Nathan Flear demolished the Ham & Lyme 100k course record in 2016 and since then has gone from strength to strength. We think he will do amazing things in 2017. Find out more about him below.....
1. How did you get into running? Did you have a huge natural talent for it or have you been working your way up from further back in the pack?
I only started running in January last year (2015), it all started with a very wheezy 1 mile downhill jog to the bottom of the hill where I live, I then turned around and walked back up the hill to the house. It was tough, and the 16.5 stone I was carrying at the time definitely didn't help.
I kept at it though, slowly jogging around a 1 mile loop of a nearby industrial estate, I was going out every other day adding an extra mile each week and before I knew it I had built my Sunday morning long run up to 6 miles. I then entered my 1st race, the Market Drayton 10k (I'd read that their finisher goody bags were the best in the country) I finished in 48:56 which I was really pleased with as I was aiming for anything under 60 minutes. I was hooked!!
2 Months later I finished the Chiltern Challenge 50k and my love of trail running and ultras was born. Over the next year I worked my way from the middle of the pack to one of the front runners. I train really hard, twice a day, every day but I guess others would say there may be some natural talent then too to see that sort of improvement in a year.
2. What is the race you're most proud of so far and can you tell us a bit about it?
Hmmmm that's a tough question. I'm proud of all my races as I think everyone should be, no matter of where they finish. My 1st race at Market Drayton was all about just finishing, my 1st sub 3hr marathon at Manchester actually reduced me to tears. I recently won the Grand Prix (a series of races throughout the year)at my running club 3M Gorseinon by winning all 7 races I took part in, it's only a small club but I am still very proud to win it. I was immensely proud to win Ham & Lyme 100k and then the Robin Hood 100 Miles a few months later. So yeah, to answer the question, I'm proud of all of them.
3. Why did you want to run for Albion Running?
When Albion approached me I was really excited by it. Albion running is just everything I love about running, their events cater for everyone, they don't take themselves too seriously but seriously enough to ensure a safe and professional event, if you want to be competitive their events offer that challenge but if your goal is to finish then Albion will give you everything and more to ensure a great day of running.
4. What kind of weekly mileage do you do in training? Do you do much in the way of cross training?
My weekly average is between 80 and 120 Miles, I try to hit 100 miles every week but it's not easy trying to juggle work, 3 small children, and running. I go out every morning before the children get up and then again at night when they're in bed, I try to make sure I'm fair with my wife although she may disagree with that
I don't really cross train, I know I should though.. I had some tendonitis after the Robin Hood 100 which I still haven't shaken off 100% so bought a bike on Ebay, I went out a few times and enjoyed it but it doesn't compare to running for me. I know I should do more core work too and I'd love to give yoga a go, it's just finding the time.
5. What are your big running ambitions for next year and for the future?
My number 1 goal was to qualify for Spartathlon which I did by winning the Robin Hood 100. I'd like to go there next September and give it everything but obviously getting there is an achievement in itself and finishing it is also huge but I'd also like to see how well I can actually do in it. I also got into the Welsh team for the national 100k championships, which is obviously something I'm very proud of. I ran 7 hours 50 to qualify and if I can stay injury-free I'll be hoping to better that by as much as I can. I'll also be seeing how I can do in 24 hour races.
I also want to give the marathon a good go, probably at London, follow a proper training programme and see what sort of time I can get.
My main goal though is to try and stay injury free and to keep enjoying my running.
6. Are there any other runners out there who particularly inspire you?
There are far too many.. I'm inspired by different runners of all abilities on a daily basis. Steve Way springs to mind immediately as I see the similarities of where we both started, overweight, heavy smokers, heavy drinkers, etc.. Not sure if I'll be running any sub 2:20 marathons any time soon though.
I have to say though Dan Lawson is absolutely killing it on the Ultra scene at the moment and if I can keep improving he is definitely somebody I aspire to. There are many others too, Scott Jurek, Yiannis Kouros, Kilian Jornet, Robbie Britton, I could go on all day.
7. What shoes do you run in? Why are they your favourite?
For trail I run in Inov8 race Ultra's and road I like the Asics GT 1000 and the Adidas Ultra Boost, to be honest though there are probably better shoes out there but as I go through so many pairs I have to balance quality with affordability and these seem to work pretty well for me.
8. If you could get a free pass into one race in the world next year, all expenses paid, what would it be?
Haha.. What a question!! There are so many I'd love to do, Western States, Badwater, Comrades, MDS, UTMB, Boston, The Barkley, I think though if I had to pick just one it would be Badwater with Comrades coming a close second.
9. Do you have any tips for anyone out there who is wanting to improve their running and start challenging for the win/top 3/top 10 in races?
It's difficult because I think what works for some doesn't necessarily work for others. For me, I saw huge improvements running twice a day every day and building my weekly volume up to 100 miles+. I also eat really well now, I've cut out all refined sugar from my diet, I eat a lot of fruit and veg. I stopped eating meat around 3 months ago but it's too soon to see if that will make any kind of difference.
I'm constantly testing different things on myself in terms of nutrition and training.
As long as you're enjoying your running and feel ready to start increasing mileage or adding some harder weekly sessions into the mix you will see improvements.
10. Do you have any amusing anecdotes about anything that you've seen/experienced in a race?
What I may find amusing during a race will probably not seem very amusing to anyone else. I try to take my mind off the pain in the longer races by finding or thinking of little things that I find funny. I am usually just very happy to be out running no matter the distance, unless it's 5k of course!
There was a point during the last 2 hours of the Robin Hood 100 that I was a prisoner of war escaping from a Nazi camp with 2nd place Alistair Higgins a nazi soldier chasing me, a mixture of tiredness, mind playing tricks, and just thinking of anything to keep me going and getting me over that finish line. It didn't seem amusing at the time but telling the story afterwards seemed to amuse others.. Still no idea where it came from though!
NATHAN WILL BE RUNNING IN THE NATIONAL 100k CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 2017 AS WELL AS RUNNING CONQUEST OF AVALON 50 MILER AND HAM & LYME 100k (FULL RACE CALENDAR COMING SOON)