Failure is not fatal

Two weeks on from our 7 Ironmans in 7 Days challenge and The FCG EPIC Week and the dust is starting to settle.

In the weeks leading up to the challenge Warren and I outlined in blog posts and talks to schools and businesses that this challenge had a high risk of failure due to the number of unknowns that we were unable to test during training, like the intense lack of sleep we would experience during the week. With the dust settling on the challenge I wanted to share my thoughts and experiences during each day of the challenge, and also share about the community impact of The FCG EPIC Week.

Day 1

Warren and I had set ourselves a minimum finish time on day 1, why would we do this? To avoid the excitement and adrenaline causing us to go out too fast on the bike or the run, this minimum finish time on day 1 was set at 15 hours. For me the swim went really well on day 1, I pulled out a personal best Ironman swim time of 1hr 8mins, I felt good and it felt a comfortable pace. The support we had on the swim was great. After the swim came our first nutrition test, making sure we would eat enough prior to the bike and stock up on food for during the bike. We were pretty unlucky with the weather on day 1 for the bike. Our route, laps of the west coast in Guernsey, meant we had 10 miles of a headwind and 10 miles of a tailwind. We had to make sure we weren’t pushing too hard into the wind and also keeping calm with the tailwind and not burning our legs out. The marathon on day 1 was a good one, Warren and I had slightly different strategies as we find that on multi-day endurance events you need to run at a pace that is comfortable for your running form and how you are feeling. We finished day 1 in 14hrs 45mins, just under our MINIMUM finish time of 15hrs. My stats from day 1 are below:

Day 1 thought of the day – “Body feels good, it’s the lack of sleep that we need to be careful of”

Day 2

5.00am alarm for breakfast…how was the body feeling? It was feeling ok, no niggles from day 1 and I felt ready to take on day 2. The swim again was really well supported with the Tri-Fitness team and others coming along for a paddle with us. The conditions on the swim again were good, the body was in a good place and I completed the swim in 1hr 15 mins. We were aiming for our transitions to be relatively swift but to balance that with ensuring we weren’t feeling rushed and we were taking on enough food before jumping on the bike. We were aware that the weather forecast on Tuesday was for rain later in the day and we thought we’d get away with it and complete the bike before the rain came. Again, the headwinds one way down the west coast felt brutal, and we had to manage the pace to not work too hard into the wind. With about 25 miles to go on the bike the weather changed, force 4-5 wind and driving rain, this gave us a choice. Continue at the steady pace and just accept that you’ll get cold or speed up and get the bike over with. Our decision was to accept that we would get cold and keep at the steady pace to avoid burning the legs. In hindsight this might have been the wrong choice.

The last 25 miles on the bike on Tuesday were cold and wet. We got back to our base and sat in our cars for 30 minutes with the heating on to just warm up and stop shivering. This was essential as it was still raining and we had the marathon to go and needed to go out as warm and as fresh as possible. Louise had done a great job on social media of getting support runners on such a grim evening, we must have had over 20 people run with us across the evening, a wet and windy 26.2 miles. Day 2 was finished in 16hrs 10mins, the impact of the weather on the bike and the slow transition from bike to run added a good hour to the day.

Day 2 thought of the day “There are some wonderful human beings in Guernsey, to come out in this weather and support us, incredible” 

Day 3

The number of hours sleep was gradually decreasing and days were getting a little longer. Yet again we had a wind that would be a challenge on the bike, however the direction meant that the swim in Havelet bay was calm. More support turned out again for the swim, day 3 for me was a 1hr 16mins swim, I was pleased to only be 1 minute slower than day 2, the body was going well. Warren had a really tough swim, he was pulled out with about 1000mtrs to go due to experiencing extreme cold and may have been on the verge of hypothermia. I put his down to the lack of sleep and the body / immune system starting to struggle to regulate the core body temperature in the sea. Warren’s condition meant we were about 30 mins late on to the bike, and with the headwind we would struggle to make up any significant time…it was looking like it would be a long day. I need to make a point here about Warrens’ mental strength, how he recovered so well from such a bad condition post-swim was very impressive. I was worried for the first hour on the bike but he bounced back to produce a strong ride. We sometimes talk about game changers during training, these can often be mindset changes or simple tweaks to the training schedule. On day 3 we had what felt like a game changer on the bike. After 36 miles we stopped for a coffee…caffeine was part of our nutrition for the week but sitting down for 5 mins in a cafe and drinking a coffee gave us both a mental and physical break. Day 3 weather on the bike was yet again headwinds one way on the west coast loop, and it was our longest day on the bike with a ride of 8hrs 20mins.  This meant we made it back to Havelet, our transition base, at around 5:30pm, we knew this could lead to a post 11pm finish that day.

