• James Sackley Athlete Ambassador

    running mud run fun obstacle course racing

    James is an Obstacle Course Racer and enjoys getting muddy as much as he loves running. He talks to Sundried about ice baths, mud, and the challenges of this unique sport.

    Have you always been into sport?

    Yes, always. I was the kid at school on the running, tennis, rugby, badminton, golf, skiing, and cricket teams.

    What made you decide to enter the world of Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)?

    I have been trying to find 'my' sport and I've always thought army assault courses look cool. So, in 2015 I entered an Obstacle Course Race (OCR) and I was hooked! That race was just for fun, but these days I take them more seriously.

    What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

    That is really tough. I have three for differing reasons. The Nuts Challenge has to be included as it's the only race that breaks you apart piece by piece and I still come back for more every year. Any of the Nuclear Race series is amazing, well organised and challenging. Also Spartan has to included, as I love the spirit and those horrible carries!

    obstacle course racing

    And your proudest achievement?

    That has to be qualifying for the OCR World Championships by completing 4 laps of the Nuts Challenge, 30ish kilometres (18 miles). This was especially impressive as this was early March 2018 and the ice was 2 inches thick!

    Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?

    Yes, I had a big disaster 2 years ago at the Nuts Challenge. I wasn't fit enough, I didn't prepare my nutrition right, and I didn't have the right clothes. Due to all these mistakes I got hypothermia and got carted off the course. It was a hard lesson to learn, but not a mistake I've made again.

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    Setbacks are part of life and it's the only way we learn. When I have a bad race, bad training session, or anything else, I think about what I could have done differently, think about any improvements I can make and then move on. The moving on is the most important part.

    challenge mud run fun obstacle OCR

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    OCR isn't all about strength; a lot of it is about technique and having a cool head under pressure. Spending more time on the skills compared to lifting weights makes a huge difference.

    What are your goals for 2018?

    Compete at the OCR World Championships and retain my wristband by completing all the insanely difficult obstacles. If I can come in the top 50 in the world in my age group that will be a great bonus.

    Who do you take your inspiration from?

    Many people, but Jon Albon is right up there.

    running racing fun run

    What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

    Sundried is an awesome company and I love the ethical stance on clothing. My favourite piece of kit is my cool tech t-shirt. It barely feels like I'm wearing anything, I love it!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Grant Webb Athlete Ambassador

    grant webb running track

    Grant is a local boy who has been into running since he was little. He talks to Sundried about how he overcomes setbacks and how he takes inspiration from his coaches.

    Have you always been into sport?

    I have always been into sport from a very young age, where I played football from the age of 8. I started athletics when I was 14 years old and ended up juggling the athletics with playing football. By the age of 16 I had to make a decision whether I wanted to pursue a career in either football or athletics, so I decided to take the route of athletics and started to concentrate solely on running.

    What was your best race to date?

    My best race to date has to be back in 2014 in the Essex Championship 5000m. In previous years I had finished around 6th or 7th place, but this year was going very well for me and training and racing were all coming together. I remember the conditions on the day were awful, very strong winds and rain so the thought of times went out the window and it was a case of trying to go for the win. I managed to stay with the leaders throughout each lap of the track and with about 4 laps to go it came down to 3 of us. I felt good and was just thinking to myself, "just sit in and hang on for as long as you can". Coming round with 450m to go I hit the front and kicked for home to try and get rid of the opposition. I managed to make a gap of about 5-10 metres then managed to hold on and get the win which I was over the moon about. I crossed the line and the clock said 15:44 which was an eight second PB and something I did not expect in those conditions. 

    Have you ever had any racing disasters / your toughest race yet?

    My biggest racing disaster came in January 2016 in the Essex Cross Country Championships, I had the best winter season of my life and I finished 1st in the Essex League overall standings so going into the championships I had confidence that I could possibly get a medal, if not win. The race did not go to plan at all and I think I put too much pressure on myself and I ended up finishing 11th and was extremely angry with myself. 

    How do you overcome setbacks?

    I overcome set backs by thinking about the bigger picture. Sometimes a race doesn't go your way but there are plenty of races throughout the season, and I take a lot of advice from my coach who has been there and done it in the running world which is a good thing for me mentally. 

