RRP: £70

Injinji Spectrum Run Lightweight No-Show Minimalist toesocks that allow your toes to align and splay naturally, the Lightweight No-Show is also made from mesh material for breathability. The no-show length rests below the ankle, and features a heel tab to protect against chafing and to keep the sock from sliding into the shoe. RRP: £10.95

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find your local running specialist Buckinghamshire Apex Sports 1 Prospect Court, The Broadway, Beaconsfield Road, Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire SL2 3QQ 01753 647339 Specialist running and triathlon shop offering a wide range of apparel for people of all abilities.

Leicestershire Leicester Running Shop 146a Clarendon Park Road, Leicester LE2 3AE // 0116 2708447 We are a friendly specialist running shop run by dedicated runners. Our main strength is our gait analysis service to help with shoe selection. We’re glad to help with questions or enquiries.

Cumbria Pete Bland Sports 34A Kirkland, Kendal, Cumbria LA9 5AD 01539 731012 The running and fitness specialists. We have everything the runner needs.

Lincolnshire Metres to Miles Running Specialist 15-17 High Street, Epworth DN9 1EP 01427 872 323 Wide selection of shoes, apparel and accessories from the leading brands in running. Experienced runners provide the most comprehensive treadmill gait analysis in the region.

Devon Frank Elford Sports 27 Mayflower Street, Plymouth, Devon PL1 1QJ 01752 265122 Run by runners for runners. Video gait analysis in-store. Kent The Running Outlet 54 Palace Street, Canterbury, Kent CT1 2DY // 01227 379998 Offering a premium selection of running footwear, apparel and accessories from Kent’s premier running specialist. We offer a full video gait analysis for all customers. Lancashire Foot Traffic 463 Blackburn Road, Bolton, Lancashire BL1 8NN 01204 301230 and NOW OPEN IN PRESTON 17 Northway, Broughton, Preston PR3 5JX Just 1 mile from M6/M55 Junction. 01772 860200 The largest selection of specialist running footwear in the North West. Video gait analysis experts. FREE X-SOCKS with all shoe purchases. The Runners Centre King Street, Lancaster, LA1 1LE 01524 845559 The Runners Centre is the North West's premier specialist running retailer. Daily free in-store video gait analysis, plus regular in-store promotions with lots of free goodies. The Runners Centre, where all runners come first. Monday–Saturday 09.30 – 17.30

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London Kings Road Sporting Club 38-42 Kings Road, London SW3 4UD 020 7589 5418 // London’s premier sports store. Brands include ASICS, Brooks, New Balance, Vivo Barefoot, Gore, Nike, SKINS, Zoca and Casall, to name a few.

Surrey Run to Live 74 Church Street Leatherhead, Surrey KT22 8EN 0845 263 8801 Specialist shop with video gait analysis and bra-fitting service. Sussex The Jog Shop 39B George Street, Brighton BN2 1RJ 01273 675717 Warwickshire Coventry Runner 223 Burnaby Road, Radford, Coventry CV6 4AX // 024 7666 8498 Five minutes from J3 M6. See website for details.

Yorkshire SMK Running Now open at: 16 Temple Street, Keighley, BD21 2AD Westgate, Cleckheaton BD19 5ET Scotland Achilles Heel 593 Great Western Road, Glasgow G12 8HX 0141 342 5722 RunUrban Ltd 1035 Cathcart Road, Glasgow G42 9XJ Opening Times: Monday-Saturday 9.30am – 5.30pm Closed on Sunday // 0141 632 9638 This cutting-edge store keeps you streets ahead in style and comfort.

Northamptonshire The Running Shop 11 St. Leonards Road, Far Cotton, Northampton NN4 8DL 01604 701 961 Personal service, gait analysis, mail order welcome. Somerset Running Bath 19 High Street, Bath BA1 5AJ 01225 462555 The best footwear. The very best service. Staffordshire Bournesports 36-42 Church Street, Stoke-On-Trent, ST4 1DJ // 01782 410411 Seasoned runner? Want to take up the sport? We have a range of shoes, clothing and accessories to help. Running Form Physio Form Dallow House Victoria Street, Burton Upon Trent, Staffs. DE14 2LS // 01283 563331 // Video gait analysis, footwear, clothing, accessories, watches, HR monitors and GPS, rehab equipment, shop in-store or online, physiotherapy and sports injury clinic.


