NGUGI, ONE OF WORLD’S GREATEST MIDDLE DISTANCE RUNNERS, AMONG SPEAKERS AT EDINBURGH SPORTS MEDICINE EVENT

17 October 2014

Below is some information from SportScotland about an event I am excited about being involved with on Monday.  Please follow the links and come along. John Ngugi and Euan Burton are absolutely top athletes and people with stories worth sharing.

‘Being your Best’ is the theme of an event being organised by the Fitness Assessment and Sports Injuries Clinic (FASIC), based at the University of Edinburgh on Monday (20 October). It’s a theme as applicable to school-aged children making their first steps in a sport to top Scottish athletes who already benefit from individually tailored programmes through the likes of the sportscotland institute of sport.

With John Ngugi and athletes in Kenya

With John Ngugi and athletes in Kenya

John Ngugi, 1988 Olympic 5000m gold medallist and 5 x World Champion is one of the three guest speakers on the evening.  Revered in his homeland of Kenya, Ngugi is regarded as one of the greatest middle distance runners of all time.  In what promises to be a fascinating talk, he will share his thoughts on ‘what it takes to win Olympic gold.’ The FASIC event is supporting the John Ngugi Foundation, an organisation that aims to help young athletes in Kenya.

 

From a Scottish perspective, keynote speakers will include Scottish judoka and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Euan Burton and Dr Andrew Murray.  The latter is an ultra-distance runner and a sport and exercise medicine consultant to the sportscotland institute of sport.

 

Speaking ahead of the event, John Ngugi commented: “What does it take to become an Olympic Champion?  Why have Kenyan runners won so many golds and broken so many records? My motto is train hard, fight easy and believe.  If you train hard you will be successful but belief is also vital to be your best. I look forward to sharing my insights and those from my country when I come to Scotland. I also look forward to hearing from experts at the sportscotland institute of sport and Edinburgh University and taking these ideas back to Kenya.  In particular, I am honoured to be opening the Scottish Running Clinic at the University.”

 

Success looks like this

Murray, who recently ran Scotland’s ten highest Munro’s in under 24 hours, has previously visited Kenya to gain insights to the factors that help the East African country produce so many world-class track middle and long distance athletes.

 

On Monday Murray will offer insights to how ‘science and medicine can improve performance’ while Burton will recall his experience of preparing for and competing at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

 

Murray commented: “On Monday we’ll hear from two incredible athletes. John Ngugi, both physiologically and in terms of medals won, is amongst the greatest athletes the world has known. He was a real pioneer for Kenya, a country that in world terms remains the most successful nation in middle and long distance running.

 

“Euan Burton’s (2014) Commonwealth Games gold winning performance was one of the iconic moments of the summer. As a coach and part of the sportscotland institute of sport, he contributed to what is the single greatest and most concentrated production line of medals in Scottish Commonwealth Games history, with 93% of the judo athletes in Team Scotland winning medals. As an athlete and as part of the team behind the team his insights promise to be fascinating.”

 

Event information

The “Being Your Best” event will be held within the Anatomy Lecture Theatre, University of Edinburgh from 630pm-830pm on Monday 20 October.

Tickets for the event are £10 each and are available through the EventBrite site: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/being-your-best-tickets-12887580099

See also: https://www.facebook.com/events/705318129504561

www.johnngugifoundation.net

 

Notes to the editor

For interview requests with John Ngugi, in the first instance please contact: Malcolm Anderson – Mob: 07956098281 /malcolm.anderson@runningacrossborders.org

 

For comment from Dr Andrew Murray please contact Dr Murray directly on: docandrewmurray@googlemail.com

Issued on behalf of sportscotland and organised by 3×1 Public Relations, Tel: 0131 225 7700.

The event has been staged through help with FASIC University of Edinburgh, Running Across Borders, Purple Reign, the John Ngugi Foundation, Edinburgh Sports and Exercise Medicine Society, Merrell UK, Footworks, Judo Scotland and Sportscotland

Scottish Running Clinic

BACK AT THE RACES AND UPCOMING TALKS

September was a pretty special month, with the arrival of Nina, my wife Jennie and I’s first baby.  She took about 16 hours to come, and Jennie tells me that the bundle of joy at the finish was better than even the best finisher’s medal.

