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Jonathan Steele - Ultrarunner and more

April 08, 2014

 

 Please could you introduce yourself? What events do you take part in?

Hi my name is Jonathan Steele, I am an Ultrarunner of 10 years, trailrunner and occasional road runner. I organise the Hardmoors Race Series which consists of trail races ranging in distance from 10k to 160 miles. When I am not running or organising races, I am usually training clients (I run a personal training business) I have been involved in fitness for a great deal of my life. Obtaining 2 black belts in different martial arts in my teens, competing in bodybuilding competitions in my early 20's and eventually returning to my true love, the hills and trails of the UK.

You are training for the Spartathalon.. what is this and how will Chia Charge help?

The Spartathlon is a 156 mile single stage Ultramarathon with a time limit of 36 hours that takes part in September of every year in Greece. The Spartathlon aims to trace the footsteps of Pheidippides an Athenian messenger sent to Sparta in 490 BC to seek help against the Persians in the Battle of Marathon. For myself this will be the toughest challenge I have ever faced. As well as the distance the real challenges are the cut offs. Chia Charge will help me to obtain nutrients in liquid form including protein to help prevent my body from catabolising (eating away at at my muscles to use them for fuel.) Omega 3's will help keep my head clear and thinking straight plus Chia Charge has a great taste which I can tolerate after 30 hours of running where a lot of other sports drinks make me feel sick after 10 hours or so.

Can you introduce our readers to the Hardmoors Ultra Series?

I developed the Hardmoors Series in 2008 starting with the first Hardmoors 110 (a 112 mile Ultramarathon following the beautiful Cleveland Way from Helmsley to Filey) over the last few years various races have been added to the Ultra Series including the Hardmoors 55, Hardmoors 60, Hardmoors 30/15 and new for 2014 the 160 mile Hardmoors 160. Alongside the Hardmoors Ultra Series a Trail Marathon/Half/10k series was developed in 2013 including 6 x Trail Marathons/Half Marathons/10ks all based in different parts of the North York Moors. This year has seen the introduction of our Hardmoors Training Camps and Hardmoors Night Races. The Hardmoors series has something to offer any runner who fancies a challenge on some of the most beautiful trails around.

Find out more about the Hardmoor Race Series.
Find out more about the Hardmoors Trail Marathon.

What do you see as your biggest achievement to date as an athlete? Do you have any personal goals you are working towards?

In 2009 I completed the 105 mile Ultra Trail Tour Du Mont Blanc, this was my 3rd and last attempt at the race after twice before reaching the 75 mile point. For the duration of the race I was unsure if I would get round before being timed out. Running through the streets of Chamonix with the crowds cheering and Vangelis's 'Conquest of Paradise' booming out in the background was an experience I will never forget.

December 2013 saw me win and be the only finisher of 'The Hill' Ultra, a 160 mile race up and down Shining Tor in the Peak District 55 times. For over 16 hours I was the only competitor left and ran/walked/stumbled alone up and down the hill in dire conditions, I completed the race 30 minutes within the finish cut off of 48 hours. My big events for 2014 consist of the 148 mile Viking Way Race in April, The 10 Peaks Extreme Race in June, Lakeland 100 in July and Spartathlon in September. January 2015 will see me at the start line of the 268 Spine Race.

What is a training session like for you? Where do you train?

I quite often use upcoming events for my long runs but spend quite a bit of time in the North York Moors, at the moment I am basing my training around road work as the Spartathlon is road based and my legs need conditioning for 100 plus miles of road. I also use the treadmill for speed work, I spend quite a bit of time in the gym so it is much easier to get on the treadmill then find time to get out on the roads. So currently I am running between 70-90 miles p/w consisting of a 30-40 mile hilly road run (over quiet lanes in the North York Moors) possibly an Ultra on the weekend. 2 x 10 mile Treadmill tempo runs, 1 treadmill Interval session consisting of 5 x 1 mile intervals with 2 minutes between each interval.
As well as the running I hit the weights 4 times a week.

What's the hardest thing you face in training for these races? What keeps you going? 

 
I think like everybody time is sometimes hard to find, I am a lot luckier then most as my fiancee Shirley is also an Ultrarunner and also being self employed I can plan some of my days around my training, i.e. get out for a run during the day and then work to the late hours on the admin at home. Years ago training for the UTMB, West Highland Way Race etc meant getting up at 0500hrs and setting off at 0600hrs to run the 16 miles to work most days and staying up to midnight to catch up with other commitments (so surviving on 4-5hours sleep a night for a few years) These days its more about guilt, if I am running I feel I should be working and vice versa. What keeps me going? I am competitive and driven, driven to see how far I can push myself.

Can you tell us about your favourite Chia Charge products and how you will use them in your training and events?

I use Chia drinks on my long runs and races. In warm conditions I try to drink a minimum of 500ml of liquids an hour. I carry Chia Charge satchets, I rip the top off one of them and add one to my water once an hour, I use front mounted bottles for my hydration so I can add the sachet to my bottle while running then top up with water at the checkpoint/support point. The Chia Charge drinks give me the confidence that I am getting some protein and essential fatty acids and fibre easily rather then worrying too much that i'm not getting real food on the move. I am a coeliac and quite often cannot have the food provided at races so my intake on these events relies on Gels and Chia Charge. Compared to the Gels Chia Charge feels more like real food in a liquid form and I LOVE THE TASTE.