Q&A with our GrimReaper sports therapist Gary Benson



Gary Benson pictured bottom right at the GrimReaper 2011

Q&A with our GrimReaper sports therapist Gary Benson

1. Tell us about yourself, your family, where you are from , what you do, and what your interests are ?

My name is Gary Benson, married to Jane who is competing in the 100 miler, we have 5 kids and work for ourselves, Jane is a Personal Trainer/ Sports therapist and I’m a Sports Therapy Lecturer and assessor
2. How long have you been doing your job, how did you get into it and what sort of clients do you see ?

Ive been in this industry for nearly 10 years after suffering a series of injuries culminating in my shoulder replacement about 7 years ago, I train therapists who go on to work in professional sports and have clients in my clinic ranging from recreational to professional athletes in various sports.

3. You attended the GrimReaper Ultra last year… what did you get up to while you were there,how did you feel the event went and will you be attending in 2012 ?

I attended last years event as support crew for Jane who completed the 70 miler, whilst there I offered my services to assist with marshalling or injury care, the event was superbly organised and the staff were friendly and knowledgeble. I ended up working for nearly 20 hours solid, my table was hardly ever without an athlete perched upon it. I was so busy at times that I rang a colleague who lived locally and he assistend me for several hours overnight. The “control tent” was well equipped, always manned by marshalling staff, full of everything the ultra athlete may have needed.

4. What sort of problems were people having that you were helping them with ?

Ranged from pulled muscles, blisters, chafing injuries across the spectrum to urinary tract infections, I accquired the need for speaking Mandarin Chinese for one athlete who spoke no English, so with a few minutes sign language, some finger pointing and a knee strapping he left and continued his marathon 

5. What sort of advice would you give people entering this event with regards to Food and water intake ?

Food and fluid will do more to help the athlete than they will realise, you simply cant eat enough carbohydrates to fuel 26 hours of aerobic activity, therefore training and competing using suitable energy gels and drinks is a must. On the flip side you can’t stomach enough of these products to complete the event, so a balance of traditional carb loading, gels and drinks is beneficial. Hydration should not be “water” alone, as we progress into the unknown realms of endurance exercise, our body needs more minerals and especially electrolytes. Hydrating with water further dilutes our natural minerals and salts, which can be fatal in extreme circumstances. As a rule of thumb, if your sports drinks taste sickly, you ARE dehydrated. and should reyhdrate with diluted sports drinks (to make them palatable) NOT water.

6. What sort of advice would you give people entering this event with regards to training ?

Have rest days, consume protein post exercise and have regular sports massage or similar, the best advice Jane was given is to adjust the body clock by training at specific times that you know you will still be running, as an example she will do a couple of night runs to test her lighting equipment and to get used to  running in the darkness

7. Do you have any other advice for anyone entering this event ?

firstly;  Fail to prepare , prepare to fail. and secondly as I was told by one of the ultra guys last year ; start slow and get slower

8. If people want to get in touch with you regarding treatment or advice how should they contact you ?

I will be at the event to offer advice, treat your injuries and to enjoy a bowl of the wonderful stew provided for tea ( last year I didnt get time to finish it) so look forward to seeing you and halping you achieve your goals

Colin Edwards shows how his prosthetic leg works and how it will effect his run in the Ocean Floor Race 2013.

Colin Edwards Interview

Trail Runner With One Leg- Meet Colin Edwards

We met Colin for an interview at his home in Devon to find out how a man with one leg has taken up running and is pushing himself by running amazing distances. Colin is just getting over an operation on his stump but is confident his recovery will allow him to run the Ocean Floor Race in February 2013.

Meet George Philips

Meet George Philips- Ocean Floor Race 2013 entrant

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself,  your family, where you live, profession, hobbies etc etc

I am 47 years old, I co-founded an Asian asset management group, Northwest Investment Management (HK), in 1998 and have 26 years experience in finance. Northwest employs 23 people in Hong Kong, and I live here with my wife and 5 daughters. I am the author/ co-author of 4 finance books. I was a black belt in Kyokushin karate at the age of 13 and fought for England and coached the junior England team for a period. Ultra running has filled the gap left by mental and physical challenges once posed by karate throughout what has proved to be a very long ‘mid-life’ crisis. I simply love the loneliness of running alone in remote areas, removed from the everyday ‘treadmill’ and although physically drained when I return, I am often up for all that life has to offer when I return.

