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.paularadcliffe.com
For fourteen years Roger represented Great Britain at the highest level in the world of athletics, both as an individual 400 metre runner and as a member of the 4×400 metre relay team, winning fifteen major Championship medals including European, Commonwealth, and World Championship Gold medals.
His greatest achievement was winning the Olympic 400 metre Silver medal in 1996 and he is particularly admired for his triumphs over adversity, successfully overcoming several serious injuries and set backs throughout his career.
Roger has been British Men’s Team Captain and was awarded the M.B.E. in 1992.rogerblack.co.uk
Iwan is without doubt one of the finest 400m runners that Britain has ever seen. Securing medals at all major championships, Iwan still holds the British 400m record of 44.36s, after 20 years! Not only talented in Athletics, Iwan competed internationally in BMXing, where he was ranked 4th in Europe.
The 1998 European Championships in Budapest saw him win Gold in the 400m and the 4x400m. That same year, he represented Europe against the other continents of the World at the World Cup in South Africa, again winning medals in both events, then flew straight to the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur where he became champion of the Commonwealth winning a bronze medal for Wales in the 4x400m relay, and a gold in the 400m.
Iwan is an experienced TV presenter with a varied portfolio which includes: BBC2‘s ‘The Human Machine’; Channel 4’s Sunday morning sport programme ‘Destination 2012’; Channel 4’s ‘The McCain Track & Field Show’; to name but a few. Iwan was also a finalist on the hugely popular BBC series “Celebrity Masterchef,” where he was narrowly beaten in the Final, but hugely improving his cooking skills!
In 2010 Iwan presented Channel 4’s World Indoor Trials highlight show and appeared on The Wright Stuff and Daily Cooks Challenge, as well as commentating from the Asian Games for Al Jazeera. Iwan is a true ‘have-a-go’ presenter taking on various challenges including the London Marathon, and several Triathlons including Blenheim Palace, London and the Eurostar Triathlon.
In 2011 Iwan was part of the Academy Ambassadorial team for UK Athletics and Aviva. He was part of the Channel 4 team at the World Championships in Daegu and did a series of features which helped to motivate young people to get active with a year to go until the London Olympics.
In 2012, Iwan was part of Channel 4’s Athletics coverage team and was then chosen to co-host The Lottery Olympic Park Run on 31st March with Holly Willoughby, which saw over 5,000 runners crossing the finish line in the Olympic stadium for the first time. As a regular pundit for Al Jazeera, Iwan worked out in Doha on the Arab Games and for their monthly London Calling Show. His expert knowledge and fun light-hearted approach saw him move from pundit to presenter for the London Calling Show in June and he was their main track side reporter throughout the Olympic Games.
At the Paralympics Iwan was one of the main faces of the Channel 4 Bafta award-winning team. He reported on a number of features and was a regular studio pundit on all of their daily shows and closing ceremony. He was also given the honour of co-presenting the Olympic & Paralympic Athlete’s parade alongside Clare Balding, and he presented 4 series of That Paralympic Show for Channel 4. Known for his bright and enthusiastic style Iwan was a natural choice to co-present the iconic BBC show Superstars with Gaby Logan in the Christmas 2012 special.
Iwan’s passion for Motorbikes (he rides a Harley Davidson which he has customised to his own unique style) saw him co-present BT Sports Moto GP tonight live magazine show; capturing all the latest news from the circuit. He was then asked to be the sole presenter of the new Moto GP live highlights show, Chequered Flag.
Iwan’s presenting gravitas saw him interview the former Prime Minister, David Cameron, ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2014, to get his thoughts on the action taking place.
In 2015 he was one of four sporting legends to take part in ‘Natural Born Winners’ for BBC Two, taking on four epic challenges against his other three opponents across the globe, each one tougher than the last. He then embarked on another challenge: donning glitzy outfits and taking to the dance floor for BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing, with former winner Ola Jordan.
In 2016, ahead of the Paralympic Games, he co-presented the new Superhuman Show on Channel 4, which also saw him taking on a number of Paralympic athletes to give viewers an insight into what it is like to compete with a disability. He then headed to Rio in September to present the Channel 4 Athletics coverage of the Paralympic Games.
Iwan continues to present regular features on BBC’s The One Show which has seen him report on a wide variety of topics and, most recently, as part of the reporting team, Iwan took to the stage for Let’s Sing and Dance for Comic Relief 2017.
The ‘enthusiasm’ and ‘charisma’ that Iwan brought to his part in presenting Crufts 2015, saw him return in 2016 and then again this year, joining Clare Balding and Alan Carr for Channel 4.
Iwan had a busy summer in 2017, on Channel 4 battling the Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls and working in-field at key British Athletics events like the IPC World Para Athletics Championships in London.
Iwan is a very confident, capable ‘Live Events’ presenter and hosts all the Major British Athletics events, as well as award ceremonies and is an excellent and established motivational speaker.
