Ultra running: the art of futility

On a particularly hot day in the summer of 2014, I ran between the summits of London’s 12 Inner London boroughs. Starting from Hammersmith and Fulham, moving clockwise to the Isle of Dogs, going as far east as Greenwich, and then west to Wimbledon Common, I travelled 41 miles, venturing no higher than 134 metres…

A lesson for us all

There is something instinctive in human nature for the amateur to celebrate the professional. Radcliffe. Rudisha. Kimetto. We watch in awe as the extraordinary achieve the extraordinary. But there is something more extraordinary than this: the ordinary achieving the extraordinary. That is not to say that Colin Dear is ordinary. Ordinary humans do not run…

The night before the night before running an ultramarathon

Tonight is the night before the night before running 66 miles on the Vanguard Way. What happens on the night before the night before running 66 miles? Not a lot, really. Eat. Rest. Prevaricate. Half-heartedly stretch. Devise excuses. Think, ooh, my ankle/foot/calf/knee/hip hurts. I have fielded a plethora of questions today. They have a common…

Running – why time matters (a lot)

When I was training for a sub three-hour marathon, the numbers of consequence were 6.52. Run each mile of 26.2 in six minutes, 52 seconds, and you will run a marathon in under the magical three-hour barrier. I have new numbers of consequence: 8.57. Let’s call them nine-minute miles: that would be a 5k in…