2. What attracted you to enter ?

I was desperately searching a ‘one off’, non-stop ultra distance run. My experience from the Jordan Desert Cup is that it makes for a completely different run from the MDS style ‘camp and run’. I don’t like the administration and constant campfire feel to those races- I just want to get on with the race. Strategically, it makes for an entirely different race.

3. Do you have any ultra running experience?


Jordan Desert Cup

Inaugural Jungle Marathon

Gobi March

Sahara ‘4 deserts’

Nepal ‘4 deserts’

4. What do your friends and family think to you entering the event?

I think they accept it now. My wife’s friends are beginning to get ‘pissed’ with me though- all of their husbands are being brought over to the same mentality. One is now off to Mongolia, another to the Gobi, another to a long run in Japan- it’s like a disease J


5. Do you anticipate any problems during the race?

Of course. Dehydration. Dehydration. Dehydration. Most of the other factors hopefully wont kill me. GPS will take some training…planning out the strategy of how to break down the race into its component parts. The rest I think you have to pretend are not happening to you.


6. Are you or will you be raising money for a charity doing this event? If so how did you get involved with the charity and do you have a fundraising target and a place where people can sponsor you?

Yes. Aspire…a spinal injuries charity. They are fantastic. In the past, I have helped raise well in excess of $50,000 for them, so let’s see nearer the time. It’s wonderful to see it actually make a difference.

7. How will you train for this event ?

Well, there’s over a year, so that’s a good start. Second, living in Hong Kong is an advantage…it’s very hot, humid and the terrain is awesome…mountainous etc. They are all pluses. Miles on my legs will be crucial.

8. What would you say to someone who is physically fit but reluctant to take part in an event like this as they don’t think they have what it takes?

I think it is very much a ‘mental thing’- you have to want to do it. Try one race of say 100km, then another. If you get the bug, well, then you know that you have what it brings out in you.

9. Will you take anything with you that isn’t compulsory but you feel will aid you in the challenge? I don’t know yet.

10.What do you think to the time limit of 94 hours and will moving at night be a problem for you?

It sounds good for all. That amount of time will hopefully entice a whole array of runners, from the elite to those who simply want to do it in their own way. It will encourage all types of racing strategy. It’ll be interesting to see how they play out.


Runner Profile-Caroline Hattee

 Meet Grim Reaper 100 Entrant Caroline Hattee

1.  Can you tell us a bit about yourself, (your name, where you live, job , hobbies etc etc) – My name is Caroline and I live in Rutland. I work as a speech and language therapist with children born with cleft lip and palate ( I am aiming to raise money for a great charity called CLEFT whilst doing this) as well as children and adults with speech and language difficulties. I love running and have also taken part in both Ironman 70:30 as well as a full Ironman distance last summer where amazingly I managed to get a third place in my age group !

2.  Have you any ultra running experience and how did you get to the point of entering a race? No ultra running at all. I have completed a couple of London Marathons – my last 7 months after my second child was born. After the Ironman I wanted another challenge. As I hate swimming I wanted to avoid this and just do what I enjoy –  running !!!

3.  How will you be training ? I am training both cycling and running to hopefully try to avoid injuries as much as possible – not sure whether this will be successful yet !


4.  Do you have some sort of plan / tactics of how to complete the race? No just to keep going through the pain !


5.  Will you have any support there to cheer you on on race day? Yes my husband and two children and family as well as friends who think I am completely mad !


6.  What are you looking forward to most on race day ? The sense of achievement in hopefully finishing!


 7.  Do you have any particular equipment or supplies that you feel you need for the race? Good trainers and socks ( a couple of pairs) and my I pod to keep me going with some very upbeat music loaded onto it.


8. Do you have a finish time in mind that you think you will finish in? Just to finish in the cut off would be amazing for me.


9. Have you done much night running and how do you think you will do with it? – no night running at all, although I do plan to do one night run before – this will be the hardest part for me as I love my sleep.


 10. What will you eat during the race? Peanut butter sandwiches, cheese and malt loaf as well as some energy bars. After the Ironman the huge intake of energy bars played havoc with my bowels so I am trying to avoid this in this race !

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