Athletes

4 Extreme Athletes – Pushing Things To The Max!

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Tom Randall, Climber Get outdoorsTom Randall, Climber

Tom Randall is a worldclass rock climber who is passionate about exploring the boundaries and sharing his experiences with others. He has travelled around the world establishing first ascents and repeating some of the world’s hardest routes.

You’ve climbed some of the trickiest routes in the world. what’s the hardest challenge you’ve faced?

I think the hardest challenge I’ve completed so far has to be completing the ‘first ascent’ of a 24-hour climbing challenge in the Peak District. It consisted of 23 hours of mainly free solo climbing over 100 climbs, a lot by head torch, and also 23 miles of running between various locations. It nearly broke me!

What’s your next challenge?

My climbing partner Pete Whittaker and I are trying to make the first ascent of the hardest trad route in the world in Utah, USA. It’s a giant roof climb of 200ft of horizontal terrain in which you’re upside down for at least 30 minutes. I’m not sure it’s possible… but that’s what makes it appealing!

How much is your training divided by climbing and other strength work? 

The vast amount of my time nowadays is spent training and doing strength work, as I have a business to run, young children and various other commitments. It was this lack of time that lead to me developing an energy system board called a Lattice Board, which is a bit like the concept of an Ergo training machine for rowers. It’s simple, but very effective!

What are the most useful moves/exercises we can do to develop muscles for climbing?

My favourite tool for training good upper body strength and conditioning is a simple bar or the TRX/rings you find in most gyms. The key is to compliment high intensity work (reps of 2-8) with a lot of high volume/lower intensity work, which conditions the muscles aerobically.

With climbing, the focus of training is hugely on the upper body. We look at the forearm, shoulders and core as the main areas of training effort. For the forearm, it’s a lot of climbing (hard and easy) and also some basic gym work with heavy curls. For our shoulders and core, we do the above mentioned bar/TRX work and also floor work for the core. In my opinion, it’s essential  for high-end performers to do a certain amount of floor  work, as they will have pre-fatigued in their shoulders, so quality could be compromised if you continued to work your core in a hanging position. Many of the floor exercises out there get around this problem.

Does nutrition play a big part in climbing?

The key thing is eating good quality ingredients and something that digests easily during the day of training. I used to eat sandwiches and pasta, but I felt incredibly groggy afterwards and my training was compromised. I’ve now switched to a high-quality Paleo bar called Primal Pantry Bars. They’re not too big, taste natural (I hate the processed taste of many other things) and even my kids love them.

Tom is sponsored by: Wild Country, Rab, Sterling Rope, Five Ten and his own business ventures are Sublime Climbing and Lattice Training.

Chase Armitage Free Runner and DirectorChase Armitage, Free runner & director

Founder of the world famous 3run parkour team, chase and his team travel the world working on feature films, stunts, commercials, live shows, promotional events and producing their own mind-bending films and commercials. he also runs the 3run academy in Basingstoke.

You’ve done free running all over the world. what has been the hardest challenge?

I will always remember the time I shot a commercial in the Ukraine with my brother; we were being chased around a dock by two huge Doberman dogs!

Favourite stunt? 

It has to be jumping off a 13-story building while shooting a big commercial in Cape Town. I used a hosepipe to slow me down, Die Hard style!

What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?

I remember shooting The Bill many years ago and we came up with the idea to do ‘a gainer’ – a forward traveling backflip – from a bridge into a moving flat bed truck. Timing had to be spot on. I nailed it every time, but the danger rating was high.

What do you love about free running/parkour?

I love that it’s a way of life, a complete personal development system. It teaches you to overcome fears in the physical world, which translate into every-day life. So when I overcame the fear of flipping between two rooftops, I realised I shouldn’t fear silly things that are sometimes just in the mind, like being confident in a business meeting or approaching a girl. Parkour has kept me incredibly fit and you develop a very agile and strong body.

Some of your moves require exceptional strength…How have you developed that?

My approach to training is to make it fun, as passion is the thing that really fuels me. I built a parkour gym in my bark garden from Bamboo, so I train on that most days. I also do a lot of indoor and outdoor rock climbing, and make good use of our indoor facility at the  3RUN Academy, which is incredible for learning crazy new moves and taking them outside. I do some weight training and general fun conditioning at the gym. Other than that I just fill my life with physical activity. I snowboard, cycle, skydive, swim, hike… anything outdoors and which connects me to nature. I have recently taken up yoga and meditation, which is incredible. I wish I had found it earlier. I went to Amsterdam to train with Wim Hoff, the Ice Man, he is incredible. Look him up!

What is your top tip for getting a Six-Packs?

My approach to training is to make it fun, as passion is the thing that really fuels me. I built a parkour gym in my bark garden from Bamboo, so I train on that most days. I also do a lot of indoor and outdoor rock climbing, and make good use of our indoor facility at the  3RUN Academy, which is incredible for learning crazy new moves and taking them outside. I do some weight training and general fun conditioning at the gym. Other than that I just fill my life with physical activity. I snowboard, cycle, skydive, swim, hike… anything outdoors and which connects me to nature. I have recently taken up yoga and meditation, which is incredible. I wish I had found it earlier. I went to Amsterdam to train with Wim Hoff, the Ice Man, he is incredible. Look him up!

