Fetcheveryone Member of the Month

Each winner receives a £100 ADVANCE PERFORMANCE voucher

Interview with Wallman

pedroscalls asks: Congratulations on the MoTM win. My question is if money and time were no object what race or route would you love to do?

Wallman says: Hi Pedroscalls,

Many thanks for the congratulations.

If money and time (and a blessing from my wife and boys were given) were no object I'd love to do a self supported trans continental crossing. I don't mind my own company (just as well) and love a good adventure. Meeting people along the way on journeys like this is refreshing and many of these people stay in your life for years to come regardless of meeting them again.

If you're a billionaire and want me to fulfil my dream please PM me for my address to send the cheque to ;-)


GimmeMedals asks: A worthy winner. How do you find the motivation to run so many miles, so often, so close to home, during lockdown?

Wallman says: Hi Gimmemedals,

More like a worn-out winner :-)

I'm a real stubborn old git at 52 and before that I was a stubborn young git! Once I've set my mind on something I like to see it through.

In the first lockdown I saw many people wearing holes in their garden by running marathons and the like around their houses. I made a mental note to never do such a thing, no matter how bad things progressed, that's not my cup-of-tea!

In lockdown two, I was drawn into a few virtual challenges and reluctantly entered them to help my club (Delamere Spartans) out. As much as I hate to admit it, I actually enjoyed them as they took me out of my comfort (plodding) zone!

Lockdown three came as did the cancellation of my key race for 2021 'The Spine'. I'd continued training for the race throughout the last few months despite the inevitable decision, so my fitness was as good as it was ever going to be. On 1st January I went out did a double loop of a route I'd pulled together for my club that clocked me 56 miles. Rather than cursing afterwards (as you sometimes do...) I felt a bit short changed, so vowed to make my next challenge a little longer and harder. Little did I know that the following Saturday I'd be setting off from my doorstep to cover the 268 miles of my Spine race within a three mile radius!

A long answer to a short question, sorry!

RRR-CAZ πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§ asks: Congratulations If you were to be offered golden tickets for any sporting event what would you choose to watch ?

Wallman says: Hi RRR-CAZ

I'm not a big fan of watching sports on a screen or live, it just doesn't do it for me for some reason. I get sent loads of links to Killian doing this or Courtney doing that but never get round to watching them as my life's so busy!

When I was a kid I watched three blokes smash up a piano each with lump hammers and they had to fit all the pieces through a hole in a skip that was about 10" square. It might not be a sport now (or then) but I'd love to see that again!

Little Nell asks: Congratulations! How did you find out/work out that running long was for you?

Wallman says: Hi Little Nell,

At school I loved climbing and running. The former became my career and the latter got dropped when I was forced to run for my collage!

In my mid 40's I decided that I needed to get fitter to be better at climbing and started running again. After every run and race I did I felt I could go a bit further and do a bit better. Occasionally, I'd hit my limit and swear to burn my shoes and take up climbing again (running suited my lifestyle better at the time) but this would soon pass and I'd be on the internet looking for that next big challenge.

My race history goes-

Cross country at school
Cross country at collage (first and last as it interfered with my climbing)
Southport 10k 2005
Preston 10 mile 4 weeks after
Classic Quarter 44 miles 2006
TDS (mini UTMB) 60 miles 2009
A few smaller ultras 2010
UTMB 2011
Lots of ultras in the UK and abroad leading up to-
Tor Des Geants
Dragons Back

Alps2Ocean (New Zeland) my last race in 2020.

I'm guessing that some day I'm just going to fill my rat and have enough. But until that day comes, I'll keep on seeking longer and harder runs out...

Velociraptor asks: Congratulations and well deserved. Every ultramarathoner has a horror story of a race that went wrong. What's yours?

Wallman says: Hi Velociraptor

Thanks you for your kind words.

Horror story-

There's a few to choose from from my Mother-in-Law undressing me after my first Lakeland 100 when my a**e and undercarriage was so sore/chaffed I was beyond doing anything but that's for another time...!

