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OCTOBER 2015 – £4.50



Get 5K 5 toughest Endurance fit in just races on the gets the 20mins P43 planet P58 girls P66 PLUS MR57_001.indd 1



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Cover image: New Balance


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In the news All the need-to-know facts and figures from the world of running My best race MR reader Rob Rees looks back at a great run at the Oxford Half Marathon Steve’s way The elite marathon runner reveals his five golden rules for running success My running life Top British ultrarunner Ian Sharman on what running means to him This month in history We take a look back at Michael Johnson’s still-standing 400m WR Superfood Meet cacao, the chocolatey relation dubbed the ‘healthiest food in the world’ Recipes Two nutritious meals to power your run and recovery Fat to fit MR reader Tim Moyle’s inspiring weight-loss journey Upgrade your grub Nutritionist Emma Patel pimps your plate on a budget

© Rick Pearson


All at sea

Would you run a race on Sealand? MR did, and it was ace



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Cross-country tips Expert trail runner Ceri Rees tells you how to be a cross-country champ Snowdonia Half Marathon Rick Pearson tackles the brutal mountain run in a biblical downpour Made in Britton GB ultrarunner Robbie Britton discusses the need for speed

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Anatomy of a runner We reveal how Usain Bolt became the fastest man on the planet Man up! Endurance god Dean Karnazes on how to banish pre-race nerves Cross-training Each month, we look at an extra-curricular sport to boost your running Talking heads Obstacle courses – mud-caked fun or overpriced fads? Running technique Martin Yelling guides you through the secrets of the half-marathon


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World’s toughest races From Arctic tundra to arid desert, these races are not for the faint-hearted Death Valley double Welsh brothers attempt to run across the hottest place on Earth – twice Are runners more attractive? A recent study suggests just that: endurance running gets the girls

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Gear tech A quick glance at the Recon Jet – Google Glass for runners Beanies and jackets Beat summer showers with our selection of hats and waterproofs Sole fever Seven multi-purpose trainers for those who want style and substance


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Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Isaac Williams resists the Guinness to run this much-loved half-marathon NYC Marathon All the need-to-know facts about the biggest race on the planet

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SUBSCRIBE TODAY! see page 38 for details


Project Trail Meet the four guys gearing up for an off-road adventure

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Editorial Director David Castle Managing Editor Rick Pearson Tel: 020 8996 5089


Art Editor James Wilkinson Staff Writer Isaac Williams Digital Writer Tom Bristow



hoy there, me hearties, and welcome to this month’s issue of MR. Why am I speaking in nautical language? Partly to express my considerable excitement at writing my first editor’s letter. But mostly due to the fact that I have, indeed, been to sea – Sealand, specifically. This self-declared country, lying seven miles off the east coast of England, recently played host to the world’s most unlikely half-marathon. And I was lucky enough to witness it. For those of you unfamiliar with Sealand – and, until recently, I’d never heard of it – it looks like an oil rig plonked in the middle of the North Sea. Actually, it’s a ‘micronation’ complete with its own aristocracy, national anthem, motto, currency, and now its first ever official race – which you can read more about on page 54. Anyway, it got me thinking: where’s the strangest place you’ve run? An exotic country? An unknown trail? I’d love to know, so please send me an email at Alongside the Sealand race, this issue is packed full of news, views and reviews to inform and inspire. It’s a real pleasure to step into the managing editor role, building on David Castle’s great work to make MR a publication for men looking to take their running to the next level. And it’s my firm ambition to ensure the magazine continues to inspire you on your own running journeys – wherever they may lead.

Contributors Robbie Britton, Steve Way, Emma Patel, Anne-Marie Lategan, Martin Yelling, Ceri Rees, Joy Skipper, Gary Dalton, Dean Karnazes, Dominic Bliss, Mitchell Phillips, Ross Murray, Chris Kelk


To advertise call 020 8996 5058 Commercial Director Allan Pattison Tel: 020 8996 5058 Deputy Advertising Manager Yemi Williams Tel: 020 8996 5104 Advertising Sales Executive Cristina Slattery-Lopez Tel: 020 8996 5167 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 Printed by William Gibbons Tel: 01902 730011

TO SUBSCRIBE CALL 0844 245 6920

Distribution by Marketforce UK Ltd Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU Tel: 020 3148 3300 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.

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


Ross is a 1500m runner who represented Team GB at the 2012 Olympics. Check out his five no-excuse, time-saving sessions (p43).


Keen ultrarunner Gary Dalton reports from the adidas Thunder Run, where he and three others represented MR in the 24-hour relay (p94).


Nutritionist Emma Patel runs EatWell Nutrition. She uses her wealth of academic and industrybased experience to Upgrade Your Grub (p32). ISSN 2042-972X


Turn to page 38 and find out how you can subscribe and get five issues for £5

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Recently I’ve been thinking about running as a sport compared to others, and if there is possibly a more supportive sport for individuals to take part in. Unlike team sports such as football, where for 90 minutes the aim is to kick, dive, shout, whinge and moan, running seems to be the complete opposite. I can’t imagine Wayne Rooney telling his opposition, “Don’t be too downhearted, you’re only two goals down, pull your socks up and you might get one back.” In all the races I’ve taken part in, I’ve never once thought bad of anyone who I’m lined up with. We’re all just going to do our utmost to get the best result possible. But surely the same can’t be said for many other sports? Paul O’Brien, Bolton


Ed: I don’t know, Paul. I quite like the idea of Rooney consoling the Norwich back four after scoring a hat-trick. Or perhaps a defender applauding Ashley Young for another glorious dive. In all seriousness, though, running must be one of the most supportive sports out there. And long may it stay that way.

I can still run a reasonable 10K – about 42-43 minutes. I try and keep my runs to quality rather than quantity, although I do enjoy running for the sake of it. I recently ran in Endure 24 and clocked 30 miles as part of a mixed team of seven! Berni Dutton, Southampton Ed: Berni, you’re putting the rest of us to shame. Good on you for adapting your training as you get older – that’s the key to many more years of happy running.


Pushing 63, I find that I’m having to reduce my weekly running mileage, but still enjoy and want to do some form of training. I am replacing miles on my legs with miles on my backside by using a rowing machine. I can do intervals, fartleks and 5Ks. I also have a bike fitted to a magnetic resistance trainer for variation and cool-downs – also useful in bad weather. This has all had the effect of reducing the impact on my old bones, helping me maintain a healthy weight (76kg) and a resting heart rate between 39 and 44.

Andy Clark on one of his ultra runs


The writer of this month’s star letter receives a pair of Skechers GOrun™4 trainers. The flexible, lightweight shoe is perfect for a variety of distances, from 5K to marathon

Age is no match for Berni Dutton



I’m a subscriber to your fantastic magazine and in the last year have taken up ultrarunning as I’ve always had decent endurance in my legs. I often get asked why I run so much and why so far, so I thought I’d try to write a response. Many times during training and my recent ultramarathon, I was out in the middle of nowhere and away from humanity thinking, “Why am I doing this?” But arriving at the finish line answers those questions all at once. It’s an absolute adrenaline rush and unbelievably emotional.

I’ve heard many reasons why people run: to get fit/keep fit, make new friends, because it’s free and you can do it anywhere. The list can go on. These are all positive benefits of running. But none are really why I run. I get a real senses of satisfaction from competing with my own mind and body and finding what their capabilities are. I’ve spent lots of time over recent years meditating and practising mindfulness, but have found recently that on long runs I am more mindful than anything I’ve triend previously. There’s also a huge adrenaline rush attached to completing a predetermined goal, which you weren’t 100% confident you were capable of. So why continue to push further? Because reaching the same goal over and over doesn’t bring the same amount of excitement as it did the first time. I need to push more. When does it end? The answer to that is: I really don’t know – yet. Andy Clark, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Ed: It sounds like we’ve had very dissimilar ultramarathon experiences, Andy. While you are able to feel quite mindful and Zen, I divide my time evenly between over-eating, power-walking and sobbing uncontrollably. Still, as you rightly point out, the real kick is in pushing yourself to your limit. To quote the great Emil Zátopek: “It is at the borders of pain and suffering that the men are separated from the boys.”

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Race to the Stones, Oxfordshire


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A sea of runners at the start of the 100K race. The route follows the Ridgeway, before finishing at the 5,000-year-old stone circle at Avebury.

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MY RACE FACE Races are not catwalks – which is lucky, because few of us look good coming down the home straight. Here’s a selection of some of your best/worst race faces

Dave Elsom Maltby Memorial Trail Rac e

Dennis Yarwood Warrington 10K

Francis Mills Bupa 10K


Richard Edwards ING Night Maratho n

Thomas Henry Rose Inn 4-Mile Race

Will wins a ‘Doggie Bag’ from skincare brand Bulldog for all his grooming needs

Will Anthes Wyvern 10K

Want to share your Race Face? email

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The Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD/WDR has spoken of the “extraordinary extent” of cheating by athletes at major events, after gaining access to 12,000 blood tests from between 2001 and 2012. According to senior anti-doping experts, the database reveals one third of medals in endurance events at the Olympics and World Championships between 2001 and 2012 were won by athletes who recorded ‘suspicious tests’. Although poster boys Usain Bolt and Mo Farah – whose coach, Alberto Salazar, first came under fire for alleged doping – recorded ‘no abnormal results’.


You recently completed the 100K Race to the Stones; was it an enjoyable experience? It was my first ultramarathon and I absolutely loved it. In the early stages I enjoyed the fact that it all felt so relaxed. You’re not constantly under pressure. And I know everyone talks about self-discovery, but after mile 50 when my legs began to deteriorate badly, I really did find stuff out about myself. Who’s the quickest runner in the BBC Radio world? Well, we’ve got some ringers working with us at the BBC. Paula Radcliffe, Steve Cram, Denise Lewis, Colin Jackson, Alison Curbishley. Beware who you go running with; you may end up hanging on for dear life. What future running challenges have you got lined up? I ran much of the 100K Race to the Stones with someone I met on the day called Tim. During the final dozen miles or so we both decided that 100 miles was definitely a step too far. By the following afternoon (when I’d just raced a triathlon due to a colossal diary error) we were already texting each other about that 100-mile belt buckle.


Described as the most “demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet”, the 135-mile Badwater 135 race took place on 28-30 July. Covering three mountain ranges with a cumulative vertical ascent of 6,100ft, runners also had to endure 45°C temperatures. Pete Kostelnik, a 27-year-old ultrarunner from Nebraska, best endured the multitude of grueling factors to finish in a time of 23hrs 27mins – more than seven hours quicker than he managed at last year’s event.

© Chris Kostman /



The Radio 2 Breakfast team are running the Windsor Half Marathon in aid of Pudsey’s Piggy Bank

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Words Isaac Williams

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I’ve just been reading the August issue’s article regarding parkrun, which gave some excellent advice on threshold and interval training. In addition to this, could you recommend the weekly mileage and distances that should be done for optimum 5K/parkrun performance? Lee L, via email

THE QUESTION BOO! WHAT’S BEEN YOUR SCARIEST EVER RUNNING EXPERIENCE? That’s the question we asked you on Facebook. Here’s what you said…



Hi Lee, glad you liked the article. The answer to your question is simple: in order to run quick, you have to train quick. For 5K training, quality should take precedence over quantity – you don’t need to exceed 20 miles. On day one, try 8 x 2mins with 1min rest. Day two: relaxed five-mile run. Day three: 30-minute tempo run with a 10-minute warm-up and warm-down. Day four: five miles at 10K pace. Team MR

© jon Ascroft / Carnethy Hill Running Club

© Tolu Osinnowu


That’s exactly what 33-year-old Benjamin Smith is attempting to do. Having run his first marathon a mere three years ago, the Bristolian, who was severely bullied at school, hopes to raise £250,000 for the anti-bullying charities Stonewall and Kidscape. The challenge will take him to 309 locations, with the vast majority of the runs being organised by UK running clubs. Hats off, Ben!


Course records are like buses: you wait 26 years for one, and then two come along at once. That was the case with Scotland’s iconic Ramsay Round, a 58-mile circuit covering 24 vertigo-inducing Munros. After Jez Bragg heroically broke the 26-year wait for a quickest time, Jon Ascroft took less than a month to break it again – smashing Bragg’s already impressive time of 18hrs 12mins, by completing the circuit in 16hrs 59mins.

Allan Robertson Came up against a bear in Canada while out trail running. A Liverpool lad vs a big bear... God, I ran a PB for the next few miles. Carl Mansfield Seeing the big, mile-long hill at mile 21 in the 2013 Marathon of the North (and then finding out the course was short so technically it wasn’t a marathon at all). Simon Bruce Lake Running on pure instinct just before being taken away in an ambulance with hypothermia – Greater Manchester Marathon 2012. Apparently I was running from one side of the road to the other when someone guided me off to get help. Gav Parrot Needing the loo at the London Marathon. Gareth Boyd Getting lost 40 miles in to a 50-mile ultra. Ended up doing an extra seven miles. Rob Evans Big ugly dog biting me as I ran past a house in Greece. There were about five more heading our way. Swearing loudly in English helped to get rid of the original one and discourage the others. Lucky the dog spoke so many languages. Also lucky it didn’t break the skin. Phillip Robinson Going over on my ankle about 100 metres from the finish line at the Lichfield Half Marathon, in front of everyone. Not being able to run for the next two months added insult to injury. Kieran Brown Earphones in on a training run in Mumbles, Swansea. The road train came right up behind me and almost ran me down. October 2015 • 17

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MY BEST RACE EVER In a bid to get fit after uni, 22-year-old Rob Rees signed up for the Vitality Oxford Half Marathon. Eight weeks later, he found himself crossing the line in an impressive time


ike most people after they finish uni, I found myself overweight, mentally unstable and in denial about my 10-a-day smoking habit. I needed to take drastic action, so decided to enter the Oxford Half Marathon on behalf of Helen & Douglas House Hospice. My theory being this: if I bailed out, I’d literally be letting down dying children. On the day of the race, after eight weeks of training, I remember it all being quite surreal. I was still hungover from the Friday night and my dog had died the day before – safe to say I wasn’t a barrel of laughs. My brother had recently run a half in 1:37, so I was literally going for anything under that. However, as I got there quite early, I soon found myself pushed right up into the sub-1:30 section. Within 10 seconds of starting, I had already ignored every single piece of advice given to me. I was not setting my own pace; I was trying to keep up with the



off at an No pain, no gain: Despite setting on, Rob (right) ambitious pace and grimly hanging in his debut half clocked an impressive 1hr 32mins


Tell us about your best race ever. Email

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semi-professional athletes I had surrounded myself with. I did the first mile in 6:30. At this point, most people would think, “Crikey, bit quick that, best slow down a touch.” I thought, “6:30?! Go on, boy!” And continued at this ridiculous pace, averaging about 6:40 for the first six miles. I felt fantastic. Thoughts turned to Rio 2016. But, sure enough, the pain soon became unbearable. Spurred on by the desire to beat my brother’s time and not wanting to add to the dying children’s misery, I kept going. I fluctuated my pace from near sprints to near walks, which for some reason worked for me psychologically. Turning the corner, I saw the Olympia that is the Kassam Stadium and knew it was almost over. Sprinting down the 100m track, I saw 1:32 on the clock and was almost sick. Not out of surprise, but the fact I had just run over 13 miles. During my warm-down (the bus home) I got a text from the good people at Vitality confirming I had run a 1:32 – well beyond my wildest goals.

