Pulled my hip flexor in yoga

Today kind of sucks because I’m limping around. I stretched before yoga yesterday and could tell that I had overdone it. I seem to have had quite a few niggles/injuries around my hips and pelvis area since last year. It’s really frustrating just because I enjoy running and moving and that combined with now being in my early 40s is starting to chip away at myself self-confidence in my own ability. Having said that I have placed on the podium this year last year and the year before at the Thailand North Face 100k so I must be doing something right.

I think I’m going to start making regular blog posts, when I was younger I used to always write in a paper diary and kind of stopped doing that in the past few years. But now I have this website and the ability to blog so I don’t see why I should not start making regular posts. They may not always be about running because life is full of so many things and I guess it will be personal because it’s about myself and my personal experiences but I will just write it as a diary which is out there for people to read.

The 100 mile wilderness

Sunset on the 100 mile wilderness

Sunset on the 100 mile wilderness

I set out with high expectations only to be humbled by the reality of endurance running. After 3 hours of running I come to a river and in order to keep my feet dry I take off my shoes and socks and throw them across to the other side.

Trail running is both bitter and sweet and right now I’m in a world of pain. But I keep on keeping on until I reach that place where even Buddhist monks long for. Perpetual flow without effort, forward movement is what I long for and the trail provides me with just that.

I venture deep into the depths of my mind to the places I only reach when stepping outside of my comfort zone. In this place a truth is revealed, I learn about myself in these times and become sorry and humbled. Thankful for the insight I feel privileged and move forward with a new perspective.

The is sun is setting and its becoming dark, I resist digging out my headlamp from my bag. It feels nice to run in the natural light, my eyes become more focused and tune into the trails obstacles with greater intensity.

Suddenly I stop turning my left ear towards the woods and listen carefully, it’s something big that’s heavy enough to break large branches as it walks. I carry on running.

Running on the Appalachian trail


Today I found a flow that I thought I had lost forever. The reason I thought I had lost my flow forever was because I failed to set out to achieve something I had been planning for over a year. To break the Appalachian Trail speed record. It’s been quite a few days now of reflection, dark thoughts and feelings of failure. After a heart-to-heart conversation with my mother this morning who is here in America with me I felt I had found my path again. Spending three hours on the Trail in Vermont/New Hampshire was just what I needed today. Time didn’t exist as I found myself moving forward along the trail effortlessly in what people call the runners high. 20 years ago I sat across from my mother at a table after running my first marathon with feelings of accomplishment, those feelings have come back today.

Runderwear saves my day during a 55 mile run on the Appalachian trail

Photo supplied by Inov-8

Photo supplied by Inov-8

The bears didn’t kill me but the chaffing almost did…

I recently returned from the Appalachian trail (AT) in America. Whilst over there I learned a valuable lesson. The purpose of this trip was to spend time on the trail training for my up and coming fastest known time (FKT) attempt. But not everything went to plan.

It’s just before 4am and I’m about to start a 55 mile trail run. Its dark and the fear of being eaten alive by a bear is real. Using the speaker of my iPhone I blast ACDC as loud as possible. My aim is to alert the flesh eating wild animals that my taste is music is good therefore I should be left alone.

Soon the sun rises which bring feelings of security, making me feel safe for now. So far I’ve covered just over 15 miles and climbed well over a 1000 meters. Until now all is good and I move forwards down the trail with relative ease. But as the temperature starts to rise reaching almost 30 degrees Celsius I start to encounter problems.

Im sweating as its super humid and start to feel the early signs of chaffing on the inside of my left leg. Carrying on I adjust my shorts now and then in an attempt to keep the dreaded chafe at bay. But as with any type of friction things go from worse to bad to pretty much impossible.

It’s the peak heat of the day, I can’t relax into my trail running because what started off as some mild chaffing has now turned into an angry red abrasion on the inside of my left leg. This is causing me great stress and pain.

I meet my crew at a road crossing. The crew is made up of my mother “Sharon” and Photographer “Brian Meltzer. Brian is here taking photos for Inov-8. The crew are aware of my problem and throughout the day at other meeting points have been trying to help me by supplying such things as plasters, anti chafe lube and so on but none of this is working. Brian offers some empathy with by saying “Chaffing can be worse than a sprained ankle” I completely agree.

Before I leave to continue for the final 17 miles I decide to change into a fresh pair of shorts. Whilst searching for shorts inside my kit bag I discover a pair of Runderwear which I had forgotten about. I put on the Runderwear. Setting off down the trail I say bye to my crew and tell them I will see them at mile 55.

I wait for the pain to begin as I run, 20 minutes pass by but the pain has not yet started, another 20 minutes pass still no pain. I run absolutely chafe free, just as if by magic the pain has completely gone. Any friction that was happening has been 100% stopped by the Runderwear.

Starting July 1st I will begin 2192 mile trail run. Heading North along the Appalachian trail I will cover 14 states and run up to 18hrs per day. Can anyone guess what underwear I will be wearing?