As I was getting changed for the run I felt I had two options, the first was to run a comfortable marathon and finish the day at about 11pm or push the marathon a little and aim to finish around 10:20pm / 10:30pm in order to start the recovery process earlier. The legs were going to feel tired whether I ran a 5hr or 4hr 30min marathon so I decided to push on and pick up the pace on day 3. I never thought I’d say this but to have some mates run with me in y-fronts pushed me and inspired me to complete the day 3 marathon in 4hrs 20mins. Yet again it was humbling and inspiring that people were giving up their time to come and swim, bike or run with Warren and I. Whether it was 30 mins or 4hrs, this made a huge difference. Day 3 for me finished just before 10:30pm meaning I could begin the recovery process and get to bed before midnight!

Day 3 thought of the day “It’s ok to treat yourself and remember to enjoy it – that coffee stop was bliss” 

Day 4

After just under 5 hours sleep I’d woken up worrying about Warren…not something I thought would happen at 5am! Warren messaged me at about 4:30am to day that he was not going to swim on day 4 as this was the only way that he would get close to completing the week. This was a tough read, but for his own safety I knew he had made the right decision on day 4. After washing each mouthful of breakfast down with water (as the body was not enjoying eating breakfast at 5am for the 4th day in a row) I made my way down to Havelet. I was greeted with about 25 swimmers who had all come down to join us on the swim, the was incredible and a much needed boost. It felt like another good swim, in near perfect conditions, a little slower than previous days at 1hr 19mins but the body felt good. By the time the swim had finished Warren was as Havelet and was looking fresh, it was good to see him despite him telling me to get a move on and to get on the bike. We had also had a shift in the weather (only lasted 24hrs) and day 4 saw a drop in the winds to a force 2/3. It was a good day on the bike, we hit our target pace time of 7hrs 30 mins (averaging 14.9 mph) but looking back at the data we realised that the pacing was a little erratic. Rather than consistently hitting 14.9mph we found ourselves jumping up to 17mph for a period, then easing off to 13.5mph for another period – a lesson learnt in pacing. Yet again we had great support on the bike with cyclists joining us all throughout the day. Timings on day 4 were working well for us, we were on the run at 5:30pm, which meant if we ran well the finish time wouldn’t be too late.

I had a real mental battle during the first 4-5 miles of the run, I had to convince myself that I could complete the day 4 marathon. For the first 50 minutes it was literally one step at a time and to avoid focusing on 26.2 miles and to focus on small goals. I need to make a public apology here to Jim Mallet and an other runner that joined me 3 miles in, they were great and really chatty but I just needed to be quiet, to listen to conversations and focus on the next short goal. At mile 5 I poured a bottle of cold water over my head, realised that I had it in me to finish the day, had amazing support around me and I was back in the room. At the end of the first lap I apologised to the support runners and confirmed that the “lights were back on” and I could now think about enjoying the run a mile at a time and having some great people run with me. I completed the day 4 marathon in 4hrs 48mins, and thankfully finished the day before 11pm which meant I could get to bed just after midnight!

Day 4 thought of the day “Remember to break the challenge down to small goals, mile to mile, lamppost to lamppost”

Day 5

Ah, day 5…the day I call the hard butter day. My day 5 literally started with a meltdown. Up for breakfast at 5am, planning a mixture of toast, avocado, smoothie and fruit. As I go to butter my toast there is no butter in the kitchen, only a new pack of Guernsey Butter in the fridge…and it was harder than a brick. Now any human operating on normal sleep levels would have found an easy way to soften the butter…but I was not in that place. I began to breakdown and cry over the lack of soft butter for my toast. After recovering from the butter incident I made my way to Havelet, a song came on in the car and I began to cry again…what was happening. As I turned up at Havelet a good friend, Emily Bookless, asked me how I was doing as I got out of the car…I started crying again! Mike Ward, who was a star (and Mother Superior) during the week came over to me and explained that getting all emotional happens when you do multi-day ironman events. He explained that anything can set-you off and that was the exact position I found myself in. Warren was back for the swim on day 5 and it was great to have him back in the game on the swim. The day 5 swim felt ok but I had to adjust my route slightly as the further we got out of Havelet Bay the waters were more choppy and getting the arms above the chop was more of a challenge.

The other challenge I faced during the swim was my mind starting to focus on the bike. Why the hell did I allow myself to do this? This is one of the major lessons we have learnt over the past few years, deal with what is immediately  in front of you and don’t think about the long game. With almost every stroke I was battling with my mind as to whether I could complete 112 miles on the bike. I finished the swim in 1hr 15mins, and as I made my way to the car to eat and get changed for the bike I said to Warren “I don’t know if I can do the 112 miles on the bike today”…his reply was just what I needed to hear. A simple “let’s just get on the bike, move forward and see what happens”. So that is what we did, we got own the bike, albeit about 30 minutes later than we wanted to be but we just started to move forward. I probably spent the first 60 minutes moaning about everything but then realised that I needed to snap out of it and get myself back to a positive perspective and enjoy the day. We enforced a full on meal stop on day 5, which meant 20 minutes of sitting down at Vistas Cafe and eating two sausage rolls and chips, crisps, chocolate and a coffee.