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9 10 REIMAGO RRP: £39 If you’re genuinely worried about your child’s lack of exercise, a collaboration between Suunto and Reima could be just the job. A pocket-friendly, waterproof sensor records little Trixie dashing aimlessly about, in both duration and intensity. Once paired with a ReimaGO app, the data turns into virtual energy for a character in a game, with virtual rewards. That, or send them to the track for Zátopek-style intervals.

❏ TESTED ❏ RATED GARMIN FORERUNNER 35 RRP: £169.99 Checking resting HR over time is the best way to detect fatigue, overtraining or a depressed immune system. So wrist-based heart-rate (HR) monitors are exceedingly, er, handy. But while chest-strap sensors are still more accurate, attaching that bra-like contraption first thing in the morning isn’t everyone’s favoured pre-caffeine activity. The main appeal of Garmin’s new sportswatch, the Forerunner 35, is that as well as GPS it records wrist-based HR data constantly – if a little erratically – which is something the dead-fancy watches don’t do yet.  Compared to those top-end watches, features on the 35 are understandably basic. But its activity tracking (with effective “Move!” alerts if stationary for too long); smart notifications (and vibration alerts); music controls; weather updates; virtual pacer; alerts for HR and distance; LiveTrack (where friends can locate you); and general ease of use, make this an attractive option. The smartphone app feels bewilderingly comprehensive at first, but dig about and you’ll find key data, such as HR, eventually.  The 35 has all the key features, especially GPS and HR, the entry-level of casual runner needs. A handy proposition, indeed.

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MY MONEY TIME RRP: FREE Want to get paid to run? The My Money Time app rewards your training sessions with money. Kind of. Your tracked runs – it’s compatible with Strava and other apps – accrue virtual cash, which can be exchanged for online discount vouchers for various sports brands. There are limitations though; the money you earn is split between the brands and then again, over several discount vouchers. But you’re still being paid to run. Kind of.

POLK BOOM BIT RRP: £29.99 The fun-to-say Polk Boom Bit claims to be the world’s first “truly” wearable Bluetooth speaker. Putting aside the potentially obnoxious nature of forcing Shania Twain on others, and its ineffectiveness near traffic, it’s a great option for wire-free music listening on the run – and hands-free phone conversations. The Zippo-sized speaker pledges to be sweat-, dirt-, sand- and shockproof, charges via USB and has buttons for volume and track choice.

Words Damian Hall

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7 10 DHB LIGHTWEIGHT PACKABLE RUN JACKET RRP: £26 Lightweight, breathable, shower-proof and wind-resistant, this bit of kit from DhB has everything the beginner runner could want in a low-price jacket. One of its best features is the fact that it’s easily packed away into its own side pocket, making it perfect for changing weather conditions.

8 10 MORE MILE 5 INCH RUNNING SHORTS RRP: £8 Short without being indecent, this British-made bargain is a great starter option for the aspiring runner. Complete with an elastic waist cord, small pocket for keys and inner brief, it has everything you need from a short. The cut and length allow for unrestricted leg movement, too, making them a short you can train and race in.

8 10 ADIDAS SEQUENCIALS RUNNING TEE RRP: £17.95 A simple but effective running tee that wicks moisture, dries quickly and looks the part. Available in black, blue, green or yellow, it also boasts some reflective details, which will be welcome during the long winter nights. The best thing about it, though, is the price: paying less than £20 for a technical tee is a rare and welcome thing.

9 10 HILLY TWINSKIN CLASSIC RRP: £12 Unless you’re a fan of blisters, it’s worth investing in some decent running socks. These friction-defying, moisture-wicking customers are a good place to start. Supremely comfortable, they also boast reinforced material in the heel and toe areas, which are often the first places to wear away. A simple job, done well.