North Downs Way Ultra Training Run


Alarm goes off at 4:30am, I get out from the cosy insides of my tent (I’ve been sleeping outside for almost 2 weeks). I’m preparing myself for the Appalachian Trail by simulating the sleeping conditions, whilst out in America on the trail I will sleep in a tent every night for 40 nights.

I miss the first Train by seconds, so take the bus to the Victoria station in London. I miss the connecting train by seconds also, is this day against me already. I arrive 30 minutes later than expected, no biggie. The North Downs way national trail is now under my feet. Cloudy skies above and wind pushing me backwards.

I start running, right away I’m faced with a big hill covered in mud, I proceed upwards with my Leki Micro Trail Race poles. Eating banana and dates as the first 30 minutes has passed. I start to feel alive as nature casts its spell on me, green all around and trees noisily moving in the wind.

I ‘ve run 15 miles now and it’s taken me 3 hours, I turn around and head back towards the direction I just came from. Today is what’s called an out and back run. I trip on a root but catch myself before hitting the ground. My legs have blood on them I’m covered in mud but I’m in my happy place.

I stop and talk to a runner I passed on the way out, he tells me about his up and coming race with Centurion Running, he will run the South Downs way 50 mile in 4 weeks. Today is his long run of 28 miles, I say good luck and carry on. I run down a big hill, slipping and sliding due to mud but I stay upright as I reach the bottom.

I’m already back at Merstham train station, 6 hours has passed but it could be 6 minutes, trails running does that to me. I loose myself.

Choosing to stop is different from quitting


I first heard, “choosing to stop is different from quitting” in a book named ‘Called Again’ by Jennifer Pharr Davis. The book tells Jennifers story of going back to the Appalachian trail and beating not just her own fastest known time (FKT) but also setting the overall FKT for both men and women. Warren Doyle is spoken of often in Jennifers book as he is a mentor of hers. Jeniffer tells of how after 16 times hiking the AT, Warren was on yet another hike but just decided to stop, he wasn’t quitting he describes the difference as stopping being a calculated choice where as quitting is just a moment of weakness. As if like a student of Buddhism suddenly he felt enlightened and didn’t need to continue his journey forward on the trail.

What does all this have to do with me, well the fellow in the photo is Clint Hall my cousin on my fathers side, I’m wearing the black Inov-8 hat. We spent a lot of time together as children but then as we got older drifted apart. Running is what brought us back together as adults and when I heard Clint would be running the Thames Meander I decided it would be pretty good idea to also enter and run.

This year I will go for my own FKT on the AT and have been training by running for a long time very slowly and including lots and lots of elevation/hills during these sessions. So entering the marathon with my only purpose to spend time with Clint. As the race director “David Ross” also my good friend counted down and fired the gun I let my competitive spirit take control. After leaving Clint behind to run with the first 5 runners I reached the halfway point in 1 hour 25 minutes. My heart rate was in the 180’s (way too high). I have not been doing any fast running lately only concentrating on my long slow runs so I was totally cooked by halfway.

I wanted to quit but could not soI carried on to mile 16. Then I stopped instead. I realised I had lost my purpose for entering this marathon. I left Clint behind in pursuit of the front runners, in the process redlining and blowing up. I stopped at mile 16 and even though I decided to stop and not quit I still felt envy as I saw the happy faces of the other runners crossing the finish line.

But I was happy for my cousin Clint, he finished strong and beat me in the process. If you would like to find out more about my FKT this summer check out my instagram as I like to take photos of my training and nutrition leading up to the big dance. Moral of my blog and lessons learned by me, define your purpose and stick with it.

Thanks for reading.


Lessons from yesterday


Started out having learned from the 20 miler yesterday. Actually added a new screen on my Garmin watch which just showed distance and time.

I wanted to run by feel and not be influenced by statistics of my pace and heart rate. The run starts out up hill and gains almost 500 meters in elevation, then after 4 miles I turned around and lost the same amount of vert gain by running downhill.

The sun was beating down on me, the temperature about 33 degrees celsius. I totally was able to to stay in a relaxed state of mind flow, due to this I never felt any discomfort or difficulties. Running uphill requires patience and downhill is different you need to keep your breathing relaxed.

If your shoulders are tense running downhill it’s a sign your not relaxed enough, this can actually slow down.

I drank half a litre of water during and drank the water from a fresh coconut straight after, even so I still weighed 1.5 kilos less than when I started.

Overall I really enjoyed this run today and I can thank yesterday as lessons for today’s approach.

Find a flow with running


I have taken this insert from my Strava feed. I think it’s worth posting here and I’m I hope you enjoy reading it.

Lost my ego, Lost mental pain, Lost any physical pain and Entered a flow. My plan was to run 20 miles at a certain pace. This pace would have been my aerobic/endurance zone. Eventually my heart rate super seeded my aerobic zone and went into tempo.

It was really hard for my ego to let go of holding this pace, I walked for one lap and then concentrated on my heart rate. Even focusing on my heart rate was a challenge so I walked for two laps.

Then after almost quitting I decided to let go of everything and just run and not look at my watch. So first I passed the hold of my ego, then I passed the mental pain, then I passed the physical pain, then I entered into a flow where there was no ego no pain just forward moving.