Photography Vitality Oxford Half Marathon

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Sage advice from former ‘fat bloke’ turned elite marathon runner Steve Way


“Do you over get back on the booze and kebabs – just for a night, like?” Jordan Stanway-Williams, via email Yes! I’m the first to admit that I’m no saint when it comes to my previous vices, but it’s all about moderation and control. I actually use the prospect of a couple of days of unhealthy living as a reward after my big target races – visualising that first pint after two months’ hard training was what kept me going in the Commonwealth Games marathon!

Left: Steve during a 5000m track race Right: Savouring a rare post-race pint




Be consistent. If it weren’t for the fact that it would make for a very boring article, I’d fill up all five points with consistency; it is that important! If you want to get anywhere near your potential, consistency is essential. Aerobic improvement takes years of training, so keep your mileage up all year round.


Put in the miles. Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you need to run 140 miles a week like me. Nonetheless, most runners underestimate what their bodies are capable of in terms of training volume. Some cautious increases can lead to new levels that you thought you would never be capable of.


Build a strong core. Can you stand on one leg with your eyes closed without wobbling? If you have just fallen over, you need to work on your core stability. Yoga, pilates,

circuit training or even just the odd “plank” will all help to make you a more efficient and faster runner.


Lead a healthy lifestyle. There is no point committing 100% to your training and then not looking after your body. Recover and adapt quickly from your training by getting good quality sleep, eating as clean as you can, and keeping treats to a minimum.


Get out of your comfort zone. I hate 5000m track races. Yet last week I raced against kids half my age in the British League, as I know it’s important to keep up my speedwork. Mix things up with some roads races, track, crosscountry and parkruns. It will be of huge benefit to your running.


Got a question for Steve? Tweet us: @mensrunninguk


DON’T GIVE IN TO FATIGUE – IT’S SUPPOSED TO HURT! Experimenting with slightly higher mileage than normal and feeling tired? The natural reaction is to assume it’s too much and back off, but be patient. A few more weeks at a similar level and your body will learn to adapt. It will soon start to feel easier, I promise!

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He is one of Britain’s best ultrarunners – all the more remarkable when you consider he didn’t start running until his mid-20s. MR spoke with the 33-year-old to find out more


hat does running mean to you? I came to running later in life than most of my friends. I was 24 and it was a way to seek adventure and challenges that I wasn’t getting from a corporate job in London. At first it just seemed like an exciting escape, but it gradually became a large part of my personality. Now I can’t imagine not running. What was your best ever run? The one that means the most to me, so far, is my fastest 100-miler, setting the record at the Rocky Raccoon 100 in 2011, in 12hrs 44mins, against runners of whom I was in awe, like Anton Krupicka, Scott Jurek and Hal Koerner.

What’s your most cherished running possession? Definitely my belt buckle from the Wasatch Front 100-miler, marking the completion of the ‘Grand Slam’ of ultrarunning (Western States 100, Vermont 100, Leadville Trail 100 and Wasatch Front 100). It’s grandly titled, with tongue firmly in cheek, the ‘Royal Order of the Crimson Cheetah’ and only a few join the club each year.

Who, if anyone, is your running hero? Haile Gebrselassie’s a legend of the sport and a truly good human being.

What is non-runners’ greatest misconception about running? That it’s bad for your knees. One of the worst things for knees and mobility is avoiding exercise. Running generally strengthens all areas of the leg.

What’s the greatest lesson running has taught you? Patience. Hard work and training pays off in the long term. This is something that applies to every aspect of life, including my coaching business where

As well as being an athlete, you’re a coach. What one piece of advice would you give to new runners? I see so many runners jumping into really long distances too soon, so I recommend taking time to build up

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it’s taken me half a decade to move away from my old career as an economist to a fulfilling career as an ultrarunning coach.

and enjoy the accomplishment of each new distance and race. What is your attitude to mid-race nutrition: gels or real food? I eat a wide selection of food in races but tend to get most of my calories from a combination of Clif Shot gels and a new product they gave me since the start of 2014 – Organic Energy Food pouches, kind of like baby food. You’re an ever-present at the Western States 100; what is it about that race that appeals to you? It’s a mixture of the history (the original, first 100-miler), the high level of competition and the beauty of the course. I’ve set myself the target of 10 consecutive years of top 10 finishes and have four more to reach that. Finally, describe yourself as a runner in one word. Relentless. Ian Sharman is an ultrarunner, coach, and director of the US Skyrunning Series. For more on Ian, visit

Photography Matt Trappe

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Golden boy: Johnson’s stunning 400m time, set in 1999, is yet to be broken



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n 26 August 1999, Michael Johnson cemented his status as the greatest 400m runner ever. It was the final of the World Championships in Seville and Johnson, the pre-race favourite, was hotly tipped to break Butch Reynold’s 43.29secs world record. Sporting his iconic golden spikes – made famous on the way to his record-breaking 200m at the Atlanta Olympics three years previously – Johnson looked nervous on the start line. Pacing up and down, he had the look of a man who knew the world was watching, expecting. As soon as the gun sounded, though, he exploded out of the blocks to blow away the field in a stunning 43.18secs. To put that feat in to context, Johnson ran at an average pace of 10.79 seconds per 100m. Sixteen years on, his record still stands.

Words Isaac Williams Photography Mark Shearman

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CACAO Cocoa’s cousin is the heart-boosting, moodenhancing, culinary king

WHAT IS IT? The healthy, guilt-free alternative to chocolate, cacao powder is the direct product of the South American cacao bean. Unlike cocoa – which is cacao that has been roasted at high temperatures, lowering the nutritional value – cacao powder is the product of cold-pressed un-roasted beans, which keeps the enzymes alive. Enjoyed by the Aztec elites, raw cacao’s invigorating properties have been revered in South America for centuries. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH IT? Don’t be fooled by its chocolatey relation; cacao is far from sweet and, as a result, should be used with caution. That being said, when treated like a bitter dark chocolate, it can be used for pretty much anything you can think of. Some of the enzymes and nutrients are lost when heated, though, so nutritionally speaking it is best consumed raw: sprinkled in to your favourite smoothie, for instance. WHY IS IT GOOD FOR MY HEALTH? Cacao has been described by some serious health professionals as the “healthiest food in the world”. That’s a pretty bold claim, but it’s certainly chock-a-block with benefits. Alongside its mood-enhancing properties, of particular note is cacao’s remarkable density of antioxidant compounds. These include heart-boosting polyphenols, which reduce levels of ‘bad cholesterol’ and thus greatly decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke.

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Words Isaac Williams Photography

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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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SWEET POTATO-TOPPED CHICKEN AND LEEK PIE Substitute the sweet potatoes and carrot with butternut and parsnip, or any combination of root vegetables – they all taste good with the creamy chicken and leek filling


Serves 2 ■ 600g sweet potato, peeled and chopped ■ 300g carrots, peeled and chopped ■ 1tbsp olive oil ■ 2 leeks ■ 300g chicken breast ■ 1.5tbsp flour ■ 2tsp wholegrain mustard ■ 500ml chicken stock ■ Seasoning ■ 50g cheddar cheese, grated


1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)/ gas mark six. 2. Cook the sweet potatoes and carrots in a pan of boiling water for 12-15 minutes, until tender. 3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the leeks and chicken for 10 minutes, until browned. Stir in the flour and cook for one minute, then stir in the mustard and stock and bring to a simmer. Cook for two to three minutes and then spoon into an ovenproof dish. 4. Drain the potatoes and carrots and lightly mash. Season well, spoon over the chicken mixture and sprinkle with grated cheddar. 5. Cook for 12-15 minutes until the cheese is melted and golden. 6. Serve with a green salad.



CARBS 91.2G (SUGARS: 13.3G)

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Words Joy Skipper Photography Joy Skipper

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PRAWN AND DILL OMELETTE Omelettes are the ultimate fast food – easy to make, you can add pretty much any ingredient you like, and they give you a great boost of protein


Serves 1 ■ 4 eggs ■ 150g king prawns ■ 2tbsp chopped dill ■ Seasoning ■ 1tbsp olive oil ■ 2 spring onions, chopped 1. In a large bowl, lightly beat together the eggs, prawns, dill and seasoning. 2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and pour in the egg mixture. Let it sit for a minute until it starts to cook around the edges, then slowly move it around with a spatula until cooked through. 3. Slide onto a plate and sprinkle with chopped spring onions to serve.


FAT 34.8G (SAT: 8.2G) CARBS 1G (SUGARS: 1G)

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A sucker for a takeaway, Tim Moyle found himself overweight and in need of a major lifestyle change. His children provided the health kick he needed – and running provided the means to do so


t school I was pretty active and took part in a lot of sports, but at college I got in to unhealthy eating and drinking habits, which continued after that. It was the usual story: too many takeaways and beers, and too little exercise. Although I gave up alcohol in 2002, the unhealthy eating pretty much continued. Takeaways were always a particular weakness – especially pizza and Indian. I move around quite a lot with my job and, in 2007, relocated to Nairobi. It was there that I decided that I needed to try and do something about it. At that stage, I weighed over 20 stone. So I started running, changed my diet and generally tried to lead a healthier lifestyle. It was tough. Actually, I wasn’t even sure at the start whether I would be able to run at all because I hadn’t done it for so long. Initially, I alternated between run/ walking on one day, and walking the next. On “running” days, I’d jog for 30 seconds, and walk for two and a half minutes, and do that for half an hour. My main motivation to get fit has been my children (Vaughan, nine, Keenan, six and Tegan, three). I wanted to be able to keep up with them, and also to set a decent example. Recently we watched some old family videos, and they weren’t able to recognise the big guy in them, which was pretty cool!


Since then, I’ve done a couple of 10Ks and now a couple of half-marathons. The last half-marathon in March was quite a step forward for me. Although

All the beer, no idea: Tim’s college nutrition saw him tip the scales at over 20 stone


“MY CHILDREN HAVE BEEN MY MAIN MOTIVATION TO LOSE WEIGHT AND GET FIT” pretty slow by most standards (2hrs 16mins), I ran the whole way, and actually didn’t find it too tough, or at least wasn’t totally wiped by the end. I’m planning to run the Loch Ness Marathon in September – flights, hotels and entry are all booked, so I guess there’s no backing out now. I’m quite nervous about it, but a lot of the training

All change: by adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking up running, Tim shed almost seven stone


that I do now is on pretty boring and repetitive park loops, because that’s all that’s available, and I’m hoping that the switch to a more interesting, scenic course will help. In terms of nutrition, I now try to just eat better generally. I’ve tried various diets, but never stuck to them. Now I just eat plenty of fruit and veg. Ensuring that there’s healthy stuff on hand makes it easier – there’s generally some of my wife’s “three-bean chilli” in our fridge. I’m now 13.8 stone, but I’d ideally like to drop to under 13. That would certainly make Loch Ness a bit easier!


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

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13/08/2015 11:13


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





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Nutritionist Emma Patel shows you how to pimp your plate on the cheap ■ WHITE RICE, CURRY SAUCE, CHICKEN BREAST AND NAAN BREAD


White rice has a high GI (Glycemic Index) and is packed full of sugar, has little fibre and a low mineral content which spikes your blood sugar rapidly. This, however, could be a good option after a hard run to replenish your glycogen stores quickly. Shop-bought curry sauce is a poor choice. It tends to be laden with sugar, saturated fat, salt and preservatives. Try making your own healthier version. Chicken breast is an excellent source of lean protein, vitamins and minerals. In particular, it’s a good source of selenium, zinc, niacin, vitamin E, B6 and B12 – all needed as antioxidants to aid metabolism and cell function. Shop-bought naan bread is heavily refined and has considerably higher fat content compared with other types of bread, which pushes up the calories (it can contain a whopping 400-500 calories). It is heavily refined in processed carbohydrate and, with all the goodness stripped away, it really only offers empty calories. Eat it rarely or, better still, not at all.





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1. Brown rice, unlike white rice, still has the side hull and brans. These provide ‘natural wholeness’ to the grain and are rich in proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fibre and potassium. With a low GI, it will keep you fuller for longer. 2. Rustle up a quick and easy chicken, lentil and cauliflower curry. This combination offers protein, lots of fibre, vitamins and minerals. Cauliflower contains a wealth of anti-inflammatory nutrients, to help keep inflammation in check, as well as being a good source of vitamins K and C. 3. Nourishing lentils are great value and very good for you. A small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, they are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fibre. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high-fibre content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils also provide B-vitamins and protein, with virtually no fat. 4. Ditch the naan and replace with a homemade chapatti – saving you a lot of calories and fat. Try using an alternative flour to plain wheat flour, such as kamut. Kamut boasts a broad nutritional profile and it provides a considerable amount of protein, fibre, minerals, selenium and magnesium.


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Bolt’s relaxed demeanor is not just for show. It’s the result of being plagued by pre-race nerves in his early teens – before taking 200m gold at the 2002 World Junior Championships, the Jamaican was so nervous that he put his shoes on the wrong feet. After the race, he vowed to never let nerves affect his performance again. “I’ve learned over the years that if you start thinking about the race, it stresses you out a little bit. I just try to relax,” he says.


When he stands on the start line, Bolt is head and shoulders above the competition, both literally and metaphorically. At 6ft 5inches, his long limbs allow him to eat up the track in record time. Research published in the Journal of Sports Sciences has supported the claim that Bolt’s height gives him an advantage, by revealing that taller, leaner athletes have the edge over their bulkier counterparts. This is because their greater surface area allows them to dissipate heat quicker, which in turn allows muscles to work harder for longer.


To run quick, you have to train quick. Which is why the majority of Bolt’s training is directly speed-related. If you have a nearby athletics track, try 8 x 200m, with 2mins rest between each effort. Alternatively, head to your local park and do 8 x 30secs, with 1min rest in between.


Sprinting is all about power, and you can’t become truly powerful without embracing your inner gym shark and throwing a few weights around. Power cleans, barbell squats, box jumps and sled pulls help Bolt to hit speeds of up to 27mph.


While most 100m sprinters take 45 steps to cross the line, Bolt’s incredibly long stride allows him to cover the same distance in just 40. Hamstring curls and one-leg squats (three sets of 15-20 reps, two to three times per week) will build the flexibility required to increase your stride length, while alternate leg bounds will help you to build the explosive power necessary for a sprint finish.

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Criticised early on in his career for having poor technique, Bolt has done a lot of work to improve on his running posture – of which an effective knee drive is a key component. Sled pulls help to forge a powerful movement, while cable knee drives and hanging leg raises give him flexibility in the hip flexors, contributing to his high, ranging stride.


In the sprinting world, forefoot is king. Bolt’s forefoot strike keeps his foot in a rigid position, which maximises the amount of propulsion he can achieve. Despite his long stride length, he also lands with his feet under his hips, thus maintaining a high cadence and increasing his running efficiency.