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8 10 KALENJI TRAIL BAG RRP: £24.99 The Trail Bag represents Kalenji’s continued ability to put other brands to shame when it comes to pricing. It offers everything you could want in a running pack – chest pockets big enough for 500ml bottles, a safety whistle, a 2L water bladder and several zipped pockets – for half the price of other big-name options.

7 10 TIMEX IRONMAN SLEEK 150 RRP: £69.99 Although lacking GPS-related functionality, there are a number of reasons the Timex Ironman range has been going for decades. In the Sleek 150, the brand’s signature simplicity remains, but there’s the addition of touchscreen technology for on-the-run lap- and splittime control. If you do a lot of speed work, this is the watch for you.

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8 10 ASICS BASIC PERFORMANCE GLOVES RRP: £15 In cold weather, your extremities are the last things to warm up, making the purchasing a decent pair of mitts an absolute essential. Made from a lightweight fabric, with longer cuffs that prevent the cold air getting in, these gloves are a great starter option. They’re a comfortable fit and come with some welcome reflective detailing.

8 10 ELITE DUAL DENSITY FOAM ROLLER RRP: £9.75 When an effective but pricey sports massage is out of the question, the foam roller is your next best option. This durable, no-nonsense bit of kit from is double-sided – one side is lower density and the other is higher density – for various levels of resistance (read: pain). A worthy addition to any runner’s arsenal.

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UPPER Adaptive, engineered mesh uses the latest weave-technology to blend breathability with support

OUTSOLE Eighteen ‘clouds’ independently cushion and propel your run

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SAUCONY TRIUMPH ISO 3 RRP: £135 The latest incarnation of Saucony’s premium neutral trainer gives your feet some welcome TLC. Although slightly heavier than its predecessor, the tweaks in this version are all for the better. The ISO strap system has been reduced by a third, while the forefoot grooves have been deepened and the Everun TPU heel insert size increased. The result? A softer ride, more flexibility and a more comfortable upper. If you’re punishing your feet with marathon miles, this shoe will help to ease the pain

361-KGM 2 RRP: £110 The American brand 361 Degrees – so called because it ‘goes one degree beyond’ – is marketing the KGM2 as a ‘go-fast trainer/racer’. We think it’s more suited to longer distances, though, with a QU!KFOAM midsole that’s certainly responsive, but also substantial – which, coupled with the 9.5mm drop, makes for a cushioned ride more suited to heavy heel-strikers. The upper’s engineered mesh makes for a lightweight, wraparound fit, and there’s plenty of room in the toe box.

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UA CHARGED BANDIT 2 RRP: £80 Under Armour is more readily associated with skin-hugging baselayers than mile-munching trainers. But that could be about to change with the Bandit 2, a high-comfort, high-fashion shoe built for big miles. At 280g, it’s still fairly lightweight, although it’s more suited for cruising than competing. The 10mm heelto-toe drop means it’s best suited to heel-strikers rather than forefoot runners, while some users have complained that the lightweight upper wears away quickly. Still, a decent shoe at a decent price.

Testers Isaac Williams / Rick Pearson / David Castle / Tim Major / Tariq Knight

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ON CLOUDFLOW RRP: £120 It’s not often that a running shoe looks exciting and actually lives up to its promise. Feather light and made with the same quality that we are now coming to expect from this brand, the Cloudflow is a stunning addition to the On range. A super comfortable fit enhanced by a luxurious stretch mesh upper is complimented by a springy flexible sole, which consists of 18 individual ‘clouds’ and is a delight to run on. Even the reflective detail on the heel and the long thin laces are well considered. The Cloudflow delivers.

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For many runners, January signals the start of one thing: marathon training. Months of hard graft lie ahead, and in the depths of British winter that means battling the elements as well as the miles. Your marathon shoe, therefore, should be as durable as it is comfortable. All the shoes listed below have been built with miles in mind – from the cushioned Saucony Triumph Iso 3 to the responsive On Cloudflow – and hopefully you’ll see something in the collection that can make your 26.2-miler as enjoyable as possible.

