Craig Holgate is an experienced ultra runner who has run 100km in 6 hours and 53 minutes, the 13th quickest time in Britain. Yesterday I met with Craig and we talked about everything from achievements to training…
Q: So far in your career what would you say your biggest achievement is?
A: I have two actually. This year in the world 100k championships I came 11th but ran under 7 hours for the first time ever. I had tried 4 or 5 times before and failed and it was starting to become a phsycological issue. To finally break it feeling good and having my family there was a huge thing for me. The second one was over in Doha last year where I got a team bronze and to say you’ve got a bronze medal that no-one can take away is massive.
What has been the hardest race you’ve run?
24 hours on the track, that’s hard. The pace you’ve got to run at is unnaturally slow and that’s so mentally tough.
What inspired you to start running?
I started when I was 6 and because I was an incredibly active boy my mum and dad took me to play football and rugby. My uncle was a running coach and I joined his group. Ever since that point I’ve been running with older people so that brought me up.
How do you motivate yourself for seven hours of running?
You want to win! You can’t think about it being seven hours you just have to break it down and tell yourself ‘after 5 miles I’ll have a drink, after 10 I’ll have something to eat, after 15 I’ll have something else to eat’ and so on.
How do you fit training into your life?
Well it’s hard (laughs). During the week I get up at 4:45, run to the station. Run from Kings Cross to work and have an hour of running before work. Weights or running session at lunch, then run from work to Kings Cross and from the station to home. On Saturdays its the toughest. I get up early and run as well. It’s easier in the summer but now, in the winter, it’s horrible. Finally, on Sunday I get a a lie in and go out at about 11.
What changes have you made to your diet?
Generally I’m very good on my diet. I eat a lot of fruit, I don’t drink alcohol at all, and I have lots of protein shakes and the 5 days I’m at work I don’t let myself eat any chocolate, sweets, crisps and all that sort of stuff. This strictness during the week allows me to have treats at the weekend.
When you have an injury does it affect you mentally?
Yes, if I need to think I’ll go for a run, if I don’t need to think I’ll still go for a run. When I’m injured and that’s not there I go a bit stir-crazy. I have an Aqua running belt which means you can run in a swimming pool without injuring yourself further so that helps to keep a degree of fitness.
What advice would you give to young people who aim to be a runner?
First of all enjoy it. Never do anything you don’t enjoy. You’ve got to be consistent. But ultimately you just have to enjoy it as much as you can!
What do you aim to do in the future?
Short term, in 2016 I aim to have another crack at the world championships. Longer term, I would like to do the 24 hours again and run for Britain because no man has ever run 3 ultra runner (over marathon length) races for Britain so that would be nice as well.