Jennie and Nina

Kielder attracts a great field to what is advertised as Britain’s most beautiful marathon.  The course which swoops around the Kielder water never takes you far from the shore, so with big numbers and a clear path, getting lost would be impossible.

This was a great relief given a very sketchy sleep the night before.  As the rain came down waiting before the start I felt like having a quick snooze.  As the gun went off, so did the rain, as well as Ceri Rees and a couple other runners knocking out near 5 minute mile pace.  As they headed up a hill into the distance a fellow runner pointed out that Ceri had won the race the last 2 years and ran a bit internationally.

A nice flat bit

A nice flat bit

The scenery consisting of woodland and hills on our left, and water on our right dazzled as the sun came out, whilst the (I am told) 680 metres of ascent and 700 metres of descent broke the journey.  I ran with a Dutch lad Cees for the first 12 miles before he took off.  Having struggled to train in recent times, I felt short of having that extra gear and just ran a pretty steady pace before hitting the finish banner in 2hr 49mins. I was happy enough with 4th overall, and can not say enough good things about the superb marshalling and organisation.  It is a race I would have no hesitation in recommending (unless you are looking for a Personal Best).

After a banana and chocolate milkshake

After a banana and chocolate milkshake

I am not quite sure whether to race again this year.  I have possibly already done one too many this year so will see how I feel in the next week.

I am quite often asked to share details of talks, below is a list of a few in the next 6 weeks.  I am also speaking at events for the Southern General (8th October, Glasgow) ,  Insurance Society (Edinburgh, 7th November), NHS podiatrists (14th November, Edinburgh) and great to see you if these are areas you work in.

The public events include

11th October.  The Edinburgh Ultramarathon Festival with coaching and talks also from Andy Mouncey.  I’m doing one talk on running the 10 highest Scottish mountains in a day, and another on illness in runners.

http://scottishrunningguide.com/news/edinburgh-ultra-fest

 http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/edinburgh-ultra-festival-crowne-plaza-hotel-royal-terrace-tickets-13088049709

20th October.  Being Your Best with 5 times World Champion and Olympic Champion John Ngugi, and Commonwealth Games flag bearer and gold medallist Euan Burton.  This event will raise funds for the fantastic John Ngugi foundation.

 http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/being-your-best-tickets-12887580099

25th October.  MACP- Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists

https://www.macpweb.org/home/index.php?p=396&id=205

1st November.  Muckle Toon Adventure Festival. Great trail run and then a talk about Scotland to Sahara, Run the World, Run High Africa, and the Big 10.

http://www.muckletoonadventurefestival.co.uk/trail-running-langholm/muckle-toon-pumpkin-run

I will also look forward to watching 20 minutes of footage, cut into 2 features on “The Adventure Show”, following Donnie Campbell and myself running the 10 highest mountains in Scotland in a day, which is on Wednesday 8th October, BBC 2 Scotland, channel 970 down south, or available on i-player.

Thanks to everyone for so many kind words re Nina, and to main sponsors Merrell UK, and coach Donnie Campbell for their unstinting support as ever.

Cheers

Andrew

Merrell UK

JOB DONE – DONNIE AND I RAN THE 10 HIGHEST MOUNTAINS IN SCOTLAND IN A DAY

Running Scotland’s 10 highest mountains in a day sounded like a great idea. And it was. Several times this had come up in discussion over the last year, and if it is being talked about, it may well be worth doing.

The Big 10 are spread across 3 ranges, with Ben Lawers north of Loch Tay, the Nevis Range adjacent to Fort William, and the Cairngorms east of Aviemore. To climb them all within 24 hours would take a lot of training, teamwork, and a bit of driving! Donnie Campbell and I train together quite a bit, so taking this on with Donnie would almost seem like another long day in the hills. An apocalyptic weather forecast had ensured that all waterproofs in my house were packed, and we relaxed at Firbush, getting kit ready the night before. With the weather, and the fact that due to a sore back and hip I had slept on the floor rather than the bed for the 2 nights before I was a little nervous.