SPEEDBOARD Patented Speedboard within the Cloudflow is built with a responsive flex and rocker that promotes flow-motion, encouraging the natural rolling process and promoting explosive take-offs

8 10 ASICS GT-2000 4 LITE-SHOW RRP: £120 Responsive stability shoes are few and far between, but the GT-2000 4 LiteShow is precisely that; connecting you to the terrain and offering support at the same time. The shoe has a durable outsole, while remaining light and flexible. The upper also provides outstanding breathability, so at no point do you feel like you’re trudging through a sauna. That’s despite the water-repellant PlasmaGuard material, which ensures you won’t get weighed down in wet conditions – handy in the British winter.

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8 10 ADIDAS ENERGY BOOST 3 RRP: £119.95 The Energy Boost 3 is, to all intents and purposes, the more cushioned cousin of the hugely popular Ultra Boost. Made with marathons in mind, it features the energyreturning properties of the boost outsole, as well as an upper – made from techfit material – that gives your foot a big hug. It’s not without faults, though; the laces can be difficult to tighten, leaving the shoe feeling a little loose, and some lighter runners may find them too heavy. For most marathoners, however, the Energy Boost 3 would be a good choice.

7 10 BROOKS RAVENNA 8 RRP: £115 Following on from the Ravenna 7, the Ravenna 8 has the same lightweight cushioning, with a slightly lighter feel overall. It’s not the prettiest of shoes, but it does have plenty of personality. The toe box is nice and flexible, which is a rarity in such a stable shoe, and the heel locks your foot firmly in place. You’re unlikely to have your running world turned upside down by the Ravenna 8, but for a distance where comfort and durability are key, it’s a perfectly dependable option.

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VIVA VALENCIA! Ignoring received running wisdom, MR’s Isaac Williams headed to Spain for the Valencia Marathon on the back of some low-mileage training


estled on Spain’s southeastern coast, with Barcelona to the north and Madrid to the west, Valencia is a port city steeped in history but defined by modernity; its newly built focal point, the City of Arts and Sciences – a two-kilometre stretch of architecture at its most flamboyant – dominating the skyline. One such architectural statement, El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe, lurches out of the surrounding water like the whale it’s supposed to represent. And that’s the sight that greets me, on a mild morning in late November, as I make my way to the startline of my second ever marathon – having sworn, after London this year, “Never again.” It’s an unfortunate truth, however, that the marathon is a distance that fails to cater for the woefully unprepared. Seven miles is the furthest I’ve run since an ill-fated 24-hour race several weeks ago, and a solid regime of two lackluster runs a week has left me in the (mis)shape of my life. Clearly, I’m going to have to take it easy. Anyone who’s ever raced, though, will know that ‘taking it easy’ can be really quite hard. Nonetheless, in the spirit of not really

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trying, I take my place towards the end of the monstrous queue that flows back from the starting arch. Helicopters soar noisily overhead and, to the joy of estranged runners everywhere, pop quartet Little Mix’s ‘Shout Out to My Ex’ provides all the break-up-fuelled motivation one needs before running a marathon. Before long, the sea of runners up ahead begins to flow forwards and I find myself plodding into mile one of 26.2 – at this pace, I won’t be finished for some time.


Miles one to three lead west, out of the city centre and onto the Marina – although the fact that we’re running on the closed highway means that most of the ocean view is frustratingly obscured. In fact, I soon realise that this isn’t likely to be a race to delight the senses. Each new mile brings another section of straight, featureless inner-city road, and the further the route strays from the city centre, the less support there seems to be. Miles six and seven tick by – very slowly – and, although feeling physically fine, existential angst begins to creep in: Why are we here? Who am I? What’s the secret to a great paella? I am, in short, bored. Boredom, you might argue, is preferable to the usual mid-race emotions – panic, pain, confusion – but at around the 10-mile mark, impatience gets the better of me. Making the shift from snail to tortoise pace, I find renewed joy in breezing past the old women and weighed-down fancy-dressers who had, until this point, remained tantalisingly out of reach. Hey, you take your pleasure where you find it. As the route winds its way back towards the centre, increased crowd support helps to lift wearying legs, and miles 14, 15 and

16 are drowned in a cacophony of claps, cheers and even the odd “vamos!”


