Get ready to hear from some amazing speakers!
Paula Radcliffe is one of Great Britain’s most successful and recognisable athletes. She holds the world record for the 10km, 20km and 30km road races, and has twice won the World Cross-Country Championships. Her greatest track successwas European 10,000m gold in Munich.
Paula succeeded Sally Gunnell as women’s captain of the British athletics team at the European Cup Final in St.Petersburg, marking the occasion by winning the 5000m. She then moved up to the marathon, a decision that immediately paid off with victory in London and a new world record. She soon broke her own record by a minute and a half, with a time of 2:17:18 in Chicago. Paula can now claim to be the best female distance runner of all time.
After delays, injuries and setbacks, and the birth of two children, Paula was unable to compete at London 2012 and ran her last London Marathon in 2015.
Susie Chan (Co-Chair)
Susie Chan is an Endurance Runner, who takes on races of all distances from 1 mile to 100 miles. She is a veteran of several Marathon des Sables, runs 100 mile non-stop races and through jungles. She has also finished all of the World Marathon Majors. As well as running, Susie can be found talking about running in interviews, radio and magazines, as well as commentating at races. Named and “the number 1 runner to follow on Instagram” by Runners World, follow her running adventures on Social Media.
Ben Smith (Co-Chair)
Ben Smith is best known for completing 401 marathon in 401 days as part of the multi award winning project called The 401 Challenge. Raising over £330,000 for two anti bullying charities and inspiring thousands of people to challenge themselves to do things they could only imagine meant the project had a positive and life affirming impact not only on his life but on the lives of so many people all around the world.
Ben’s passion for running was something he discovered in his early 30’s. A way to reduce stress, lose weight and build confidence. Ben travelled the world running marathons before taking on The 401 Challenge. You can read more about Ben’s life, his inspiration to take on this challenge and the exciting plans for the future in his new book ‘401: The Extraordinary Story of the Man Who Ran 401 Marathons in 401 Days and Changed His Life Forever’
Ben will be co presenting The National Running Show in 2019 and will be officially announcing the next challenge he plans to complete which will support his very own mental health charity called The 401 Foundation, the legacy to The 401 Challenge.
Vassos Alexander is one of the best-known sports presenters in the UK. He’s heard by millions every morning on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2. He also presents on TV and commentates on everything from tennis to triathlon, diving to darts.
He also runs. A lot. He progressed quickly from his first tentative steps to keep the weight off in his 30s to completing some of the world’s toughest races – including the epic 153-mile Spartathlon in Greece. He’s the author of two bestselling running books, Don’t Stop Me Now and Running Up That Hill (both published by Bloomsbury).
Whilst Jo has been a fixture of the athletics scene for many years, 2014 defied all odds, winning the hearts of the British public coming in 3rd at BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Her story so far has been one of resilience and determination. From domestic teenage prodigy to becoming the oldest ever European Champion at 40 years and 325 days, it has not been an easy story for the mother of two. Multiple injuries, juggling family life and training, Jo has overcome all to prove all of her doubters wrong.
Still competing in 2017, she serves as an inspiration to mums everywhere. She is running in the 2017 London Marathon and aims to qualify for Team GB to compete at the World Athletics Championships in London later this year. Jo is able to captivate audiences with her wisdom cultivated over years of hard competition. With such an inspirational and engaging story, Jo has received acclaim from a wide range of corporate audiences.
Brendan Rendall took up running in 2006 after a New Year’s Eve bet to run a half marathon, with no running experience, Brendan would train in the mornings when it was dark so no one could see him. Three months later and 3 stone lighter, he went on to complete his first half marathon in a respectable time of 1hr 24 mins and a month later his first 10km in 38 mins.
This newly disciplined lifestyle would see him race regularly before taking on his first marathons in 2009 where he completed 2 marathons within 3 weeks, both sub 3hrs15mins.
During 2009 he also visited Malawi as part of a charity team cycling across this incredible African country. Invigorated with a new sense of adventure and a passionate drive to make a positive difference, he was inspired to change career from retail management to began a new chapter of working with children and young adults with autism.
2011 saw him cycling John O Groats to Lands End in 13 days and then competing the London Marathon the following day.
Selling most of his possessions to declutter and raise funds, he spent 2012 – 2014 traveling the world with highlights including; trekking the Himalayas, boating through the Amazonian rain forest and tiger spotting in the jungles of India.