First up was Ben Lawers at 1,214 metres. Waved off by Donnie’s fiancée Rachael (also our expert driver for the day) and the team from BBC’s Adventure Show we ascended into the mist, heading over Bein Ghlas, before summiting Ben Lawers itself in under an hour before jogging down where Rachael awaited to drive us to the Nevis Range. Apart from having to run more upright than normal, my hip and back were only niggling.

The clouds broke as we drove through Glen Coe, offering high hopes of cloud free mountains. Marco Consani who is the British Champion for 24hr running joined us for the next 4 peaks Aonach Mor, Aonach Beag, Carn Mor Dearg and Ben Nevis itself. Fantastic views turned to cloud as the summits approached although route finding was straightforward. Doing live radio whilst running along the Carn Mor Dearg arête tested the balance as did weaving in and out of a throng of other folks out on the hill heading down the tourist route from Ben Nevis

10 peaks challenge

10 peaks challenge

Throughout we had made steady progress through the stock of food in the car, and had been keeping a close eye on the forecast which had promised torrential rain and thunderstorms. Although this seemed less likely with the updated forecast we packed plenty of kit and hit the high Cairngorms. Ross Lawrie was helping the BBC with some filming with the go pro cameras in the Cairngorms, as had Marco in the Nevis Range. Cairn Gorm mountain was the only one all day that was not clouded over, offering smashing views on the descent towards Ben MacDui and into the Larig Ghru. By the time we summited MacDui it was raining steadily, making the boulderfield descent into the valley treacherous. With the legs emptying and the weather deteriorating we pushed on to Braeriach, Angels Peak before finishing up on Cairntoul.

Cairngorm

Cairngorm

Donnie had navigated expertly all day, and looked distinctly fresher than I as we descended back towards Aviemore. I felt pleased, wet, tired and perhaps most of all relieved that my back had not ‘gone’ completely, and the weather had been short of the disaster forecasted. It had been a great day shared with friends, and whilst I enjoyed the running (on the whole) as any runner will tell you, having a support crew as brilliant as Rachael, Ross, Eilidh and Marco made it twice as good.

Apparently this may be the first time that the highest 10 mountains in Scotland / the UK have been run in under 24 hours. We finished in 13 hours 10 overall, running for 9 hours 10. I hope other people will give this a go, perhaps a little like ‘the 3 peaks challenge’ aiming under 24 hours, whilst I am sure with more helpful conditions (or a faster pair of legs than mine) some could aim to go faster.

Kit wise I was brilliantly looked after as always by Merrell, wearing the All Out Rush shoes, and various combinations of clothes. We were using the run to draw attention to the benefits of exercise for health, and getting out in Britain’s great outdoors, and have been raising a little cash for SAMH and their Get Active Campaign. Thanks to everyone for their outstanding generosity, if you can spare a few pennies is on https://www.justgiving.com/runners4getactive/

Another campaign well worth checking out is the Fit in 14 campaign. A big part of the stuff I do is the amazing support and feedback. Thanks to all for messages, generosity and support. It really is appreciated. A common question I have been asked is when will the adventure show features be broadcast. When I know, I will post this to the blog.

Thanks a million

Andrew

Merrell UK

ANDES TO AMAZON ATTEMPT GOES WRONG!

Mt Cotopaxi

What Mt Cotopaxi did not look like.

Despite giving it my all, I was a million miles from completing Andes to Amazon today. Andes to Amazon was possible, but it required everything to go right, and that is what I enjoy about the endurance challenges I have taken on – the excitement of not knowing whether you will get the job done, or whether the result is being taught a lesson.

The plan was to climb 5,987 metre Mt Cotopaxi and then run to the Amazon basin. I did neither properly. Due to restricted holidays I had not allowed any contingency days for the climb, and looking at the mountain from 3,800 metres it was clear the shift on the hill would be tricky. Dark cloud domed Mt Cotopaxi, whilst wind clouds flew past above the volcano. Given the crevasses and route finding difficulties we had hired a local guide. At 5,650 metres with zero visibility and massive winds in places he advised us that getting to the summit safely was not possible, and we turned back.