By about 70 miles into the ride Warren was really suffering from the lack of sleep. Some of our support riders could see that he was becoming a little unsteady on the bike. As we reached Pembroke on one of our laps Warren took 10 minutes out to have a power nap, he demanded that I carried on to complete lap 4 of the route. I was pleased to see Warren heading in the opposite direction after his power nap. With about an hour to go on the bike I could feel my mind going so I stopped off at a cafe for a double espresso to give me a much needed boost. Warren and I joined each other at about mile 85 and this is when Warren made one of the toughest decisions he has had to make, his challenge was over. Warren was looking shattered and was basically falling asleep on the bike, not a safe place to be in. Warren rode back to base and after composing myself I went on to complete the last 20 miles of the bike – this was tough 20 miles. Moving time on the bike on day 5 was just over 8hrs but with the food stop and the stops with Warren I didn’t make it back to base until about 6pm. I was greeted with a decent number of support runners and found myself apologising as I knew I needed some time before heading off for the run. I was further delayed when I had no running socks in my bag, so my wife drove home to get me some as I didn’t want to risk running in cycling socks! I eventually started running just after 7pm. What was the approach and target on the run? Chatting away to Jon Press (who was completing his own challenge of 7 marathons in 7 days) the aim was to complete the marathon that day, so a pre-midnight finish.

The support on the Friday night was amazing, at one point here must have been 35 to 40 runners in the group, a privilege to run with so many people. I needed two emergency toilet stops on laps 1 and 2, these were taken in the Red Lion pub, the Friday night revellers were amazing, cheering me in and out of the pub and handing me donations to the charities. One of my younger sisters flew into Guernsey to support the challenge and joined me for 10km on the run, the first time she had ever run 10km in her life, this type of support kept me going! Laps 3 and 4 began to pick a little in the legs, the pace slowed but we kept running and kept moving forward. One of the highlights was to have Warren turn up on the final two miles and play the Rocky soundtrack out of his car next to us…absolute comedy gold!  I finished the marathon on day 5 in 4hrs 34 mins, and got back to base at 12:10am. I made it up to see Paul Gosling and Guthrie Steer at about 12:20am, I wasn’t in bad shape at all physically and asked them to just get me to the start line for day 6. I got to bed at 2:00am and was already wondering what impact 3 hrs would have on day 6.

Day 5 thought of the day “People really don’t know how much the support helps us get through the tough times”

Day 6

This was probably the toughest mornings I have experienced since taking on endurance challenges. After 3 hours sleep I woke up feeling physically good but the accumulation of the lack of sleep was impacting me. I was slow eating breakfast, confused answering questions that Louise was asking as she was helping me get my kit ready and beginning to feel a little overawed by the day ahead. I had to shift my thinking back to just getting through each discipline, one step at a time. I arrived at Havelet for the swim just before 6.30am, again the support was immense, about 20 swimmers to join me for the planned 3.8km. The route was similar to previous days, 2 big loops around Havelet Bay or 3 shorter loops depending on the swell / chop as we went further out to sea. The first 500mtrs felt ok, I was just concentrating on my stroke technique and breathing. We stopped at a buoy and the support team and my wife checked on me, I was doing ok. As we set-off to the next marker something shifted, my body felt absolutely drained and concentrating on technique and just moving forward became a huge mental battle.

I stopped again after 200mtrs, set-off again, made it another 500mtrs and then stopped. I took my goggles off and looked at my wife, she gave me a look that said “it’s over, you’re done” I told her to look away as I gathered my thoughts. I headed back towards the beach thinking that if I make it there then I can maybe approach the rest of the swim 100mtrs at a time. As I got to shallow waters, with half the swim completed I had nothing left to give. The accumulation of the lack of sleep had defeated me. A total of 20hrs sleep across 5 nights had pushed me to my limit. I turned round to my wife and just said “I have nothing left to give”. They were the words I feared during the last 6 months. Being open and honest, I felt devastated. To work towards something and sacrifice so much for 18 months of training it felt horrible to realise that the challenge was over after 5 Ironmans in 5 days. As I got to my car I decided to phone Warren as I wondered if he would have any words of wisdom that may help me get back into the challenge and finish the swim. As I explained the swim to him in tears he simply said “You’re done mate”…my reply was a firm “is that the best bloody pep talk you have mate?”. I knew, he knew, my wife knew it. Game over. Safety comes first.

As I sat in the car, on my own, reflecting on what the body was telling me I went through lots of lots of scenarios, including going back out in the water to finish the swim and to get own the bike and pedal. But I was told that I would have been a danger to myself and others had I made it onto the bike.

Day 6 thought of the day “Failure is not fatal”

Warren and I knew that this challenge had a high chance of failure, despite many thinking we would cruise through it due to our history with endurance challenges, this one pushed us to our limits, we found them and we were beaten by the lack of sleep. But thankfully failure does not define us and success for us was not defined by completing one, three, five or seven Ironmans, success for us was driven by what we wanted to achieve from our challenge and the community event – The FCG EPIC Week. We wanted to:

  1. Raise money for our chosen charities This Is EPIC and Guernsey Mind
  2. Inspire the local community to push themselves with their own 7 day epic challenge
  3. Get as many school children participating and active during The FCG EPIC Week

As we begin to take in what happened during the week both from a personal and community level it is helping focus on what we did achieve rather than what we didn’t.

