Running: The Qs&As we really want to know

Okay, for this blog post I’m taking inspiration from the lovely Sarah over at who came up with this batch of questions.

I feel that I should have met kindred spirit Sarah but never have; she’s training in and around my old stomping ground, I’m pretty sure she’s training with some of the triathlon nut-jobs I used to train alongside, and runs about the same pace as me – but alas we have never met.

Clearing the course markings after a recent desert run. Thanks to Noel Cuarton for this photo.

Clearing the course markings after a recent desert run. Thanks to Noel Cuarton for this photo.

So here goes answering the questions:

Most embarrassing injury?
Pulling an adductor leaping sideways to get out of the way of a massive cockroach while doing hill sprints. Seriously, this was the mother of all cockroaches, but it still didn’t make the explanation to the physio any easy.
I got a: “Why didn’t you just run over it?” from her.
My reply: “Err, because it could have jumped up held onto my shoe, pulled me down and crawled up my leg!” She was not amused.

Good plyometric training though.

Running total of toenails? Are they all the right colour?
Smug face, smug face…I don’t lose toenails. All present, correct, and perfect in every way 🙂

Have you ever had an Al Fresco toilet moment?
Nope, but I have aided and abetted others in the desert handing out baby wipes when needed and turning the other way. Much of our desert is annoyingly dune-less.

Dream race?
I’m strangely drawn to some of Mark Cockbain’s insane races (google The Hard Stuff) but realistically, or not so realistically, I’d quite like a bash at the Spain Ultra Cup series – the best kept Spanish ultra-running secret.

Best tip for beginners?
Consistency. Little and often; 15 minutes of movement every day is a great starting point.

Running secret? … until now.
Mmm, let me think. If people ask I tell them so there’s not much left to share. Probably, only run as much as you physically need to. High mileage is relative. What doesn’t test one person will cripple the next – do as much as you personally need to but always quality.

Biggest mistake I’ve made?
Stopping to sit down and change my shoes umpteen times in the 2014 IAU 100km World Champs – 20 loops of a 5km course and my first 100km. Entry because I was local. If I hadn’t sat down so much I’d have easily clocked under 10 hours over the distance.

Although I have now realised that Spartathlon qualification is 100km in 10 hours 30 minutes for women (I did that) or 100 mile in less than 24 hours. I’ve done that and believe Sarah has also…how about it?

Best post-race drink?
Chocolate milk. Simple and easy to get hold of wherever you are in the world. If I could stomach cardamom, I reckon ‘karak’, our local Qatari tea would be pretty good. Lots of condensed milk and sweet enough to stand your spoon up in.

Have you ever got lost during a race?

Yup, first ultra; Dukeries 30miler. Had to make up three miles near the end to get back into the lead and it started to rain, not a happy time. Good example of a progression run.

If you could have a running slogan or motto what would it be?
“You’re stronger than you think!”
I say it to a lot of people when they are having a moment of doubt but it’s true – as long as you’re standing up, moving forwards, and can get fuel in you’re headed in the right direction so keep plodding on.

For a more British perspective, check out Sarah’s own replies at

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