So pleased I didn’t quit today as this was a lesson, today I learned not to have too many expectations and just go with how you feel.

I actually drank half a litre of water every 30 minutes and also ate a small banana or a piece of pineapple every 15 minutes for the duration of the run. But I still came out 2 kg lighter than when I started which means in total I lost 4.5 kg but replaced 2.5kg so was left in deficit of 2 kg. 

To see actual run on Strava or to follow me on Strava follow the link below, it will take you directly to this particular run on my Strava feed.


Welcome to the jungle


I stayed up till almost 1am this morning so when I woke I felt groggy. But I had an appointment and so got up and dressed. The storm still hasn’t arrived so no need for a rain jacket. 

I drink an Americano at 100 Islands, one of my favourite coffee shops on the island. Jump on my bike with a track by Marshmallow and Anna Marie, since hearing it in Bo’s car the other day I listened to it pretty much on repeat.

It’s time for my appointment, I enter the jungle and but I can’t find the receptionist’s, but then I see them at the top of a tree swinging around the branches having fun. I decide to just enter the jungle without signing in.

The trail starts steep, so I take out my poles and proceed to hike up and up and up. The grade is so steep I slip back now and then. Finally I arrive at the top, I’ve been going about an hour and I swear I sweated out 2 litres already.

I crest the peak of the trail, Folding my poles away I decend the dirt road in front of me, 600 meters of pure downhill and I love it. My quads start the head up like a train going downhill constantly on the brakes, but I still love it.

I take out a bag of fruit from my running vest, hmmm what to choose I’ve got watermelon, guava and dragon fruit, I take a little of each and stash the fruit away till later. The views are insanely beautiful. I’m the side of the island that inspired Alex Garland to write the novel The Beach.

More climbs ahead, the downhill done for now. The rest of the run is a mix of up and down climbs, I stop off at a beach called lost Paradice, it’s got the grand number of 4 people on, 2 girls eating a fruit salad on a table , a chilled out Thai guy and a another guy cutting some grass.

I enter the ocean, the waves a sign of what’s to come from the storm. I dive into large wave that try’s to swallow me and pop up out the back of it, better luck next time wave. 

I buy and eat 3 small Thai bananas and continue with my run. I finally finish after just under 3 hours. Thankful to you Mr Jungle. 

A storm is coming to the island


The German girl (Magderina) who is the hut next door told me tomorrow a storm is coming. I have done some research and yes she is correct. I read that waves up to five meters tall and seven feet of rain per day will hit us here on Koh Phangan. Unfortunately I’ve just five minutes ago paid the bungalow owner for three weeks to stay here. Magderina tells me she has booked a concrete hotel room up high on a hill for the next three nights. I know I must move too, I read the ocean will surge over coastal land and my bungalow is only 100 meters from the beach.

I decide to go for my evening run up the tallest point on the island “Khao Ra” a 635 meter mountain. Halfway up I turn on my headlamp as its now dark sun has set and Im under the foliage of the jungle. I pass an American couple coming down and the girl asks, “Have you been up before?”,  in a worried tone. “Yes loads” I reply, then she says “Oh my god” in a really really worried strong New York accent. After I have passed them the thought crosses my mind about how unnecessary people’s worrying can be.

I reach the top and pause my watch, I have been up hear about twenty something times and I just ran up in my second ever fastest time. An American named “Brandon Huges” holds the current Strava uphill segment record at 27 minutes 34 seconds, mine is the second fastest recorded time 28 minutes 8 seconds, that makes me just 34 seconds behind his record. Nobody has come close to Brandons record in over two years. I intend on taking this record down before I leave here in three weeks.

And so I moved, I went riding on my moped up a big hill found a nice set of bungalows not too far from where I am and booked a place for three nights. The storm will come but I’m ready. Make sure to keep following my diary’s for the latest in the storm. Goodnight guys.

Back on the running track


 I arrived on the island of Koh Phagnan by boat late this afternoon.   I had a déjà vu feeling as if I’ve been here before but I have many times. The photo above is taken of the life ring on the boat with the Sun just about two hours from setting. 

 I haven’t run today for a few days so as I begin this evening on the running track it feels oddly unfamiliar. Within 15 minutes I’m warmed up. I discovered this dirt 400 meter running track about three years ago when visiting the island.   I don’t know why but it feels like home. 

 A place where I run and go deep into my mind, I search places I haven’t been before, I feel a great peace here. The mountains in the distance turn from from lush green to silhouettes in the night sky.


 I feel so lucky in my life. I have family, friends and my health, who could need anything else.  

Eating with health in mind


Today I have clocked up over 25,000 steps walking around the fabulous city of Bangkok.  Eating with health and the environment in mind makes you feel happier and the word a better place.

Thats what I did today, I ate so clean I’m feeling super charged in mind body and spirit. No animals were harmed due to my food choices today either. I’m not vegetarian but today I didn’t want to eat meat.

Breakfast was brought from a street vender, chopped Papaya and Guava two really tasty and nutritious fruits. Did you know Guava has the most vitamin c amongst all the fruits. 