  1. We are still counting but we have now raised over £25,000 for the charities
  2. We had over 160 people sign up to the FCG EPIC Week, and loads more join Warren and I each day own the swim, bike or the run sections
  3. We had three primary schools get fully behind the week, which meant around 1000 children were active for the week.

One thing that Warren and I talk about from our endurance challenges is to enjoy the process of taking on a huge goal and enjoy the journey of being the best you can be. During the FCG EPIC Week we simply gave people the opportunity to set themselves a new challenge for the 7 days. To have over 160 people commit to this challenge was fantastic. To have 1000 primary school children be active during the week with all sorts of challenges was amazing. Warren and I spent hours after our challenge catching up on social media posts, pictures and messages from peoples challenges. We are so humbled by what everyone has achieved. Well done Guernsey.

A huge thank you to everyone that made not only our challenge but the FCG EPIC Week possible, the team is too big to mention (and we’ll probably miss a name or two by accident!). A huge thank you goes to First Central Group for being an amazing headline sponsor and getting behind the event with such passion.


Roll on My EPIC Week 2018! 


2 Weeks to Go

Two weeks today Warren and I will be taking on our toughest endurance challenge to date; 7 ironman distance triathlons in 7 days. After 18 months of training we are now tapering, which means we are significantly reducing our weekly training from around 20 hrs per week to less than 10 hours per week. Lots of people have been asking us our daily schedule, so hear is a summary of our daily plan as people are welcome to swim, bike and run with us each day.


2.4 mile swim at Havelet Bay

8:00am to 8:30am

112 mile bike ride, out from Havelet, laps of Pembroke to Pleinmont and then back to Havelet

4:00pm to 5:00pm

26.2 mile run, 4 laps from Havelet to The Bridge (just past Guernsey Electricity) and back. 


If the weather isn’t kind to us with the sea conditions we have back up options of Pembroke, Les Amarreurs and Cobo. If we have to change our routes we will post out updates on social media.

We will have live tracking each day and we’ll be sharing details of the prior to our EPIC week.

If you believe in the purpose behind our challenge, to help people overcome poverty in Africa and help support people in Guernsey with Mental Health issues, you can donate via 




Success is not final. Failure is not fatal.

Failure, it’s an interesting word, and often one that holds us all back if we are honest. I’m writing this post as I sit on the train from Manchester back to Euston about 4 and a half hours after I finished the Greater Manchester Marathon.

In December 2015 I set myself a very tough personal challenge of aiming to run a marathon in under 3 hours, which is averaging at around 6:50min/mile pace. Warren and I continue to state that we are not athletes but we do enjoy setting challenges to see how far the body and mind can go.

One of the key lessons that Warren and I have learnt over the past couple of years of taking on challenges is to enjoy the process of being the best you, and not to beat yourself up when things don’t go to plan, like today.

Training over the past 16 weeks went to plan, I followed it religiously and found myself getting faster and the body adjusting in terms of the increase in pace and recovery time/approach. Did I feel confident of achieving? If I’m being honest I was, but I’m also not naive enough to ignore the fact that events like today are also about how you feel on the day and the conditions etc. Thankfully I felt great when I woke up this morning and the weather could not have been better, a crisp clear blue sky and hardly any wind.

The race went really well in the early stages, sitting in with the 3 hour pace runner with a group of around 50 other runners, the pace was very consistent, between 6:41 and 6:51 min/mile pace, I even managed to chat to a few other runners about the joy of running on a flat course compared to Guernsey (I’m not sure they were happy to talk).

I found myself still chuckling at a certain MarathonManUK who said he was going to jog and go for a 3:30 time and use it as a training run. As the elite runners came back up the road to was mile 1 and were just going through the turn, there was Robert Young, leading the race, bloody brilliant that guy.

I went through the halfway point bang on 1:30hr, Louise was waiting there to cheer me on, I managed to see her and pointed to my head and smiled. This was meant to indicate that I felt I had it in my mind and it was about the body coming along with me.

The next few miles flew by and the support was brilliant, I made sure to high-five the young kids that had come out to support us runners, it was great fun and it also helped ignore the pain that the body was quietly trying to tell me about.

Mile 20 – right, just a 10km race to go I thought, the wheels were still on and the body was aligning to the mind telling it that sub 3 hour was on. Up to around mile 20 we had been in a big pack of 50 or so runners, suddenly it thinned out and I found myself with only a few runners around me, it was interesting how the pack thinned out.

Mile 22 it started to get interesting, I ran past a few runners that were now walking due to cramp and the body starting to get the better of the mind and question the ability to stick to the 6:50 min/mile pace.

