I met Chris at a work event last month. We were introduced to each other because we both like running. I quickly realised Chris is in another category of runner altogether! His first race was just over 1.5 years ago in a competitive wave of a 10 mile Tough Mudder event, quickly followed by a 5k Spartan event. Since then, his running has increased rapidly as he found his passion in long distance endurance events. In less than two years, he’s escalated from Parkrun to his first 100km Ultra with another planned for later this year! Chris is from Cambridgeshire and a father of four – two sets of twins! One set is 6 years old and the other is 8 months old! In between running and parenting, Chris somehow found time to answer a few questions about running for me…
What purchase under £100 has most impacted your running life?
For me it has to be my NATHAN Vapor Zach hydration vest. Sadly not available in the UK, I was able to pick it up from the US on a recent work trip. Having seen the Elite runners of the ULTRA Trail world using NATHAN I thought that outside of sponsorship, there must be a reason. I can now see why. Lightweight, functional and allows you to hold just the right amount of kit whilst keeping it very accessible. Comfort is a huge thing, especially when you are several miles in and getting a bit hot and sweaty. I have now realised how key it is to have the perfect hydration vest, even going as far as to say that without it, some running adventures would not have been possible.
What new habit have you adopted in the last 3 years has most improved your running?
Resting up, for the right amount of time and correctly – an area that I think we are all guilty of. Finishing that big race or big training session we should be at home resting up for the right period of time and in the correct way. Doing the right stretches, eating the right things, drinking plenty of water. From the friends and acquaintances I have spoken to, we are either out the door running again too soon or completely stopping all movement. I have been doing a lot of research in this area and have first-hand felt the benefits of a little patience and deeper understanding of what I should be doing during rest periods.
When you are at your absolute lowest point in a race, what do you do or say to yourself to convince yourself to keep going?
Thinking about my family keeps me going. Not wanting to let them down and wanting my children to be proud of their daddy. Sometimes it can bring a little tear to the eye but ultimately finds an embedded instinct deep within and gets you back up and on pace.
Tell me about an unusual thing that you do before, during or after a run?
A cup of black coffee before a race or big run. This may not seem that unusual, however, I never have drunk black coffee at any other time. I don’t even do it for benefit……to be honest I have no idea why I do it.
What is your most memorable running failure and what did you learn from it?
Recently, in preparation for a 100KM race, I went for a planned 13 mile run with my father-in-law. I had to bail and head back cutting it 3 mile short due to dehydration, despite drinking 1 litre whilst out on the run. I learnt that hydration during the days leading up to the run are just as important as drinking during the run or the morning before.
Thank you Chris! I swear, every time I talk to someone who runs Ultras, I’m more and more interested… maybe one day!
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