I had begun not to feel well on Cotopaxi, but thought it may be the altitude. However at 4,500 metres on the way down I started to get stomach cramps, and the urge to find some toilet roll. Running 50 km at altitude, running off into the bushes every couple of kilometres was something I was dealing with, but I just could not keep any food or fluid down and became dehydrated and had the head spins. Although the volcano and most of the very high altitude was behind me I was in no fit state to run another 100 odd kilometres.

I always learn more from when things do not go right then when they do. This is the first major challenge that has totally got the better of me, and the key lessons are:

1) Build in some weather contingency in the big hills, and if time does not permit this take on a different challenge

2) Although I was being deliberately vigilant in avoiding dodgy food, I clearly was not thorough enough

So Ecuador is an incredible country and Andes to Amazon is I think possible. Their pharmacists are very helpful as I have found out tonight. A lot of my friends have been incredibly helpful in setting the expedition up, with Donnie joining me on the mountain, and acquiring the Imodium. Arnaud Le Maire as ever does a fantastic job sorting my website, while Ross Lawrie helped sort updates where internet was non-existent. A huge thanks also to Merrell UK for proving top quality kit and for their support.

I will leave Ecuador frustrated but wiser. Although I had run days on Scotland 2 Sahara with a stomach bug, running 50km is very different to 100 miles at altitude with a stomach bug. Although I feel terrible and ill tonight, hopefully tomorrow is a new day.

Andrew

RUNNING THE ANDES TO AMAZON IN A DAY – LEAVE TODAY

The actively volcanic Cotopaxi on a rare clear day

The actively volcanic Cotopaxi on a rare clear day

So I am off to the airport, for the next major adventure. The vistas do not get more varied than this in 24 hours- the high crevasse riddled Andes, followed by extremely undulating terrain before hitting the Amazon basin. Below is the press release from Brand Nation.

I need to learn to tie my shoelaces

I need to learn to tie my shoelaces

The expedition can be followed on www.docandrewmurray.com, on twitter at @docandrewmurray or on my Facebook page DocAndrewMurray with live updates en route by the trust Donnie Campbell who will also do the first part of the challenge.

Brand Nation

Ultra-marathon man to run from Andes to the Amazon in a day

Ultra Runner and Merrell ambassador Dr Andrew Murray, whose previous conquests include completing a remarkable 2,559 mile run from Scotland to the Sahara Desert, a 7hr run up Mt Kilimanjaro and race wins in some of the most spectacular and hostile locations on Earth has earmarked his upcoming Andes to Amazon challenge as his hardest to date. The challenge commences on June 14, 2014.

Training in Edinburgh

Training in Edinburgh

South America is a continent of natural extremes, with the two best known natural features being the spectacular Andes mountains and the immense ecosystems of the Amazon jungle. On the day England kick off their football World Cup campaign in the heat and humidity of the amazon city of Maunas, the Scottish International distance runner will run for more than 100 miles through first sub-zero temperatures then the searing heat to reach the Amazon Basin. Murray will first climb the crevasse riddled Mt Cotopaxi (5,897metres), before running the undulating ‘Avenue of the Volcanoes’ which includes Mt Tungurahua one of the most active volcanoes on Earth, then descending onto the Pastaza river, which feeds the mighty Amazon.

Murray, 33 from Edinburgh said “the landscape and wildlife are utterly amazing. The major difficulties are having to run about 100 very hilly miles at pretty significant altitude, having just climbed a mountain higher than anything in Europe. I ran Mt Kilimanjaro last year and Cotopaxi is a little higher and is covered in snow and ice so I’d anticipate being tired even before getting off the mountain. Once off the top of the mountain it is anyone’s guess how long it will take to reach the jungle, but I would be delighted with 24 hours.

Actually as a doctor with the SportScotland Institute of Sport I’m aware that altitude, heat and humidity are usually the enemy of the long distance runner, and I’m sure I’ll have plenty sympathy for the English Football team who will be running around in the Amazon jungle on the same day. But I have been kitted out with the gear that will help minimise the effects of the heat, and it would not be a challenge unless it was harder than what I have done before.”