The body couldn’t stick at that pace, I needed to back off slightly. This was an interesting process. I had to dig deep and pull on all the experience and dark times of the 7 marathons in 7 days and the EPIC48 challenge.

I need to thank a few strangers in the crowds, the shouts of “this is where the hard miles count” and “you haven’t run 23 miles to give up now” really helped. They may sound like cliches but when you have someone you don’t know give up their Sunday morning to cheer you in it really does help.

Encouragement is vital, we all need more of it and we all need to give more of it.

There was a great moment at 24 miles, a poor guy in front of me stopped with cramp, a supporter tried to encourage him by shouting “don’t stop now mate, run through the pain” far easier said than done, but it helped me, it gave me a boost to just keep going.

I knew the sub 3 hour was out of reach but wanted to get a sub 3:05 now, the last mile or so were great, making sure to get eye contact with the amazing supporters on the roads, giving them a thumbs up and thanking them for coming out to support the runners.

The finishing straight was something else, packed with a few thousand people cheering, a real moment to savour and enjoy, I must be honest I was milking it for at least 400mtrs, thumbs up, arms raised, fist pumps, anyone would have thought that I’d won the race. Another lesson that Warren and I had learnt is to run happy, we got this from Rob Young.

Whatever the experience, a good run, a bad run, a brutal run, enjoy it and enjoy the moment.

I crossed the line in 3:03:37. 3 mins 37 secs off my target time but 27 minutes taken off my marathon personal best.

Failure. I’d like to challenge that on behalf of anyone that has ever set a goal and fallen a little short. It’s a big step setting a challenge beyond where you have been before, it’s another huge step going for it, and coming up short is neither here nor there. It is about enjoying the process of being the best you.

We often say that what you learn through the process of being the best you often has more impact than hitting the end goal.

Failure, or rather the fear of failure, holds us all back from time to time. I’m starting to learn that it is not about success or failure, it really is down to pushing yourself further than you have been before and overcoming the dark moments.

We all have it in us to go further than we have gone before.

We all have it in us to be the best version of us.

We all have it in us to overcome the moments of doubt and pain.

Never give up.

What if I fall…Oh but what if I fly?

With just 7 days to go until the Manchester Marathon I wanted to share some of the experiences and lessons learnt from setting myself the challenge of running a sub-3 Hour marathon for the first time. Despite the 7 Marathons in 7 Days in 2014, the 48 hour treadmill world record attempt and running over 3500 miles in the last 2 years, I do not consider myself to be an athlete.
The challenges that Warren Mauger and I have taken on over the past 2 years have been all about endurance, stamina, mental strength and distance. This personal challenge of a sub-3 Hour marathon has added the element of pace and speed into the mix and pushing the body to places it has not been before, well not since playing semi-pro football in my early twenties anyway!
I have been asked whether I am confident of achieving the time, and this for me is the main point behind setting a goal or challenge that is beyond the comfort zone. My fastest ever half marathon was 6 years ago, a 1hr 32min, our 7 Marathons in 2014 were run at an average of 5 hour pace, the per mile pace for our training for EPIC48 was around the 9 to 10 minute mile pace and I ran the Jersey Marathon in 2015 in 3hrs 30mins, so speed has not been something I have focused on in the last few years. However, setting the very challenging target of sub 3 hours can help in creating a mindset from the start of training that knew there would be some dark times during training.
When you commit to a challenge you need to realise that the path to achieving the challenge isn’t always going to be an easy one. 
As the date has got closer I have been asked if I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get the sub 3 hour time I have been training for, here’s the thing, I won’t be disappointed. Why not I hear you ask? Well, it is quiet simple, one of the key things that Warren and I learnt over the last two years is the about being the best you can be and learning from the process of being the best you.
We often say that what we learnt about ourselves, the strengths, the weaknesses, as we trained for our challenges and during our challenges actually had a greater long term impact on us that crossing the finish line. 
Irrelevant of the time I achieve on Sunday 10th April in Manchester, without setting the goal I would have never experienced of achieved the following over the past 16 weeks of training:
  • Taking 39 secs off my 5km personal best time
  • Taking 40-odd secs off my 10km personal best time
  • Finishing a 10 mile race in sub 65 mins
  • Running a sub 1hr 30min half marathon
  • Completing a 70 mile training week at an average of 7 min/mile
  • Experienced multiple days where I felt like a sub 3 hour marathon was way beyond me, but learnt to ignore these negative thoughts
  • Experienced the body telling me to stop during long distance fast training runs, and learning to respond by trying to run faster and harder (the body didn’t always respond but it felt good to react in this way)
  • Learnt that by following the plan to the letter my ability to run faster improved significantly – as the plan told me I would
  • Confirmation, again, that the body will go where the mind tells it too
  • Always run happy, even when you don’t enjoy a run or have a difficult training run (don’t beat yourself up). The sun will still rise in the morning.
If I hadn’t set myself a personal goal or challenge beyond where I think I can go then I may not have achieved or experienced the things I have during the past 16 weeks of training. Whether I get a 2hr 56min, 2hr 59min 59 secs or 3 hour+ time in Manchester, the lessons learnt over the past 16 weeks have been invaluable.
For anyone else taking on challenges in the next few weeks, remember how far you have come during training, focus on being the best you, look back at what you have learnt and make sure to run happy and never give up.
If you are thinking about taking on a personal challenge or setting yourself a goal, why not think about pushing yourself that little bit further outside of your comfort zone.
What you become during the process of being the best you will have a greater impact on you than crossing the finish line. 


