After weeks of silence on this site while I struggle with injury – more on that to come – its been a busy week for publishing articles in print on online, which I have been involved in.
How long have you been running and what attracted you to ultra running in particular?
I came to running, and especially ultra-running, quite late in life. Like all of us, I ran as a child but was definitely more of a sprinter at school, normally getting a stitch when running anything longer than 400 metres.
From a very early age I loved the outdoors and mountains in particular. This love saw me progress from hill walking to rock, snow and ice climbing, and finally onto the larger ranges and alpine mountaineering. I never felt more alive than when I was in the mountains and my wife and I would spend all of our holidays in them and any spare weekends we could find as well.
I was never what you would class as sporty though and it wasn’t until my late twenties that I dabbled a bit playing competitive Saturday league football before quickly moving onto rugby, which I loved. It was probably around then that I started doing a little running but purely for fitness and to supplement my rugby training.
My rugby career came to a sudden and rather painful end ten years ago, with a double leg fracture and ankle dislocation just as I was about to score a try – typical! After being put back together with pins and plates, I realised that I needed to find another outlet for my new found sporty tendencies, and so I switched my energies to triathlon.
I spent a few years competing in triathlon but never really enjoyed it. While I loved the cycling and running, the swimming was a real chore. The general atmosphere and uber competitive nature of the sport was also a real turn off. Personally, I loved being outdoors, the freedom it gave me and the sense of achievement at what your body could do. While there were some great people in the sport, there were others who were just motivated by the numbers or need to say, “I am an Ironman”, not my kind of thing.
As I was enjoying triathlon less and less, I was running more and more. It fitted with my work schedule, which involved a lot of travel. A pair of trainers has always been the easiest thing to take with me on my travels and a run is always a great way to explore new places.
It was in January 2014 as I was driving to my parents in Norfolk that my sporting life took a change of direction. It was a grey, cold and slightly damp Saturday morning and I was suddenly confronted by runners crossing the road ahead of me, wearing small rucksacks. What were they doing?
A quick check with Google when I arrived at my parents showed me that they were running the Peddars Way Ultra, a 48 mile ultra-marathon along the entire length of the national trail, from the Norfolk Suffolk border, all the way to the North Norfolk Coast.
Strangely I found myself intrigued by the idea and wondering whether I could do it myself? Would the metalwork in my ankle hold me back? Could I physically and mentally cope with running that far?
I was just about to turn forty and I had discovered ultra-running 🙂
A small favour please
If you have a spare few more minutes, can I point you towards the RunUltra Blogging Awards 2018 please, where for the third year running I have been lucky enough to be selected for the final shortlist? I am sure I speak for all the great runners and writers on that list when I say, we would be extremely grateful if you could spare a few minutes and vote for your favourite. While I of course hope this is Giles Thurston / Ultrarun.in, all are worthy winners and deserve your vote.
Also, while we are on the subject of voting, I am also on the list for the upcoming Running Awards. You have until early January 2018 to log your vote and you will find Ultrarun.in listed the blog category. There are plenty of other great blogs on the list, plus loads of other categories to vote in as well. I and all the other entrants would be grateful for you support.
Thanks in advance!