At around mile 20, the City of Arts and Sciences looms into view once more and, turning back to the old city, the barron highways of the opening miles are replaced by altogether nicer narrow streets lined with orange trees, Catholic sculptures and colourful, terraced housing. Having upped the pace from “uncomfortable” to “what are you doing, this was supposed to be easy?”, the finishing arch appearing on the horizon is a more welcome sight than I’d anticipated several hours earlier. And, crossing the line, collecting my goody bag and gingerly lowering myself onto the nearest step, I’m forced to reflect on the fact that marathons (spoiler alert!) aren’t to be taken lightly.

Photography Valencia Ciudad Del Running (VCR)


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VALENCIA MARATHON Clockwise from here: the unique, floating finish in the heart of the City of Arts and Sciences; Isaac proves it’s not all an elaborate lie; Victor Kipchirchir takes victory; the lead pack at the start

VALENCIA IN NUMBERS Distance: 26.2 miles Number of runners: 15,850 Winner: Victor Kipchirchir, 2:07:36 Weather: Terrain: Cost: €40 – €90 Verdict:

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Left to right: the start of the 10K race; David (left) after a tough weekend of running


David Castle takes one for the team to endure a weekend of racing on the island paradise of Barbados


t’s dark. It’s hot. It’s 5am and I’m sweating uncontrollably. Even though I opted for my lightest running vest, it’s already drenched and I’m only a mile into the race. Welcome to the Barbados Marathon Festival, a long-established gem of a weekend that takes place on the west coast of the island. Men’s Running is on the Caribbean paradise not only to take in the festival of running (there’s six races over three days) but also to experience the island during the 50th anniversary of Barbados’ independence. Race night proper starts on the Friday with the mile: a short, sharp and frantic affair that has the locals exploding like Usain Bolt for the first 200 metres, only for the older, more experienced runners to come flooding past thereafter. It’s great to watch, as the fast milers charge past us into the finishing straight. You can already tell that the races gather an eclectic mix of runners, with locals and international runners making up the 1,000 or so competitors over the six 104 • February 2017

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different distances: mile, 5K, 10K, half, full marathon and 5K walk. A very generous prize fund has something to do with this, as good money can be made at these races; the winner of the marathon not only wins BDS$4,000 (about US$2,000) but a return trip to the island including flights and hotel. It is possible to do races on all three days; in fact, the many Brits we spoke to did exactly that, opting for the mile, the 10K and either the half or full marathon on the Sunday. It’s a good plan – and a great medal haul – but with less than 12 hours to recover between the 10K and the 5am start for the longer races, it’s definitely a lesson in pace judgement. The 85% humidity makes it difficult to run at your usual pace so adjust your sights accordingly. The course is flat and fast (humidity aside) and is generally well-supported along the route. The locals get involved and there’s a great atmosphere throughout the weekend. The race is well organised, there’s plenty of water and sponges throughout the course, and the best thing is you can cool off in the sea Photography David Lewis

10 metres from the finish. There’s also the rum…but that’s best saved for another day. Enter the race weekend by visiting

INFORMATION Return flights from British Airways to Bridgetown for approx £600 Stay at the Courtyard by Mariott from approx £160 per night for two people Tapas, The Beach House, Beach One, The Cliff Beach Club, Buzo Italiana Atlantis Submarines barbados., Tiami Catamaran Cruises Make your trip complete by visiting St Nicolas Abbey rum distillery, Saint Peter Parish @mensrunninguk

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Find spiritual enlightenment on the streets of Queens, New York next summer



LIST I RAN IT! Grahak Cunningham, winner in 2012 “I really like the spiritual side of the race. You can improve yourself as an individual if you challenge yourself [to do something like this]. You need to go in with the right attitude, though. The distance is so far, you really have to draw on your inner strength. It’s a race, but you’re really just competing against yourself. When you finally finish, you’re bursting with joy –and that feeling stays with you for months.”


