Meet our brand ambassador; Ultra Marathon runner Holly
If you’ve been following us on social media (shameless plus – but we’re loving posting on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook right now) you might have seen us mention our brand ambassador; ultra marathon runner Holly. Running incredible distances on uneven terrain in some of the most beautiful yet challenging places on Earth, she’s known for her love of a pork pie to keep her energy and protein levels up during training and races. We thought you might like to get to know her a little better and discover some secrets and top tips of how to get motivated. Whether you’re up running in the French Alps or just to the local shop, we’ve all got to start somewhere so read on to find out Holly’s tips for amateur runners.
How did you start ultra running and have you always loved running?
In my previous life I was an International road marathon runner and was lucky enough to represent my country at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships but I ran exclusively on roads and hated anything off road. I basically fell out of love with competitive running after a period of injury and lack of progression. I just kept running the same times and felt I wasn’t improving so I decided totally out of the blue to enter a multi day trail race in Nepal, no tarmac just mountains and technical trails. I was totally out of my comfort zone but I fell in love with running in the mountains and hitting the trails. It took me quite a while to adjust to running slower but the feeling of being in nature was amazing and it gave me a new lease of life in running career.
What’s your running highlight moment?
My highlight moment in my running career has to be standing on the podium at the European Championships in Barcelona after winning team Bronze in the marathon, something I never thought would happen. In my ultra career it has to be my first ultra, coming 7th at Comrades in South Africa which is arguably the biggest ultra event in the world.
Let’s talk pork pies….what makes them perfect for you?
Well I have always love them since I was a kid. I was brought up on a farm so meat has always been an important part of my diet and a pie was always on the menu at least once a week in our household. I can’t tell you when I started using them whilst racing, I think it probably happened by accident. At ultras they tend to have amazing checkpoints which have an array of snacks to choose from and so pork pies are sometimes on offer (more so now that I have been tweeting and Instagramming about them!) so I think that was when I realised how amazing they were for running a long way. They are the perfect combination of fat, salt, carbs and protein. The longer the race the more I crave savoury salty foods so pork pies work really well for me and also the mini ones are the perfect size to carry and gobble whilst moving.
What’s your favourite flavour of pork pie?
My favourite flavour of Vale of Mowbray pork pie is the mini cheese and pickle flavour for post training. During training I like to use the traditional plain pie.
Top tip for amateur runners?
My top tip for amateur runners looking to get into marathon running would be to join a club or start running with a friend. Training with others and following a plan will really help you to get out the door especially on those days when u dont feel like it. Sharing a goal towards a specific race can make the journey so much easier and more fun.
Top recovery tips?
Get some food and liquid in you as soon as you can after a hard training session or race. A good example is a pint of full fat milk. I like to stand in a ice cold stream if I can to help aid muscle recovery, get some warm clean clothes on and keep your legs moving before you get in the car to drive home.
Do you get pre-race nerves?
Yes of course, it’s hard not too when you have been preparing for a long time for a race and it all comes down to one day. But I do have a mantra I remind myself off…… “control the controllables.”