Words Isaac Williams Photography Puma

13/08/2015 11:24



Bolt’s coach, Glen Mills, sees strength training as essential to maintaining power and reducing the risk of injury. Bolt’s boulder-shoulders are the direct result of compound exercises with a barbell, which build both strength and endurance, giving him the upper body power needed to drive over the line.


A core of steel is the foundation for any track and field athlete’s success, and Bolt is no exception. Three days a week, he spends intense 90-minute gym sessions mixing targeted movements like crunches, leg raises and side sweeps with plyometric exercises such as box jumps.


Despite being blessed with the fastest of fast-twitch muscle fibres, Bolt’s naturally skinny frame necessitates that a lot of time be spent maintaining explosive leg power. “I do a lot of hamstring curls and leg extensions,” he says.

■ WORLD’S FASTEST MAN Born in a small town in the parish of Trelawny, Jamaica, Bolt was sports mad from a young age. Noticing just how quick he was, it was Bolt’s cricket coach who first persuaded him to try out for athletics. The rest, as they say, is history. In 2002, he was awarded the IAAF Rising Star Award after winning 200m gold at the World Junior Championships – clocking 20.61 at the age of just 15. His Olympic achievements, though, were what cemented his status as a legend of the sport: becoming the first person to hold the “double double” of 100m and 200m titles in the 2008 and 2012 Olympic games. His 100m world record of 9.58secs, set in the 2009 World Championships, remains the quickest anyone has ever run.

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13/08/2015 11:24



Ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes shares his secrets to mental strength

For many runners, pre-race nerves are enough to derail a run before it’s even started. Dean Karnazes reveals how to embrace your fear and to view nerves as the precursor to success


ear can be both good and bad. Fear compels you to properly prepare for a challenge, but fear can also paralyse you with anxiety. The key is to use this fear to your advantage. But how do you do that? I use a technique called “forward projection”. The concept is really quite simple. In your mind’s eye, paint a vivid picture of yourself standing at the start line of the upcoming race you’re fearful about. Try to make this visualisation as realistic as possible, layering in as much detail as you can, like the feel of the cool morning’s damp air upon your skin, the buzz of adrenaline coursing through your system and the accompanying elevation in your heart rate, and the tension of the other participants all around you. By reconstructing the upcoming fearful situation beforehand, you can dissipate some of the nervousness before the event even takes place. Another important factor in overcoming fear is to adequately prepare for the conquest during the weeks and months leading up to the event. Let’s face it, fear often comes as a result of feeling underprepared for the challenge you’re attempting. When you’re standing at that start line you will inevitably look inward and ask yourself whether you’ve paid your dues in your training and preparation, or whether you’ve skimped and taken shortcuts. There’s no hiding the truth from yourself. So being adequately trained and prepared can go a long way toward squelching fear. Think about this in the weeks and months leading up to your next challenge.

Finally, on the morning of the event when you’re toeing the line, try to focus on breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth, using your diaphragm to draw air deep into your lungs. This technique has been shown to activate the vagus nerve, which slows the pulse and lowers blood pressure, and helps to induce a state of relaxation and calm. Then, run like hell! Dean Karnazes is a renowned endurance athlete and NY Times best-selling author of Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, 50/50: Adventures in Running 50 Marathons, in All 50 US States, in 50 Consecutive Days! and RUN! 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss. The heat is on: Dean runs through California’s Death Valley, where temperatures can reach 50°C


DEAR DEAN “What’s the worst hallucination you have had due to sleep deprivation?” Owain Thomas, via Facebook During the Badwater Ultra, a 135-mile nonstop footrace across Death Valley, I saw an old miner 49’er coming across the road at me in the middle of the night. He had on torn overalls and was unshaven with a long grey beard. As he got closer, I noticed he was carrying a gold pan. He held it out to me and said, “Water, water, I need water,” so I poured water from my handheld bottle into his pan. It was only when I heard the water sizzling on the tarmac that I realised he wasn’t real.


Got a question for Dean? Tweet us: @mensrunninguk

36 • October 2015

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13/08/2015 12:58

CROSS-TRAINING OF THE MONTH KETTLEBELLS When it comes to weight training, it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing. Rick Pearson finds out why kettlebell classes could be the gateway to injury-free running


ettlebell training may feel like a modern fad, but it’s actually been around for hundreds of years. Originally used by Russian strongmen at the country’s festivals and fairs during the 18th Century, today kettlebells are on many athletes’ essential kit lists. Why? “Kettlebell training increases lean muscle mass without bulking you up,” says Svetlana Writtle, who runs Russian Kettlebells. “It can help all athletes looking to improve their performance, no matter what their discipline.” Keen to put this to the test, I took part in one of Svetlana’s classes at Balance Physio in south London.


Kettlebell training typically includes high-intensity sets with minimal rest. This is excellent for improving your VO2 max. “It can help increase your endurance and stamina levels,” says Svetlana.


While traditional weights help you to bulk up, kettlebells can help you to trim down. “You can burn up to 1,500 calories an hour through kettlebell training, so it’s a great weight-loss tool.”

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Efficient running requires strong hips – and kettlebell training is perfect for creating them. The classic kettlebell swing is all about driving the hips forward.

up. Kettlebell shoulder presses, which can be combined with a squat, are a great way to build explosive strength – allowing you to blast away from the competition on the home straight.

Lord of the swings: Svetlana put Rick through his paces


One of the classic kettlebell moves is the goblet squat, a deep squat performed while holding the kettlebell by its horns. This creates iron-cast quads, perfect for powering uphill.


“Kettlebell training strengthens the connective tissue around the joints,” says Svetlana. “You have to balance the kettlebell so you recruit the smaller, ancillary muscles that are vital to running.” The result: you’re less likely to get injured.


Strong arms can help to power a tired body when the rest of you is ready to give


13/08/2015 11:27

CROSS-TRAIN Swing to win: kettlebells create lean strength – perfect for powering through when the going gets tough

WORKS FOR ME el W ol pa



© Jo

I’ve embraced kettlebells as an inexpensive and simple way to incorporate weight training at home. Having a regimen I can hit at home leaves me more likely to maintain consistency when I can sneak it in after a run or in small windows of time throughout the day. While I perform my circuit routine allyear round, I prioritise completing it twice a week in the 12-week build up to my biggest races. Kettlebells are an integral part of this circuit routine: swings, one-arm snatch, Bulgarian split squat, single-leg overhead press, side bend, goblet squats, Russian twist, and of course the greatest exercise in the world – the Turkish get-up. The greatest benefit of kettlebell training for runners is core stability and balance, two of the most important factors to longevity in the sport and success in the later miles of an ultra race. Rob Krar is a The North Face athlete


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Pronation: hindrance or healthy? For too long, pronation has been looked at as an affliction requiring expensive cures. However, Mitchell Phillips of StrideUK says it’s time we had a rethink


ronation – the inward movement of the foot upon impact with the ground – has a PR problem. For years, many of us have created a negative, dispiriting association with this word, believing it to be something that needs correction. It’s about time that we step out of the dark ages, and rekindle our relationship in a positive way with this perfectly natural and healthy movement. Pronation plays a vital part in decelerating us safely towards the ground. Your foot would typically land on the outer edge of the shoe and then be required to pronate to allow the shoe to level out across its width. Without this movement, your foot would remain stiff and inflexible and is highly likely to unleash a whole new range of biomechanical issues, including shin

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splints, plantar fasciitis, or even a stress fracture. To experience what it’s like not to pronate, just try to run round the block running on the sides of your shoes – then make your own decision whether a world without pronation is a better thing. So why is pronation seen as a dirty word? Surely, we should be embracing and celebrating this natural movement rather than treating it as something we should be mourning over. To add to the confusion, we have the question about ‘over-pronating’. What if the foot rolls past its healthy borders of pronation – is this likely to cause problems? Truth be told, there is no certainty that over-pronation causes the many running-related injuries it has been claimed to. And there’s certainly no guarantee that investing in a new pair of

motion-control shoes will work, either. Fresh-off-the-press and highly controversial new research is suggesting that pronation cannot be judged as to when it becomes ‘over-pronation’. Many runners can and do run with moderateto-excessive pronation – MR columnist and marathon man Steve Way, for example – without any cause for concern. We’re entering new times where some health professionals and running shops have to rethink their relationship with the word pronation in order to start giving their clients more reliable, up-to-date performance advice and running shoe recommendation. My belief? Let’s start at the hips and work our way down. Mitchell Phillips is director of StrideUK, one of the UK’s leading running technique analysis companies

Photography StrideUK

13/08/2015 11:28


Quick fit Ross Murray’s five time-saving workouts leave you with no excuse not to up your speed


ave you ever been in a situation where you’ve had to miss a group training session? Perhaps you were working late or were ‘forced’ to go to the pub for drinks? Well, fear not: that doesn’t mean you have to miss training all together. Here are some time-efficient workouts that will help to keep your training on track. Just don’t forget to allow time for a decent warm-up and warm-down too!


CRUISING MILES Session: 3 x 1 mile Recovery: 2:30mins recovery Pace: Between 5-10K pace Why is it good? This workout is essentially a broken down 5K. It’s a good way to get the heart rate up for 20 minutes or more and the 2:30 minutes recovery will allow you to feel good on the reps. If you’re aiming for a 10K, it’s a great race sharpener. Approx total time: 21-30mins


QUICK QUARTERS Session: 10 x 60secs Recovery: 60secs Pace: 3K pace

Why is it good? This is a great session to turn the legs over quicker and improve your speed. Running quicker will mean that when you come back to 5/10K pace, it will feel a lot easier. Towards the end the session, it will begin to bite, but don’t worry as this will really help with your lactic tolerance. Total approximate time: 20mins


FARTLEK FUN Session: Two sets of: 3mins (75secs), 2mins (75secs), 1min (60secs), 1min (90secs) Pace: 3min and 2min reps at 5K pace, 1min reps going quicker than 3K pace Recovery: See above in brackets Why is it good? The 3min and 2min reps will help you get used to running your 5K pace but the 75secs means you’re not running yourself into the ground. The 60secs efforts will again help your speed, and it’s a good way to put a little bit of lactic in the legs. Total approximate time: 25mins


TEMPO TIME Session: 20-minute threshold run Pace: Threshold (if you’re not sure what Photography

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your threshold pace is, run at 10K pace) Why is it good? Threshold running is KEY to any distance runner. It’s a very simple but effective way to improve your aerobic threshold, cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. Total approximate time: 20mins


QUICK/SLOW KS Session: 5 x 3mins Recovery: 75-90secs Pace: Reps 1-3-5 at around 5K pace and reps 2-4 at threshold pace Why is it good? After you’ve run your hard rep, by running your next rep at threshold you are training the body to flush out lactic even when running. Since you’re running one rep hard, one rep easy, you can keep recoveries short, which is very beneficial for building your aerobic endurance. Total approximate time: 20mins

Ross Murray is an English 1500m runner and represented Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics @rosscojammin

October 2015 • 43

13/08/2015 17:34

TALKING HEADS Obstacle racing has grown into a phenomenon, but is it just an over-priced fad? A race organiser and a runner air their contrasting views on the subject


Jonny Muir is a writer, runner and teacher. He is the author of three acclaimed running books and is working on a fourth, about the Ramsay Round.


Are obstacle races all hype? ■ Lots of obstacle races, such as Tough Mudder, claim to be the toughest thing out there. Do you think that’s true? There is a place for obstacles races. Tough Mudder, for instance, laudably promotes teamwork over the individual, and raises millions of pounds for charity. It is the rhetoric that is laughable. At the south west Tough Mudder, “you will soon think you’ve stumbled into hell”. Tough Mudder, apparently, tests “physical strength and mental grit”. And the clichéd “hardcore” is the umbrella term for Tough Mudder events. It is perspective, of course, but obstacle races are contrived. They are the natural off-shoot of a society dominated by social media. They are not real. ■ Entry to Tough Mudder costs £129. Do you think that’s good value? I once paid £4 to enter Cioch Mhor – a nine-mile race (about the same length as Tough Mudder) in the Scottish Highlands. Traversing farmers’ fields, a river, bogs, barbed-wire fences, pathless hillsides of grass and heather, and climbing 660 metres, Cioch Mhor is spookily like Tough Mudder – except, again, this is real,

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Tough Mudder is not. At the end, volunteers from the organising club, Highland Hillrunners, had laid a table piled high with sandwiches and cakes. I ensured I consumed £4 worth of food. Cioch Mhor is £5 now, my mate Dougie in Inverness told me. “We’ve had to put Meall a Bhuachaille (a hill race in the Cairngorms organised by Highland Hillrunners) up to £8,” he said almost apologetically. That was the long answer. In short, is Tough Mudder worth 28 Cioch Mhors? Never. ■ What could mud-hungry runners seek out instead of obstacle course races? In a word: cross-country. Join a local club that competes in a winter cross country league. The races are likely to be free and provide outstanding preparation for athletes competing on the road or track in the summer. I have competed in no harder races than the first division of the Surrey Cross Country League, for instance. And a controversial statement to end on: rather than chucking lots of obstacles in your path, try – whatever your ability – simply running faster. Now that, I assure you, is ‘tough’.

Photography GameFace media

13/08/2015 12:29



Ben Johnson is the director of global communications at Tough Mudder, the 10+ mile obstacle course series. In 2015, there were more than 60 Tough Mudder events across three different continents.


■ Lots of obstacle course races, such as Tough Mudder, claim to be the toughest thing out there. Do you think that’s true? It’s easy to make an event hard – we could make Tough Mudder as tough as we wanted. We could make Funky Monkey a mile long, Everest 20 feet taller, or add a wall only experts climbers could scale. But the truly hard thing to do is to put on an event that is the perfect balance between challenging and rewarding – something that allows participants to push themselves further than they have before, without sacrificing the joy of accomplishing something unique. We’re proud to put on truly life-changing events that push people to appreciate new experiences. ■ Entry for Tough Mudder costs £129. Do you think that’s good value? No other event combines endurance, teamwork, intense challenges and obstacles, mental grit, a sense of humour and camaraderie in the same way. Tough Mudder is all about the quality of our obstacles and attention to detail. Our events keep even the most seasoned Mudders on their toes, and we’re confident in the value our participants receive. Additionally, for those who are looking for a reduced price, we have volunteer opportunities available at each of our events, which can be used to earn significantly reduced entry.


Dirty money: are obstacle races worth the hefty entry fees?

■ What would you say to encourage runners to try an obstacle course race? Tough Mudder events provide a change of pace mentally. As a dedicated runner it’s easy to get focused on the minutiae – the exact mileage, the split times, the finish times, the rankings. Tough Mudder events are opportunities to put all that aside and enjoy the thrill of running outdoors and trying new things in an environment where it’s impossible to take yourself too seriously.

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13/08/2015 12:29

Hail to the half Nail your autumn half-marathon with Martin Yelling’s must-read guide


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.


on’t be fooled. A half-marathon isn’t about doing anything by halves; 13.1 miles is a tough distance to master. If 10K is the furthest you’ve raced and you’re starting to dabble with distance, running a half-marathon is the perfect step up – particularly if you’re considering stepping up again to the full marathon distance in the future. Equally, if you’ve done the whole ‘marathon thing’ and are looking for a new challenge, the half-marathon is the obvious choice. However, stepping down in distance doesn’t make a half-marathon any easier. In fact, if you’re going to try to hit a half hard, the intensity required for the 13.1 miles is seriously demanding. One strategy for running a faster marathon is actually to drop the distance and master half-marathon running. So,

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marathon runners, it’ll do you good to cut distance, take the pressure off the 26.2, reduce your mileage and up your speed.




