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Alton Sports Ambassador – Ultra Training with Chris Norkett

 Tell us about who you are and when you got in running, who you run for and your PBs etc!

In 2014 I was diagnosed with “dangerously” high blood pressure and leg ulcers. It was the health scare I needed. My GP referred me to the Cardiac Rehab in Alton and I haven’t looked back. Under their guidance and with their encouragement I’ve given up smoking, lost 13 stone and taken up running. This year I ran my first marathon to raise money for the Cardiac Rehab and I managed to raise £2,350 for them. I’ve fallen in love with running. Absolutely head over heels. I love it. I love a PB and although I’m not very quick I love the feeling of being strong and overtaking people!!

How long have you been an ambassador for Alton Sports and what’s your favourite part about the role?

I started ‘ambassadoring’ in July of this year and by far and away the best bit is having an excuse to talk about running all the time. I didn’t need much excuse to start with but being an ambassador allows me to drone on and on and on. Getting lovely Brooks running shoes to try out is also rather nice!!

What are you currently training for? Tell us all about the race and your aims for 2018!

I’m currently training for the Winter X Ultra on 28th December, organised by Second Wind Running. I’m doing the 50K event and it’s getting imminent now, and therefore I’m starting to feel a bit intimidated by the distance. I’ve run two marathons, both in the last eight months, and although the ultra is “only” an extra 5 miles or so, it’s still a big step up. I have total faith in the training plan I’ve been given for the event so the barriers I’m facing now are almost exclusively psychological. It’s interesting and I love the challenge.

My aims for 2018 are very much based around marathons rather than ultras. I’m intending to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer Action in 2018 and running four marathons (and trying to get a bit quicker in the process) is at the heart of the schedule. I’m going to stay as local as possible with Southampton, the Hampshire Hoppit, the New Forest and the Portsmouth Coastal all on the radar screen. I’m not ruling out an ultra, but don’t tell coach that!!

What gear are you currently using for your training? Any special gear plans for the ultra?

Training for this ultra has been all about the shoes. Brooks ASR 12 and Brooks Transcend3. Both are top notch shoes, really at the peak of what money can buy. The ASR 12s are Goretex lined and that makes such a difference when you’re off road, whilst the extra cushioning of the Transcend 3 makes road miles an absolute pleasure. Absolute pleasure and ultra training. Not a commonly heard sentence!! I’m also loving Asics winter running tights, Bodyglide, Runderwear briefs and Balega socks. All essentials in my armoury.

Have you done ultras before? Have you got a plan for eating / gels on the way round?

This is my first ultra and only my third marathon distance so I’m going to keep it very simple. I’ve got a proven track record with Clifs Bloks and High 5 electrolyte tablets and so I’m not going to deviate away from them. If the time on my feet was going to be more than eight hours I think I’d have to explore other types of nutrition. Probably marmalade sandwiches!!

Tell us about your ultra training plan – are you doing this on your own or with a coach etc?

I’m very lucky because the gym manager at the Cardiac Rehab gym is also a properly qualified running coach. She writes my training plans and I wouldn’t achieve anything without her support and encouragement. She gets me doing loads of HIIT training in the gym and also lots of core work, squats and lunges. You can really feel the benefit. I generally train alone at odd hours of the day and night, but I have a terrific support network. I’m very lucky. Oh, and get yourself a sports masseuse and stick to them like glue!

Any training advice for anyone entering a marathon or an ultra?

Get your nutrition right. Try lots of different things such as home made flap jacks and gels and jelly babies and cashews. Try it all and find out what works for you. Also, man up and do core work. It’s not easy but the benefits are enormous. Finally, get a training plan and stick to it. If you put in the miles in training, race day will be a pleasure. And don’t forget to enjoy yourself!!

 Any running heroes that you’d like to share with us?

My running heroes are all real people who are accessible. My coach is a hero because she’s just so cool and knowledgeable and generous. The chairman of my local running club has just done his 51st marathon. It’s an awesome achievement. If I need inspiration I can just look at him. I know another lady who is battling injury to run marathons and she’ll win through but it’s really tough for her at the moment. You don’t need to look very far to find a running hero. We’re surrounded by them. We all overcome stuff to achieve our goals and that’s what it’s all about. Maybe even I can inspire somebody. Now that would be a great privilege.

We LOVE Chris’ inspiring story and he’ll be writing a race report from his ultra for us!

Check out our site for loads of great running gear for your next big event!

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