Lunch is pictured in the photo above, mushroom soup at a vegan restaurant named “Koko”, as soon as I walked in I could feel the good vibes. I don’t often get it wrong when I follow my instincts.

I just finished dinner, brown rice and lots of green vegetables followed by baked banana, watermelon and pineapple. So I’m full of goodness and know my body will feel happy for the choices I made today.

I drank one coffee at a really nice coffee roasters before lunch. I find by seeking out roasters you will have a better quality coffee experience because the roasters are passionate about what they do. The name of this roasters is  “Brave roasters”.

finally it’s New Year’s Eve, I’m never going to forget this day as I’m on a night sleeper train to the south of Thailand, tomorrow I go to the islands. 

Peace out yall.

Running on the Thailand North Face 100k Course


I decided to ditch my night train for spending some time with Bo and her family in Pak Chong, this is also the place of the Thailand North Face 100k (TNF100). I arrived in Bangkok tired, hungry and seriously jet lagged, I waited for Bo outside her office. Bo and I met this year when I ran the TNF100, Bo is the daughter of P-Ot who’s farm I stayed on both this year and last when I came to race.

We drove up in Bo’s car from Bangkok along with Am her brother a highly intellegent young man who is unassuming and Oat her friend who I took a liking to the instant we picked him up, Oat is funny. The journey took about four hours with a few stop off’s including McDonald’s. Upon arrival I laced up my trainers, Bo and Oat dropped at the trail head to the TNF100. This would be my second run on Thai soil the first being at the Benjakitti park in Bangkok yesterday.

The trail felt so nice, sun overhead with wind gently blowing on my skin, I ran for about 10 miles on what I thought was the TNF100 course (the course has been changed since last year I heard later). I got back to the farm of B0’s family feeling invigorated.

We ate out at a restaurant belonging to friends of Bo’s family. In Thailand when eating, the table is brought several dishes which everyone shares. I really enjoy Thai food the spices are rich and herbs plenty, the taste’s identify with every taste bud in your mouth. After we drove back to the farm, I slept like a baby in my tent to stop the mosquitoes bitting me.

Waking in the morning I felt truly sick, my throat was burning and energy levels where in the below zero range. But I got up anyway (it was still early). I made a Nescafe instant coffee and hit the trail. TNF100 is made up of newly man made trails in through and around farmers fields and small mountains, the ground today was dry and dusty with large rocks and clumps of dirt bombs.

I returned defeated after my run feeling sick and beat up with bloody arms and shins after running through long grass and shrubs on the grown over parts of the course. I do not think they have finished preparing it yet. I felt full of accomplishment, after not wanting to run today I managed one hour and thirty minutes.

Discovering new places


I wake early, it’s actually 4am. The hotel room is cosy but outside is beckoning me. It’s been a full two day’s since I’ve been for a run.

Using my Google map’s my phone helps me navigate the dark, humid streets of Bangkok. I’m heading to a park named  “Benjakitti”. The park is a little over one mile around a rectangle lake and is specifically for walkers, runners and cyclists.

Only just started running and already I’m getting  irritated by the feel of the water bottle resting on my chest in my running vest, it’s really humid and I feel so sluggish. I guess sitting and travelling for two days is to blame. After 4 miles I become tired but continue on. I’ve now run 6 miles and my body is using fat a fuel, I’ve not eaten much the past two days and feel pretty low on energy. I search my phone for a Seven Eleven but the nearest one is half a mile away, I decide to carry on until I reach ten miles.

Having finished my run I’m now sitting on a blue plastic stool waiting for pork noodle soup at a street food vender. There are no other foreigners just Thais eating their breakfasts, I like to find places like this one. 


The noodle soup fills me with goodness and I return back to my hotel for a morning nap. 

Travelling to Thailand


I wake early, it’s  4:30am and my iPhone alarm is sounding. I remember why I had set the alarm last night and jump out from bed, today I travel to Thailand. I stayed at my mums house last night and have a few choices on how to get from here to the tube which will take me too The airport. I opt for using my own feet and walk the two miles to the tube. Today I will be sitting down more than I would like on airplanes, so walking is the best option. As I walk my fifteen kilo pack feels actually not so heavy and so I brisk walk through the dark cold streets. I didn’t bring a jacket and I’m cold as it’s only two degrees but in Thailand the temperature will be too hot for a jacket, so I’m prepared to suffer the cold for this short walk.

I read my book “A walk in the wood’s” by Bill Bryson. In the book Bill recalls his walk on the Appalachian trail with his friend Stephen Katz. I have recently finished “North” by Scott and Jenny Jurek and also the very well written “Called again” by Jennifer Pharr davis, all these books are about hiking/running the Appalachian trail. We arrive at the airport without me really noticing the time pass by, “A walk in the woods” has me engrossed. The flight attended asks if I’m okay as I walk around looking for an empty row of three seats on the plane. I waited till I was the last person to board the plane in hope of finding a free row of seats to lay down and sleep on. I was way too excited to sleep last night.