Many years later I tripped and snapped one of my running sticks on the top of Roque de los Muchachos while running Transvulcania. The fall was hard, bloody and a massive blow to my confidence after training so hard. I stumbled on for another 22km in the scorching heat to the finish line where I collapsed in the shade then suffered leg cramps of the worse magnitude. For some reason I was convinced a massage would fix me and in between cramps managed to get onto a massage table/bed despite the masseurs telling me I had to wait my turn. Two minutes later a medic team arrived and placed me on a stretcher and rushed me into the medical tent. My cries and pleas that I was only waiting for a massage went of deaf ears as they duly cut my sleeve off and inserted a needle in to my arm that was hooked up to a bag of fluid! I walked out of the tent three hours later and never got my massage!
It's not so much of a horror story but- When I ran the Ultra Tour Mont Blanc in 2011 I thought I was quite fit. A month before I'd ran the Lakeland 100 (again, but with no sore bits this time) as I'd been talked into it by a good friend who wanted me to 'hold his hand' on his first 100. After a couple of miles he left me in his dust which was just as well as I was treating this as a warm up for the main event in France in four weeks.
I distinctly remember standing on the start line thinking how fit and lucky I was to be doing the ultimate ultra in the world only after a short spell of finishing the Lakeland in such good shape. To say my confidence and prowess was in top form was even an understatement.
We set off to the tradition UTMB music playing, the crowd cheering for miles and focused runners up your nose and on your heels. Life was gooooood!
My first niggle came in my knee after about five miles. I just wished it away and ignored it as this usually works for me. Ten miles in and it was still there but a bit of groin discomfort had come to join it, things are better in twos, NOT!
Despite my niggles I pushed on and the more I pushed on the more my niggles aggravated me. I somehow got back to the top of the Chamonix valley but had breathing problems now on top of everything else. Luckily enough my wife met me and had an inhaler I could avail of. I saw this as outside assistance that I could of been disqualified from the race for but I was beyond caring.
At the next check point there was a medics tent, I promised my wife that I would go in to see if they could do anything for my groin strain which was now my main cause for horrendous pain in every step I took. I stepped into the tent, lay on a stretcher and proceeded to blubber my heart out until I could utter the words 'DON'T PULL ME OUT OF THE RACE OR I'M LEAVING ASAP'. The medics promised they wouldn't pull me from the race and proceeded to strap my groin and upper thigh in rock tape. I'm not sure what good it did but I left the tent and eventually reached the finish line in Chamonix, 43 hours later from setting off!
I was so pleased to finish and know the pain would now stop, well, until the next time....

milemonster asks: Which would you rather? The Spine or The Dragon's Back?
Both are UK Ultra races in case anyone was wondering.

Wallman says: Hi Milemonster (you truly live up to your name BTW)

I completed the Dragons Back in 2019 and loved it! Like a lot of these races, I held back to much with a fear of burning out to soon. I'm going back again this year with a more competitive edge...

I've always wanted to do The Spine since it was first ran/run 10 years ago, but for one reason or another I've managed to dodge it! There's many races that are billed with 'worlds hardest/toughest/most extreme but after completing several of these races I'm sure The Spine is going to surpass all of the others in testing me to my limits!

2021 should of been my Spine year but like all other races in Lockdown 3, it's was cancelled so I did my own version locally which I really enjoyed in a mad sort of way-

Thanks for the question and keep up these miles you monster...

Welshpoppy asks: Congratulations! how did you keep your motivation when running laps at home for The Spine?

Wallman says: Hi WELSHPOPPY

Thanks for the congratulations and the question!

I know I mentioned laps in the video but I made every loop up as I went. I called back to base nearly every two hours (easily done in a three mile radius) to snack and pick up another running partner if one was available. I don't mind running by myself at all but the miles certainly went a lot faster with a friend to chat to! Once I'd started I was pretty confidant that I'd finish unless I had a serious injury or accident.

Having a positive mind set from the beginning and keeping it is vitally important in events like this.

I hope that answers your question sufficiently.

geordiegirl asks: Congratulations on being the newest member of the month!What advice would your give to someone taking on the journey of ultras? What do you wish someone had told you? What is it that keeps you going back (esp laps around your home area!)