Iwan is a keen charity supporter, which usually involves taking on a challenge, including running the London Marathon eight times for Macmillan Cancer and take part in the gruelling Tough Mudder event, as well as various Triathlons. He has joined forces with Prince Harry, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and Heads Together, and has taken part in Mo Mission for Movember to raise awareness of mental health.
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.the401challenge.co.uk
TV personality Nell McAndrew is passionate about fitness and running.
With numerous 10 km, half marathon and marathons under her belt, her greatest running achievement is her PB of 2.54 at the London Marathon in 2012.
“I describe myself as someone who loves to run and turned out to be better at it than I ever thought I could be,” she says.
A regular at Parkrun in south west London – both participating and volunteering – her current Parkrun goal is to achieve over 80% age grading.
Nell has previously appeared on magazine covers, appeared on I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here, was one of the original faces of infamous gaming legend Lara Croft and released five successful fitness DVDs.
Always trying to encourage people around her to take part in some form of exercise, she released her book, Nell McAndrew’s Guide to Running, that she co-wrote with Lucy Waterloo, and received great reviews.
Nell is a big supporter of the charities including Cancer Research UK, Alzheimer’s Research UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Lymphoma Association and Caudwell Children.
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.susie-chan.com
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.
After running his first marathon at the age of 18 in 1981 and vowing never again, Steve has gone on to run over 820 official marathons in an average finish time of 3hrs 18min which makes him one of the most successful multi marathon runners in the world today. Known by many in the UK running community as ‘The Godfather of Marathon Running’, Steve has run a competitive marathon race on average every 13 days for the last 31 years and achieved many world landmark records in the process.
At the time of writing he’s run over 320 sub 3:15s the most by any British person, he’s also run close to 500 sub 3:20s and nearly 750 sub 3:30s, both of which are world best totals. Ultimately he’s attempting to establish a new world landmark record by becoming the first person to run 1000 marathons averaging sub 3:20.
His biography ‘The Man Inside The Machine‘ is now available and he also raises money for a local charity in Gloucestershire called Kate’s Home Nursing.
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.brendanrendall.com
Not his words, but he may have finally made the definitive claim on the title. In April 2018, he became the first person to complete the fabled “Gump Run”. Running 15,607 miles on route and adding in a few city marathons on the way, his step counter clocked over 30 million and in running 600 marathons in 422 days at an average of 37 miles a day, he transformed into the much-loved character who one day, for no particular reason, decided to go for a little run.
Following up on a long held desire to run across America, he was joining a fairly elite club. Around 300 people have managed to run across the United States of America. When you consider that over 6,000 people have been to the top of Everest it puts that into perspective.
However, running across America wasn’t just an athletic urge. If it was he freely admits he’d have been happy to hang up his Nikes at Santa Monica Pier at the end of his first crossing. Unlike Forrest he had a very good reason for running. Like Forrest, he was a momma’s boy and his mum, Cathy, before she died, told him to “…do one thing in your life that makes a difference”. When he realised that this challenge could indeed be that opportunity, he knew that his run needed to be special. A passionate environmentalist and advocate for peace he realised that if people identified with Forrest, they would identify with his run and engage with two causes very close to his heart.
Runners and journalists had debated for years whether Forrest’s run was possible and as a scientist, Rob decided an experiment was required. He set off from Alabama clean shaven of face and head and pledged to carry on until he could run no further. Battling the elements, injury, financial hardship and gas station nutrition, he ran clear the ocean. Again and again and again.
On a little break home to see his baby daughter being born, he ran the Manchester, Brighton and London marathons under 3 hours on three successive weekends and broke the world record for fastest marathon dressed as a film character in London. You don’t need us to tell you who he ran as. Returning to the US with his partner, Nadine and baby Bee in tow, he finally got tired, coincidentally, at the exact same point Forrest did, and decided to come home (after proposing) just to come and talk to you!
Find out just how he managed to pull off the holy grail of adventure running and hear about his plans for the future, including competing in the 2019 Marathon des Sables and Berlin Marathon. To start with…
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.anitabean.co.uk
“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…barefootaleks.wordpress.com
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.jennybaker.org.uk
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!jordanwylie.org
Nick Butter is an endurance athlete, motivational speaker, and adventurer.
In January 2018, Nick set out on a challenge of a lifetime; Running the World 196. He is hoping to set 8 world records and a world first by running a marathon in all 196 official countries in the world, over a period of 550 days.
Nick will cover all 7 continents, doing 5130 miles, running 26.2 miles in each and every country, taking 18 months out of his life and leaving loved ones behind. Nick will encounter hostile environments such as war zones, areas of political instability, the heat of the Sahara Desert and of course the extreme cold of Antarctica.
Nick will be taking 220 flights, 45 train journeys and spending an average of 60 hours in each country to complete this challenge in record time.
And Nick’s doing all of this in the hope to raise £250,000 for the incredible charity; Prostate Cancer UK. Kevin, Nick’s close friend who he met whilst running the Marathon Des Sable in 2016 and who inspired the challenge has terminal prostate cancer and was given just 2 years left to live with his diagnosis.