The 2015 Jersey Marathon

Philip here, the day after running the Standard Chartered 2015 Jersey Marathon. My wife, Louise, and I signed up for the Jersey Marathon about 6 months ago. I ran it last year with my challenge and running buddy Warren Mauger, about 6 weeks after taking on our 7 Marathons in 7 Days. Warren and I really enjoyed the run in 2014 and it was a no brainer to enter into the 2015 marathon.

Just over 4 weeks ago I completed the challenge of running (moving forward) on a treadmill for 48 hours. In the 48 hours I covered 131 miles, research indicates that the recovery period from this type of run is in the region of 4 to 6 months until your legs are back to being “fresh”.

This was always a concern, would the legs have enough in them to complete the Jersey Marathon and complete it well?

For anyone that thinks running a marathon is “easy” because of all the miles run in the past 18-24 months you are wrong. Irrelevant of how many miles you have run in training or how many crazy challenges you have taken on, 26.2 miles is still a long long way and it takes it toll on both the body and the mind.

Louise was taking on her 1st ever marathon after taking on a strict 12 week training programme (after 6 months out injured with no running). We were both a little nervous on the Sunday morning, but we had planned our pace and had a target time in mind. This is a good bit of advice for anyone running a marathon, think about your pace and have a plan. Yet again the atmosphere at Marathon Village prior to the start was great, and it was helped by an army of Guernsey runners involved in both the full marathon and the relay event. There was a great buzz about the place.

We set-off at 9am, the start line busy with supporters and this carried on as we headed out of St Helier on the marathon course. The support from the side of the road was brilliant, from cow bells being rung to children handing out jelly babies, the encouragement received on-route really helped us focus on achieving the goal we had set, a 3 hour 3o minute marathon. With events like these it is often the detail that counts, and something that the Jersey Marathon did was to print your first name on your race number. As Louise and I ran round the beautiful course supporters, marshals and water-stop volunteers would cheer you on with your first name, a really nice touch. I should also mention the marshals and volunteers, they were clapping every running and cheering people on, which all helped with the atmosphere around the course.

It was my first run in a long while where real pacing came into it. We were checking our watches, making sure we hit a nice rhythm and hit our min/mile targets. We’d also set mini targets, something Warren and I did in our 7 Marathons in 7 Days, we had water stops at 5, 10, 15, 19 and 23 miles. The Jersey Marathon had water stops pretty much every mile or two, but for me, I stuck to the targets that worked well during our 2014 challenge.

We chatted briefly to a very nice American guy who enquired about the 48 hour treadmill World Record Challenge (I was wearing a t-shirt from the event). He asked if I had the record, and when I said “no, I didn’t manage to break” his response was great, “it doesn’t matter the fact you went for it is what is important.” He then went on to tell me to take on the Badwater Ultra Marathon, the world’s toughest foot race. I don’t think Louise was too impressed with that suggestion .

Louise and I both felt comfortable until the last few miles, surprise surprise! Louise started digging in deep around mile 18 and was pulling out min/mile pace of 7:45 (not bad at that stage!) and from mile 22/23 my legs started to feel heavy and clearly had the 48 hour challenge in them! As we turned onto the home straight – the last 3 miles or so along the seafront into St Helier, we were greeted by a force 5/6 headwind, just what you wanted for the final 20 minutes of a marathon.

As we came round the back of the Radisson Blu Hotel we knew there was only 750 metres or so left of the marathon, the noise and support at the finish line was really special, and it was brilliant to cross the line in 3 hours 30 minutes (and about 5 secs). This was Louise’s first ever marathon and we think she finished as the 4th woman, and 2nd Channel Island female runner overall, not bad for your first attempt! For me, it was 23 mins off a PB, the legs survived and I know have a new target of a 3hr 20min marathon.

A big well done to the organisers of the Jersey Marathon, the course is a good one, with a challenging start of a gradual incline, but the support all along the route was fantastic. Post marathon the atmosphere around St Helier was another success factor for the marathon, so many people staying around the marathon village or the Royal Yacht Hotel and enjoying a drink or two.

Really well done Jersey and thanks to all the supporters and volunteers.




Nutrition and a 48 hour run

Earlier this year Warren and Philip asked whether I would be interested in providing nutrition advice for their EPIC48 World Record Challenge. They understood the importance of getting their nutrition right, both in training and during the event, however it was an area they hadn’t explored in great detail. Granted Warren and Philip are not ‘typical’ clients that I see in practice and this challenge is somewhat ‘off piste’, however it’s been a real pleasure working with them and developing a nutrition approach for such an intense challenge.  For those that have asked here is a summary of their nutritional journey to date.