A half-marathon is far enough to be a stretch, without involving the extra training and racing demands of a full marathon. Halves are a perfect way to push a few boundaries and run further or faster than before. Yet they are also a realistic and achievable goal to work towards. A half-marathon is still a tough endurance event, taking anywhere between 75 minutes for the super fit and three hours for the first-timer. Physically, they’re demanding on your cardiovascular and cardio-respiratory (heart and lungs) systems but also on your muscles, tendons and willpower.

■ Tempo runs: these are sustainedpace efforts (30-60mins) completed at around 75% of maximum effort. It’s this intensity that is likely to be close to half-marathon race pace. ■ Try it: 10 minutes easy – 45 minutes at tempo – 10 minutes easy ■ Threshold runs: a step up from tempo runs, these runs are completed at ‘controlled discomfort’. Threshold runs are done at 80% effort level. If you can speak with effortless flow, you’re not running fast enough. Equally, if you’re gasping for every breath you’re over-cooking it. Threshold runs can be structured as a single sustained effort or as an interval session.


The half-marathon is a tricky distance. Go off too fast and you'll burn out; go off too slow and you'll arrive at the finish ruing the fact you didn't push harder sooner. Here's how to run it: ■ Mile 1. Get quickly in to your target race pace. Be confident. ■ Miles 2-5. Settle in to your running groove. Keep the pace on track (if anything, it’s OK to be slightly up on pace here). Simmer and just tick the miles off. ■ Miles 6-8. Now it’s time to focus. It’s easy for your mind to wander here. Control these miles. Be disciplined and stay on track. ■ Miles 9-11. This is the most important part of your race. Dig deep and keep going. Staying on pace in these three miles can make or break your PB. ■ Miles 12-13. The last two miles, you’ll need to trust the training you’ve done and push your physical and mental boundaries to deliver your PB. At this point, it’s your psychological strength that needs to match your physical preparation.

■ Try it: 10 minutes easy – 4 x 8 minutes at threshold pace with 2 minutes recovery – 10 minutes easy ■ Speed endurance intervals: these are workouts with periods of higher intensity running (85%+) interspersed with periods of rest/recovery to ensure the quality of the effort is maintained. ■ Try it: 10 minutes easy – 6 x 3 minutes fast with 3 minutes recovery – 10 minutes easy



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ROOKIE ERRORS COMMON HALF-MARATHON MISTAKES ■ Train too fast. Too much high-intensity short training won’t help you develop the stamina needed for the distance. ■ Train too slow. Not enough miles run at tempo/threshold pace leads to a lack of the specific endurance necessary to race 13.1 miles. ■ Start too fast. Despite some race-pace practice, it’s all too easy to start too fast and detonate at mile 10. ■ Disrespect the distance. Fail to respect the half and it’ll bite you. Master running faster for a long time and you’ll tame it.

Half the battle: pacing is key to half-marathon success


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

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BOOST YOUR SPEED When it comes to 5K and 10K, speed is of the essence. Try Anne-Marie Lategan’s six-move circuit to build explosive, pace-giving power SETS, REPS AND FREQUENCY Complete three sets of 10 reps twice a week, along with a sprint session


Muscles: Outer and inner thighs (abductors, adductors, glutes) Why do it? Strengthening the supporting muscles during the running stride will reduce muscle fatigue. Technique: Tie a resistance band around a pole or secure object to form a loop

Stand with your right shoulder facing the pole Place your left ankle inside the resistance band loop Step sideways with your left leg Perform a squat Step back to the centre position Complete one set before changing over Safety tip: Keep the resistance band behind your fixed leg.

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Muscles: Front thigh, bottom, upper back, core (quadriceps, glutes, rhomboids, lats, transversus abdominus) Why do it? Performing the running motion with extra resistance will strengthen the muscles and improve your speed. Technique: Tie a resistance band at chest height around a secure object

Hold in your right hand, ensuring some tension is on the band Balance on your left leg Simultaneously squat with your left leg while pulling the resistance band back with your right Pull your hand back until your arm is next to your body in a right angle Return to the starting position Complete one set before changing over to the other side Safety tip: Tighten your core muscles to aid your balance.

Words Anne-Marie Lategan Illustrations Peter Liddiard @ Sudden Impact

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Bend your left knee to lunge Explosively jump up Upon landing go straight back into the lunge Complete a set before changing Safety tip: Tighten your core muscles to aid your balance.

GLUTE LIFT 5 LYING Muscles: Bottom, lower back

Pull your toes down Lift your knee off the floor without rolling or lifting your hips Complete one set before changing over to the other leg Safety tip: Ensure that you can feel your glutes working and not your hamstrings. If you do feel your hamstrings, bend your knees more.

Muscles: Front thighs, bottom (quadriceps, glutes) Why do it? This is a great exercise to improve strength and explosive power. Technique: Place your right leg behind you on a step and stand on your left leg

(glutes, para spinals) Why do it? Activating your glutes will help to propel you forward and optimise your running stride. Technique: Lie on the floor Bend your right leg to form a right angle in your knee


Muscles: Front thighs, bottom (quadriceps, glutes) Why do it? The more explosive power you have, the quicker you can accelerate and the faster your speed will be. Technique: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip width, holding a weight in each hand Bend your knees to perform a squat


Muscles: Shoulders, arms, hip flexors and core (deltoids, rhomboids, biceps, triceps, psoas muscles, transversus abdominus) Why do it? Get your core muscles and legs to work as a unit to improve your speed. Technique: Place your hands about shoulderwidth apart on the floor

Explosively jump up Repeat the move as quickly as possible without losing technique Safety tip: Focus on a point in front of you. Don’t look down at your feet.

Push your hips up in a pike position Bring your right knee in towards your right elbow Return your right leg and repeat the move on your left Start by walking the move before increasing to a run Alternate between right and left Safety tip: Don’t do this move if you have high blood pressure.

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Barefooted brilliance, Olympic controversy and switched allegiances defined the career of one of athletics’ great enigmas


n 1984, the South African Zola Budd broke the women’s 5000m record in 15mins 1.83secs. The record was remarkable for two reasons. Firstly, she was just 17 years old. Secondly, she was wearing no shoes. Several months later, Budd, competing for Great Britain, was booed off the track at the LA Olympics. One moment during the 3000m final would cast an inexorable shadow over her career. Born in Bloemfontein on 26 May 1966, Budd grew up in the heart of apartheidtorn South Africa – a government policy that not only ostracised the nation from the international community, but also threatened to derail Budd’s running career before it had truly begun. Excluded from international athletics competitions because of its racial segregation, South Africa was no place to be for the rising star of women’s middledistance running. So, with the Olympic games fast approaching, Budd took decisive action. With the support of a national campaign spearheaded by The Daily Mail, Budd, who had an English grandfather, applied for British citizenship. In the first incident in a year plagued by controversy, citizenship was granted in short order. Despite the fact that most applicants had to wait several years, within a few months the South African-born teenager was lining up at the start of the Olympic

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3000m final – in a British vest. Alongside her were the American world champion, Mary Decker, and the fastest woman that year, the Romanian Maricica Puică. Budd and Decker were used to leading from the off but, at 1700m in, they found themselves in the unusual position of running in a pack, with Puică and Britain’s Wendy Smith-Sly maintaining the pace.


Catching Budd’s trailing leg, Decker’s spikes scraped down the back of the converted Brit’s heel, drawing blood. It was the American, though, who came off worse, as Budd’s leg wrapped around her leading foot and sent her crashing to the ground. Budd, although shaken, continued; Decker did not. The partisan crowd leaped to the defence of the American athlete, in what they saw as a case of Budd swerving intentionally. Boos rang out around the stadium and, clearly affected by the criticism, Budd dropped off the pace. She finished in seventh place. Decker admitted years later, “The reason I fell is because I was very inexperienced at running in a pack.” At the time, though, she and thousands of her fellow Americans were furious – Budd had to be flown out of the US by armed guards. The incident is now part of athletics folklore, but it is not what the “Barefoot Flyer” should be remembered for.

Consider her other achievements. In 1985, aged 18, Budd was crowned World Cross Country champion. That same year, she won both the European Cup 3000m and, on 26 August, stormed to victory at the Crystal Palace 5000m meet in a time of 14mins 48secs – breaking her own world record by a whole 10 seconds. Controversy, though, forever managed to keep pace. In 1988, the International Amateur Athletics Federation alleged that she had competed in an event while visiting her native South Africa and suspended Budd from all competitive races. Angered by the decision, she returned to her homeland for good, where she married Mike Pieterse. Shortly after, her father, Frank, was murdered. Nowadays, the 49-year-old prefers long-distance running, although the trademark barefooted approach is a thing of the past. Last year, she was the firstplaced veteran at South Africa’s iconic 56-mile Comrades ultramarathon. However, in typically controversial circumstances, she was stripped of the medal because she failed to display a small age category tab on her running vest. Ultimately the teenage prodigy, who peaked before her twenties, never failed to take the athletics’ world by storm. In a career hounded by controversy, Budd’s natural talent was unquestionable. The “Barefoot Flyer” was perhaps the most famous sporting maverick of all.

Words Isaac Williams Photography Mark Shearman

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FACTFILE Name: Zola Budd Athletic ability: Best achievement: Setting a 5000m world record of 14mins 48secs Maverick factor:


The Kenyan, Henry Wanyoike, who is aiming for a sub-2:30 marathon – despite being blind.


A Budding talent: racing to victory as a barefooted teenager

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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! MR57_052.indd 52


@mensrunninguk 13/08/2015 14:08

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Simon on the Nordic Track treadmill

Sealand’s radio control centre

A view of Sealand from the boat crossing

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Photography Rick Pearson

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RACE ON SEALAND MR’s Rick Pearson on the chair winch

Sealand II, the country’s own speedboat

Island records

Wind, waves and passport control. Organising the first ever race on Sealand, – a ‘country’ lying seven miles off the east coast of England – was a full-time job. But it was well worth it, says Rick Pearson


e take this stuff seriously, you know?” said Mike, looking furiously at the recently expired passport I’d asked him to stamp as a memento of my trip. “If you’d have turned up here unannounced, we’d have blown your bloody brains out!” Welcome to Sealand: sea fortress, self-declared country, and recently host to the most unlikely half-marathon in the world. But after months of planning the race, it looked like I might not get through passport control…


It all started with an email. Simon Messenger got in touch with me explaining his ‘Around the World in 80 Runs’ initiative. Like running’s own Phileas Fogg, Simon had raced everywhere from Madrid to Madagascar, Athens to Ust-Kamenogorsk. Now he was planning his most audacious challenge to

date – an official race on Sealand – and had already made contact with the ‘country’s’ aristocracy, who seemed keen in theory. “I can’t remember the exact time I first heard about Sealand,” said Simon. “It was probably a good 10 years ago and, for some reason, it captured my imagination and stuck in my mind as a quirky place I’d remember, even if I’d never get to go to it. “Then, a few years ago, when the idea of running around the world was budding in my head, it crept back to the surface. I specifically remember daydreaming myself away from an Excel spreadsheet one day, picturing myself sailing over on a fishing boat, alcoholic gifts in tow, to complete a race there.” However, there are reasons no one’s ever tried to organise a race on Sealand before. For starters, it is located seven miles off the east coast of England and accessible only by boat or helicopter, neither of which we had to hand. Then there’s its size. A former World War II

gunning tower, Sealand is 0.025km2, roughly the size of two tennis courts. Most of that space is off-limits, following a fire in 2006, so the race would have to take place on a treadmill. Finally, there’s the weather. The platform is 40ft in the air and is constantly being battered by wind and rain. Even if we did get a treadmill up there, Simon might be blown off it again before he could press the ‘start’ key. Yet the biggest variable was arguably the Sealanders themselves. They weren’t exactly renowned for their hospitality. When a group of Germans attempted to take Sealand by force in the 1970s, the Sealanders returned with a helicopter and shotguns, keeping one of the Germans hostage for seven months. Clearly, they weren’t to be messed with. Still, everyone loves a challenge so I rounded up some like-minded souls to try to make the race a reality. Simon liaised with Prince James, the rightful heir to Sealand, about an appropriate date for the adventure. Meanwhile, I convinced Nordic Track to send one of their prized treadmills to Sealand and running brand Nathan to donate some bags and bottles. On Friday 9 July, me, Simon and a small race crew were all set. The treadmill had safely arrived on Sealand the previous day, the sun was shining and our mode of transport, a Sealand-branded speedboat, was waiting for us patiently at Harwich dock. But it was bad news: the winds were too high, making the crossing too dangerous. We would have to reschedule.


Two weeks later the weather forecast was a lot worse, with rain and strong easterly winds sweeping across Britain. However, Prince James assured us we’d be OK as long as we left Sealand by midday. So, at October 2015 • 55

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4am on Friday 24 July, we jumped in my VW Polo and headed from London to Harwich for Sealand: Take Two. Meeting Prince James by the boat, we were delighted to learn that conditions were perfect. So with waivers signed and life jackets on, it was time to make the 30-minute boat journey to Sealand. Getting up to the platform, however, was no easy feat. Access is only possible via a chair winch, an experience I am in no hurry to repeat. After a quick introduction to Mike – a former Radio Caroline engineer and one of a handful of people who take turns to live on Sealand – we began work on our next challenge: setting up the treadmill. As a man unable to change a plug in his living room, the prospect of assembling a treadmill in the middle of the sea was a tad daunting. But after 30 minutes of huffing and puffing, we had something that faintly resembled the image in the manual. When we tried to switch it on, however, nothing happened. Disaster! We’d come all this way for nothing. “It helps if you switch on the plug,” said Mike, chuckling. Ten minutes later, Mike was decidedly less jolly. The head of Sealand’s passport control looked like he might throw me overboard for not having an up-to-date passport, and I had to hastily apologise.


something a lot more interesting: declare it a country. He spoke to his lawyer friend who said, ‘There’s no way there’ll let you do it; they’ll throw you in the Tower of London.’ But my grandad asked him to research it and tell him why he couldn’t, and he couldn’t think of a single reason. So he raised the flag in 1967 and declared it the Principality of Sealand.” Today, Sealand has all the hallmarks of a country: a flag, national anthem and a motto (E mare libertas – ‘From the sea, liberty’). You can become a lord or lady of Sealand for as little as £29.99. If you’re feeling extravagant, becoming a count or countess will set you back £199.99. Back on deck, Simon was making short work of his half-marathon. The treadmill, which Prince James confessed “almost fell in the drink” on its journey up to the platform, was happily motoring away and a ‘finish line’ (a spare piece of rope) hastily assembled on the top deck. Simon broke the tape in 1hr 27mins – a national record, obviously – and was presented by Prince James with a specially designed Sealand medal. “The logistics were more of a mission than the run, but what an adventure,” said Simon. And with that, it was time to hop back on the speedboat and wave goodbye to this micronation. 30 minutes later,

we landed back on the mainland, a little wetter but much richer for the experience. “The race was a bit of fun, and a chance to visit a place hardly anyone’s heard of, let alone been to,” said Simon. “Sealand is a place full of history, of idealism, of romance, and of barking utter madness.”