I tell the lovely flight assistant about my search and and she leads me to a free row of seats I had not seen, but warns me that I must vacate if the missing 5 passengers show up. Just as I’m chatting with my mum on the phone telling her how lucky I am the late family show up and I move for them. Back to my seat I go where I’m snugly sat between a passenger to my left and right. Ten minutes pass by I have accepted my fate when the same lovely flight assistant appears and leads me along the aisle to a seat with a free seat in-between me and the an Indian man with a moustache sitting next to the window. Very pleased with this progress I thank the lady and proceed to call my mum to tell her the new great news.

After a pleasant flight and more stories from Bill’s book I’m now in Bahrain waiting for my connecting flight to Bangkok.

Rodopi Ultra Trail, 100 Miles | + 8000m | Greece


ROUT is a 100 mile ultra marathon that travels through the Rodopi Mountains National Park in Northern Greece. The mountains are wild and the forests virgin. Bears claim home in the mountains amongst other animals. last year, I crossed the ROUT finish line with my friend Jakub Hajek in 29 hours and 15 minutes, it was a wonderful experience and a testament of true friendship, so I have returned this year.

Only problem is I’ve been doing zero activity whatsoever in the last few weeks since the UTMB. The result of this laziness caused my muscles to stiffen leaving me sore and tight. Then after a series of stretches in my fathers kitchen I was unable to walk. Spending 3 days either in a wheelchair or on crutches, my future completion of ROUT seemed impossible. 

It’s a little before 6am, the air is cool and the sun is yet to rise. I’m standing at the start of the ROUT. I’m risking a DNF (Did not finish) but I’m prepared for this, I am fully aware I might fail but what have I to loose. If my legs give up on me at least I’ll know I tried.


We run down a dirt road which will continue for another 7k until a right turn when we will enter the forest. I see Matthew Maday, a cool guy from America I met here last year. We chat a little before getting lost but it’s only for a short time and are soon back on track. Matt tell’s me how he had a test of faith after his 100 mile Western States Endurance run this year. He says he just couldn’t find the motivation to run afterwards and even wanted to quit ultra all together. Pressure Matt says was the reason, so treating ROUT as a group run will be his approach.

Now if I try to write what happened during the entire race you the reader I’m sure will become bored and so I will do my best to only include the significant sections of more interest.


Running downhill for so long eventually causes me to limp and my left inner thigh muscle hurts, so I decide that at the next check point (Zarkadia 1) I will retire from the race. Finally approaching Zarkadia 1 some people to my left cheer and clap as I come close to them. My mind has given up, my body is failing me and so I feel the applause is unjust, I lower my head in shame with a shy smile on my face.

I’ve travelled 40 kilometres through the mountains, Its taken me 5 hours so far and has pretty much been downhill from the start. I’m not upset nor disappointed, I was prepared to fail and that’s what has happened. 

I see Xristos Tallas the race director, he’s such an inspiring guy, full of positive energy he sits me down, I tell Xristos I’m done and would like to retire. Standing in front of me Xristos puts both his hands onto my shoulders, looks at me eye to eye and say’s you cannot quit now there is a climb ahead, continue and you will find your rhythm. 


His support is encouraging and so I decide to have some soup and reconsider. Then an English fellow named Owen whom I do not know comes across to me asks where I’m from. He tells me it’s interesting to see the different personalities of the runners during this point, mostly excitedly shouting and loud. Owen says how I’m calm and relaxed. Something about Owens presence encourages me and gives me strength. I decide to continue as it’s a climb ahead as Xristos has told me.

I’m running like a child, free from life’s pressures and responsibilities. Xristos was right the uphill gave my body time to adjust and I have found my rhythm. I have no pain in my body at all, in fact I feel the complete opposite, confident and have even found a new strength making my way towards 15th position. I battle with a runner as we run down the side of a mountain, I’m close behind him, we travel fast as if almost close to the finish. My adrenaline is high as the runner in front steps to the side and tells me to continue, eventually I can’t hear his foot steps, he’s lost the battle.


I ran out of food 2 hours ago, I search my backpack for a gel but find nothing. My water bottles are empty and my mouth dry. I run forwards but now and then stagger to the side almost falling over feeling dizzy. I am so stupid I packed enough food to run for about 21 hours and thats how long I’ve been running for but I still have another 60 kilometres to go. 20 kilometres ahead is Zarkadia 2 where I will find hot food, drinks and my drop bag with more gels. It’s a long way to go I’m already done. After a few kilometres I arrive at the last small checkpoint before Zarkadia 2, I tell them my race number and ask if they have any spare water. the young man shakes his head. I leave feeling sorry for myself.

The hunt is on, the runners I past before are now chasing me down like a wounded animal. I really do not know how I’m going to make it to Zarkadia 2. I can feeling my body using fat stores as energy. I think I see a runners head torch but it’s the moon’s reflection in a river to my right. Somehow the final kilometres before Zarkadia 2 pass by and I can smell fire burning ahead as well as hearing voices.


People cheers as I enter the checkpoint, I feel as if I have survived an apocalypse. Sitting down I go to work, yes I’ll have a blanket, yes I’ll have a bowl of soup. I change my socks with only 40k to go I feel its unnecessary but so anyway. I down a cup of cola whilst stuffing cold salted boiled potatoes into my pockets yuk. Other runners have arrived smiling and looking fresh, I get up and leave not wanting to be passed but know it’s only a matter of time as I still feel weak and deficit of energy.