What is your top tip for getting a six-pack

I always try and eat as clean as possible by avoiding overprocessed foods. I went vegan three years ago and that has helped a lot! It’s not always easy when I’m on the go, but Primal Pantry bars have made things a bit easier.

For more information about the 3RUN Academy, visit www.3runacademy.com or visit their youtube channel: 3RUNTUBE. You can also follow Chase on Instagram for daily training motivation and inspiration @Chase_Armitage

Adam Sultan, CyclistAdam Sultan, Cyclist

Having spent the last ten years of his life working for the London underground, and after running 15 marathons last year, Adam sultan is attempting to cycle 46,000 miles around the world…

How do you pack for a challenge like this?

I’m going to live out of four panniers, so its about taking the essentials. Everything I came across in my flat before I left, I was asking myself ‘have I used this in the past year?’ And if the answer was no, it went to the charity shop.

Why are you doing it?

I’ve always liked the idea of adventure, so I started going to adventure talks about things like cycling around the world and running continents, and I was left in pure amazement.

Presumably a fair amount of training needs to go into this…

Yes and no; I think the training side of it is more mental. Last summer I cycled the length of Britain – Lands End to John O’Groats – and it made me realise how naive I’d been in telling people I was planning to cycle around the world; I’d never ever done anything like this before. However, cycling Britain gave me time by myself to discover what I like and dislike, the highs and lows, and the belief that I could actually do it, whereas before it was just word.

What does your physical training consist of?

It varies, anything between 20/30km and 160km or 100 miles on a given day. 

What inspired you to do this?

To list a few people, I’d include Dave Cornthwaite and his Expedition 1000, ethos and way of life. Anna McNuff is a friend of mine who cycled around the US, and last year she ran the length of New Zealand. Also Tom Allen… just going on his website – tomsbiketrip.com – will make you want to cycle tour.

You said last year was tough, in what way?

I started in Land’s End and the first few days through Devon and Cornwall were incredibly tough, but I was glad to have those at the beginning because by the time I got to Scotland I had more confidence in my abilities. Also, the Scottish climbs and mountains are steady, and you can just put your bike in a low gear and pedal slowly. You’ve also got the scenery, which helps; whatever climb you’re on, you’ve just got to hope that the view at the top is incredible and quite often that’ll keep you going.

And you’re raising money for charity on your trip? 

I am. Three summers ago I was out in Madagascar volunteering with a charity called SEED Madagascar, we were in a remote part of South East Madagascar camping in a small village called Sainte Luce and it had a huge impact on me. In the rainforest, we were collecting research and data, which they analyse to help prevent some of the deforestation. They also build schools to provide better education for future generations.

Adam is raising money for SEED Madagascar, a conservation and humanitarian charity – for more info and to find out how you could have your own Madagascan adventure head to www.madagascar. co.uk. You can also follow Adam on Facebook.com/adamslifeyears, Twitter/Instagram @ridetheworld24 (using the hasthtag #RideTheWorld) or online www.adamtsultan.com

Shauney Watson, Runner

A riding instructor and hypnotherapist, shauney is training to complete the everest marathon in 2017 and raise money forhorseback uk, a veterans’ mental health charity.

Why the Everest Marathon?

After I completed the Loch Ness Marathon last summer for Combat Stress, I felt a bit down. I’d been so focused on raising money for five months that I didn’t know what to do with myself when it was over. I still felt strongly for the cause – helping ex service men and women with mental health problems caused by conflict – but it didn’t feel right to just keep doing marathons. I had to do something that made people think: “Oh gosh, will you really manage that?” So I started looking for something a bit bigger, a bit more exciting. That’s when I found the Everest  Marathon online. It involves a 15-day hard acclimatisation trek to Everest base camp followed by a gruelling marathon with little available oxygen and torturous temperature differences.

How for something like this?

Road running alone won’t be enough. I need multi-terrain, mountain-running experience over very long distances. You have to show the organisers that you can put yourself through hell … and survive.

I decided my first step should be to get an ultra marathon under my belt, in Scotland. The six months beforehand were the biggest learning curve of my running experience so far. It was filled with so many injuries, so much frustration and doubt, but in the end I did it! I complete my first ultra-marathon in 11 hours 36 minutes. This proved to me that maybe I actually could do this thing, and raise the money I’d planned to.

What’s next?

I’m planning to do my first Category C hill race marathon, a mountain running skills weekend in August (to brush up on those navigational skills) and the Ben Nevis Ultra Marathon in September. I’m hoping all this allows me entry to the Isle of Jura Fell Race, which in turn should see me qualify for the Everest Marathon. I’m a long way off yet, but every training session, every race, is counting towards Everest, and Everest is what will hopefully raise a decent amount of money to help out these deeply scarred soldiers who have laid their lives down for this country and have been left to live with the consequences, both mentally and physically.

What’s your advice for anyone else looking to do something more than just a marathon?

My best advice would be to build up slowly! I have tried to whack up the intensity on my training so often, based purely on the fact I want the end result so badly. What I failed to realise each time was that I was actually holding myself back. You really must build up slowly for just two or three weeks then take a recovery week. And by ‘recovery’ I mean really care for yourself – stop giving yourself a hard time. You need food, massages and downtime. It’s not all about putting yourself through hell to get stronger.”

Follow Shauney’s preparations on Twitter using the hashtag #RunWatsonRun

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