Wallman says: Hi Georgie Girl

Many thanks for your congratulations and THREE questions (Fetch, are three allowed???).

What advice would your give to someone taking on the journey of ultras?
Only start with ultras if you've got a lot of time to burn and supportive people around you. Ok, this isn't necessarily true but it helps!

What do you wish someone had told you?

Ultras can be addictive and you'll always be looking for a harder/longer fix...

What is it that keeps you going back (esp laps around your home area!)
I guess that I don't want to slip into a mundane life of TV, alcohol and takeaways. I manage all three of those very well but if I was to stop I'd soon slip into a black hole of unhealthy living!
With regards to running laps around my home area, it's really surprising how much ground you can cover in a three mile radius. Even with 268 Spine miles in my three mile radius there are still plenty of other roads, tracks and trails to explore!


Ness asks: Congratulations, what advice would give to a runner to help with avoiding injuries in preparation for a race?

Wallman says: Hi Ness

I think if you plan carefully for your race(s) you can stay relatively injury free. It's when you've left training to late and try to cram it in that the injuries occur.

All of my training and races are off road, either trail or fell so I'll train on this sort of terrain. A couple of times I've tried to up the milage on roads and it's resulted in injury so I'll avoid the tarmac as much as possible now.

Another thing is a few weeks before a big race I'll stick to runs with low injury risk (no big scree runs, no dodgy boulder hopping, stop playing head torch chicken with my mad mates, etc....).

Hope this helps

Mushroom asks: Congrats. Do you have a favourite piece of kit that you've used long past its 'best before date', or one that you've bought time and time again?

Wallman says: Hi Mushroom (Did you pick that?)

My favourite piece of kit is a buff/toob/multi-function-head-wear or whatever you like to call it!

I must have 50+ of these simple but highly functional bits of gear and love them. I still have my first Buff that my wife bought me. It's a really colourful one that makes me smile when I see it!

As I run quite a bit I'm a big fan of buying things from Decathlon as it's great value for money and the returns policy is great if you have any problems.

I always find it hard to throw away my old worn out trainers so I have to take the laces out as keep-sakes!

All of the above is slightly off-topic but is better than a simple 'NO' to your question ;-)


Night-owl asks: Congratulations. Have you an ultimate ambition in the world of ultra

Wallman says: Hi Night Owl,

I'd love to run a really big route, self supported somewhere exciting.

500+ miles
A coast to coast route would be nice.
It would have to have mountains most of the way.
Sunshine is nice but so is cold!

There's a lot of GR routes that fit the bill!

Any suggestions?


SusiesueH asks: Well done WW on MOTM and on your running achievements. What’s your favourite food to fuel you during and after your runs?

Wallman says: Hi SusieSue

Ha, You've asked a topical question there!

There's a lot of talk, articles and science out there about the best and most nutritional food and drink that you should replenish your body with for maximum results.

After listening, watching and reading about advice on this subject, I have to consider very hard what's going to work best for me and also consider what distance and duration I'll be out...

It's taken many years to figure out but I think I can reveal the secrets of my relentless push forward to complete these ultras and refuelling strategies afterwards-

On the run- Mars bars and jelly babies/snakes for sweet stuff, crisps (Seabrooks) and peanuts for savoury. These work best on the run but if you want to really fill the belly then a good old Ginsters (sausage roll/pasty) works very well. If you can't find a Ginsters then anything with pastry and a meat filling will do! If I've got time and the ingredients, I'll knock up a mean ham & blue cheese sandwich/wrap before a big day out.

Refuelling after a monster run is easy- Chinese, Indian, Fish 'n Chips, Kabab or steak & chips usually fits the bill perfect, washed down with a beer or two then a glass of red.

I'm sure other people will tell you different but don't get too hung up about about high performance this and that... I've seen far too many people freak out about forgetting their favourite gel/protein bar/sports drink and it ruining their race (supposedly)!

Disclaimer- I'm an ultra plodder that takes far more pride in finishing a big race than trying to get a top position (I'm still slightly competitive though ;-) ).
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