The soup with meat hasn’t given me the energy I needed, eventually the sugar and caffeine wear off from the cola and I’m back to where I started before arriving at the checkpoint. I’m climbing up the last mountain before I will reach the checkpoint where Jakub will be volunteering (he’s not running this year). I know when, if I get there that’s it for me, I know I have given it my all. It’s not my body that failed me but rather my common-sense, packing food for only the first 100k was a rookie mistake. 

My energy is so low now I even start to fall asleep as I proceed to go up the mountain. I hear runners behind, turning to see head torches I know this time it’s for real not the moon’s reflection.


I get passed by a runner from Cypress, he looks strong and this makes me feel even weaker. Shortly after I arrive at where my friend Jakub is, my first words are wear can I sleep. Lying in a warm sleeping bag I deicide thats it, my race is over. Jakub asks how long before he wakes me, I reply 30 minutes…. Kristian its time, I awake and ask Jakub for another 30 minutes, again as if I’ve shut my eyes having only taken one deep breath, Jakub wakes me, Please 30 minutes again. Finally Jakub wakes me and says time to go, I ask this time for just 10 minutes. I get up rested, not tired but still hungry, there is no food here and I decide to carry on till the last checkpoint with food “Prasinada 2”.

No longer tired but without energy I make my way towards Prasinada 2, I look at my watch and laugh, only 1hr and 10 minutes passed since arriving at Jakub’s checkpoint. He must have been fooling me with the sleeping time, good thing as I do not want to be passed by anymore runners, whilst I slept at least 6 runners passed by.


I have done it, I have actually somehow made it to Prasinada 2. I will now restore my energy fully, there is no other way to continue forwards. The staff here are kind and feed me traditional Greek soup, I also eat chocolate, chips, drink 3 cups of cola and finish off with a hot, sweet coffee. Before I leave the Greek man who has been looking after me fills my pack with gels and bananas, he tells me the rest of the way to the finish I can run without hiking as its mostly downhill. I leave and receive a round of applause and cheers of encouragement.

With a new battery in my head torch the ground in front of me brightly glows. I’m running now, my energy back. Thats all it was before just a lack of energy. I take over my central governor and run hard down the mountain, overriding my minds natural self preservation and safety mode. Thats what ultra is, the ability to take control of your mind, body by sheer determination of your heart and spirit.


I pass 3 runners as if Im running a 5k, utter abandonment and freedom. I have just started, the past 150 kilometres are done they no longer matter, getting to the finish is all that counts. Last year Jakub and I hiked this final section, It’s a gentle uphill of 7 kilometres. I want to run it all without any hiking. A storm fills the sky above and rain crashes down, creating small rivers of water. Up till now I have done my best to keep my feet dry but so close to the finish I no longer care as I run through the collection of puddles and streams.

I’m running uphill and having the last laugh against ROUT which has broken me already so many times. I see a runner ahead who’s walking in the heavy rain with his jacket on. I run by him smiling, he looks at me and say’s a word in Greek I interpret as crazy man. I leave him behind knowing the faster I run, the sooner I will finish. Now and then my shoulders become tight and my minds says come on enough walk this section, I look at my watch and see if I can run the last 5k in 30 minutes I will finish in under 29 hours, so fight hard against the desire to walk.


I hear bells ringing and know I’m close to the finish. I see a sign that reads 750 meters to go, I’ve pretty much done it. I turn off the dirt road and can now see parked cars and electric lights, I run the wrong way missing the finish line only to get told to run back to enter the finish correctly, I do so with complete happiness and joy.

Xristos was at the finish last year and is hear again this year. After what seems a lifetime I cross the finish line, again Xristos puts his hands on my shoulders as he stands in front of me, looking me in the eyes he says you did it, I respond, no Xristos it was your encouragement that got me here. Sofia a Greek girl comes over and places a medal around my neck congratulating me. It’s raining hard as I head over to the warm wooden cabin, opening the door I walk inside. The hot roaring fire is surrounded by what I can only describe as ultras human beings who have encountered everything that I have, I take my place next to the fire and we share stories of triumph.


Earlier towards the end of ROUT whilst passing through a dense forest I asked god a question, “If you exist god show me a sign, I want to see a bear”. For the next 30 minutes I scanned the landscape around me for a wild bear but god failed me and I didn’t see one.

After sharing stories with the other runners around the fire I return to my tent to rest. The rain has now turned into hail and beats down upon my tent intensely. 

FLASH, BANG… Its the brightest light I have ever seen. The storm is directly above me. I’m certain the next bolt of lightening will strike me. I jump up and run back towards the log cabin, shouting out loud please god no more signs.


10 Tips for Marathon Des Sables (MDS)


Marathon des Sables

MDS is one of those epic challenges of a lifetime. A multistage race through the Sahara desert covering about 150 miles (250 kilometres) over 6 days. Runners must carry their own food, sleeping equipment and everything they will need whilst in the desert. People come from all over the world to enter this race. I completed MDS in 2016, finishing 3rd amongst the British runners and 22nd overall learning many lessons along the way, here is a list of the top 10.

