You went from ranking 29th in the 105-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc race in 2015, to an astonishing 5th in 2018. That takes a tremendous amount of hard work – what motivates you?
I simply love running long distances in lumpy places. It’s hard to explain why exactly, but it’s something to do with the simplicity, freedom, nature, and getting a bit sweaty and sore. Oh, and eating a load of chocolate! There doesn’t have to be an element of competition to it, but I like it if sometimes there is. Plus, I know I’m a healthier and better person if I do this fairly regularly.
Was there any defining moment that set you on your current path?
Kind of. Apart from four years at university where I was a big stoner and a couple of years in London where I certainly wasn’t unfamiliar with the interiors of various public houses, I’ve always been reasonably outdoorsy and sporty.
I played a lot of football, but I was bobbins. I was often sub for the school team. But in 2011, having just returned to the UK after almost a decade abroad, I did the Bath Half Marathon and absolutely loved it. I soon discovered trail races and longer distances, and five years later I was representing my country at the age of 40. As far as midlife crises go, I guess there are worse ones!