Mark Darbyshire is no newbie when it comes to ultramarathons. With a decorated race list, Mark has spent years perfecting his training, nutrition, and strategy around the sport. Over the years, we have marvelled as Mark has competed in races like UTMB, Ultra-Trail Snowdonia, Arc50, Lakes Traverse 100km, and the 13 Valleys Ultra.
Most recently, he won the Arc of Attrition, a 100-mile race along the South West Coastal Path, taking in iconic sights like Lands End, St Ives and Portreath.
Mark had previously won the event in 2022 at 19:12:48, setting a new course record. In 2023, he won the Arc50 in 7:39:31. He returned this year intending to break his 100-mile course record.
However, he did reveal that his running journey started relatively late, running his first half-marathon when he was 35. Nevertheless, he completed this first event at around 1:45, foreshadowing an exceptional running career.
“I did two marathons after that, the Manchester Marathon and the Berlin Marathon. I found the marathon distance quite hard. I kept getting injured because you have to run faster.”
To combat this, he began trail running in the Brecon Beacons, where his dad lives, falling in love with the trails out there. He ran his first Ultra in 2017, the Beacons Ultra, where he placed 5th overall.
An anaesthesiologist associate, Mark says much of his training comes from a five-mile run to and from work most days. He even did away with his car as he realised he was paying for it to sit on his driveway.
“As I’ve got a bit older, I’ve incorporated more strength stuff into my training because I certainly don’t recover as quick as I used to, that’s for sure. I don’t really do that much speed work, to be honest. I get injured if I do, so I’ve cut back on that. I do a lot of hill work instead these days, which seems to work. And then obviously getting out to the mountains, that’s the fun bit of the training.
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