Dr Murray hopes to raise awareness of the benefits of exercise through this epic, saying: “As a GP I know that taking regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If everyone did 30 minutes of walking, or any other form of exercise a day, stats show it would increase national happiness. Even this amount of exercise increases life expectancy by 7 years. There is a great video called 23.5 hours, whilst I’m really keen to support the Fit in 14 campaign.”

ABOUT DR. ANDREW MURRAY

Merrell Pack Leader Dr Andrew Murray has completed challenges including a 2,659 mile run from John O’Groats to the Sahara, 7 ultra-marathons on the 7 continents in 7 days, and has won races at the North Pole, Antarctica, Outer Mongolia, the Sahara desert, and the jungles of Indonesia as well as racing for Scotland. He is a Sports Medicine doctor having worked with Sportscotland, the European Golf Tour, international football and rugby teams, and at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. He is an advisor for the Scottish Government Physical Activity team promoting exercise for health and championing the Merrell spirit of being active in the outdoors.

ABOUT MERRELL

Andrew will first utilize Merrell’s Allout Rush model to conquer the unstable terrain of Mt Cotopaxi. He’ll switch to the Allout Fuse once off the volcano.

Merrell was founded in 1981. The company’s philosophy is based on encouraging and equipping everyone to Get Outside to seek adventure, exhilaration and new experiences.

FIT IN 14

Get more active, www.fitin14.org/

For further information, contact Andrew Murray on 07 791 303 980, or at docandrewmurray@googlemail.com or Henry Courtier from Brandnation on 02 079 407 170 or at henry@brandnation.co.uk

INTERNATIONAL MATCH – ANGLO CELTIC PLATE THIS WEEKEND

Running offers many benefits. For some it is getting the happy hormones going, health benefits or the social aspect of it. If running could be bottled it would be hailed as a wonder drug: who would not want more happiness, longer life expectancy and more productivity which are just a few of the benefits running gives.

Find a way not an excuse

It has offered me the chance to see the world, from the North Pole to the Himalaya, the Sahara to the vast open space of outer Mongolia. It is fair to say that Gravesend in Kent does not offer the vistas or sense of space as outer Mongolia, but this weekend it offers challenge, and the opportunity to represent my country Scotland. The Anglo Celtic Plate is a yearly competition run between five selected athletes from each of England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland.

Previously I have purely run to enjoy myself, see the world, and try and raise a bit of money for a few charities I am passionate about.  But following some gentle nagging from a few friends rather than racing occasionally abroad, I have raced a few times in Britain this year (Anglesey , Northumberland, Loch Katrine and Lochaber) and have done enough to be selected for Scotland.

Mouse Helmet

It might sound unusual to say that this race is a step into the unknown, but pretty much any race I have been successful in before has involved foreign lands, with either lots of hills, or very hot or cold temperatures allowing the application of science to improve the chance of doing well. The race on Saturday http://www.national100k.com/ is a flat 100km with normal British weather and is on a lapped course so may well represent a mental as well as physical challenge, looping round the same features repeatedly, although at least this means my notoriously poor navigation can not get me lost.

The England team looks fairly bulletproof, with 4 runners that have achieved exceptional results on the world stage, including Steven Way who won the World 50km previously, has ran 6 hours 40 mins for 100km, and ran 2 hours 16  only 3 weeks ago in London.  Scotland have a great team which includes Paul Giblin (worth a follow @pyllon on twitter) who destroyed the West Highland Way record last year, and Ian Symington who ran well last year and has great form this year.

So is part of me dreading running laps of a course?  Yes.  Will there be times as always that the legs say no.  Undoubtably?  But the chance to  pull on the Scotland vest is too great a prize not to give everything your best shot, and so I will.  Last year’s top Scot Donnie Campbell (who is also an excellent running coach at www.getactiverunning.com ) has helped give me advice and my training program for this, and all the other races/ capers ahead this summer

These sort of events always create interest for the runners involved, but the Scotland team is organised and supported by an absolute legend of distance running in Adrian Stott of Run and Become who I think just about everyone in the Scottish distance running circuit feel a debt to!

