I’ve been running since I was a teenage track stud ;-). I gave up at 17 and didn't pick the sport up again until I was 32. I done the usual 5k to Marathon road racing and posted some decent times. Running Friends were getting into ultras around 2010 and I said I'd never do that, it was for slow people!! Then in 2013 I crewed a mate at the West Highland Way race and witnessed Paul Giblin run the whole thing in 15 hours and knew how wrong my initial opinion was! That same November I had entered the Glen Ogle 33.
For me this is where it all started at the 2013 Glen Ogle 33. I had no idea what would happen to me on that first race, how my body would cope going over 26.2 miles! I remember those last 5 miles were awful, the pain was visceral, every cell in my body moaned, but I finished and set a course record in the process. I realised that I could run longer than 26.2 miles, quickly, and as the pain subsided the following week I started to look at other ultra races. The following few years I went through a period of injury and never really got any consistent training in, but managed to come second in the Devil of the Highlands race in 2014, and winning Glen Ogle 33 again in 2015, setting a course record on a new route. In 2016 I was surprised and lucky that the Scottish Athletics selectors took a punt on me for the Annual Anglo Celtic Plate 100km, a home country competition that usually includes the Scottish and British championships too. I came 3rd in that event, picking up a British Athletics Bronze medal and a Scottish Athletics Gold. After another bout of injury that lasted for most of 2016 and into 2017 training was so inconsistent that I never finished a race in that year. I needed something to change and that's when I got in contact with Paul at Pylllon Coaching. Under Paul's coaching I have won gold and silver at the British 100km Championships in 2018 and 2019, raced Comrades in South Africa, was selected to run in China and was selected for the British 100km team competing at the World 100km Championships in 2018.
I am happiest on the trails and hills, the more remote the better, however, that isn't where my talent is and I am more competitive on the roads than I am on the trails. I'd like to change that, but with a very busy working and family life getting to the trails and Scottish mountains has to be pre arranged months in advance. Living in the flat lands that is East Lothian, we are a little sparse on Scottish mountains. When I do get into the mountain trails my face has a huge smile on it for the duration, there is not much better than just you (and friends) moving across the rugged terrain under your own power, fueling the movement and embracing the surroundings and nature around me.
Some of my highlights to date are being selected to represent Great Britain at the 2018 IUA World 100km Championships, this has to be the pinnacle of my running, I'd dreamed about wearing a GB vest in a race since I was a teenage 1500m runner, it took nearly 30 years later for me to realise that dream. But, I think, to me, my proudest achievement was not winning a race but picking up the Don Ritchie Cup at this years Anglo Celtic Plate 100km. In a fitting tribute to arguably the best 100km runner ever, Scottish Athletics and Adrian Stott from Run and Become offered a new trophy, in Don's memory, to the first Scot (male and female) over the line in the annual Anglo Celtic Plate competition. I was honoured and humbled to be that first Scot across the line this year, being presenting the trophy by Don's wife and daughter. I'll never forget that
In a few months, I'll tackle my first 100 mile race. I've only been running ultras since 2013, time for a switch up in distance. I've been lucky to have been accepted into the Centurion Track 100. Yes, you read that correctly, 100 miles on a 400m running track. That is going to push me to the limits of my mental strength as well as my physical strength. The team at Centurion are putting on a race with some of the finest ultra runners they can get and it promises to be a great race. Beyond that I want to get off road a lot more and I need to have that conversation with Paul as to how to approach it for a man who lives nowhere near the types of terrain he's likes to race over! There’s also a 100km World Championships next year in Holland and I'd like to think that my 6:51 from Perth this year will be enough to make the GB team, but there are no guarantees and I might need to toe the line again at the Anglo Celtic Plate next year to further improve on that time.