The world’s longest certified footrace. It began life in 1996 as a 2,700-mile race, but clearly that was deemed too easy, because next year it grew to 3,100 miles. Competitors must complete the distance within 52 days, requiring them to cover just under 60 miles a day.


Because its founder, spiritual leader Sri Chinmoy, believed distance running was a route to enlightenment. “As we run,” he said, “we become.” Think of it as really sweaty meditation.


As well as requiring you to run more than two marathons every day for almost two months, the race is a mammoth mental challenge. To paraphrase Sri Chinmoy: as you run, you may become… very bored.


You like Queens, New York, right? Good, because you’ll be getting to know it pretty well. The course requires you to make 5,649 laps of one extended city block in the aforementioned New York neighbourhood. Each lap is a distance of roughly half a mile. Time to make friends with the locals – you’ll be seeing a lot of them.


The race runs from June to August each year – a summer of running awaits!

“THE COURSE REQUIRES YOU TO MAKE 5,649 LAPS OF ONE EXTENDED CITY BLOCK” Words Rick Pearson Photography Jowan Gauthier

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United States

HOW DO I ENTER? Seriously? Very well, have it your way. A good pace to start is by entering the Sri Chinmoy Dix-Day or Ten-Day Races in New York. Do well there, and you may be lucky enough to be invited to take part in the 3,100-mile race. Here’s hoping!

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NY Resolutions are depressing. Focus on your running instead, says Jim Old


New year, new PB: Jim’s resolved to make his resolutions purely running-related

“LOOKING BACK, SOME OF MY YEAR’S BEST MOMENTS WERE RUNNING-RELATED” I concluded a similar improvement (to bring me in under 40) would be possible with a bit of work. After months of graft – pounding out speed sessions on the track and tearing up my local pavements with race-pace mile repeats, I improved my time by six seconds. The half marathon target eluded me by five minutes and I didn’t even attempt the fast 5K. It turned out that at no point in the year did I really feel like hurting that much for 19 minutes.



eing generally hopeless and beyond repair, I don’t bother with conventional New Year’s resolutions these days. I’ve found they tend to add to those compound feelings of anti-climax and self-recrimination that can peak around the third Monday of January, the date accepted by experts in such things as the crappest day of the year. Instead, I make what could be called running resolutions. Like my past commitments to be a better person/father/employee/husband, they rarely result in significant improvements. The difference is that I will keep plugging away at them throughout the year.

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As running resolutions go, they’re not even particularly sensible. I know I should commit to a strength and flexibility regime or work on my breathing and form. Maybe next year. No, my RR’s tend to focus solely on speed. I look back at my best times and make arbitrary and fairly unrealistic plans to destroy them. This time last year I resolved to run a sub-40 10K, a sub-1.30 half marathon and a 19-minute 5K. I must now report that I achieved none of those targets in the course of 2016. The 10K plan was based on a freak result from the previous summer that saw me lop more than two minutes from my then PB. With childlike logic, Photography

But as another year rolls in, I discover I’m surprisingly relaxed about all this failure. It’s hard to beat myself up too badly when I look back over 2016 and realise I loved every mile. Some of my year’s best moments were running-related. That six-second 10K improvement was a little deflating, I admit. But of that day, my take-home memory was running my legs off to cross the line with my family raucously cheering me on. I had a hugely enjoyable running year, experiencing all weathers and a variety of terrains and I’m fitter, lighter and, yes, six seconds faster for it. The best news is that running is still available in 2017. So I’m free to set myself more bonkers targets that I may or may not achieve. You won’t drag a New Year’s resolution from me but I will commit to working hard at my running for the next 12 months and seeing where it takes me. To misquote Tennyson’s stirring call to action: “To strive, to seek, to find yourself running happily through a field.” Have a great year of running, guys. @mensrunninguk

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Asics GT-1000 5

New Balance Vazee Pace

Mizuno Wave Inspire 12

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ONE TASTY RIDE Hello S W E E T C U S H I O N. Introducing The Clifton 3. Maximal cushion. Minimal weight. So you can fly.

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Men's Running - February 2017