Andrew
 

LOCHABER MARATHON

Lochaber is home to Scotland’s loftiest peaks, with Ben Nevis towering over the town of Fort William, and 3 of Scotland’s highest 10 mountains in the immediate vicinity. I’d never run the marathon there, but my wife Jennie had, and if she recommends it highly it must be a great race.

Lochaber - Start

Lochaber – Start

Other than for mountains, Fort William is famed as the wettest place in Britain. Jennie and I had parked the campervan in Glencoe, 20 miles south and although the day before was overcast and a decent day to be out and about, race day was a wet one.  A furious blue and yellow smudge covered the area around Fort William, when I had a look at the weather satellite picture.

The weekend was a brilliant chance to catch up with friends, plenty of Jennie and my friends were up for the race, some taking on the marathon distance for the first time. We huddled on the start line with around 400 competitors looking to tackle the beautiful out and back course.

Almost halfway

Almost halfway

Having had a heavy week in training and with fairly inclement conditions, I mentally set the watch for 2-42, and took off with Roger van Gompel, and David from Glasgow University. Running the course we all mentioned that it was a much easier day to run, than to be a marshall, organiser, or spectator. It is a brilliantly organised race, and it does help hugely seeing a smile or being clapped in the right direction. I stuck with roger, the leader until 15 miles, where I needed a pee. From that point I never saw him until the finish. The course itself is reasonably (but definitely not completely) flat, and there are some cracking views on the way round.  The last few kilometres were over Neptunes staircase, with views of a snow clad Ben Nevis mostly obscured by the rain.  A beaming smile, and a hot drink were what greeted every finisher, a huge thanks to the organisers from Lochaber AC.

Finish in Sight

Finish in Sight

I ran 2-42 which was good enough for 2nd place overall. Before this year, I have raced mostly abroad, and with our friends in town it was excellent having Jennie around for the race. She is the one that allows me time away to race and train, keeps me full of pasta and is a huge part of getting me to the finish at each race.  The next race, is competing for Scotland in the Anglo Celtic Plate/ Home Nations  Championships in 3 weeks.  It is certainly not a format I am used to- I tend to race in mountains, or foreign and sandy/snowy environments, so doing a lapped 100km race will be a news experience, but I will look forward to joining my team  mates Paul Giblin, Richie Cunningham and Iain Symington.

Plans for this summer are coming together running wise – I can not wait, whilst work wise there is lots of exciting stuff going on. Since last time I have enjoyed doing talks and sharing stories in Perth, Dundee, Glasgow and this week speaking at the IOC Injury Prevention course in Monaco. Great place for a training run and lots of brilliant speakers  to hear from and meet.

Andrew

A RACE WIN- COASTAL TRAIL SERIES NORTHUMBERLAND ULTRA

The decision on whether to race or not when carrying injuries is always a tough one. For me it usually comes down to factors that include

1)    Is the race somewhere beautiful. That I want to run

2)    Is the race important

3)    Am I going to make the injury worse by running and

4)    How sore will it be

Approaching the finish

Approaching the finish at Banburgh Castle

Endurance Life put on an excellent series of races, deliberately stationed in areas of natural beauty. Living in Edinburgh, I do like a good castle, and the Northumberland coastal trail has castles in spades.  I have not spent much time exploring this coast before, and on foot, during a race seemed an ideal way to do so.  The knocks I was carrying were more annoyances rather than significant injuries. I’d been elbowed in the ribs and had my foot stood on playing football in midweek (that is what I get for having a clumsy touch!).  The ribs grumbled taking a deep breath and when running quickly, whilst my foot has some interesting looking bruises.

These annoyances were blown out of the water by the prospect of a decent outing on a baby blue weather day. The van was fully frosted over, and the stars out by the time I got to sleep. Having come directly from working at the Edinburgh vs Ospreys rugby game I wasn’t sure I’d packed a pair of trainers- leaving office shoes or rugby boots as alternatives. I’d ran a few hills before in a pair of office shoes and did not fancy a repeat.

Fortunately when I woke out the Merrell’s were there, and I jumped on the bus to the start line. The route itself was a linear and varied one. The birds sang and my mood splendid at the start. After only a couple miles my race was nearly over. Having already been outwitted by one gate, I tried to jump one, and succeeded only in giving myself a fence in the baby making department.