The race was made possible thanks to Nordic Track ( and Nathan ( For more on Simon’s runs, visit

SEALAND IN NUMBERS ■ 1967 – the year Sealand was founded by Roy Bates ■ 6 miles – the distance it lies off the east coast of England ■ 0.025km2 – the size of Sealand ■ 40ft – the height of the platform above the water ■ 50 – the approximate population of Sealand ■ 7 months – the amount of time they detained a German hostage for ■ 1hr 27mins: half-marathon national record (Simon Messenger)

Rick and Simon (centre) and the race crew celebrate the achievement

If this all feels a bit excessive, it pays to understand Sealand’s proud history. It began life, in 1943, as an anti-air gunning tower, HM Fort Roughs, the first line of defence against the marauding Luftwaffe. During this period, the facility was occupied by up to 120 Royal Navy personnel. By the mid-1950s, however, it was abandoned. Then, in 1967, Roy Bates went there with the intention of setting up a pirate radio station. “He discovered that [Sealand] was outside territorial limits, so he came out here,” said Prince James, Roy’s grandson. “He never ended up doing his pirate radio station because he thought he could do 56 • October 2015

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Putting in the miles on the treadmill

The Sealand stamp on Simon’s passport

The Sealand flag flutters in the wind

Simon and Prince James during the medal ceremony

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© Jakob Edholm


Island hopping: competitors at Ötillö

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From endless tundra to the driest place on earth, Ali Clarke’s The World’s Toughest Races explores the most extreme endurance events on the planet. Could you tackle any of these five?

Rocky road: 2012 Dragon’s Back winner Steve Birkinshaw climbs to the summit of Crib Goch


Forty-seven miles of near-freezing lakes, 26 islands, treacherous rocks and technical trails stand between competitors at the start line, on the Swedish island of Sandhamn, and the finish line on the island of Utö. Terrain: Lakes, rocks, trails and roads Weather: Don’t be fooled by the sunshine; temperatures can plummet to around 3°C Course record: Team Milebreaker, 8hrs 16mins 12secs (2014) Length of each swim: From 100-1,600m Number of times racers go in and out of the water: 40+



A five-day, 186-mile mountain race through the Welsh wilderness. Starting from Conwy Castle on the north coast, the route takes in the rugged and uncompromising landscape of Snowdon, the Moelwyns and the Black Mountains. In 2012, of the 85 people who entered, only 32 managed to complete the ‘race’ – a misleading term for what is really a grueling test of navigation and endurance. Terrain: Unmarked trails Weather: Hot in the day and freezing cold at night Course record: Helene Diamantides and Martin Stone, 38hrs 38mins (1992) Obstacles: 15,000m of ascent, changing temperatures and low-lying cloud

Just deserts: runners endure an endless stretch of the course ©

The World’s Toughest Races is a factpacked miscellany bursting with all the details, statistics and anecdotes of the world’s most unusual competitions and intense endurance contests. Priced at £8.99 and available from all good bookshops.

One hundred and fifty-five miles through the driest place on earth, Chile’s Atacama Desert. For seven days, competitors have to be totally self-sufficient, carrying everything they need on their backs. As a result, one of the toughest challenges is packing enough food to maintain enough caloric intake. Competitors can expect to lose 2kg. Terrain: Arid desert Weather: 30-46°C by day, 6°C by night Course record: Vicente Garcia Beneito, 23hrs 46mins (2012) Optimum weight of your daypack: 9kg or less Litres of water consumed by racers, staff and volunteers: 15,000

Snow entry: a hardy soul sets off from the city of Anchorage

© Jeff King



A 1,000-mile race by bike, ski or foot along a dog-sled route across the frozen wilderness of Alaska. Just over 40 people have ever completed the course and it is so tough that organisers limit entrants to just 50 a year. Terrain: Frozen wasteland Weather: A tropical -1°C Calories burned per racer per day: 30,000 Obstacles: Blowholes and charging moose

WEIRDEST – WORLD COAL CARRYING CHAMPIONSHIPS A 1K race through the West Yorkshire town of Gawthorpe. The catch? It must be completed while carrying a 50kg bag of coal. Reports suggest a slight incline at halfway feels like a small mountain and, whatever you do, don’t drop your coal! Terrain: Road Weather: Inevitably drizzly Race legend: Dave Jones of Meltham, West Yorkshire, is six-time winner of the World Championships and holds the course record with a phenomenal time of 4mins 6secs, set way back in 1991.

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Please fundraise for the Movember Foundation. Your donation will help us to continue what we’ve started and fund world class programmes that are saving and improving the lives of men.


Calling all runners… Prepare to don your moustache this November as MoRunning returns to cities across the UK and Ireland


ast year, over 15,000 MoBros and MoSistas took part in MoRunning events up and down the country and this year promises to be even bigger and better than before. Now in its seventh year, MoRunning raises awareness of men’s health through fun and friendly running events. Men and women of all ages, MoRunners, are invited to sign up and to wear a moustache, whether stuck on, drawn on or carefully grown for Movember! Fancy dress is very popular, with prizes for the best dressed MoRunner, and teams are also encouraged to take part (groups of four or more can claim a 5% discount: use the code MR15-TeamEntry for booking). MoRunners are encouraged to raise sponsorship to help support Movember and fundraise for men’s health. Last year, MoRunners raised thousands for Movember and we want to raise even more in 2015. Can you help achieve this? Your journey starts here Around 20,000 MoRunners are expected to join the events in 17 locations around the UK and Ireland, including three new to this year: Birmingham, Belfast and Brighton. Each location has restrictions on entries to ensure a super friendly, fun and great experience, so early registration is highly recommended to secure a place. Each runner receives a top class MoMedal – bigger and better than 2014, a MoRunning headband, snacks and drinks at the event, photos to download plus additional goodies from event partners. There’s also a Yellow Winners Jersey for 1st finishers, including Champion medal and free entry to 2016, and Legend and Superhero medals for best fancy dress and legends of MoRunning. MoRunners can choose from 5K, 10K or

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10-mile off-road runs which take place on weekends throughout November. Dave Krangel, MoRunning Race Director, explains that everyone is welcome. “There’s a MoRunning event to suit every runner, from 5K and 10K MoRuns to the 10-mile Muddy MoRun for those who enjoy getting mucky. We’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of MoRunners and raising funds for Movember.” To be a MoRunner means you are part of something bigger than yourself! You’re part of a community, a family, a team. So whether there’s a MoBro with a funny moustache, a MoSista who’s painted one on, or someone dressed as a superhero, give them a smile, shake their hand, give them a high five and remember we are all in it together. Run hard, run fast, have fun and enjoy being part of something special! FURTHER INFORMATION Find your nearest MoRun and register today

2015 MORUNNING DIARY Sunday 1 November: ■ The Muddy 10K and 10-mile MoRun Reading, Swinley Forest Saturday 7 November ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Edinburgh, Holyrood Park ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Leeds, Temple Newsam Sunday 8 November ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Glasgow, Glasgow Green ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Newcastle, Exhibition Park Saturday 14 November ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Bristol, Ashton Court Sunday 15 November ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Belfast, Ormeau Park ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Cardiff, Bute Park ■ The 5K MoRun London, Battersea Park Saturday 21 November ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Birmingham, Sutton Park ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Liverpool, Croxteth Park Sunday 22 November ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Nottingham, Wollaton Park ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Manchester, Heaton Park ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Milton Keynes, Campbell Park Saturday 28 November ■ The 10K MoRun London, Greenwich Park Sunday 29 November ■ The 5K and 10K MoRun Brighton, Stanmer Park

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Death Valley double

Running bros: Rhys (left) and Scott love a challenge

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Words Rick Pearson Photography Abby Fleming

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ULTRA ACHIEVEMENT Ready to go: Rhys and Scott at the start

No end in sight: the road stretches on and on

Feet of endurance: Scott’s blisters

Powered on pizza and Pringles, brothers Scott and Rhys Jenkins attempted to run 270 miles across the hottest place on earth. MR caught up with them to talk mental strength, scorpions and training in saunas


eople aren’t meant to go there,” says Scott Jenkins. “It’s not designed for humans. Even the plants look sorry out there.” The Welshman is speaking about Death Valley, the hottest place on earth and the location of one of the most notorious endurance races on the planet: the Badwater ultramarathon. Dean Karnazes and Scott Jurek are members of the exclusive club of runners who’ve completed this 135-mile race in temperatures so hot it makes the rubber on your trainers melt. Yet Scott, 34, and Rhys, 27, were aiming to go one better: the Death Valley double. This would see them attempt to run from Badwater to Whitney Portal and back, a distance of 270 miles – the equivalent of running almost 10 marathons in one go. No strangers to endurance events, the brothers once ran from Boston in Massachusetts to Austin in Texas, covering 75 marathons in 75 days. But there was something about the

Badwater that captured their imaginations. “We wanted to have a go at a single race in what we consider to be one of the toughest environments on the planet,” says Scott. The brothers’ hometown of Penarth in south Wales is not the ideal environment in which to train for the hottest race on earth so they had to get creative. This involved spending up to seven hours a week exercising in saunas in a bid to replicate the oppressive heat of Death Valley. This training was supplemented by 100-mile training weeks and some strength work in the gym. In a bid to learn more about the challenges of the Death Valley double, they spoke with Marshall Ulrich, a man they describe as a “professor of Badwater”. Ulrich has won the Badwater four times and remains the only man to complete the ‘Badwater Quad’, covering the course four times. Among the many nuggets of advice were some unusual words about mid-race nutrition. “He told us to just eat what you feel happy with,” says Rhys. “So we went and October 2015 • 63

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bought a pile of pizzas, Pringles and whatever we wanted. At one point, I went to a nearby McDonald’s and ordered five cheeseburgers and ate them all in about five minutes. The Badwater is unique, so you need nutrition that is going to be a bit different.” Ulrich’s advice also included strategies to deal with the heat. The brothers never left themselves exposed to the soaring temperatures for too long, opting instead for regular breaks in their air-conditioned support vehicle.


Despite this careful heat management, at 45 miles in, Rhys passed out on the side of the road. “It was quite scary,” says Scott. “He was very coherent and then he started talking gibberish, which is not unusual in itself, but then he suddenly passed out. I was really concerned at that point.” Alongside the constant heat and scuttling scorpions, the terrain is also incredibly challenging. Runners start off 282 feet below sea level and have to scale several mountains including Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States (Mount McKinley in Alaska is higher). Coming down one of these peaks,

Side by side: Scott (left) and Rhys worked as a team

Town’s Pass, Scott badly injured his knee. He knew his hopes of completing the return journey were dashed, and concentrated instead on making a single crossing and supporting his brother on the return journey. This left Rhys to run the second 135 miles on his own. “I won’t pretend I was in some kind of meditative state,” says Rhys. “The final 30 miles, running into a stiff headwind, were just horrific. But you break it all down. In the morning, you concentrate on getting to the afternoon. In the afternoon, you concentrate on getting to the evening. Ultimately, it’s only four days of running. It’s not a lifetime, is it?” And so, 107 hours and 270 miles after he started, Rhys became the first male Briton to complete the Death Valley double (Mimi Anderson made the same crossing in 2011). In addition, he and Scott are the first siblings to have completed a single 135-mile crossing. Asked about the key to achieving such lofty goals, the Jenkins’ brothers say it’s all in your head. “We’re not stereotypical runners, to be honest,” says Rhys. “We like our beer and we like our food. But challenges like this are 80% mental and 20% physical. You can achieve anything you set your mind to.”

Road to nowhere: the brothers run alone in the sparse landscape

Done it: Rhys celebrates completing the Double

Drinks break: fluids and air con in the support car

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“AT ONE POINT, I WENT TO MCDONALD’S AND ORDERED FIVE CHEESEBURGERS AND ATE THEM ALL IN ABOUT FIVE MINUTES” DEATH VALLEY DOUBLE Miles: 270 Time: 107 hours Elevation gain: 26,000ft Hottest temperature: 49°C Total hours of sleep: 7 Wildlife spotted: scorpions, rattlesnakes, spiders Number of pizzas consumed:

Tubs of Pringles:


Money raised for charity: £5,500 to date, versus a target of £10,000 for the charity Operation Smile

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Endurance gets the girls

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Keep on running and you’ll keep on getting the girls. The science proves it, says Dominic Bliss


13/08/2015 13:02


Long-distance relationship: women dig men with endurance


new study carried out by a Cambridge University scientist has revealed that women are sexually attracted to longdistance athletes since, throughout most of our history, endurance runners have traditionally been the best hunters. What has long-distance running got to do with hunting animals, you may ask? Quite a lot, actually. As anyone who has read Christopher McDougall’s book, Born to Run will know, prehistoric man used to hunt prey not by out-sprinting it but by pursuing it over long distances. They would chase other mammals tirelessly for hours, gradually wearing them down until they collapsed. It’s known as persistence hunting and is still used by tribes in certain parts of Africa.

