A runner with PH in his bottles made national headlines during the lockdown in the UK as he ran a marathon in his garden to raise money for a cancer charity.
James Page had been training for 11 months for the Marathon des Sables and London Marathon, but the postponements of both races meant he needed to find a different challenge to keep his fitness ticking over.
Rather than letting all of his training go to waste, James ran 873 laps of his garden to complete the 26-mile marathon distance and help him smash his fundraising target for Children With Cancer UK.
Hi James, thanks for taking the time to speak to us - it sounds like it's been a busy few days with newspaper interviews, as well as radio and TV appearances! How on earth did the idea of running a marathon in your garden come about?
Hi guys, I've been a bit out of my comfort zone with all of this media stuff to be honest!
When I found out that London Marathon and MdS had both been postponed, I felt a bit stagnant. I always need a challenge or race to keep focused, and so I was just out on a walk with my family when I wondered how big my garden is.
So I put my GPS watch on when I got home and walked around to work out the circumference of the garden.
I then just went for it the next day - at first I was going to do a 10-miler or a half marathon, but then I thought let's just go for the full marathon!
Credit: James Page ©
So, you ended up doing 873 laps of your ~50-metre garden. Was it a challenge to keep things interesting during your 4 hours and 57 minutes of running?
It helped that it was a nice, sunny day and the kids were out there supporting me; it was just nice to be doing a challenge.
My little boy is 11 and my little girl is 18 months, and they were out of there throughout the day. My lad was filming and taking photos, while my wife would come out and watch too. It was good because when you do a normal race, you only get to see your family at the finish line.
It sounds like you had a perfect support team with you - were your family looking after your nutrition and hydration during the day?
I set up a table and had bottles of water and bottles with my PH 1000 set up. I made sure I labelled them so I could take the one I fancied each time, and then I had stuff like nuts, which I could just grab on the way round.
Credit: James Page ©
And I understand you changed direction every 20 minutes or so to help ease the pressure on the joints?
I get really bad hips and knees, so I have to go to a physio every week, and the changes of direction definitely helped.
I'm not really a natural runner. I only got into ultra racing last September and I found I was cramping up really badly later in races, which was why I emailed you guys at PH. I kept trying to push through but I was in agony and I knew something wasn't right.
I just thought it was an injury or a weakness in my body, but then I took an Advanced Sweat Test at the MdS Expo and it was a game changer for me.
The test showed my salt losses were quite high and the off-the-shelf electrolytes I'd been using obviously hadn't been doing the job, so now I'm using the PH 1500 tablets the night before and about 90 minutes before any of my long runs.
During my runs, I'll carry a pack with a PH 1000 and water and take sips between the two, which has been ideal.
Credit: James Page ©
Great to hear, James. And are you still planning to run MdS and the London Marathon when they hopefully take place later this year?
Oh yeah. One hundred percent. It's been postponed to mid-September now but I've spent eleven months training. I've spent so much money and so much time away from the family and kids, there's no way I can let it go now.
I'm just trying to keep up the training because I just don't want to let slip after eleven months.
I'm just thinking of my next challenge to do now!
Brilliant, good luck James!
James is raising money for the charity Children With Cancer UK after both of his parents were diagnosed with cancer last year. If you would like to donate, visit James's Just Giving Page or take part in the charity's Together As One run.