With one thing and another- running quickly was catching my ribs a bit I ran a pretty conservative race. The course was a superb mixture of coastal trail, sandy beach, dunes, along with some mud (where would we be without mud in March) and road.  It was great to see great fields for not only the ultra, but also for the marathon, half marathon and 10km- many people I spoke to said it was their first.  I was a little caught up in the scenery, getting a little lost a couple times although this was entirely my own fault- the routes were well marked.  I ran steadily, taking a gel every 30 minutes, and aiming for make sure I finished in 4 hrs 40 minutes as my good friends Mike and Jess McKenzie were getting married nearby- this would give me the time to scrub up.

Banburgh Castle imposes itself for many miles. Spectators can see the finishers approaching many miles off, and the encouragement was welcome. I finished in 4 hours 32 minutes, finishing first in the Ultra and well in time for the wedding.

Sun and a medal- I'm happy

Sun and a medal- I’m happy

Endurance Life put on a fantastic series of events, I can recommend trying one of them for yourself.  I used Merrell’s new kit for the season, the All Out Rush trainer (review can be found on runblogger) and Science in Sport nutrition.

Good luck to everyone running races soon- next one for me is the Glasgow to Edinburgh double marathon at the start of April.

Andrew

 

RACE WIN IN A WET WALES. ENDURANCE LIFE ANGLESEY ULTRA

Anglesey Coastal Trail Ultra

Anglesey Coastal Trail Ultra

A few years ago I spent a short time in Wales and ran around in Snowdonia, and Anglesey. It was like being in Scotland, with snowy mountains, fantastic coastline, but with more consonants in the place names.

The Endurance Life Costal Series Anglesey Ultra Marathon is known as one of the most beautiful short ultras in Britain. The course features national park, towering cliffs, hill top scrambles and a jaunt around the beautiful Anglesey coastline. Having actually managed to get off my back side and do some training this winter it offered the perfect chance to stretch the legs and get a little competitive action.

Sleeping in the campervan the night before, I knew it was going to be a wet one. Rain thudded down relentlessly turning a trip to the toilet into a wading expedition. I have never done an Endurance Life Costal Series Event before but loved the briefing. James explained “some changes had been required to the course, it was going to be wet, but if a dry outing was expected then why had we come to Wales?”   The event itself offered a 10km, 1/2 marathon, a marathon (which is actually 27.5miles) and an ultra-marathon. The route is outstanding, trail markings excellent, and the marshals offered us everything short of lobster soup. I can safely say I’ve never experienced such wet conditions in a race, with the mountain trail resembling a stream at times, whilst we encountered calf deep standing water on the roads reasonably frequently, and waist deep water once. I was testing out my new Merrell All Out trail shoes, and must admit to enjoying steady progress whilst Donnie Campbell who I ran with skidded all over the place. His back was entirely brown by the end of the race.

Donnie and I run together quite a bit, and he had a strong year in 2013, winning the Scottish 100km National Champs, being second in the British 100km, and 4th in the British Trail Championships.  It made sense for us to run together initially at Anglesey, to avoid any chance of getting lost and so we could laugh at each other when we fell over. By 20 miles we’d opened up a 20 minute or so lead, and so continued to tank along together.  We were running the same course as the marathon runners, and would have won the marathon by 16 minutes had we stopped there, but having built a 30 minute lead in the ultra, took the foot off the pedal a little to finish the 34.1 miles a couple minutes inside the old course record. The GPS data is here, including 1,266 metres of ascent.

Medal !

Medal !

Endurance Life put on a series of events, and I enjoyed this so much I’d definitely consider doing another.

I must say I was extremely impressed with Merrell’s new kit for the season, especially the All Out Rush. A top bit of kit that I’d recommend when they come out shortly. A review can be found on runblogger.

It’s been a productive week, including meetings with our Chief Medical Officer here in Scotland concerning getting Scots more active. Having enjoyed a year working for the Scottish Government as their physical activity champion, now that I’m about to complete my Sports Medicine training this is an area I am looking to push forward again. I love this short video, which demonstrates the importance of getting our children active:

Andrew