It’s thanks to Dr Danny Longman, from Cambridge University’s department of biological anthropology, that we now know about the link between endurance running and sexual attraction. He led the research. “Everything to do with evolution always comes down to getting the best possible genes for your offspring,” he told Men’s Running. “That’s because you want your offspring to survive; that’s the way your genes live on after you die. So whether you’re aware of it or not, every sexual behaviour is motivated by your desire to marry your genes with genes that are better, if possible, than yours – so as to give your offspring the best possible chance in life.” Longman explains how skills at endurance running are a great indicator of fitness, health and genetic quality. “Endurance running could be an attractive trait because it reflects underlying health. If you had poor genes and were more susceptible to illness, you’d be less likely to be a long-distance runner.” But there are more specific reasons why long-distance runners are so sexy. Back in prehistoric times females were easily seduced by the promise of regular food, and the best endurance runners brought home the lion’s share. By successfully tracking and outwitting their prey, the best hunters were also proving their intelligence – another genetic factor that females subconsciously wanted to pass on to their offspring. Even those hunters who

“A NEW STUDY REVEALS WOMEN ARE SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO LONGDISTANCE ATHLETES” shared out their meat among the entire tribe were considered to be more attractive, since it was a sign of generosity in their genes. Longman was pretty comprehensive in his research. He wanted to prove that testosterone was much higher in endurance runners than in normal human beings. To do this he needed to carry out a proven testosterone test by measuring the index and ring fingers of runners. It’s known as the 2D:4D ratio – as in second digit and fourth digit. If your second digit (index finger) is shorter than your fourth digit (ring finger), this means you are more testosterone-fuelled, as it’s a sign you were exposed to high levels of testosterone in the womb. Longman linked up with the organisers of the annual Robin Hood Half Marathon in Nottingham. Using a cross-section of 542 runners, from beginners to elite (439 of them male, 103 female), he approached the competitors just after they had crossed the finish line and asked to measure their finger lengths by

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Running into the sunset: women’s attraction to endurance runners stems from biological necessity

GET DIGITAL taking a photocopy of their right hands. Surprisingly, every runner agreed. “There was lots of euphoria as the runners crossed the finish line so it was a great opportunity to ask them to do the test,” Longman says. “It was 30 seconds or so after the end of the race, so we gave them time to get their breath back. They were all very interested in what we were doing, but also unsure how a photocopy of their hand could be important.” It was important because Longman and his Cambridge University colleagues wanted to measure the digits very accurately using electronic callipers. And their suspicions were correct: the top 10% of the male runners with the most masculine digit ratios were, on average, 24 and a half minutes faster over the race than the bottom 10% with the least masculine digit ratios. Among the women, the top 10% were 12 minutes faster than the bottom 10%. While this research is certainly crucial for understanding prehistoric man, what does it have to do with modern-day runners, on their athletics tracks, city streets, park routes and gym treadmills? Is it simply proof that we can successfully pick up the fairer sex? “These findings are very important in the context of our evolution,” Longman explains. “But how relevant is this when hunting doesn’t play a role in our society – especially Western society? The main point for runners today would be a bit more philosophical. Our findings support the theory that endurance running plays an important role in shaping our

“IT’S GOOD TO KNOW THAT PROWESS IN DISTANCE RUNNING CAN IMPROVE YOUR SEX LIFE” development as a species and, because of that, running is a fundamental part of who we are. Now, when I go out for a jog, for example, I can feel as if I’m more connected to my evolutionary roots through the activity of running.” Longman used to be a county sprinter at 100m and 200m until a car crash took him out of the sport. Also an accomplished rower, he was once part of Cambridge University’s reserve Boat Race squad. Nowadays, when he runs it’s normally over 5K distances. Which begs the question of whether his running has ever helped him charm the ladies. “Throughout high school, my sprinting made me fairly popular,” he admits. “But that wasn’t distance running, so I’m not sure it’s relevant. Actually, my girlfriend is a long-distance runner so there’s a bit of a role reversal there.” Whatever the long-term implications of Longman’s research, it’s good to know that prowess in distance running can improve your sex life. So next time you boast about having lots of stamina, and being able to keep going for ages, you’ll be doubly correct.

Here’s a way to test whether you’re naturally a good endurance runner. If your ring finger is markedly longer than your index finger, it means you were exposed to lots of testosterone in the womb. And testosterone helps with distance running. What you need to analyse is your 2D:4D ratio, ie. the ratio of the length of your second digit (index finger) to your fourth digit (ring finger). Take a ruler and, placing your right hand palm-up, measure the length of both fingers from the middle of the fingertip to the middle of the crease where the finger joins the palm (there are two creases and you need to measure down to the lower one. Use your right hand, even if you are left-handed). Now divide the length of your index finger by the length of your ring finger. The answer is your 2D:4D ratio. Typically, men will have a ratio of 0.96; women a ratio of 1:1. A very high testosterone ratio might be 0.92. “Even if you measure very accurately, it’s still very approximate,” says Longman, “but it’s good enough for the purposes of a pub conversation.”

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Many applied, four were chosen: meet the guys taking part in this year’s Project Trail


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ast month, MR had the tough job of choosing this year’s Project Trail team. Each of the chosen four will be taking part in a challenging trail half-marathon in November and receive top-to-toe kit from Salomon and tailored training advice from Robbie Britton. It’s time to meet the team.

Follow Max on Twitter @maxhollo

NAME: Max Holloway AGE: 27 JOB: PhD student FROM: Cambridge

Follow Mark on Twitter @rochestersdaily

NAME: Mark Rochester AGE: 38 JOB: Interior designer FROM: Yorkshire What is your running background? I started running a year ago to keep my partner company, but soon quit the towpath and headed into the woods. I’ve never been much of a hiker, but I found I loved exploring the area in this way, discovering ruins and waterfalls practically on my doorstep that I never knew existed. I started to build my stamina and mileage – I’m now averaging about 20 miles a week, although I’m keen to up my mileage in preparation for the race. Why did you apply to be part of Project Trail? I went to one of those schools where there was very little expectation that any of us would achieve much, and sometimes I wonder whether this lack of faith might have rubbed off on me a bit. I tend to have a half-conscious idea that it’s not worth pushing myself, so I thought it would be fun to see if I could turn that idea on its head. It’s not about winning, just the enjoyment of being involved, getting

professional expertise and finding out what you’re capable of. What part of the project are you most looking forward to? Getting all the fancy gear was good! I had the same look on my face as my sevenyear-old when she wins pass-the-parcel. Apart from that, the idea of training advice is exciting; running can be pretty solitary, so you spend a lot of time wondering what you’re doing wrong but being too knackered to do anything about it. What aspect of trail running do you find most appealing? At its best, trail running is all about interesting contrasts: sudden changes in the weather, shifting landscapes, constant alterations in the terrain. I get a sense of calm from it, but there are constant physical and mental challenges, so it’s never dull. What was your best ever race? This year’s Coniston Trails Half Marathon. It was my longest distance yet and I was aiming to finish in under two hours, so I was chuffed to come in well under that at 1hr 45mins; a creditable – if not glamorous – 63rd out of 259. Photography Eddie Macdonald

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What is your running background? Sport has played a huge role throughout my life. I took up sailing at the age of four and progressed to the Great British Olympic Development squad, where I became a full-time, Lottery-funded athlete for two years. After that, I threw myself into cycling and began competing, soon racing for a national team in the south division. Unfortunately, soon after moving to Cambridge to start a PhD, two of my close friends lost their lives while out on their bikes; I immediately hung up my wheels and stopped racing. Why did you apply to be part of Project Trail? Running has helped me rediscover my love of sport after a few difficult years and I just want to immerse myself in it. Project Trail is an ideal way to do that. What part of the project are you most looking forward to? The race at the end looks amazing – that will obviously be a highlight! But I am particularly looking forward to the coaching support. It will be great to draw on that wealth of knowledge. What aspect of trail running do you find most appealing? I think there is nothing more satisfying than running well on new trails. Exploration and adventure are key parts of trail running for me. What was your best ever race? I haven’t raced much, just the odd 10K. Hopefully the Endurancelife Gower Half Marathon will be my best ever race. October 2015 • 73

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Follow Ross on Twitter @rd_mcmillan

NAME: Ross McMillan AGE: 41 JOB: Estate agent FROM: Glasgow What is your running background? I have been running since 2010, when a job move meant more travelling and I could not justify regularly spending three hours in the gym. After sticking mainly to 10K events, I ran my first half at the Great North Run in 2014 and shortly after that joined my local running club, Garscube Harriers in Glasgow. This year I completed my first 26.2-miler, the Edinburgh Marathon, and set 10K and half-marathon PBs. Why did you apply to be part of Project Trail? The whole trail movement has passed me by for the most part so Project Trail seemed like a perfect opportunity for me to discover what all the fuss is about and experience it as a fairly effective road runner but absolute trail novice. What part of the project are you most looking forward to? I am particularly looking forward to sharing the experience with my fellow

runners and profiting from Robbie’s coaching expertise. Hopefully I will then be able to use the experience in all aspects of my running going forward. What aspect of trail running do you find most appealing? Unlike road running, where to some extent it’s mainly about time and distance, I definitely like the idea of trail running being more of an adventure. Hopefully it will also offer a viable future alternative to help reduce impact injuries and allow me to keep running on both road and trail for a long, long time. What was your best ever race? My first marathon, Edinburgh, earlier this year has to be my best ever. Five years ago, the thought of me runnning 26.2 miles would have been ridiculous. But, apart from a fierce headwind for the last seven miles, the race couldn’t have gone more to plan and I was delighted with my time of 3hrs 30mins 28secs.

RACE INFO The Endurancelife Gower Coastal Trail Half Marathon is a punchy trail circling the harsh coastline of South Wales’ Gower Peninsula. It promises over 2,300ft of vertical gain and a chance to test your mettle against the salt-beaten cliff lines, stunning sand dunes, woodlands and world-famous beaches the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty has to offer. The event runs alongside a 10K, marathon and ultramarathon, and is held on Saturday 14 November.


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Follow Tim on Twitter @timmajor44

NAME: Tim Major AGE: 34 JOB: Music lawyer FROM: Kent What is your running background? I started regularly running a couple of years ago. Growing up in an urban environment, I’d never been particularly inspired by running. Then I lived in the Lakes for a short time and realised that trail running was an exhilarating and challenging way to explore the fells that I love. Once I’d tried it, I was hooked. Why did you apply to be part of Project Trail? The truth is, I’m still a beginner. I started trail running when I started running. I’ve achieved goals through grit and determination but without any structured training or plan. I want to progress beyond my current level and think I can do that with the focus, help and guidance that the project will bring. What part of the project are you most looking forward to? Running with a purpose. Currently I go out for a run, but I don’t really train. This will

give me the chance to see what I can achieve with the help of a world-class coach. Then there’s meeting other runners, being kitted out like a sponsored athlete, dedicated training days and, ultimately, an event in a stunning location. What’s not to look forward to?! What aspect of trail running do you find most appealing? For me it’s about escape, freedom and exploration. Whenever I see a footpath or trail, I just want to follow it. I love discovering new places, seeing amazing views and running on challenging terrain. It’s also a time to push myself beyond my expected boundaries. Oh, and the downhills. There’s nothing quite like them.

WORD FROM THE COACH Having spoken to the Project Trail guys and got to know a little bit about them, I’m excited to be working with a real mix of experience and ambitions within the group. Training for the Gower Half will be different for all four, but meeting the challenges of their lives, locations and abilities to create personal training plans for everyone will be a good experience for me too. I hope they enjoy hill sessions!

What was your best ever race? I’m guessing the egg and spoon doesn’t count, does it? I have a confession to make, then: I’ve never signed up for a race. I like to think of myself as a ‘self-starter’ (although you might say ‘event-avoider’). I’ve set myself challenges to run a certain route or distance but never been involved in anything official. I guess I’ve been apprehensive. That was one of the key drivers for applying to join Project Trail. Now there’s no turning back!

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MUCKING IN The cross-country season is almost here. It’s time to slip on a pair of spikes and embrace the mud, says Ceri Rees

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Photography Mark Shearman

13/08/2015 12:42


EXPERT ADVICE Ceri Rees is an ex-international athlete and trail running expert. He is the founder of Wild Running, offering trail running and mountaineering experiences for all abilities.

Arthur Lydiard and Percy Cerutty, to Peter Coe and brother O’Connell in Kenya, world-renowned coaches have put their charges through their crosscountry paces in order to emerge stronger for the summer ahead. Running through the mud boosts strength endurance, maintains some sense of speed and offers a welcome diversion from the intensity of the road. Proof is in the roll call of athletes who have crossed over from cross-country to track or road: Kenenisa Bekele, Paul Tergat and Paula Radcliffe, to name but a few. Yet it’s also open to the amateur plodder, through a host of local events running from October to February.



he start of an English National Cross Country Championships is unlike anything else you’re likely to experience – unless, of course, you’ve witnessed firsthand a wildebeest migration across the plains of Africa. Shielded from the cold by a human herd, amid a smell of nervous sweat and tiger balm, it’s a full on charge towards the first bend. Survival instinct kicks in as elbows jostle for position and eyes scan rapidly for flailing heels equipped with nine-inch spikes. The ground ahead is likely to resemble a sludgy No Man’s Land. Is it any wonder that cross-country running began in England, home of sadistic schoolmasters and extreme ironing? Michael Gove thought he was on to something when he recommended cross-country running as a form of corrective treatment for miscreants. What Mr Gove failed to grasp, however, was that there is joy to be had in such an unadorned and unglamorous form of self-punishment. Yes, cross-country is an acquired taste. But, say the experts, it is also an unparalleled training ground. From

Running on soft surfaces requires a shorter stride, with a fast turnover and less push-off. Cross-country runners rely on picking their thighs up, as well as their abdominals to keep them upright. An efficient, gliding style is much less of an advantage here, as is a long stride. There are plenty of courses on which to hone your technique. The National, as it is commonly referred to, is at the apex of the cross-country calendar. Arriving in February, just after Valentine’s Day, it marks the tail end of the British winter, when your muscles and bones have had to contend with endless weeks of being starved of vitamin D and your motivation has reached its elastic limit. Your running mojo is never far from the door, so it takes some resilience to be a crosscountry runner of any persuasion. Scotland and Wales have their own National Cross-Country Champs, also in February, and around Britain there are myriad local leagues to keep you busy during the winter. Most races are short, sharp shocks, ranging from 4K to 12K in distance, run as close to your limit as possible. These races are the bedrock of speed endurance: if you can maintain pace through the mud, running on the flat tarmac will be a breeze.

Matthew Day, 43, captain of Torbay AC, has been running cross-country since his school days. Nine years ago he had a pacemaker fitted but not even that has stopped him competing – week in, week out – throughout the winter. “Cross-country has always been my first love in running,” he says. “No race is ever the same – you get mud, hills and it’s always great fun. I used to aim for top 20 in league races, but now I am happy with top 100 and love it just as much. The team aspect of cross-country – the top five or 10 runners from each club score points – is another appeal for Day. “I love the team element and how we all stay to cheer each other on,” he says. “I run harder than in normal races because I’m always thinking one more place equals an extra point for the team.” The cross-country season runs from October through to February. To find out how you can get involved, contact your local running club.

3 OF THE BEST RUNNING SPIKES ■ Puma Haraka RRP: £45 An entry-level spike for those looking for a slightly comfier ride ■ New Balance MXC700GS RRP: £60 A great-looking spike suitable for runners of all abilities, this one ticks all the boxes ■ Brooks Mach 16 RRP: £59.99 Super lightweight and stylish spike for a slick performance


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Going down a storm

The inaugural Scott Snowdonia Half Marathon is a rain-sodden but high-spirited affair. Rick Pearson headed to the hills to soak it up


h, the North Walian summer. There’s nothing quite like it: biting winds, driving rain, descending fog. Conditions today are so bad that not even the train is making the journey to the top of Snowdon. Yet here I am, along with hundreds of other masochists, about to scale Wales’ highest mountain on foot. The 60 minutes leading up to the start of the inaugural Scott Snowdon Trail Marathon has involved more costume changes than a Lady Gaga concert. These have ranged from ‘The Nutter’ (shorts, vest, stiff upper lip) to ‘The Coward’ (hat, gloves, mounting sense of shame). In the end, I opt for a compromise: losing the hat and gloves but keeping the waterproof. As challenges go, this one’s a bit of a no-brainer: you run up for seven miles and down for six. But that doesn’t make it any easier. Battling a stiff headwind and rocky terrain, my running quickly subsides to hand-on-thighs hiking as I follow a conga of runners up the rain-battered mountainside. At mile three, the course divides. Halfmarathoners turn left towards the summit; marathoners turn right towards bragging rights and hypothermia. Thankfully, I am in the first category and begin the long hike up the Ranger’s Path. A few gnarly mountain goats overtake me on this section as I silently curse myself for neglecting to run more hills in training. Worse still, the highly anticipated water stop at mile seven has either failed to materialise or been blown away. Either way, I’m desperate for a drink and have to grab a swig of water from one of the few hikers I encounter on the descent. The views at this point are spectacular,

but I’ve heard whisperings of a “stiff little climb” at mile 11 so try not to get too carried away. It’s a wise decision, it turns out, as said “stiff little climb” is actually more than a mile in length and involves the scaling of a giant wall of slate. Once at the summit, however, it’s all downhill to the finish. This section sees me overtake the leading lady and a couple of those gnarly mountain goats who’d smoked me on the uphills, and I cross the line in 2hrs 20mins 26secs, good enough for 14th place. At the sharp end of the race, Dan Doherty has made light work of the weather and terrain to finish in 1hr 48mins 38secs, while Enid Gruffudd led the women home in 2hrs 20mins 36secs. The full marathon is won by Stuart Walker in an impressive 4hrs 4mins 4secs, with Katie Beecher first woman to cross the line in 4hrs 28mins 38secs. Events manager Rob Samuel is rightfully impressed: “To be able to complete the race is one thing, but to be able to conquer it in today’s conditions is something really special.”

