I’ve never worked with anyone who commits to training and race preparation like James does.
— Paul Giblin (Coach)

September 2011, I was fat and unfit. But I was trying. I decided to try and get fitter, and faster. I used times and PBs as leverage to inspire me in the early days. Seeing them go down at the same rate as my waistline was reward enough. Then I heard about ultrarunning. I promised earlier in 2011 I would NEVER RUN A MARATHON AGAIN. July 2012 I ran my first Ultra. I’d read about them. I’d seen people do them. I didn’t realise it was such a big thing. Of course, it ended in a big, smelly, DNF. I discovered a whole lot about myself that day. Instead of breaking me it was the spark to a flame that I didn’t know I had in me.

July 2012 I ran Clydestride and my DNF there was as a result of listening to too much social media advice as well as being as underprepared as our government is for Brexit. Undaunted I quickly entered the Glen Ogle 33 ultra. I finished 28th. I thought that was A-MA-ZING. Little did I know. I was determined to get better. I read book after book. I kicked my wotsits habit. I got fitter, leaner, faster and meaner. In 2013 I ran a few more ultras. But the second spark in my ultra-career was a second DNF of sorts. Weird, huh? In 2014 I dropped from the Glenmore 24 hour trail race whilst leading after falling and injuring my knee. It was a case of long-term decision making. I stewed over that decision for a few weeks. If Clydestride was spark to a flame, Glenmore 24 was a flame-thrower to a gas leak. I doubled-down on my determination. I wanted to see how much potential I had. I went for it.

In December 2014 I employed a coach. A skinny guy from Paisley who’d won a few local races. Paul Giblin is his name. From there… well.

When it comes to surfaces / terrain, I don’t actually have a bias per se. I don’t like overly technical or hilly terrain. I like to run. I run because of the motion, the freedom and the feeling it gives me. The idea of running along a ridge line with certain death either side of the ridge is about as appealing as a Come Dine With Me episode featuring Donald Trump, Esther McVey, Boris Johnson and Pol Pot. Bogs, I can take or leave. If you made me pick it would be runnable, scenic trails with infinite beauty of the world around. But I am happy to pound out mile after mile on a track, tarmac, towpath or even a treadmill if I have to.

2015: Clydestride Win & CR; Glenmore 24 Win & CR

2016: Represented Scotland at 100k; Glen Lyon win; West Highland Way Win; John Lucas Win; Tooting Bex 24 Win & CR (160.4 miles)

2017: Rocky Raccoon Win; Represent GB at 24 hour world championships

2018: Team Silver Medal at 24 hour European championships with GB; The Pyllon Endeavour

2019: Represented Scotland at 100k; Falkirk 8 hour race win & CR; Representing GB at 24 hour world champs (OCT)

I have the small matter of running for GB in October at the World Championships over 24 hours. That will be my A race and main focus. Beyond that I don’t have concrete plans. I’d love to have a crack at a fast marathon sometime. Also, I have totally unfinished business over 100k. I want to go back to race in America too. In short, I have loads I’d love to do. And the FKT itch is getting really noticeable.

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How did James manage to run 160 miles in 24 hours? Check it out now.