this article was originally posted on totemsport.co.uk
Nev is currently based in Reading, Berkshire, UK where he lives with his wife Lauren and three children. Nev is a Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in knee surgery and childrens orthopaedics. When Nev is not treating patients, or being a father and husband, he likes to run to stay fit, keep healthy and satisfy his competitive streak. Here is Nev’s running journey with useful insights for people wanting to get started in ultrarunning.
I was brought up in Worcestershire and went to medical school at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London. This is where I met Lauren my wife, 25 years ago. We had kids fairly late allowing us to concentrate on our careers and sports interests. Lauren was an international hockey player when we first met and I was in awe of her work ethic. Later she became a GB age group triathlete.
Paradoxically, I decided ,at that time ,to concentrate on golf !! When our first son was born, golf being so time consuming took a back seat and I had to look at other avenues to push my sporting boundaries. When you reach the ripe old age of 40 10km and half marathon times just seem to get slower regardless of how hard you train, so the only way to satisfy a competitive streak is to go long …….Ultrarunning is distant running anything longer than a marathon.
As only one of a handful of UK surgeons who has a dual knee practice. I find treating patients of all ages with knee issues extremely rewarding. Being a runner myself and having a sporty family has been invaluable in empathising and helping to explain about the natural history of knee conditions and the different treatment options available to my patients, many of whom are runners.
I currently train 6 days a week incorporating my daily commute to work, which is a great way to save on precious time. My work hard play hard ethos is something I’m very keen to pass down to my 3 boys. I like to run the towpath of the river Thames, taking in the wildlife or explore through the many woodland trails around Mapledurham.
My coach is legendary ultrarunner John Melbourne, who (www.melbourneultra.co.uk) sets me a bespoke training program to fit in with my work schedule. We like to mix things up with different types of sessions, but the main emphasis for long distance running is slow and steady with only 1 or 2 hard sessions a week. I must confess I cannot resist pushing on a Strava segment to try to beat my wife!
I run for the numerous health benefits. I run to improve my overall health and wellbeing. Running helps we control my weight, increase my life expectancy, and maximises my bone and joint health. Running home after works also allows me to destress giving me time to think, listen to a variety of podcasts and as I’m so busy, its improved my general organisational skills to fit everything in. It has defined me to be the best role model I can be for my boys.
I have many running goals. I set my sight on a 100 miler this year. Unfortunately, due to the Covid Pandemic this could not be completed. I have kept training and have entered some coastal races later this year. I plan to continue to basetrain through the winter and If all goes well to complete a 100 mile Race in 2021.
My proudest achievement to date was to run the Ridgeway – Race to the Stones in the Summer of 2019. I raised £11,000 for my hospital Royal Berks Charity. I ran the 100km finishing in just over 11 hours. It was an epic experience.
Totum Sport is a recent addition to my running plan. I am completely blown away by how it has eliminated my delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) after long training runs. This helps my body recovery much more effectively, so I can train further and harder. The sachets are lightweight, so easy to carry and I simply just tear and drink to aid my hydration. I also use it when I am operating and standing for long periods of time in the operating theatre.
I would recommend anyone of anyone age to start running and reap the physical and mental health benefits. No matter how slow or how little distance , start slow and build it up at a very gradual pace. You will surprise yourself at what you can achieve.