Returning to the UK, Brendan turned his focus back to Malawi where he had the ambition of running the full length of this African country. During 2015, to build up his endurance, he completed a number of marathons, 50km Ultra marathons and ran the famous Wainwright 192 mile coast to coast (self supported) through the Lake District, North Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors in 8 days.
In July 2016 he realised his dream of becoming the 1st person to run the full length of Malawi, 708 miles in 27 days raising an incredible £35,354 which funded the construction of a Science and Art building for the FOMO secondary school, a charity in southern Malawi which supports orphans.
To end an incredible year, on returning from Malawi, Brendan ran the length of Great Britain – John O Groats to Lands End in 35 days.
In 2017 he completed Ultra Great Britain 200miles finishing in 80 hours and is currently training to run Coast to Coast of Africa 4000km starting June 1st 2018.
Brendan was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Attention deficit disorder aged 37 while completing his GCSE’s before going on to complete his PGCE teacher training. Other achievements include speaking at The Royal Geographical Society and winning Sporting Hero and The Gold Award at the Somerset I Believe Awards.
Brendan will be hoping to announce his biggest challenge to date.
Anita Bean is an award-winning registered nutritionist, internationally published author, health writer and former athlete. She specialises in sport and exercise nutrition and is passionate about helping runners improve their performance in training and competition. She is the author of The Runner’s Cookbook, The Complete Guide to Sports Nutrition, and The Vegetarian Athlete’s Cookbook, among other titles. Anita is also the official nutritionist for the London Marathon.
“We spend our lives chasing things that we think we want and it’s only when they are removed that we truly appreciate what is important.”
A teacher who dreams of adventure and running mountains, I set out and completed the iconic Land’s End to John O’Groats (barefoot and unsupported), told students that they should embrace challenge and take risks in learning whilst working in a secure job with a comfortable and risk free lifestyle. The hypocrisy seemed to hit home when I ran LeJog, carrying what I needed in a small backpack. In August of 2016 I chose a backpack and some sandals over a secure life with a good income. I chose to go alone instead of with friends and now I’m seeing what will happen when we chose adventure and challenge over the ordinary, secure life.
Within the virtual pages of this blog you will find images of the places visited, words describing the training, experiences and thoughts that wander through a persons head as they travel from one adventure to another. The main thing is that the journey won’t be sugar coated. No glitter will be applied and at all costs it’ll be documented to show that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things.
Hope you find the words in the posts of this blog useful and in some way get inspired to #GetOutside more, push your limits and explore the incredible country and world that we live on.
It’s all well and good saying life begins at the edge of our comfort zones.
Let’s find out if it does…
Jenny Baker is a marathon runner, an urban cyclist and an improving swimmer. She is the author of Run for Your Life, published by Pitch Publishing. Jenny lives in London, works in the charity sector, and is gradually ticking off her parkrun alphabet. Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015, she ran seven miles to all her chemotherapy appointments to help her take back some control. Since finishing treatment she has run the London Marathon, cycled to Paris, and swum two miles in the Serpentine.
Nikki’s first attempt at running 26.2 miles ended in a DNF, but rather than see it is a failure and give up on this running lark, she picked herself up, dusted herself off and 6 months later completed the London marathon. It lit a flame inside that ‘she could do anything she put her mind too’.
Fast forward to 2017 and that mind was going into overdrive … perhaps for her 50th birthday she could run 63 marathons in 63 days!
And so, on Sunday August 27th 2017, Nikki completed her first marathon at John O’Groats followed by a further 62 marathons all around the UK finishing her 1650.6 mile adventure in Leicester on Saturday October 28th .
What happened next? Well she got another year older, a little bit wiser, a tad more ambitious and continued her new found addiction of running countries – laughing, crying, run-dancing, eating ice-cream, visiting schools, encouraging others to run with her and having the occasional cheeky beer along the way.
Jordan is a former British soldier turned best selling author, whose career was cut short after an injury in service. Jordan has faced many challenges in recent years including contracting “dengue fever” in 2015 whilst on an expedition in Africa and more recently being diagnosed with epilepsy in February 2018.
Having spent most of his working life in hostile and complex environments, Jordan is certainly no stranger to danger and throughout 2018 he has been raising awareness and funds for charities by “Running Dangerously”, which sees him head to 3 of the most dangerous countries in the world to complete a 10K (Somalia), Half Marathon (Iraq) & Full Marathon (Afghanistan). Jordan has never attempted any long distance runs previously and as well as the obvious security and safety challenges, he will also have altitude, heat and humidity very much against him for what is sure to be an extremely testing and dangerous mission ahead!