    What is the best bit of advice you wish someone had told you before you started competing?

    The best bit of advice I wish I got told before I started competing is to listen to your body. If you have a little niggle or injury then it doesn't hurt to take a few days off to recover; there are many times when I have ran through niggles which then leads to bigger injuries which keep you out for even longer. 

    What are your training goals now?

    My goal for 2017 is to get some very good training in leading up to this cross country season starting in October. I have had a bit of time out of the sport as I lost my motivation but I have now found my love for it again and looking to come back stronger than I was before. 

    Who do you take inspiration from?

    I take inspiration from my coaches. My coach Nick Wetheridge was an international runner in his time and competed in the world half marathon championships and has run some very good times. Also Eamonn Martin who coaches us as well; Eamonn was the last British male winner of the London Marathon with a time of 2:10. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Spitfire Scramble 24 Hour Run 2018

    running race relay

    With the heatwave we’re currently experiencing what better way to spend a weekend than doing a 24 hour running relay!

    This weekend I took part in the Spitfire Scramble in my local country park. The event starts at 12pm Saturday and ends 12pm Sunday and consists of 5.6 mile laps. Although 5.6 miles doesn’t sound like much, anyone who has done it will tell you the course is not easy! It’s undulating and the night laps can be quite scary!

    I entered with 7 team mates but it can be run solo, as a duo, or in teams of 4. My team, Scrambled Legs, are very easy going and we go to have fun. There is no pressure to get a certain time on Laps and the support you get is amazing!

    My first lap was at 3.30pm and it was already a scorcher. I set off with my headphones on enjoying the scenery of the country park. It’s also nice that members of the public are cheering you as you go round, although initially they just be thinking what are we doing! There are a few big hills on the course which are never easy but in 30 degree heat they are very exhausting. 

    running race belt Sundried

    This year they changed part of the course to include running through the campsite half way through the course. This can be daunting as you always want to look like you’re breezing through it so people don’t realise the struggle! You also get the feeling of ‘so close but yet so far’ to the finish line but I dug deep and carried on towards the big hill. Once at the top it’s only a kilometre to the finish line which is a satisfying feeling! I ran back to the finish line through the campsite to hand over the snap band to my next team mate. My time was 58.12 which I was happy with given the heat! 

    There is then a lot of waiting around until the next lap. This would be at midnight for me. I’m not a fan of night running through a park and neither is my bestie Lisa who would be running after me. We had an idea to run both laps together so we wouldn’t be on our own. I run with Lisa a lot so we both feel comfortable with each other’s pace and if it turns into a run/walk were quite happy. 

    We set off for the lap and we’re quite pleased with our pace but with each step we knew we would be having to do this again in roughly an hours time. Ok so it was midnight so it was dark but our head torches didn’t give us much reassurance- it’s very eerie running around a countrypark at that time of night I can tell you! 

    We got back from our lap in 1 hour 12 and went straight into our next lap. This was was mentally and physically challenging! We can only describe it as feeling drunk! I think dehydration had kicked in so we called this the walking lap! It was gone 1am and it was now cold! All we could think about was getting back to base camp and getting a few hours sleep! Every step seemed to feel painful. There were blisters, chaffing, cramps and general muscle acheyness. We finished in 1:30 and was relived the night naps were over. We also agreed that doing 2 back to back was probably the most stupidest ideas we’ve had!

    medal running finisher

    Despite the pain, tiredness and weather - would I sign up again? Of course! The encouragement from other runners and spending the weekend with friends is amazing! 

    I just need a few days to recover then training will be resumed! 

    About the author: Emma Vincent is a personal trainer and Sundried ambassador.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • 2018 In Review By Swimrun Athlete Rhian Martin

    swimrun racing world championships

    We raced in the Swimrun World Series Finale in Cannes at the weekend, which was our final race of the year. 28km running & 8.5km sea swimming (in 25 degree air temp and 21 water!)

    It was an incredible race; beautiful location - sun, sea, sand - and a surprise nudist beach thrown in! We ran over crazy terrain as ever, clambering over rocks, jungle-esque forest, and even a 50% gradient up an old funicular line! 

    Our result: 4th mixed team, top British team overall (beating all GB male teams!) and we qualified for next year's world champs.

