Your Name: Jay MacDonald
Occupation: Digital Product Manager
Home Town: Abbots Langley
What is your running background?
I ran London Marathon in 2008, 2009 & 2010 but with absolutely nothing in between … It was probably in 2010 when I started to get into running a bit more seriously. I preferred football to running but was a bit unreliable for team sports so started to run a bit more and got addicted. Even now I’m still getting PBs at all distances every year so there’s still plenty to aim for and keep my running passion high!
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
I only ever wanted to do the MdS after seeing a documentary on TV and was accepted into the 2011 race. I had only completed 3 marathons at that point (very slowly) and no ultras so in November 2010 I completed the XNRG Druids Ultra which I absolutely loved although I struggled badly!
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
A personal favourite is the Country to Capital in January which is a cracking event to kick off the year. Centurion events are great and I love a marathon or two! I’m not fussy really but I prefer warm weather
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
67 official marathons/ultras including MdS 2011, 5 x 100 mile races, GUCR 2014 … Getting sub 3 at London last month (2:58) was something I had wanted for ages – Trying to juggle training for 100 mile races alongside a crack at sub 3 hour marathon has been a challenge but to a certain extent they have complimented each other well!
What was your hardest race experience?
GUCR 2014 – mentally more than physically but it was the fear of the unknown of going further than 100 miles.
EDIT – Also, I just DNF’d the Florida Keys 100 miler in mid-May at 62 miles … the humidity there was like nothing I’ve ever ran in before and the cramps were so bad I made the (now regrettable) decision to drop
What events do you have planned for 2017 up to Spartathlon?
Ultras – Monster Ambit 24 hour (June), Essex 100 or KACR (July), August TBC and a nice local 12 hours at St Albans Stampede (September)
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Start slow, walk hills and make the most of the bits where I feel good – not forgetting to eat at the aid stations
What does a typical training week look like?
Hmmmm, it can range from 10 miles to 70 miles … I’m well aware this needs to be increased before Spartathlon though! Lifestyle, family and the fact I don’t want to get injured tends to keep my mileage in check. I live a mile away from the Grand Union Canal so love a long weekend run ending at a canal side pub!
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
It’s not as hard as you think – if you like your own company and can channel your thoughts into positive ones then you can finish an ultra!
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I had a son in March called Toby and he is so unbelievably happy – He never fails to make me smile!
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
After being unsuccessful in the last three ballots, I’m finally looking forward to tackling this race, being part of the team, the distance, the mountain, the finish line and of course the post-race celebrations … My wife and friends are particularly looking forward to me running it so I stop talking about it all the time!
But most of all it has to be the last few miles of the race and especially the finish
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
1. I know how much it’s going to hurt … 153 miles will hurt no matter who you are!
2. Being away from my wife and baby Toby
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
Long training runs in the heat of the UK summer, increased mileage including some back to backs, mix in some hills and walking sessions.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
I have my good mate Andy Hannon coming to support who has experience of being at ultras and has experienced my ‘ultramoods’ at GUCR a few years back. He was also in Florida in mid-May for the DNF at the Keys 100 so he will be a vital part of my race.