Your Name: John Miskimmin
Occupation: HM Forces
Home Town: Ballymoney (Northern Ireland)
What is your running background?
I wasn’t really into running at all growing up. However, I have always kept reasonably fit and played football. I joined HM Forces when I was 18 (2000) and obviously was “forced” into doing a bit of running as part of training. I think because of my sporting days as a teenager it helped me a lot as I was always one of the quicker guys during any running training. Not that that means anything in the real world. I did do a bit of Cross country running in my early years but never performed to any great level. Got into rugby after that and stopped running completely. Obviously with rugby, came putting on weight and size so short and sharp sprints took the place of any other distance. Fast forward to 2016 and I decided to take up running again. My wife was always at me to get out running with her as she is an avid runner but I was always saying no (quickest way to loose gains, right?). Did my first 10km race in over 10 years in Feb 2016 and did ok. And that’s when the running bug set in. I spent the next year running races from 5km up to half marathon but I was never up there competing for any podium places.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
In 2017 I was running a lot of the shorter stuff but couldn’t seem to get any quicker so thought that if I can’t get quicker then I’m going to go for longer. Also, my wife’s cousin had just started into Ultra running around the same time and I thought, yeah, I could give that a crack too. And that’s how it started.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
My first ultra was the Thames Path Challenge 100km in 2017 and I did alright in it (qualifying for the Spartathlon ballot). I don’t do a lot of races really. I am still pretty new to the Ultra scene so I am trying to find my feet. I ran the Centurion A100 last year and really like the Centurion events so you’ll probably see me at those in the future. When I am back home in Northern Ireland I take part in events ran by Atlas Running so you’ll see me at those too.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Thames Path Challenge 100k 2017 – Finished top 5 (Spartathlon qualifying time)
Centurion A100 100 mile 2018 – Finished top 20 (Spartathlon qualifying time)
I’ve ran a variety of other races ranging from 50km up to 100 miles but the ones mentioned were my Spartathlon qualifying races.
What was your hardest race experience?
I ran the Thames Path Challenge again in 2018 as training for the A100. The race ended up being a disaster after I got bitten by a wasp around 60km. I had a bad reaction to it but continued on regardless. I didn’t enjoy that experience at all.
What events do you have planned for 2019 up to Spartathlon? (Dates/name of key events)
14thApril – Great Welsh Marathon
18thMay – Chester 100-mile race
22ndJune – Belfast Energia 24hr race
I will be running a number of other shorter races (half and full marathons) in the buildup to Spartathlon but like I say I don’t really race too much at the moment.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Go out too quick. Hit the wall(s) early and just try and survive!
What does a typical training week look like?
I have a coach who deals with all my training and planning schedules. No thinking required from me! (You might have heard of her – Camille Herron). Generally, I have a 6-day running week with Monday being my rest day. Camille has a specific way of training her athletes and so I don’t do any real long stuff through the week. Steady runs along with speed work and/or hill work midweek and then a long run day on Sunday.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Run your own race! Don’t get sucked in to the fast and experienced runners as they race off. Any Ultra distance is a flippin long way so head out too quick and your into survival mode early on.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I’m a bit of a Drone geek and enjoy flying them around and making silly videos whenever I go anywhere new.
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
How did you get on? (Date/result)
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
Meeting the rest of the BST and putting that Red, White and Blue Lion on my chest. Also wouldn’t mind meeting the King in Sparta (fingers crossed).
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
That wee hill 100 miles in!
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
That’s a question I don’t even know the answer too. That’s down to Camille. lol
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? (If so, please introduce them briefly)
Yep. The rock that is Gillian (my wife) will be joining in on the madness that is come. She’s the only reason why I got here in the first place. Forever nagging me to get out running with her over the years until I finally gave in. I’ll be bringing another couple folk too as crew but the names are yet to be drawn from the hat.