Nick is hugely passionate about running and pushing himself to the very limits; this challenge has never been done before, and he’s hoping to inspire those around him and the people he meets along the way to get out there and challenge themselves.runningtheworld196.com
Alex is a Sports dietitian and endurance nutrition expert. Being a competitive runner for 20 years she is able to translate the science into reality for all runners. With degrees in Sports & Exercise Science and Nutrition & Dietetics, she has over 13 years experience in a variety of settings, including the NHS, British Army and the Institute of Naval Medicine Research Team. Now based in Berkshire, Alex runs her own performance nutrition consultancy (@theSportsDietitian @Diet360). Her clients vary from amateur to elite athletes. She supports both junior and senior athletes to achieve their goals from county through to international level.
Alex regularly contributes to sports and fitness articles. She has provided publications for Athletics Weekly, Running Fitness Running magazine, Fit and Well and Ultra magazine. Alex has provided nutritional support for North Face, Adidas Terrex, Running with Us and the National Running Show.
As a competitive distance runner, she has made a mark in the world of Ultra Running. With a number of domestic podium finishes and recently finishing in the top 30 at the prestigious Laverado 120km Ultra. Alex is able to draw on her 20 years running experience to fuel her client’s endurance goals.
Prior to her mountain goat endeavors, Alex’s personal bests range from 36.10 for 10K, 81 minutes for the half marathon and 3.10 for the marathon.
Claire Maxted is the co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine. She now runs a trail running YouTube channel called Wild Ginger Films, filming and presenting off-road running advice, athlete interviews, gear tests and race recces.
Juggling work around her training for various ridiculous ultras and multi-day races, Claire speaks at events, hosts athlete Q+As and presents film coverage at races like the Montane Spine Race, Skyline Scotland, OMM and Pikes Peak. Oh, and she still finds time to write the odd article for running/outdoor magazines and websites too. When she turns 40 she vows to take a nap.wildgingerfilms.co.uk
Mara Yamauchi is the second-fastest British female marathon runner ever. She finished sixth in the 2008 Beijing Olympic women’s marathon, won the 2008 Osaka Ladies’ Marathon and won the bronze medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games 10,000m.
In 2009 she was runner-up in the London Marathon in 2:23:12 – her PB. Mara grew up in Kenya and worked as a diplomat, including being posted to Tokyo, before becoming a full-time athlete.
After retiring in 2013, she qualified as an Athletics Coach and now works self-employed as a coach and speaker. She coaches runners of all abilities, and also works with the private sector on using the lessons of elite sport in the workplace, for example goal-setting, maximising performance and overcoming setbacks.marayamauchi.com
David is a running whore, doing a bit of everything ranging from racing for England at the Beer Mile World Championships to finishing first Brit at the Marathon Des Sables. As one of the presenters of the Bad Boy Running Podcast, he often undertakes unusual challenges which have included leading the London Marathon for 400 meters and breaking the record for the Under Round Marathon, raising £60k along the way for Street Child.
A passion for travel has seen him win marathons on three continents and race in countries as far-flung as Afghanistan, Somaliland and Myanmar. David is also the founder of Beer Belly Running an events company dedicated to races which combine drinking with running, such as the Great Brtish Beerathon and creator of Caffeine Bullet – a high-intensity caffeine chew formulated for runners.badboyrunningpodcast.com
Luke Tyburski is a Endurance Adventurer, Speaker, and Health & Mindset Coach who aims to open up peoples minds, and show them that we are all capable of so much more than we believe.
Luke’s first ever running race was the 255 kilometre Marathon des Sables across the Sahara desert. He then went on to run down Mt Everest in the world’s highest ultra marathon, through a tropical forest in China without food, water, money, and with a plane to catch. He has taken on many ultra-marathons, and completed a double Ironman distance triathlon, taking 35 non stop hours.
In 2016, Forever Sports Magazine mentioned Luke in their list of the 50 fittest athletes in the world after he completed a 2000km in 12 day Ultimate Triathlon from Morocco to Monaco.
An award winning documentary was made about this world first feat.
Luke’s mission is to inspire and teach the world to continually become the very best version of themselves each and every day. He works with individuals and organisations to provide tools to help others continually move forwards in life, and achieve their goals!
“When reaching your limits, it’s only there where you’ll catch a glimpse of your true potential.”luketyburski.com
I have run over 60 races, from half marathons to 100 mile ultras, and my race sheet for 2018 is looking pretty interesting. In 2017 I gained my first podium place at The Ox 50 where I came first woman, repeating this at the Cotswold Ultra 44 mile race.
In October 2017 I finished my first 100 mile race in under 24 hours. I am passionate about empowering women in sport and especially about endurance racing. In January 2018 I became the first woman to cross the largest body of freshwater in the world on foot, taking part in a 100 mile multi-stage event on Lake Khovsgol in Mongolia.
I have also trained people to run marathon and ultra distance. Having suffered from mental health problems for a lot of my life, I am a passionate advocate of running as therapy and will be supporting Mind Hackney as my charity of choice in 2018.alliebailey.co.uk