  1. LIGHT PACK - Aim to get your running pack as light as possible. The MDS rules state a minimum of 6.5 kilograms and maximum 25 kilograms. This weight does not include the water in your bottles so make sure to allow for this. Trust me a light pack will be better than a heavy one.

  2. GET THE RIGHT KIT - Decide early on what kit you will be taking with you and practice wearing it during training. Do not turn up to Morocco with new untested kit it might cause chaffing, blisters or you might just not like the feel of it.

  3. BECOME HEAT ACCLIMATISED - Remember this is a race across the desert in very hot conditions. You will be better prepared if you become heat acclimatised. I took my kit with me on holiday in Thailand and practised running during the hottest part of the day.

  4. CHOOSE THE RIGHT FOOD - Decide what food you will be eating and test it out ahead of time. You do not want to be in the desert and become sick due to your stomach not liking the food you have taken.

  5. MDS FACEBOOK PAGE - Join the Marathon Des Sables Facebook page, this way you can post questions and have them answered by other runners who have experienced MDS and successfully finished. You may also make some friends and could meet up before MDS for a training run.

  6. GAITERS - Get good gaiters for your trainers. Some people in my tent at MDS were unable to finish due to their feet becoming so blistered they were unable to even walk. I used the stitch on velcro method and it worked. I coupled this with a pair of Raidlight gaiters. I got the stitching done professionally by a Tailor.

  7. FITTING YOUR TRAINERS - Make sure your trainers fit properly. That means leaving a space of at least half a centimetre from your longest toe to the inside front of your trainers. Failure to do this results in loosing your toenails. I never had a problem with feet.

  8. COURSE KNOWLEDGE - Learn each stage, you need to know cut off times so you can stay ahead of being disqualified. Many people each year fail to finish MDS, this is one of the main reasons. It’s also good to know what distance you will be covering each day and will be better mentally prepared.

  9. BACK TO BACK TO BACK RUNS - In training you want to experience what it’s like to run on tired legs. I used back to back to back runs to help me become prepared for MDS. It totally worked and I even enjoyed them.

  10. TRAIN WITH YOUR PACK - Practise running with your pack on. Not every run and not even the full weight but do not turn up to MDS without ever experiencing whats its like to run with a pack on your back.

    I hope the top 10 tips above has helped. There are many other things to consider but the above information will help you in your journey towards finishing MDS. I wish you the best of luck.

    Kristian Morgan.

Appalachian Trail World Record


I’ve been invited to help pace “Karel Sabbe” on his Guiness world record attempt for the fastest known time (FKT) on the Appalachian Trail in America. The Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses 14 states and is just under 2200 miles long. 

I got here 8 days ago and have been running upto 35 miles each day with Karel, keeping him company and enjoying the trails here in America. I met Karel at “Marathon Des Sables” back in 2015, we got on well together and had similar interests.

After a long day (6 hours) on the trail today we are staying at a hostel called the “Bears Den”, I guess it has this name because all the wild bears in the area.  The price was $30.00 for a room plus dinner which was a pizza, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream and a soda (1800 cals). 


Olympus Mythical Trail, 100km | +6400m | Greece


Crying without consideration for who is watching, I'm alone. Almost at the top of Greece's highest mountain "Mount Olympus". I know what it feels like to be alone, no-one to share with, no-one to talk to, just the dark sky above me and the towering peak of sinister Mount Olympus.

Tormented by crazy thoughts about good and evil, my mind takes its own direction. Is life real or is this entire journey just a misguided dream. I look down at my legs as I move forward, my body is holding up fine but my mind has had enough and is about to break. I can't give up even if I want to because I'm miles away from any civilisation, to quit now would mean to die. This is a metaphor for my mental state.

I think about my mother, warm feelings of nostalgia attached. I love her dearly, just the though of my mother brings me feelings of company. I ask myself the question why am I up a mountain alone in the dark, its a question I do not have the answer to. As if I knew all along but had been avoiding it a realisation grips me... Children, I do not have any, I'm 41 years old and do not have a family. Suddenly I'm awakened by the stength of love, the love a family and only a family can provide.

My mind now calm, I feel enlightened, all that matters in life is family and the love for them. I must have children, I must bring life into this dark world and it will no longer seem dark. I reach the top of the mountain, I'm no longer crying but instead I feel I know my true purpose.


Bustard Express Ultra Marathon Austraila

Trail running Australia

This is a race report from a trail race I ran called the Bustard Express, its located in Cairns Australia.

I know I shouldn't enter but I can't help myself, its been 4 weeks of pretty much zero running. I call up the race director "Chris" and just like that I'm in, "Cheers mate see you tonight" Chris says at the end of the call. I borrow my cousins (Paula) small yellow car and within 45 minutes I arrive at the race venue. Its been hot today but now the air is cooler as its almost 5pm (start time). We set off and within the first mile Im running with Bryan O'Mahony and Steven Francis amongst some others. These guys came 2nd and 3rd in 2016 edition with me finishing as the overall winner. Its good to see them again and we catch up whilst running. In the group is also Glen Robinson an ultra running legend here in Cairns Australia, two years ago we also took a training run together but Glen does not remember.

