Jeri first began running ultramarathons five years ago and has been training with Andy from Mile 27 for 18 months. She has since gone on to complete races such as the gruelling Tor Des Geants, among many others. Unlike those who are attracted to the big races, with big profiles and big numbers, Jeri prefers the smaller, more community-led races that encourage meeting and supporting others. Read more about Jeri and her running life below.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTERESTED IN THE SPORT?
I’ve always preferred endurance sport as speed is not my forte. I joined the St Austell Running Club in 2009 when I was based in the UK, and was introduced to both trail running and ultramarathons. I did my first ultra that summer and the rest, as they say, is history.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVOURITE RACE SO FAR?
I have enjoyed every race I’ve done, perhaps some a little more than others, but it’s the smaller, more local races that I prefer. My first 100 miler at The Great North Walk 100s and the Lantau 70 would be a couple of my top picks. A tight-knit community, smiling faces everywhere and generous support from everyone.
WHAT IS ONE OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS FROM A RACE?
Where do I start? Meeting lovely people, experiencing some of the most beautiful trails in the world, pushing my personal boundaries above and beyond my expectations, the list is endless. Perhaps the one constant is the sunrise. It never fails to bring fresh hope and energy after a long night.
WHAT DO YOU FEEL HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ULTRAMARATHON ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR?
To have finished the Tor Des Geants – a 330km, 24,000m D+ race that tested me beyond what I thought I could achieve. Weather, injury, fatigue and unexpected events made for a truly memorable experience.
WHAT IS ON YOUR RACING BUCKETLIST?
I don’t really have one. When I started in triathlon, the goal was to get to Kona and with ultras, it was UTMB, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have done both. I don’t usually aspire to do big name races, it’s the obscure little ones that intrigue me. I’d like to do some of the Indonesian ones, such as Mt Rinjani and Gede-Pangrango, hopefully next year when the dates don’t clash with anything else!
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT FROM ULTRAMARATHONS? WHAT HAVE THEY TAUGHT YOU ABOUT LIFE AND YOURSELF?
Ultramarathons are like a microcosm of life. There are ups and downs, but regardless of how you feel or what happens, time ticks on. You can spend your time at a checkpoint feeling sorry for yourself, or get up off your ass and get on with it. If things aren’t going according to plan, adapt the plan. And just when you think you have nothing left, dig deeper. You’d be surprised. I know now that it’s not my body but my brain that is the strongest.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF TRAINING?
Feeling how much I’m progressing over the weeks. It’s great to feel the strength building, together with focus and knowing you’re working towards achieving your race goals.
HOW DO YOU FEEL YOU HAVE BENEFITED FROM TRAINING WITH MILE 27?
Both physically and mentally. Andy has been great at adapting my training plans to fit my crazy work schedule, and making sure I get the key sessions in if all else fails. Solid advice on anything from race strategy and nutrition, to how to work around injuries and the lack of trails or time.
WHAT IS THE ONE TIP YOU WOULD GIVE A FELLOW ATHLETE TO HELP THEM ENJOY THE EXPERIENCE OF RUNNING AN ULTRA MORE?
Learn. You can always take something away from every race experience, regardless of the result. As long as you can relax and learn from both your mistakes and your successes, every ultra will be an enjoyable experience.
WHAT IS YOUR NEXT RACE?
The first edition of the Ultra Trail Gobi Race at the end of September 2015. It’s a 400km single-stage race that will be a perfect challenge for me, and warm, for once! I also have The Magnificent Merapoh Trail, an eco-trail run through the heritage Merapoh limestone caves and the 100 mile Diagonale des Fous on Reunion Island.