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Member of the Month - K5 Gus

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RRR-CAZ asks: Congrats K5 If you were able to get your hands on any sporting event what would you choose to watch ?

K5 Gus says: Thanks RRR-CAZ. I love watching loads of different sports. Some are definitely more suited to TV watching, eg one of the alpine stages on the Tour de France when there are lots of attacks going on is truly epic, but you'd not see anything hardly watching it in person. I think I'd have to say tickets for the Super Saturday at the track and field session at the Olympics, normally loads of fantastic races and field events, and with any luck some Brits up there challenging too !
pedroscalls asks: Congratulations K5, my question is if time and money were no object what race or route would you love to do?

K5 Gus says: Thanks oh that's a hard one pedroscalls, so many great races out there to be run !!
A number of years ago I did an overland expedition down through Chile and back up through Argentina to Brazil - I loved the whole trip, but the highlight for me was Torres Del Paine national park in Patagonia right down the bottom of South America - the scenery there is truly awesome.

I wasn't really in to running at the time I was there, more hiking, but they have a series of races there ultrapaine.com and I'd love to go back and do the 80k
Bazoaxe asks: A well deserving winner. Gus, you are unusual in that you ran some cracking times as a youngster, then stopped running before coming back later in life and then getting back close to those early times. My question, if you had stuck at running:
1) Where do you think you would have got to?
2) Where do you think your running be right now?


K5 Gus says: Thanks Baz, that's very kind of you. You would not believe the number of times I have asked myself those very same questions. I think if I'd found a club to join when I moved to Edinburgh after university I might have stuck with the running, but I tried a couple and none of them really clicked, and I drifted off and got into hillwalking ( and going to the pub lots after work rather than going running !!! ). The hillwalking was great, don't get me wrong - been all over Scotland ( and the world ! ) with many truly magical days out.
If I'd kept running I think I definitely would have kept improving, looking back the times I did were off of limited and pretty unstructured training. I would definitely have got under the magical 3 hour marathon barrier, not sure about 2:45 though, that might have been a step too far ! I'd probably have moved to ultras a lot earlier as well, given my love of being on trails and in the hills.
There again, perhaps I would have picked up serious injuries, or burnt myself out, or something else and would not be able to still be running now - you just never know, so I'm happy to say I have no real regrets.
westmoors asks: Well done. If you could meet anybody, past or present, who would it be and why?

K5 Gus says: Thanks westmoors, tough question !!
I enjoyed the recent BBC series Icons, which covered many of the greats from different aspects of life ( leaders, explorers, scientists, entertainers, activists, sports, artists and writers ). The one I was rooting for was Ernest Shackleton from the Explorers. He sounds like he was a truly remarkable man, showing an indomitable spirit, great courage, and true leadership in what he achieved. It would be amazing to meet him over dinner and find out more about him, what made him tick and motivated him to carry on when all seemed lost.
Ness asks: Congratulations, K5 Gus. What’s your favourite for long run / ultra race refuelling on the go?

K5 Gus says: Thanks Ness - I seem to be really lucky compared to lots of other runners in that I, touch wood, seem to have a cast-iron stomach and never get any GI issues on runs and can eat pretty much what I like. For ultras I like a mixture of sweet and savoury, for savoury then slices of pepperoni pizza really hit the spot, and for sweet then a nice moist fruit or sultana cake. For shorter runs then tend to stick to Clif Shot Blocks which are really easy to carry and eat on the go.
Carpathius asks: Congratulations Gus! Cake during a race, yes or no? And if yes, what sort?

K5 Gus says: Thanks Carpathius, oh yes definitely cake, I love cake !! I'm talking ultras here, by the way, in case anyone's wondering if I stuff my shorts pockets full of cake for a parkrun ( what do you mean it's not a race ?? ) or the local 10k, etc. As per one of my previous answers then a nice fruit cake or sultana cake always hits the spot, as long as it's nice and moist, you don't want dry cake ( unless you have a cup of tea or coffee to go with it and then it's fine !!! )
STOOSH asks: Well done Gus - i noticed you have a calendar full of ultra races next year. Have you fallen over to the darkside or do you plan to race over that flat tarmac nonsense? ;-)