The trails here are mostly single track and we run in a train like group of five. Its still light, sun will set at 6:30pm tonight, so I have my head torch waiting for me after the first lap. The race is made up of 3 different length laps, 3k 7k and 14.5k. The idea is to run for 4 hours as many laps as you can, you can choose any distance lap to run but must complete the last lap within 4 hours or it does not count. I'm really enjoying the feeling of running these Australian trails, I saw a frill neck lizard two years ago and it what so cool to be up and close to nature. We come in after the first lap (14.5k). I grab my head torch even though its still light, it will be dark by the time I return after lap two.

I'm now running alone now and then I see the group who I was with they are leading this race, I'm not chasing these guys, just running my own race. I had decided they were going a little bit faster than I wanted to go. Running out in the bush of Australia is such an experience, the wildlife, vegetation and sounds all ad into the experience. We were told that we may see snakes and that the check point staff have compression bandages Chris also said most runners will have their own bandages, not me, hope I do not get bit.

I haven't run in a while but still feel okay, I have kind of switched off and I'm just looking at the trail ahead of me, concentrating on foot placement as its pretty rocky in sections. I think back to earlier when Andre, my cousin Paulas husband said Steven Hawkins quoted "look up now and then" but said thats not the case with trail running as you will fall so true, but I still find time to look up. I have two gels which I have eaten one. I stop for a wee, looking down seeing the dark orange almost red in colour liquid I know I'm on the edge of dehydration.

I get back to the start area after my second loop and Chris asks me if I going out for another lap? I ask if anyone else has continued, Chris says yes and looks at me with a smile as if willing me to do another lap, "Yes I will go for another lap" I set off regretting what I have put myself up for and what lay ahead. Up till now I still do not feel this possible and that I will not finish. But I carry on, I ate cake, water melon and half a banana at the check point, sugar is in my blood stream. I really do not think this is possible, over and over again my mind tells me. I shut my mind down and just run, taking in the sounds as I stare at the beam from my head torch. Then my head torch flashes, this is a warning the battery is going flat, the beam is weak and my vision is limited.

I get to the point at which you choose the distance lap you will head out on. I'm pointed to the 7k but say I'm going to for another big lap, the volunteers look at their watches and tell me I can make it. I fill my water bottle and head out, again totally regretting my decision. I still do not think this is possible, but I carry on running. Shutting your mind down is not easy but its something I have learned to do to cope with Ultra marathons. To move forward when every part of your body is hurting and your mind is telling you to stop is something that I only experience with running long distances, by continuing you override your brains natural mechanism to protect you. The feeling you get when you push past these messages, stop give up, quit now from your mind is something else. A feeling of super human power, like your in total control and can do anything, like run 100 miles with out stopping.

I'm in this zone now, the super human zone, but this does not mean my mind is not conspiring against me, no its just that the give up and quit messages are not so loud. I start to believe I can finish, this is the first time I have had these positive thoughts. I get to the bearded guy who is maning a check point all by himself, he asks if my name is Kristian, yes it is I reply, okay your the last one on the big loop and I will catch you up 5 minutes, he has a bike. I've been waiting for a downhill open dirt road section but each time I wonder how far it is, I become anxious and so pull myself away from thoughts about the future back to the present moment and suffering, this method is helping to keep me present.

Bearded guy catches me up on his bike and he cannot stop speaking, its obvious he's been by himself for over 3 hours and is now pleased to have some to chat to. I need the toilet and have to interrupt bearded guy to tell him Im going to stop for a loo break. We are off again, I know the course well by now as this is my 3rd loop, up ahead is a left turn then all that remains is 5 kilometres. I have the option of heading out on the last part of the big loop which is 4k plus then a 1k stretch to the finish, or I can just got the 1k to the finish but if I do this my last loop will not count.

I tell the guys at the check point I'm going to go out to complete the full big loop, I ask how long I have to get to the finish, 40 minutes I'm told. We all agree 5k in 40 minutes is achievable, I know it is as my fastest 5k is about 16 minutes on a track but this is no track, never the less I know its doable. I find myself saying out loud "change your mind set, zero limits" when I start to over analyse how far I have to go, it works. Its like flipping a switch in your mind from negative to positive.

Time has all but disappeared and I'm back with the guys at the check point, just 1k to go. Only positive thoughts remain in my mind now all the negativity that was there has completely dissolved. I run fast to the finish passing 4 runners as I go. Finally I can see lights in the distance and I'm rewarded with a view of the finishing area where people are gathered. I've done it, I have over come myself yet again, but this time is was so hard, I had told myself as I was running earlier how this felt just as tuff as a 100 miler due to the negative mindset I had entering. Well if anyone wants to rid themselves of negative thoughts and flood the body and mind with positivity you now know what you must do, yes challenge yourself, you will feel so much better for it. Life is to easy these days and we must compensate by setting ourselves up with mental and physical challenges. good luck.