Nutrition and Training

First off I asked the Philip and Warren to complete my questionnaire and food diary to help identify any nutrient deficiencies and/or imbalances. Luckily the guys were in good shape and credit where it’s due they were eating pretty well. However there were some changes to make in preparation for the 48 hour work record challenge.

Fats and Protein

I found they were both relying too heavily on carbohydrates as a source of fuel and advised them to increase their consumption of healthy fats, to include oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut and olive oil. I wanted the guys to become less dependent on a constant supply of glucose (sugar), which only ends up saturating the blood with insulin and has adverse health consequences. By increasing dietary fat intake, fat metabolism is enhanced and the body also becomes more efficient at utilising carbohydrates. Secondly I wanted them to increase their intake of good quality proteins, not only does protein provide the building blocks for all biological processes , it helps slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream, avoiding sugar spikes and crashes for more sustained energy release.


In terms of carbohydrates it’s still key for Philip and Warren to include them in their training plan to ensure their glycogen stores are always replenished, however I suggested they switch to whole grains for a slower release of glucose. I tried to steer the guys away from refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, white rice, pastries, biscuits etc since these products are stripped of fibre, and suggested they replace such foods with rye bread, wholegrain rice and pasta, quinoa, oats, buckwheat and sweet potato. As well as being rich in fibre to support digestion whole grains are packed full of B vitamins and magnesium, which are key nutrients for energy production .

Micronutrients – The Nutribullet

Before I met the guys, the word Nutribullet didn’t carry much meaning, however it’s now a household favourite! I advised them to invest in a Nutribullet to up their micronutrient intake whilst training and to create their own sports drinks for the event.

Philip and Warren have both shied away from energy drinks and gels, which I believe to be sensible, since they only provide a short term energy fix and contribute to blood sugar imbalance. However we needed to find a replacement drink to meet their electrolytes needs, which is where the  Nutribullet came in.  They’ve been experimenting with various combinations of the following ingredients with great success!

  • fruit – high in vitamin C, levels of which are depleted during exercise

  • hydrating green vegetables (cucumber, celery)

  • magnesium rich green vegetables (kale, spinach)

  • potassium rich foods (avocado, bananas)

  • nuts – the powerhouse of nutrients, also contains good quality fats and protein

  • ground flaxseeds and chia seeds – rich in omega 3 fatty acids, chia seeds are also hydrating

  • oats for slow release carbohydrates

  • coconut water for electrolyte content

  • protein powder

  • salt

Nutrition and The Event

Over the 48 hours it is estimated that their energy expenditure will be around 11,000 calories per 100 miles, nearly 29,000 in total if they break the world record. Realistically Warren and Philip will only be taking on about 6,000 calories per 100 miles which is why it’s been so important to get their bodies better adjusted to lipolysis, the breakdown of fats for energy production, in the lead up.

The guys are going to have a set of scales at the event and will be regularly weighing themselves, ideally their body weight shouldn’t fluctuate beyond a few percent. Through breathing and sweating alone it’s estimated they will lose 2-4 litre of water an hour, therefore replenishing  fluids and keeping hydrated is going to be crucial!

At the same time overhydrating is also problem, leading to hypernatremia, low sodium levels, which is why their weight will be monitored closely. I’ve suggested they also take on extra sodium during the event, in the form of  salt tablets, or added to their Nutribullets. They can  also add salt flakes to their homemade flapjacks and energy bites which will contain fats, protein and carbohydrates.

Philip and Warren have put their nutrition plan, as described above, into practice during their lead up challenges with great results!  Now the task is to repeat this for 48 hours!

If you have some time free over the 4th, 5th and 6th September then please head down to Market Square to support them. They are great guys taking on an ‘epic’ challenge which most importantly is for a fantastic cause – GOOD LUCK!!!

Claire Mahy

Claire Mahy Nutrition

A brutal training run.

It’s the morning after our longest run to date and time for a bit of reflection.

We had always planned a treadmill run outside Waitrose in Guernsey as this would be a great opportunity to raise awareness of our challenge, fundraise as well as spend a good few hours on a treadmill. In the week leading up to the Waitrose Training Day, Warren suggested adding in a night-time marathon prior to running on treadmills for 12 hours and of course we went ahead with that suggestion.

At 2am in the early hours of Saturday morning Warren and I set-off for our marathon around Guernsey. Amazingly we were joined by Danny Le Prevost and Stuart Moseley who wanted to keep us company and take on the marathon themselves. We were very lucky with the weather, a beautiful clear night, with the temperature rising to about 15 deg by 6am. The peace of the west coast took our minds off the lack of sleep and distance, and as we came round to Guernsey Airport we were met by Nicola Smith, Cath Birnie and Kevin Kreckler, who ran the last 5 or 6 miles with us.