    Our 2018 season has been impacted by injuries and illness, but we managed to pull it out the bag for all the key races. Highlights include:

    • 1st mixed team in the BRECA Gower swimrun in Wales (a win of over 40 minutes!)
    • 2nd mixed team in the OtillO World Series on the Isle of Scilly
    • 4th mixed team in the OtillO World Series in Cannes
    • 13th mixed team in OtillO World Championships, Sweden
    • Top ranked British team in the SwimRun World rankings (including mixed, men’s and women’s teams)
    • 3rd mixed team in 2018 OtillO World Series
    • Qualified for 2019 OtillO World Championships

    Aside from the actual racing, we have continued to be ambassadors for our sport. We have promoted swimrun and our sponsors through presenting at the National Triathlon Show, promotional videos for the Great Swimrun series, interviews for blogs and social media.

    swimrun race finishers

    Our 2019 goal will be to remain the UK’s top Swimrun team, focusing on OtillO and Breca events. Likely to include OtillO Isle of Scilly, Breca Jersey, OtillO Cannes – oh yes and I will be gunning for a podium in the running race up Alpe d’Huez race.

    Swimrun continues to grow in scale, with over 400 global events in 2018 and sure to be many more in 2019. We are seeing it move from the very edge of endurance sports, to become a more mainstream sport, recognised as a team event, built around respect for the environment we race through.

    About the author: Rhian Martin is a swimrun athlete who competes with her husband.

    Posted by Guest Account
  • The Worst Mistakes To Make During A Race

    running mistakes race marathon professional athlete Sundried

    From forgetting something to going the wrong way, we've all been there. Sundried asked our ambassadors "what is the dumbest thing you've ever done at a race?" and these were their answers! Have you ever made any of these racing mistakes?

    Helene Wright - Triathlete

    I was once on the bike leg of a duathlon and knew I was second lady so was chasing down the leader. I saw a cyclist in the distance so pushed on to catch them. As I got closer I soon came to realise they weren't wearing a number so they weren't even in my race... But worse still I'd followed them off course and down to the bottom of a hill!  Fortunately, after getting back into the race, I hadn't lost a place but didn't track down the leader in time to win first place.

    John Wood - Team GB Triathlete and Coach

    A client of mine raced Cardiff Triathlon as part of training and forgot his wetsuit.

    Dominic Garnham - Triathlete

    I trained hard throughout all of last winter for a race early this year. I felt very confident and very excited for the race and I was in the best shape I've ever been. I turned up to sign in at registration on the day only to find I had forgotten to actually enter the race! 

    Nick Lower - Celebrity Trainer

    I fractured my ankle 7 miles into ‘Man v Mountain’ (a 20 mile race up and down Mount Snowdon). I stupidly just strapped it up and completed it!

    Alice Tourell North - Team GB Triathlete

    At a recent race I forgot to put my race belt on! I had the best swim I’ve had this season, flew into T1, got to my bike... and then had to stand there for over 3 minutes whilst the race officials tried to find my husband who had the race belt in my bag. Total nightmare!

    Steve Sayer - Triathlete and Coach

    My swim hat pinged off and I lost my goggles at Ironman 70.3 Wimbleball, but I had the fastest swim stroke ever!

    Martin Owen - Team GB Triathlete

    I had an issue until recently of not being able to pedal and drink at the same time. I used to have to coast very slowly to drink. In a standard distance Duathlon, my bottle wouldn’t go back into the holder and it dropped out on the first lap. 35 more miles on 1 gel and no water...not nice!

    Anne Iarchy - Personal Trainer

    I hadn't ridden my bike for a couple of years due to injury. I had entered a triathlon last year, hoping I would have the time to get back on beforehand. Unfortunately that didn't happen. As I got onto the bike leg, I had totally forgotten how to change the gears on the bike. I managed to take them up, but not down. So when pedalling into the wind, it was really hard work. Thankfully I managed to figure something out on the 3rd lap!

    Simon Ward - Team GB Duathlete

    I turned up to the European Duathlon Championships with a broken neck. I ran 10k, biked 60k, and then ran the final 10k in the most pain I have ever experienced!

    Posted by Alexandra Parren