'I've run 22 marathons in three months'
THIS RUNNING LIFE:Gavin Redmond (28), is a web designer and founder and director of the Digital Academy
After a few drinks the words, ‘Well, anything you can do . . .’ came out
When did you start running and why? I was heavily involved in rugby and windsurfing until I was about 26. So I’ve always enjoyed sports. In Christmas 2010 I did a 10km in a Santa suit for the Irish Heart Foundation and just about managed to finish it. A year later, I was in the pub listening to my friends Maghnus Collins and David Burns talk about their next expedition to follow the old Silk Route across Asia by cycling, running and rafting 17,500km. After a few drinks the words,
“Well, anything you can do . . .” might have been uttered and I made them a promise that if they went ahead with it, I’d join them for the run.
Today, I can say I’ve run 22 marathons in three months, 20 of them being completed in 25 days. It was a harsh lesson about making promises in pubs.
Your biggest achievement? For the running part of the expedition, Maghnus and David chose a route following the highest highway in the world – a road called the G109 from Xining in China to the Tibetan Plateau, running at altitudes of 2,500m to 5,000m. I was running back-to-back marathons for 25 days. Food poisoning and injury meant that I could complete only 20 marathons, but Maghnus and David completed the route against ridiculous odds.
So my biggest achievement was reaching our finish-line after running 20 marathons at altitudes of more than 3,500m along the highest highway in the world with my two friends beside me.
How did your body feel after 20 marathons? It may not seem possible but towards the end of the run my body felt much stronger. At the beginning, I got food poisoning and spent two days on my back feeling extremely ill. On the third day, I got up and felt if I didn’t start right there and then, I just wouldn’t do it. That day, my first day, I ran 50km at an altitude of 2,500m in 30-degree heat. I had eaten nothing except a bowl of instant oats porridge and a Kinetica energy bar before I started. It took me eight hours to finish, the last 10km taking 2 hours 30 mins. After that, the days got much easier in comparison.
One thing you’d change about running? The mind’s way of telling you to stop when your body has bucketloads left to give.