This week we have an interview with a man who has run…
More than 100 marathons (or ultras) in just over 3 years
52 marathons in 52 weeks
10 ultras in 10 days
And he’s going to give you hints and tips for improving your own running performance.
Barry Gerhold has an extremely impressive running CV.
And has lots of ambitious targets too.
I’ve worked with him as his coach for the past few months.
And I’ve been incredibly impressed with his endurance and willingness to experiment and try new things.
In this interview, Barry tells you about his story.
And gives you advice on how you can reach your own goals too.
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JamesRunsFar: Could you give us an overview of your endurance background?
Barry Gerhold: I started off as a cyclist, but in 2011 after being hit by a car (which wasn’t the first time) I started to lose my confidence and also the love of the sport.
And that’s when I found running.
My first marathon was 31st December 2015 and I have recently completed my 100th ultra/ marathon.
In March 2018 I completed my first 100 mile event, just scraping in under 24 hours.
In the same year I completed 52 marathons (or longer) in 52 weeks.
And then ten 50k ultras in ten days.
My worst experience is trying to complete a 50 mile event in Fowlmead, Kent.
I attempted to do this with a chest infection which was an absolutely ridiculous idea. Purely down to my stubbornness/ stupidness I did manage to complete it.
But it was a gruelling and emotional day.
JRF: Please tell us about your recent achievements?
BG: I completed my 100th marathon/ ultra which was at the Saxons, Vikings & Normans Super Heroes vs Super Villains Challenge event.
At the end of the event I was presented with my 100 Marathon Club shirt by Traviss Willcox who also provided some very kind words.
This was a very proud moment for me, being surrounded by family and friends.
JRF: What made you want to take these massive challenges on?
BG: Running regularly with the Saxons, Vikings and Normans (SVN) group means you start to become aware of the epic challenges that are available out there.
When I’m faced with a potential challenge I ask myself whether it’s achievable or not. If my answer is “I don’t know” then that generally means I’m going to give it a go!
I previously completed a 100 mile event on a lapped course in March 2018, which was an amazing experience. And it gave me the confidence to step up to the next level, a point to point.
On that first event the laps were 10km long, so I didn’t have to carry much. There was also an aid station every 5km, which reduced the carried weight even further.
With regular access to a drop bag and support this was the perfect way to be introduced to such a distance.
Now I need to make it tougher.
JRF: What’s your proudest achievement?
BG: Trying to pick one achievement is quite hard, They each had their own unique experiences and are incomparable.
I’m torn between the 100 mile Viking Challenge with SVN and also Day 2 of the Pilgrims Way Challenge with XNRG.
In the Pilgrim’s Way Challenge I pushed hard, managed to beat many of the elites and I had a great day.
JRF: What’s your favourite race? And why?
BG: Again I don’t think I can give one answer.
The community there are very welcoming, motivating and it’s always a rewarding experience running with them.
The run directors Traviss and Rachel are amazing and you find yourself achieving things you never thought were possible.
The Pilgrims Way Challenge has everything. Amazing trails and beautiful views. It’s well organised, marshalled and signposted. It’s a tough course so completing it is an achievement.
Then there is Chelmsford Marathon. One of my favourites because it is my home town.
I like an undulating course, where I can mix the muscle groups up a little and provides me with a higher chance of achieving a PB.
JRF: Can you tell us a bit about your training for these events?
BG: By running 52 events last year I have built up a good base.
So now I will be incorporating some quality sessions focusing on my speed.
You know I like to run 6 hour challenge events, so we have been working these in where possible.
JRF: What do you reward yourself with at the end of race?
BG: I do like to have a fizzy drink soon after an event!
Later a nice burger usually goes down a treat, as does a well-earned cider.
Oh and chocolate and cake.
JRF: What are your top tips for the readers?
BG: Plan – I like a good list.
If I have everything written down that I will possibly need during an event then that will reduce the likelihood of forgetting anything.
And therefore massively reduce any stresses that come the night(s) before an event.
[Note from James - You can get a FREE checklist that I used as part of my 100 mile Autumn 100 mile win.
Simply click on the button below to claim it.
An obvious one, but eat and drink early and regularly.
And have fun!
Sometimes it is far too easy to take things too seriously. Enjoy that experience.
JRF: What kit and nutrition suggestions do you have?
Shorts with Pockets - Having access to food needs to be easy. In the later stages of a race when you’re tired, you don’t want to be faffing about going through your pack You just won’t bother with the hassle, you won’t eat and soon enough start to suffer. So store you food in those pockets or use a race belt.
Proper Food – In a marathon distance you could probably get away with gels etc. But with ultra’s I struggle taking them in after a while. Also those sugar spikes are best to be avoided. Eating food such as nuts & raisins, nut butters, like Pip and Nut, and even flapjacks seem to sustain me.
Lubricate – Protect those delicate bits. I use Brave Soldier Friction Zone. It works wonders.
JRF: What is your next goal? And what races are on your bucket list?
BG: I have a 100 mile event in July - The 1066 challenge which will be my first 100 mile point to point event.
The Centurion grand slams are most certainly on my list.
I’d like to do some big events abroad, maybe in the USA.
Maybe even a 24 hour event.
JRF: Where can people follow you?
JRF: Thanks so much for taking the time to give the readers this information. I can’t wait to follow your progress over the next few months!
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