K5 Gus says: Cheers Stoosh - a bit like yourself I seem to have slowly but surely "moved over", starting with one short ultra a year, and gradually increasing distance and quantity - they're addictive !!! It's not really a difficult choice between running across Rannoch Moor in the Devil, or running around the petro-chemical plant at the Grangemouth 10k, is it ? Also as I get older the chances of PBs seem to have gone at the shorter distances, so running races where times are not the main reason for doing the race, is more appealing. Saying that, I will still do some of "the flat tarmac nonsense" now and again just to see where I am, and also to have a go at some of the club age records. I move into a new 5 year age band in the summer so an incentive to have a go ( well for 2nd place only, coz there's a very speedy older guy who has put all the outright M55 age records well out of sight !! )
HappyG(rrr) asks: Many congrats Gus. Crikey, many questions, hope not too personal, given I know you rather well from hours of muddy, wet running up hilly places! Can I ask, how have you been able to become a full time athlete at such a young age and how does it compare training and doing so well at our age now, compared to your successes (3 hr marathon) at a younger age. Well done again. Hope to see you about some time soon. Cheers, :-) G

K5 Gus says: Hey thanks Happy G, not seen you for ages, hope to bump into you at a race sometime. I not sure I would call myself a full time athlete - to me that implies training twice a day, plus gym sessions, regular physio, proper diet etc, etc. I try and run most days, but never do any core or stretching, and my diet is not the best ! I guess how I came to be not working in my late 40's was a combination of luck and life circumstances - being single with no dependents was a major factor, as was working for the one company for 25 years who had an excellent redundancy policy and pension scheme !
I wish I knew all the stuff I know about training now, back in my late teens thru to mid 20s - there was no internet then, and as a poor student I couldn't afford Running, or whatever the one running magazine was back then, so I just ran as hard as I could every time I went out in my Hi-Tec Silver Shadows, thinking if it wasn't hurting it wasn't doing me any good. Did my 3:00:50 marathon off of about 35-40 mpw and think my longest run was 16 or 17 miles !! Oh how I suffered in the 2nd half of the race !!
RFJ asks: Congratulations, what is your favorite race (not necessarly best race) you have done to date and why?

K5 Gus says: Thanks RFJ, I think my favourite race is one that my club organises. It's a trail half marathon in the Pentland Hills on the outskirts of Edinbrugh. It's called the 7 Resevoirs Half Marathon, because as you could guess, it passes alongside 7 different reservoirs on the loop. It's a nice mixture of road sections, single track, landrover tracks and muddy hillside, with a few decent climbs and also some fast downhill runable sections. It's always held on the first Sunday in December, so the weather can play a part - the first year it was run it should probably have been cancelled, it had rained a lot the day before, then the weather front cleared and an exceptionally cold night followed and the whole course was covered in sheet ice where the water had been running off the hills. I've ran it 4 times ( and trained on the trails many dozens of times ) and never get tired of it.
run free asks: Congratulations Gus. What do you think is the best way to convince runners to put the environment first rather than their PB? And what is the best way to convince organisations to put the environment first over profit?

K5 Gus says: Many thanks run free. I suppose there's two main aspects to the environmental impact of races - a) the travel involved in all the runners ( often hundreds, sometimes thousands ) getting to the race, and b) the waste created by the event itself ( plastic cups, water bottles, race numbers, gel wrappers, medals, etc ). The most blunt solution therefore would be not to hold any races, and we just run locally for enjoyment and time ourselves over known distances if we want to test our fitness levels. I think it would be hard to convince runners not to organise and attend races though, but perhaps we should think a bit more about only attending more local races, is there really the need to travel half way around the world to run a marathon when there's loads relatively close by. I certainly haven't raced outside Scotland for a couple of years now.
As far as race organisers putting environment first over profit - then I've no real idea. I've never been involved in the organising of a race, so no concept of how the financing works, how much profit is made, etc. I suppose it will vary enormously between small club-organised races, and large commercial races. I know I very rarely do any of the large races anymore, they tend to be the ones that are both expensive and have lots of "stuff" you don't need given to you at the end. I much prefer low-key club-organised races, where you get a cup of tea and some home baking in the village hall afterwards.

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2017
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2016
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2012
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2011
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2010
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2007
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