During the inaugural Edinburgh 24 in 2018, Matt Perkins set a pretty impressive 119.8 miles during the 24 hour race. To put that in to context, Matt was almost a full marathon in front of the second placed runner, the hugely experienced, Ian Beattie, and was less than seven miles behind the winning relay team.
To be fair, Matt has developed a decent pedigree in the USA where he now lives. Here's what his bio on his blog says: "A bit of background... I ran my first marathon in 2000 in London, and my second in Edinburgh in 2011. After which I became hooked. As of 1st January 2017, I have run 26 marathons, 5 50km ultra marathons and 3 50 mile races. I have also completed 2 iron distance triathlons. My marathon PR is currently 3:05:44 (on a downhill course!!)". NOTE: his trail marathon time now stands at 2:58:04!)
Anyway, enough fan-boying from Lee. Here's Matt.
Matt's Top 5 Tips for Edinburgh 24
Aside from the obvious, start slow and stay slow, and don’t over hydrate (I didn’t carry water on course)..
1) Train mentally as well as physically. I did mental preparation and visualization. Replicating race situations helped. I did a 6 hr looped race on a 5K course, and a 50 mile night race starting at 9pm. The indoor marathon on a 200m track was maybe a bit extreme though.
2) Break up the race. I snacked on a variety of things but had meals every four hours to give some semblance of normality - the haggis supper at 9pm was a step too far though
3) Freshen up. A full change of clothes around halfway felt amazing (and it gets cold at night!) and I cycled through 4 different pairs of trainers to change pressure points on feet and joints (see Matt's Edinburgh 24 blog post here).
4) There’s plenty of time for sleep afterwards - some plan to sleep, but I knew I’d never get going again. Do let your support team sleep though. That way they can call at the 24 hour supermarket at 6am when you’re craving yoghurt and granola!
5) Watch out for the wildlife. Hurdling pigeons is fine in the first few hours but they don’t move quickly and accidentally kicking one doesn’t help the cadence at hour 20... And definitely look out for the hedgehogs!
6) Have fun and thank the organisers/volunteers who are making the event happen. Friendly faces at the back of Arthur’s Seat at 4am are a real boost, and they may even have a supply of Haribo hidden in the event village.
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