Name: Darren Strachan
Occupation: AWS Architect at Cognizant
Running Coach/Race Director with The Boneman at Camino Ultra
Home Town: London
Twitter Account: (if applicable) @darren_strachan
Website/Blog: (if applicable) http://www.caminoultra.com
What is your running background?
Fell in love with it after a reluctant run in the Fleet Half Marathon in 1999. A few marathons followed. A good friend gave me a book by Dean Karnazes. I made a bet with a South African in a pub and then the mighty Comrades was my first ultra in 2006, fell in love some more. Paused some to look after babies. Fell in love with Spartathlon in 2014. It’s been torrid ever since.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
With life-long friends David “Boneman” Bone, James “Captain Jimmy” Ellis & Jamie “Duracell” Holmes – we ran ultras to raise money for Contact (Hemihelp) – https://contact.org.uk/ and every time we ran we knew we needed to go further. Spartathlon was a dream race from very early on.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
Spartathlon obviously, but i’m very partial to at least one Centurion 100 miler each year.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Without a doubt finishing Spartathlon. I cannot describe the feeling of walking up the street to Leonidas, even after being pissed on by a medicane for 20 hours. Unfortunately it’s a feeling that’s all too brief, which is why one has to keep trying to repeat it.
What was your hardest race experience?
DNF’ing my first attempt at Spartathlon with 24 miles to go.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
I think it’s important to respect the distance so I always try very hard to keep things really calm with the pace early on. The time for racing is later. Much later.
What does a typical training week look like?
I’m not a high mileage runner. If you look at my training folks would probably say there’s no way I can complete Spartathlon, but i’ve tried some high mileage and honestly I just felt completely fooked. These days I train around 50 miles a week throughout the year and get that a bit higher up to 65 with a peak of 75 in the few weeks leading up to a big event. I try to do one run of higher quality / speed each week although that seems to be getting slower and slower with age!!
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Try to bring some lightness and a smile to it. Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’ll make you run better and it’ll hurt less.
Can you tell us two interesting facts about yourself?
Stuart Shipley and I kicked Dean Karnazes’ ass once.
I have an allergic reaction to Nigel Farage, which is why i’m raising money for the RNLI this year: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/darren-strachan3