Sunday, 2 December 2012


Neil Bryant: Male Ultra Performance of the Year

Neil Bryant recently completed an epic journey across Europe which involved running, on average, 40 miles per day for an incredible 64 days! What makes this even more incredible is that he, perhaps, should never have started. He took a fall during the UTSW in July and posted a picture of his ankle looking blue/black and every colour inbetween- it was also the size of a melon. How he got through this I will never know...well let’s ask. The race was the Trans-Europe footrace (TE) and you can read about it here

Q: First Neil congratulations on a massive 2012 but I have to ask- recovered? What does your training look like at the minute and how long did you take off after TransEurope (TE)?

N: Thanks Richard. A week after finishing I went back to work which is an 8 mile commute each way on my bike. This is normally no bother at all, but I was really surprised by just how much my strength had waned and even more so, my fitness. I was puffing and panting like it was my first time! Each day my strength builds. Four weeks after the end of TE I ran Likeys Beacons Ultra. Maybe not sensible, but I couldn’t resist. It was really tough but I managed to go only 50 minutes slower than last year. The next weekend I ran a muddy 10k. I do have a foot pain which needs to fix though so those are the only runs I have done. No training yet!

Q. Can’t believe you have raced again already! Did you expect to finish TE or was this always going to be some kind of experiment for you?

N: With my success in the JOGLE came a confidence in my mind and body. I believed that I could do it, but whether anything would stop me, such as a bad injury or accident was an unknown. The length intimidated me too. Who knows what I would be thinking at the half way point when I still had 32 days left! So, yes it most certainly was an experiment. I always say that my running is like one big experiment.  Big results are nice, but not everything to me. I am in it for the experience and the variety that the sport offers.

Q. Variety is an interesting point because the list of nominations for the performance of the year was so diverse. We had sensational 50km times to epic 100mile course records and right through to your 4000km 2month run. If you couldn’t pick yourself, who would you choose as this year’s Male performance of the year?

N: Hmmm. That’s a tough one. So many incredible performances to choose from. Probably Pat Robbins at the 24hrs. He has struggled to transfer his incredible GUCR performances to the track, and this year at the world championships he did it. Sensational stuff!

Q. Very credible shout! Tell us what your schedule looks like for next year. Seems as though you can’t really run longer......right?

N: Maybe a Bob Graham in the first part of the year, though I need to get organising! I am entered into the UTSW again. I have a score to settle there after my injury during this years. Closely followed by the Ring. And my main race of the year will be the Tor Des Geants. Over the Christmas period I have chalked in running the UTSW route from this year. I ran 100 miles on the Offa’s Dike last year midwinter and really enjoyed(?) it so thought another winter 100 would be fun. Maybe starting some sort of tradition! I’m sure my year will get padded out with other challenges, but for now that is it.

Q. Some really authentic mountain runs planned their. Tor Des Geants and a BGR will certainly test those climbing legs! What do you have planned beyond 2013? Any pipeline dreams?

N: I have many ideas. After my success at TE, my confidence seems to have grown. I believe I can achieve things I would have thought impossible for me 10 years ago. I often read about long trails all over the world that run for thousands of kms and my first thought is whether it would be a good run. My next step seems simple to me. I need to organise my own ‘long run’. TE was truly an incredible experience, but everything was done for us. I can only imagine at the scale of satisfaction that would come with a self-organised expedition. All I need to do is choose my trail then get organising. Any offers for sponsorship?
Yeah guys....offers on a postcard. Would be great to get a Karl Meltzer Red bull type deal for this J

Quick fire questions-
1.       Favourite race in the UK
N: The Fellsman (Could have put many races in here)
2.       If you could only race one more time, which would you choose
N: Tor Des Geants
3.       Non-running item you can’t live without
N: My phone (sad but true!)
4.       Favourite running item
N: This is ever changing. At the moment I would say my Salomon pack.
5.       Biggest Running inspiration
N: The back of the packers who finish with a smile and keep coming back for more. Incredible spirit!
6.       Favourite Training session
N: A 100 miler on a national trail. I don’t really train as such!

Q. Finally, one little nugget of Neil Bryant advice for all Ultra Runners?
N: This is a very personal sport that people do for their own reasons, but one rule should hold for everyone, and that is that everyone of us should love what you’re doing. It should bring a smile to your face no matter how much it hurts!

Neil Bryant has put up some fantastic race reports over the last few years featuring races from abroad and the UK. With such an epic year planned for 2013 make sure you follow his site regularly for updates on his progress! Take a look here


  1. seems like he is in it for the right reasons, his comments make me even more convinced that i made the right voting decision. Sounds like we might be voting for him again. What would he need at TdG? Sub 100hr that would impressive if just finishing the damn thing wouldnt be impressive enough

  2. Would love to see a few brits at TdG. I know they wouldn't necessarily race one another but....Terry Conway and Neil Bryant slogging it out at TdG? Terry has the mountain advantage but Neil has the distance/stubbornness advantage. Epic!