Scottish doctor, Andrew Murray, has retained his title as champion of the Genghis Khan Ice Marathon, one of the toughest physical feats on the planet.
Dr. Andrew Murray travelled to the Arctic plains of Mongolia to compete in the race and has recently returned to Britain as a double champion. The GP and Merrell ambassador won the race in a time of 3 hours 32 mins after gliding across a frozen river network, braving temperatures of -50oC and evading packs of wild wolves. We have had the opportunity to find out more about Dr Murray’s love of running.
How did you first get in to running?
I’ve always enjoyed playing all kinds of sport, and being in the great outdoors, but did a load of travelling 10 years ago which meant playing the likes of tennis and football impractical . So I did some running and climbing, and have carried on from there. It turns out im not much good at climbing (having broken a few bones) so do more running now
How and why did you move to ultra-running?
Its a fantastic way to see the world. You see so much more running than if you were moving in a car, and if you want to see a lot of a place you need to run far! But in all seriousness what actually triggered it was I was running the Everest Marathon, met a few ultra-runners, and I was sold
What is your greatest running achievement?
I guess one of my first big runs was a 4300km run from John O’Groats to the Sahara desert, running an average of over 34 miles a day every day for 2 and a half months. It was pretty hard work through the mountains of spain and morocco. In saying that I got overtaken by a donkey twice
What is your all-time favourite event and why?
A good friend of mine Donnie Campbell and I completed the first run across the Namib desert. It is an absolutely stunning part of the world, although 380 metre dunes and temps of 45 degrees as a maximum proved a challenge
What would you normally eat in the lead up to an event?
In general I eat a fairly healthy and balanced diet. Plenty fresh fruit and veg. The day before a big run I will eat large amounts of carbohydrate. During a run small amounts of carbs often. Immediately after a long run protein to repair muscles, and carbs to replace the fuel ive used up
What piece of kit would you not be without on race day?
Shoes- a golfer needs their golf clubs and runners need their favourite shoes. Mine are Merrell All Out Rush
Who and what inspires you? And why?
My dad. He always has a smile on his face. In running terms I have spent a bit of time working as a sports medicine doctor out at training camps in Kenya. The athletes out there are absolutely awesome. Dedication to training, attention to detail in terms of sleep and nutrition.
In one sentence, sum up what running means to you?
It’s my form of transport and keeps me happy
When you suffer an injury, how do you get through it?
That depends on the nature of the injury. There is no one size fits all. The principles are a) work out what the injury is b) and how to make it better and c) how to prevent it coming back. I get about 100 emails a day from people asking about running injuries (unfortunately i cant answer emails about individual injuries online) so wrote a small book called “Running Your Best- Some Science and Medicine” that will help people have good strategies for this
Have you any advice for someone who is thinking of taking up ultra running?
Go for it – but build up gradually. I went 10km, 1/2 marathon, full marathon before running ultras. Many people find the last few miles of a marathon to be the most difficult, so i think it helps to have run a marathon and be comfortable with it before going longer.
Picture credits: Ben Starav / Race Photography