Left: Dan Doherty is delirious upon winning

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SNOWDONIA HALF Main: runners tackle the elements and the less-than-ideal terrain Inset: Rick is a picture of joy as he revels in the descent


SNOWDON HALF IN NUMBERS Number of runners: 279 Terrain:


Elevation: 1,236m Fastest man: Dan Doherty, 1hr 48mins 38secs Fastest woman: Enid Gruffudd, 2hrs 20mins 36secs

Photography Mel Parry

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Team GB 24hr runner Robbie Britton guides you through all things ultra


QUESTION TIME “Is there any particular aspect of running that you still struggle with?” Max Clarke, via email

Up the pace: weekly speed sessions don’t only benefit short distances


Don’t like running too fast? Then why not try ultrarunning, where you just have to run slow everyday? You don’t need to run fast, you just need to find a race so long or boring that no one else wants to do it so that you win by default. If you can’t sense the sarcasm in my typing, I guess I should point out now that I think the idea of ultrarunners not needing to do speedwork is about as stupid as doctors not studying medicine. You don’t have to be super quick to run ultramarathons, although it can help, but you do have to include some speedwork each week. Running everything at one unchallenging speed won’t cause your body to adapt and grow stronger. Including hills, tempo work and speed sessions will stress your body and, with good nutrition and rest, cause it to grow and become stronger.

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Speedwork is also time-efficient. A hard 30-minute routine will see far greater fitness gains than an hour’s plodding. As well as the benefits of structured, varied training, there are other reasons to undertake some speedwork in your race build-up. This includes building core strength that can be vital in those last few miles of an ultra, helping you maintain good form which then keeps your gait efficient while you soldier on towards the elusive finish line. You don’t need to be alone on the track. Lots of clubs do weekly group speedwork sessions, you can race passing cyclists or just get some friends together, pick a street and do a fartlek session between different landmarks. Fast to the tree, jog to the lamp-post, fast to the chippy. Don’t stop in the chippy, though. Recovery should be active and come without a helping of curry sauce.

I prefer to see it as areas in which I can still improve! My big nemesis is technical downhill running, which can slow me right down in a race. It’s a skill that requires hours and hours of practice, but you really can feel the improvements. I like to think I’m pretty nippy on the less technical stuff but some of the Europeans scare the hell out of me running downhill! Find a weakness, work on it and then you’ll see your biggest gains. I never see these as a bad thing, I just smile about how much better I can get.


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Clif Organic Energy Food Mid-race nutrition is one of the hardest things for the long-distance runner to get right. Fortunately, Clif, with its unique range of Organic Energy Food, allows you to put the sickening, sugar-filled gels to one side. Of particular note is the Pizza Margherita flavour, made from real food ingredients and satisfying your craving for proper nutrition on the go. RRP: £1.90

FlipBelt One of the biggest gripes we have with running attire is that there’s never anywhere to store essentials or, if a pair of shorts happen to come with a pocket, it will invariably be so small that storing a solitary house key is a struggle. That’s where FlipBelt comes in. Easy-fitting, moisture-wicking and zip-free, it’s a wonder no one thought of it before. Simply stow your items inside the belt and flip it over for lightweight, bouncefree comfort. RRP: £25

Montane VIA Trail Vest Built for speed and uncompromising minimalism, the barely-there pack, due for release early next year, weighs just 107g. Its stretchy design provides an ergonomic fit for stability when moving quickly over the trails. Complete with two 250ml Montane soft flasks and multiple front pockets, it offers easy access to gear, food and hydration. Definitely one to look out for. RRP: £85

Saucony Kilkenny XC5 With cross-country season fast approaching, you don’t want to be caught spikeless in the mud. The Saucony Kilkenny XC5 is a good weapon of choice for entry-level to intermediate cross-country runners. Lightweight with a streamlined fit, it’ll help you show the competition a not-so-clean pair of heels. RRP: £65

La Sportiva Helios SR A minimalist shoe designed for mountain trail races where light weight is essential. Snug fitting mesh uppers with slip-on construction guarantee breathability and weight reduction. The ultra-light Morpho Dynamic injected EVA sole unit gives dual-density cushioning with a highfriction rubber outer, allowing the sole to adapt to all types of terrain. RRP: £100

Salomon Exo Calf Support If you suffer from tight calves, then it’s time to call on a pair of calf supports, and this bit of kit from Salomon is up there with the best. To be worn either during or post-run, they help to support muscles and increase blood flow. £45 is no small price to pay, but the Exo is well worth it if your calves are an area of concern. RRP: £45

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WHAT IS IT? Google Glass for sports, essentially. The Recon Jet features a tiny screen you only see in your right eye that keeps you updated with real-time information on your workout. On one side is the computer, camera and touchpad unit; on the other is the battery.

WHO IS IT FOR? Runners and cyclists that want to geek out while looking a little bit like the Terminator. If you just have to have the latest technology, and you’re willing to pay for it, this is the gadget for you.


WHY IS IT GOOD? It can provide you with a treasure trove of workout data, from pace to distance covered, and help you to navigate thanks to its inbuilt GPS unit. It also boasts Glance Technology, meaning the display wakes up instantly when you glance down, then turns off again when you look away, minimising distractions.

WHY IS IT BAD? The battery life – two or three hours on full charge – is an issue for runners who like to put in some seriously long miles. Cyclists have also complained of blindspots caused by the bolt-on features – less of an issue for runners but still worth considering.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Quite a lot, really. The glasses retail at £579.99, so you’ll be fuming if you accidentally sit on them.

OVERALL The limited battery life and significant price tag will put the majority of runners off, but features such as inbuilt GPS are undoubtedly impressive. Certainly worth a second glance. To view the Recon Jet Smart Glasses in action, visit

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9 10

7 10


RONHILL MERINO 200 RRP: £20 Ronhill is the master of classy running wear and the Merino 200 is no exception. For those who like to stand out when they run, the reversible red design, coupled with the reflective branding, fits the bill. Alternatively, the grey design is understated enough to be worn on the run or on the high street. Fit-wise, there’s no movement at all, making it a solid option for quicker night runs or when the temperature drops. Merino wool construction is breathable as you like and the odour-wicking capabilities aren’t to be sniffed at.

8 10

GORE ESSENTIAL LIGHT BEANY RRP: £16.99 Described as a ‘lightweight hat for the cool transition seasons,’ there’s no denying that the Light Beany lives up to its (misspelt) name. Despite its thin design, the hat does provide protection from the cold, with thermoregulation technology wicking sweat away and preventing over-cooling. On the downside, we had a few issues with the fit, which is either due to those in the office having unfortunateshaped heads or, as we suspect, the hat being too small. In terms of price and sweat-wicking coolness, though, it does the job.

8 10



MONTANE LOGO BEANIE RRP: £20 Stylish in electric blue and tangerine, the Logo Beanie will make you look chic on the mountain peak. It’s packed with impressive practical features, too, including an internal fleece headband that wicks sweat, helping to keep your head dry even when you’re pushing hard. It’s made from 50% wool, 50% acrylic and has a six-seam crown, giving it a snug fit around your bonce. Available in a number of colour schemes – from black to yellow – this is a top product worthy of gracing any head.

X-BIONIC SOMA CAP LIGHT RRP: £28 X-Bionic is often at the forefront of running technology and the Soma Cap represents its continued ability to raise the standards. Most impressive is the 3D-BionicSphere System on the forehead, which regulates body temperature by keeping a thin layer of moisture in contact with the skin. The result is that the hat warms you when you’re cold and cools when you’re hot. Looking as it does: an exuberant swimcap, the hat’s not going to win any style awards, but its tight fit does prevent sweat from dripping down.

Words Isaac Williams / Rick Pearson

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INOV-8 RACE ULTRA SHELL RRP: £90 This jacket from inov-8 is unique in that it’s both waterproof and largely see-through. This is useful as it allows race numbers to be seen at all times, saving you the hassle of having to lift up your jacket to show your number to officials. At 125g, it’s the lightest fully waterproof jacket in inov-8’s collection and packs away into its own hood. It also feels surprisingly hard-wearing, complete with taped seams and a robust zip. If you’re an every-ounce-counts kind of guy, this is the jacket for you.

7 10 MONTANE MINIMUS SMOCK RRP: £130 Montane is a powerhouse of stylish, reliable mountain clobber. Waterproof and lightweight, the Minimus Smock is designed with performance running in mind. It scrunches up into its own bag that could even be carried in a short pocket. The fabric is highly breathable, meaning you’re less likely to overheat when wearing it, and there’s a sizeable front pouch for gels/maps/baby kangaroos, etc. On the down side, a slightly intense hood can make you look a little like Kenny from South Park and, at £130, it’s out of most people’s price range.

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ASICS FUJITRAIL PACK JACKET RRP: £70 Light as a feather but considerably more water-resistant, Asics’ Fujitrail Pack Jacket is perfect for the neither-here-nor-there weather as autumn fades into winter. Woven ripstop fabric is resilient enough to withstand the worst of the British weather. Also, for those who care about such trivialities, it happens to look pretty good. A word of warning, though: while it’s cool enough to be worn for training runs, attempting to race in it will leave you in a sweaty mess, as your tester duly discovered.

7 10 SAUCONY EXO JACKET RRP: £95 Perhaps the biggest selling point for the Exo Jacket is the luminous design, which makes it ideal for attention seekers/ night runners. Interestingly, and somewhat disappointingly, despite being made from ultra-lightweight nylon and TPU film, it’s best reserved for colder runs, as it’s sauna-esque when worn in warm temperatures. However, when it comes to keeping out the wind and rain, the Exo is hard to beat. A small but not insignificant bonus is the chest pocket, which is ideal for jiggle-free storage of small essentials.

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We runners don’t tend to be the most style-conscious, but every now and then it’s nice to keep the lycra at bay and attempt to scrub up like normal folk. With that in mind, we’ve tested a range of trainers, designed for varying distances and terrains – suitable for public outings as well as PB pursuits.

ADIDAS CLIMACHILL COSMIC BOOST, 218G RRP: £77 Races are not catwalks but, all the same, there’s no harm in looking good on your way to a PB. And these are a seriously good-looking shoe. They run a little short, though, so opt for a half-size up. There’s substance here to match the style, in the form of adidas’ patented Boost technology and its energy-returning properties. At 215g, it’s at the lighter end of the market, so you may wish to look elsewhere if you like a lot of cushioning underfoot. An affordable trainer that looks and feels good, the Cosmic Boost is pretty much out of this world.

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TOE BOX The forward tip of the upper of a shoe that provides space and protection for the toes.

OUTSOLE The outer sole of a shoe. The outsole should provide traction and resistance to wear.

8 10 NIKE AIR ZOOM PEGASUS 32, 280G RRP: £90 There’s no denying that Nike consistently delivers some of the best-looking trainers on the market. The Pegasus 32 is no exception. The Flywire arch support system and engineered mesh upper provide a sock-like fit and comfort. Furthermore, Air Zoom cushioning provides enough protection for longer runs, as well as plenty of responsiveness for anything as short as 5K. The 10mm heel-to-toe drop will seem a bit much for forefoot strikers. But as a comfy, fashionable all-rounder, Nike continue to be the brand of choice.

8 10 PUMA IGNITE POWERCOOL TURBULENCE, 278G RRP: £85 Comfort, looks and responsiveness combined. In terms of comfort, a moulded EVA sockliner supports the arch and adds to the upper’s glove-like fit. Where performance is concerned, the energyreturning cushioning compresses on landing and rebounds on the toe off to create an ideal combination of protection and responsiveness. The outsole’s deep ‘guidance grooves’, meanwhile, not only aid the fluidity of your foot strike; they also provide excellent traction over wet ground.

8 10 ON CLOUD, 198G RRP: £110 On’s Cloud-Tec technology has come to the aid of many athletes looking for achilles relief. The Cloud, however, uses different technology to create a more natural feel, in a shoe that doubles as a perfect everyday knockabout. The 16 Cloud-pods in the outsole are directly attached to a flexplate, so no bulky midsole needed. For lazy lacers, the shoe features an easy-entry lacing system that can be adapted to your foot. Lightweight, comfortable and flexible, this is a versatile Swiss-engineered shoe that’s both speedy and stylish.

Words Isaac Williams / Rick Pearson / David Castle

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UPPER The synthetic portion of the shoe that covers and fits to the foot, holding it onto the midsole.

HEEL COUNTER Plastic or fibreboard piece in the heel that helps to keep the heel centre over the midsole. Watch out for heel tabs being too high as these can rub against the achilles.

MIDSOLE Cushions the foot and plays a key role in controlling excess foot motion. The midsole is located between the upper and the outsole and is attached to both.

7 10 MAMMUT MTR 71-II LOW, 316G RRP: £85 A shoe made solely for the trails, Mammut’s 71-II Low possesses tank-like traction, thanks to the gripex Sonar sole technology. Unlike a lot of off-road options, however, it doesn’t look out of place with a pair of jeans – the synthetic leather upper offering both a stabilising effect and refreshingly good-looking design. Vented mesh does a good job of keeping your feet cool, while the patented Mammut Rolling Concept – an S-shaped layer of cushioning along the midsole – is ideal for over-pronators. It is, though, on the bulkier end of the spectrum.

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7 10 VIVOBAREFOOT MOTUS, 300G RRP: £110 A multi-purpose shoe in every sense of the phrase, the Motus was designed with all manner of sports in mind – everything from parkour to tennis. But while it’s not runningspecific, the hexagonally grooved outsole and typically minimalist design ensure flawless traction and a speedy feel. Even those who like a bit of cushioning may be won over, due to the considerable outsole. It is, though, larger than other models – designed to ‘let your feet move completely naturally’ – so it’s worth a try before you buy, especially given the steep price tag.


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NEW BALANCE VAZEE PACE, 212G RRP: £100 New Balance’s long-awaited Vazee Pace is a rare combination of comfort, speed and style. The no-sew upper is snug, without being too tight – a criticism of the Fresh Foam Zante – and the forefoot is highly flexible, which allows for a smooth transition to toe-off. Weighing in at just 212g, it’s light for a neutral trainer, with enough cushioning to ease the effects of high mileage without impairing speedgiving ground feel. We’re fans of the lookat-me orange and white colour scheme, but it’s also available in grey and blue.

