What it’s like taking on an ultra-marathon, from someone who knows
Writing in association with outdoor brand, Decathlon, published blogger and enthusiastic runner, Maya Verber, catches up with someone who has taken on the impossible: a 100km run.
When Dad of two, Chris McConville, first decided to take on the ultimate challenge, the Trans Pennine challenge - a 100km run across Manchester, through the Peak District and along to Sheffield - he had only one thing in mind; raising money for fantastic charity, Macmillan Cancer Support.
After losing both his grandparents to cancer, as well as having friend diagnosed in the last few years, Chris has undertaken a significant challenge to complete a challenge in aid of Macmillan’s great work each year; and a significant challenge this was!
Taking on an ultra-marathon is not for the faint-hearted, it takes dedication and perseverance. Chris’s training schedule was brutal:
“I started off running 8km Monday – Thursday, rest day on a Friday with a 30km run on a Saturday and a three hour run on a Sunday. That was gradually increased to 20km Monday – Thursday, a 40-70km run on a Sat and a five hourrun on a Sunday. It’s quite a commitment especially with two kids!”
Where marathon training usually focuses on speed, or just on achieving distance, ultra training is about getting used to time on your feet. Chris’s longest training run was 70km and took him around 12 hours, so he couldn’t have managed it without first putting in some serious hours outside!
“Running 100km is a totally different to a marathon… the blisters, the cramps, the endless supply of ibuprofen, a constant battle with your mind (which is telling you to stop) and even hallucinations are just a few of things you have to go through. A marathon’s a walk in the park!”
Collapsing after an amazing feat of 93km, Chris had to finish his 100km slightly early, but was still elated as he had managed to raise a fantastic £1,571.00 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Thinking of attempting an ultra-marathon?
If you’ve competed in marathons and half-marathons before, then an ultra could be achievable, just make sure to consult your doctor before starting and give yourself at least 10-12months to train.
It’s also especially important to make sure you’ve invested in the right training shoes, as you’ll be wearing them for a lot longer than you’re used to. If you’re thinking of taking on a hilly route like Chris then check out the range of trail running shoes from Decathlon, which are all made with durability in mind.