We were aiming to complete the marathon in 5 hours, a nice gentle pace with a bit of body management as we had 12 hours on treadmills in front of us. We got back to our starting point (Waitrose Admiral Park car park) at 6:35, which meant we had completed the marathon in 4 hours 35 minutes, 25 minutes faster than we had planned! As the support runners headed off for some well earned breakfast Warren and I rested up at Waitrose, changed clothes, our physio, Guthrie Steer, went to work on us and we treated ourselves to a double espresso and a breakfast.

It was now onto the treadmills. Our previous longest training run on treadmills was 8 hours inside the Intersport Guernsey store in early July. Below are the key lessons that we learnt from yesterday’s training run.

  1. Running on treadmills is harder than road or trail running – we kind of knew this already, but yesterday just accentuated it. We’d spent 4 and a half hours running on the road and that felt comfortable, you have to adjust your running style / form when you are on a treadmill.

  2. Marginal gains matter – the slightest changes made a big difference. Even down to more regular changes of socks, which felt like putting on new feet, can make a big difference.

  3. Listen to the team around you – we are very lucky to have some great people around us covering physical and nutritional support. Listening to their advice helped us get through over 15 hours of running without any long-term damage to ourselves.

  4. Heat can be an issue – the weather yesterday was more suited for a day at the beach rather than a day on a treadmill. Up until about 2pm we were in the shade, then the sun was on us for the last 5-6 hours of the day. This had a huge impact on performance and luckily we’ll be inside a marquee in September for the 48 hour challenge.

  5. Developing a pace and run/walk strategy is going to be vital – we can’t just go into the 48 hour challenge hoping to survive it without thinking about how we manage our bodies. We knew this, and yesterday was a great test of how we changed our pace throughout the day to manage the impact on our bodies.

  6. Lack of sleep was interesting – we had a couple of ‘funny’ moments throughout the day were our minds weren’t working as effectively as they normally do. Whilst they had comedy value during the run yesterday, over a longer period they could present real difficulties in the 48 hour challenge.

  7. It’s going to be a mental battle as well as physical – several times throughout the day our bodies were saying “ok, that’s enough, this is picking a bit” yet our minds had to ignore this, whether that was through chatting to people to ignore the pain or quietly saying to our bodies “be quiet and keep going”.

  8. We saw the best in humanity and it kept us going – the support we received outside Waitrose and on social media was incredible. It really helped us to continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. We’re taking on these crazy challenges to help change lives, to bring hope to hopeless situations and to see people thrive, who without the support of the charities involved may never have had that opportunity. People yesterday were so interested in hearing about the charities we are supporting and we had so many people chat to us about our challenge. This genuinely helped us through the day, so thank you Guernsey for being yet again, being epic.

We finished our run after hitting a total of just over 60 miles, this was 26.2 miles for the Marathon, plus a further 35 on the treadmills. Both Warren and I were a little disappointed with the distance run on the treadmills, but we had the challenge of the heat, as well as a couple of minor injuries to manage in the last 4 hours of the run. On reflection, our average training week has been around 60-70 miles over the last 12 months, and yesterday we ran that in 15.5 hours, so we should be pleased. And even more importantly, we raised a load of cash from the very generous Guernsey public!

If you like what we are doing and believe in helping the amazing charities we are supporting then please donate to our fundraising campaign.

Donate with JustGiving

Taking on our longest run to date

This weekend Philip Smith and Warren Mauger will be completing a night-time round-the-island marathon, very closely followed by a 12 hour run on treadmills outside of Waitrose Admiral Park on Saturday 8 August 2015.

Starting at 2:00am, Philip and Warren have set themselves a target of completing finishing the marathon at the Waitrose Admiral Park store at around 7am. This will give the guys time for a short rest, some breakfast, before taking on a further 12 hours of running.

They are aiming to run over 50 miles each on treadmills, making this the duo’s longest training (over 75 miles in one day) run before the EPIC48 world record challenge in Market Square, St Peter Port on the 4th, 5th and 6th September.

As well as being a training day, representatives from The HUB and This Is EPIC will be at Admiral Park to help with fundraising and talk about how the money raised will be used to change lives.

Whilst Philip and Warren are training in Guernsey, Robert Young, Adam Holland and Abi Schofield – their EPIC48 running partners – will be holding a similar event running on treadmills in a Peterborough Gym in the UK.

Philip and Warren have run over 1500 miles each since they began training in February, and in fact, the pair haven’t really stopped running since their 7 Marathons in 7 Days challenge in August 2014.

“This will be our last chance to perfect our running and nutrition strategies before the challenge in September. It’s a huge test and it will really push us but we need to practise running in the night whilst fatigued,” said Mr Smith.

“It’s also an opportunity for people to come and find out more about why we are doing the event and donate if they wish.”

You can follow Philip and Warren’s preparations via

If you like what Philip and Warren are doing and believe in the causes they are supporting please donate via the Just Giving page:

Donate with JustGiving

Get in touch with us!