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© Rob Crayton / adidas TR24


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Tom Bristow ventures deep into the heart of Turkey for Runfire Cappadocia, a six-day ultramarathon in a breathtaking landscape


s a bit of a traveller, I like to think I’ve seen the best and worst the world has to offer. Cappadocia gave me a hot, hard slap around the face: I had never seen anything quite like this before. Located in the heart of Turkey, it is a region where few tourists dare to venture. In the summer, it boasts blistering heat; in the winter, it’s bitingly cold. It’s also the location for Runfire Cappadocia, a grueling six-stage ultramarathon covering 260K. Mercifully, other options are available for the mildly less masochistic, including the 6D (six days of running, but covering less distance) the 4D (four days) and single-stage events.

Running from Monday to Saturday, Runfire offers a real sense of inclusion, allowing runners of all distances to run together. I was fortunate enough to join Runfire for days five and six of the event and, arriving at race camp at 11.30pm, I found myself literally in the middle of nowhere. The camp boasted an impressive set of showers and toilets – a welcome change from other water-restricting ultras such as the Marathon des Sables. Here competitors can scrub up and drink all the water they need. The camp food was great too, some of the best I’ve tasted. Less than three hours later, sporting a whole host of brand new gnat bites, I was joining in with the night stage,

Rope and glory: runners ascend the steep slopes

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a modest 12.8K on a dried salt lake. With nothing but moonlight to guide me, I carefully picked my way along the trail. I managed to finish in seventh place, so I was impressed with my night’s work. Staying awake to watch a stunning sunrise, I also witnessed the two remaining ultrarunners return from their 104K leg. Suddenly my 12.8K run seemd a little less impressive.


Every night there is a briefing for the next day’s race, and the route director will explain certain challenges ahead. What you’ve got to remember is that there are no fences or marshals, just a red line on

Picture perfect: a runner takes a snap of the stunning scenery

Photography Tom Bristow

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RUNFIRE ULTRA the GPS Garmin you are given. Runners can easily get lost. On Saturday the final 20K was run, with 4D, 6D and ultrarunners alike making their pilgrimage towards the finish line. Unlike the desert and dried salt lakes of the day before, Saturday brought peaks, handcarved churches, and climbs and descents so steep they required the use of a rope. Once runners crossed the finish, located at the base of the highest point of Cappadocia in the shadows of Uchisar Castle, the real fun began. While some races hand you a goody bag and then hurry you on your way, Runfire boasts an afterparty, multiple medal ceremonies, video playbacks of the race, free drinks and live music. Runfire’s race director, Dr Taner Damci, set up the event to recreate the magic he had experienced elsewhere. “Cappadocia is a unique location because of its history,” he said. “It’s also great naturally: the valleys, fairy chimneys and the salt lake. These are the main reasons that drive runners to Cappadocia.” Mahmut Yavuz, who won the ultramarathon for the third year running,

added. “There are only two ultras in Turkey, and the main reason I come back to this one is for its natural beauty. You can’t experience running through the chimneys and on the salt lake anywhere else.” Would he return? “Yes, of course!” I too will be back – and for all six days.



How to get there You can’t fly directly to Cappadocia, so changing at Istanbul is your best bet. Use Turkish Airlines to fly out from most of the UK’s major airports and arrive at Istanbul within four hours. Then grab a connecting flight to the remote airport of Nevsehir. Where to stay The Argos Hotel is a stunning, stone-carved gem, situated on the Cappadocia hillside.

RUNFIRE ULTRA IN NUMBERS Fastest man: Mahmut Yavus 27hrs 36mins 19secs Fastest woman: Bakiye Duran 46hrs 56mins 27secs Weather: Terrain:

Lesson learned: Pack mozzie spray! Verdict:

Fast friends: Tom (left) with eventual winner Mahmut Yavus

Food glorious food: the event boasts incredibly good catering

All together now: there’s real camaraderie at Runfire

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BAND ON THE RUN Isaac Williams travels to Dublin and resists the lure of Guinness to run the Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon

And they’re off: the 1:45-2hr runners explode out of the blocks


hat time are you looking to do?” I wheeze to a wiry chap beside me. “Around 1.35,” he replies, “but I’m holding back for the hill.” I must have misheard him. “The hill?” I ask, praying for any number of similar-sounding alternatives: cider mill, for instance. “Yep, the hill. It’s just around the next corner.” I’m nine and a half miles into the Dublin Rock ‘N’ Roll Half Marathon, and that is the very last thing I wanted to hear. Rewind 90 minutes and I’m facing an altogether different dilemma. Sheltering from a torrential downpour, along with hundreds of fellow competitors, my quandary is this: do I wear a jacket and risk overheating? Or go without and risk 92 • October 2015

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hypothermia? I opt for the former option, make for the start and immediately regret my decision. Lining up with thousands of runners, it’s clear why the Rock ‘N’ Roll series has blossomed into a worldwide phenomenon. The enthusiasm of the pre-race announcer and the buzz of excitement, from beginners and speedsters alike, is contagious.


Three miles in, after a typically ambitious start, the sun is out and the jacket’s in hand. The long river stretch along Wood Quay, past the Willy Wonka-esque gates of the Guinness factory, allows me to settle into a steady pace and I am, dare I say it, having a good time. The first couple of

bands – there’s one about every mile to provide the unique ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll’ element of the race – blare out some drum-heavy music. Not usually to my taste, but I’m surprised to feel a definite boost each time the sound of deafening noise greets my ears. You’re right, heavily pierced man, I am a bat out of hell. Three more miles pass and my level of comfort is beginning to be a point of major concern. I’ve become accustomed to haring off at an unmanageable pace and fading away in searing pain. Today’s race, though, is still enjoyable, and it’s about time I addressed that. Mile six is predominantly uphill as the course changes direction to track the edge of Phoenix Park. Not, in hindsight, a prime moment to up the pace. But that’s me: I’m

Photography Ryan Bethke

13/08/2015 16:03


a maverick; I fly in the face of logic and, as the sign for ‘Mile 8’ looms into view, just inside the huge, leafy expanse of the park, I instantly regret a decision for the second time in the space of 90 minutes. Far from providing scenic distractions, the long straights inside the park are where the struggle kicks in. My quads are burning from the untimely effort put in a couple of miles back and running in a straight line simply puts the next checkpoint into daunting context. The following three miles consist of regular 30-second watch checks and trying to ignore energy gel-induced rumblings in the pit of my stomach. Then, after the aforementioned climb at mile 10, which is every bit as painful as expected, ‘Mile 12’ appears and the

“I’M SURPRISED TO FEEL A DEFINITE BOOST EACH TIME THE SOUND OF DEAFENING NOISE GREETS MY EARS” cheering crowd encourages me to ‘sprint’ across the line, 1hr 37mins 20secs after setting off – a PB by a mere 25 minutes. In racing terms, the half-marathon is my upper limit. But despite the final few miles of pain, that was really quite enjoyable. All I need now is some hearty post-race nutrition. Now, where was that Guinness factory?

DUBLIN DATA Distance: 13.1 miles Number of runners: 5,022

First man: Paul Pollock, 1hr 5mins 7secs

First woman: Lizzie Lee, 1hr 13mins 25secs

Best song : The Hot Sprockets’ ‘Soul Brother’ Verdict:

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Clockwise from main: anxious runners perform a spiritual rain dance; a mixture of fear and excitement etches the faces of the men at the start; medals of honour; Dan Stinton with a beaming smile on the home straight


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Photography Rob Crayton / Dan Stinton / Alexy Dury

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lastonbury for runners,” I was told. “A festival of running beyond compare,” they said. And you know what? For once, the hyperbole was true. But when Men’s Running asked me if I fancied captaining their team for the adidas Thunder Run, I was initially reluctant. I was just making my way back from long-term injury and really didn’t want to have to let anyone down if I couldn’t fulfill the obligations. But a quick Google search and a couple of blogs later, I started to get quite excited about it; it seemed to have everything I loved about running. A tough, technical 10K route, well supported with convenient camping, fully catered so I wouldn’t have to suffer my own cooking and, best of all, completed in a team of eight so I wouldn’t over-burden myself with too much running. My plan was as follows: we would run around in circles for 24 hours and then we’d stop. And then we’d probably have some beer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Thunder Run race format, essentially you complete a 10K trail loop of the course, either individually or in pairs, in teams of five or eight – both mixed and same sex. The person or team with the most laps at the end of the 24 hours wins. Simple, right? Well for us, fortunately, it was; four guys from Men’s Running and four ladies from Women’s Running alternating laps and filling the downtime with some good oldfashioned chat and mickey taking. Mostly of me, it transpired. In the MR team I had Paul ‘Speedie’

Gary Dalton reports from a raindrenched Catton Park in Derbyshire, where he and three other intrepid MR representatives took part in the 24-hour adidas Thunder Run Simons, undoubtedly our fastest runner and a man normally dedicated both to the roads and his stopwatch. Joining us were Dan Stinton, a far-better-than-he-realised new runner from Manchester, and an old hand in the form of Steve Jones.


Paul was up first and shot off at the front of the lead group, a grin lighting up his face that was to last the whole weekend. He returned less than 40 minutes later, surprising all of us. And there we found our rhythm for the day and into the night, the comforting beep of Garmins and Suuntos serenading us as we waited for our runner to appear on the final straight. A quick word of encouragement then away, sprinting the first hundred metres for the cameras than falling into our own individual rhythm, the initial adrenaline pump fading as we tackled the first hill. All too soon it was my turn. To say I was a little concerned would be understating it. I knew that all the rehabbing work that I had done could be swiftly undone with one rut; one divot could end not only this race but the rest of my season. But I took it steady and all was fine – 49 short minutes later it was my turn to hand over to the WR captain, Anne-Marie Lategan. But although we had agreed that we were going to have a social run, there were those out on the course for whom it was all or nothing, from the solo runners hammering out lap after lap, metronomic in their pace and steely in their determination, to the teams of five and eight making every second count, faithfully calculating and re-calculating

whenever teammates came in. You would expect a 24-hour event to last an eternity, but it flew by. Paul went out for his last lap, we packed away our tents and wandered over to the finish line to see him close out our race. And, true to form, 40 minutes later he did just that, catching us by surprise by being characteristically quicker than expected. Twenty-four hours after we started a race as strangers, we finished it as friends. People from completely different ways of life found common ground in running around a field in Derbyshire, united in a love of running and a desire to enjoy all the opportunities it brought. For that, I think the Thunder Run was a great success.

TRAIL TALES Winning solo male: Andy Jordan, 22 laps in 25:14:32 Winning 6-8 mixed team: Team Fastrax, 36 laps in 24:37:28 Team Men’s and Women’s Running: 25 laps in 24:15:19 (80/229)

KITTED OUT ADIDAS PROVIDED THE TEAM WITH THE FOLLOWING GEAR ■ Response Trail Boost ■ Climachill Tee ■ Beyond the Run Hoodie ■ Supernova 7-inch Shorts ■ Cushioned Ankle Socks

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Start spreading the news: the NYC Marathon boasts an atmosphere like no other

Every November, 50,000 runners take to the streets of New York for the largest marathon on the planet. Want to be a part of it? ■ WHAT IS IT?




A point-to-point route from the southwestern borough of Staten Island to Manhattan’s world-famous Central Park. From the start-line buzz of thousands of excited and bleary-eyed runners (the ferry to Staten Island is at the ungodly hour of 5am), to the frenzied crowds along First Avenue (miles 16-18) and the Bronx (miles 20-21), this is a race with a truly incredible atmosphere.

Because it is arguably the most electrifying 26.2-mile run you will ever undertake. The atmosphere and camaraderie generated by 50,000 people striving for the same goal is incomparable, which is exactly why New York is seen as a rite of passage in the marathon-running world. Add to that the innumerable list of iconic landmarks – Brooklyn Bridge, Long Island and Central Park, to name but a few – and you get a sense of what makes the NYC Marathon the most popular race on the planet.

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With November temperatures plummeting to around 5°C, New York winters aren’t the most forgiving. The wind is also a factor, particularly along the five wide-open bridges runners are required to cross. While the course is relatively flat, each bridge is preceded by an unwelcome climb. So, in short, it’s no Marathon des Sables, but the NYC Marathon is also not for the faint-hearted.

The Start Village in Staten Island is accessible via three offical race transport options: the Staten Island Ferry from Manhattan’s Whitehall Terminal, the Midtown Manhattan Bus from Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, and the New Jersey Bus from the MetLife Stadium. The Ferry is the most popular and scenic option, offering up-close views of the Statue of Liberty.


HOW DO I ENTER ? The lottery for 2015 places has closed, but you can still get a guaranteed entry by signing up with one of the official charity partners. The time-standard qualifying window for 2016 ends in December, but be warned: speed is of the essence.

9:40am, 1 November 2015

Words Isaac Williams Photography NYRR

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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. Cumbria Pete Bland Sports 34A Kirkland, Kendal, Cumbria, LA9 5AD 01539 731012 // The running and fitness specialists. We have everything the runner needs. 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, with a broad selection of brands and much more besides. 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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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. 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. 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 200 Barnett Wood Lane, Ashtead, Surrey, KT21 2DB 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 Keeping 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.


0208 996 5167 13/08/2015 15:57


HOW TO ORGANISE A RACE Would-be race organiser Rick Pearson attempted to put on his own running event. Here’s what he learned in the process PICK A NAME

Left to right: Isaac, Chris and Rick make the most of the mid-race nutrition

Capture people’s imagination with a snappy title that neatly sums up your event. This may take some googling. In my case, the ‘Beer Mile’ had been bagsied, so ‘Half Pint Half’ was settled on.


“Half pints? There’s no way I’m ordering one of them.” Pipe down, Oliver Reed. Consuming 13 pints while running 13.1 miles will end only one way: with you chundering all over your brand new trainers. Keep things achievable.


One hundred sign-ups does not equal 100 runners. When the idea of the Half Pint Half was mooted, everyone in the office said they’d take part. The reality: only three brave souls – Isaac Williams, Chris Kelk and myself – turned up.


No one feels inspired running down an A road. Make your race as visually pleasing as possible. The highpoint of the Half Pint Half was a drink outside the Roebuck, a pub on Richmond Hill with a fantastic view of London.

Buck the trend: your event needs a unique selling point





or some time now, I have harboured ambitions to organise my own running event. So this month, with the help of two of my colleagues, that’s exactly what I did. Here’s my advice to anyone planning on doing the same.

The running world does not need another 5K. If you want to stand out from the competition, you need to be a bit more imaginative. My race would combine my two great passions: running and real ale. OK, it’s wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but bear with me. 98 • October 2015

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Make your course as easy to navigate as possible. The low moment of the Half Pint Half was a frustrating 10-minute spell spent trying to locate The Plough in North Sheen. I was among friends who forgave the oversight; paying punters will be less understanding.

If it’s advertised as a half-marathon, make sure it really is a half-marathon. Further investigation revealed that the Half Pint Half was actually 13.5 miles in length, rendering all results null and void. There’s only one thing for it: we’ll have to do it again. Care to join?

Photography Isaac Williams

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Mens Running October 57 digital  

The October issue of Men’s Running is your go-to guide for inspiration, professional advice, must-run races and cutting edge features. If i...

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