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.
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.
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
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