Earlier this week, 35-year-old support worker, Vicky Hogg, set off to run the length of Great Britain from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall, a 900-mile journey that will see her run 30 miles a day for 30 days! Vicky is no stranger to endurance challenges, having run coast to coast last July (137 miles in 5 days) and completed a mountain bike John O’Groats to Land’s End ride (1200 miles) in 2018.
Vicky tackles her many endurance challenges for charity and will be raising money for Dementia UK with her JOGLE run, inspired by the many people with dementia she works with on a daily basis. Before she set off on her challenge, I quizzed the 361° ambassador on the ins and outs of her 900-mile challenge.
When and why did you start ultrarunning and cycling?
It just kind of happened! I love the fresh air and the great outdoors, it makes me feel alive. I just kept doing a bit more [distance] each time. I’ve always been into sport growing up and played football as soon as I was able to walk. I’ve always been competitive to do well, but winning has never been my sole drive. It’s always been about giving my everything and knowing I have done my best and been part of a team. So maybe this influenced the ultra stuff a little.
You’re no stranger to endurance challenges. Tell us about the ones you’ve done?
All my mates love the outdoors and with them, life’s one big adventure if I’m honest. We pick a challenge and off we toddle. I tend to find a reason or a charity that I’m passionate about and that’s it, I’m locked in. In the past, I’ve mountain biked the legendary End2End race on the Isle of Man, trekked the Inca trail in Peru, cycled coast to coast, cycled self-supported the length of Wales, cycled John O’Groats to Land’s End on the National cycle network –100 miles a day for 12 days – and most recently I ran coast to coast in five days, averaging just over a marathon a day.
So what will your upcoming JOGLE run involve and what inspired it?
The run will start at John O’Groats in Scotland on the 24th of May. I’ll be on the road for 30 days straight doing 30 miles [of running] a day. I have four close friends helping over the month at different points, driving my campervan where I will be sleeping. They’ve been part of my other adventures, so know the drill! I will be sleeping in the van, friends’ driveways, and the odd hotel and hostel.
My day job is a carer on the Step program for Doncaster council, so I see dementia every day. I love working with older people. The recent pandemic has made a lot of the vulnerable more isolated, especially those living with dementia. Not only are they separated from family, but they can also lose their train of thought and purpose. Some have no one… it’s really sad to see. I do everything I can as I know it helps the families, so this challenge will be raising money for Dementia UK.
Running 30 miles a day for 30 days is brutal. What has your training and prep involved?
Mostly just getting the miles in my legs, to be honest. I’ve done lots of walking and running, trying to manage my time with work, football, and life. From experience, I’ve set out a schedule that works for me that involves strength training, building my energy resource, my mind and body, and keeping the niggles at bay.
What kind of body maintenance have you planned during the JOGLE?
I know my body quite well and want to be as self-sufficient as possible. I’ll do quite a bit of self-massage, and my friends driving the van will also help with fuelling and massage. If I have a mega problem, I’ll reach out to a physio en route. I do have a few sports massage therapist mates who have offered to meet en route to give me a rub down. I don’t tend to plan things too intensely; what will be will be. I sleep like a log anywhere, so I know my body generally recovers quickly.
Have you taken any learnings from your Coast to Coast run last year into your JOGLE?
I know I need to consume a lot of calories each day, roughly 3000 calories. I’ve worked more on my strength and conditioning due to struggling a little with runners’ knee on my coast to coast run. My support crew are good cooks but also know all my favourite snacks to keep me going throughout the day. I really don’t eat like an athlete. Give me a cheese and pickle pork pie and a bag of crisps and I’m happy! The Clif Bar brand has come on board with a fantastic range of energy products. I especially love the white chocolate macadamia nut energy bar and the chocolate and hazelnut butter bar.
What’s your fuelling strategy for the run?
Although I’m not a planner, I know I need to refuel at regular intervals that will be planned/catered for. I plan to snack with Clif energy bars throughout the run and eat whatever my support team puts in my hand. The hard thing for me is to force myself to eat when I’m not hungry.
This is a huge mental challenge as well as a physical one. How are you approaching it from a mental point of view?
I love being outside and getting in a state of flow where I can appreciate everything around me. This gives me energy. When I get to a hard section, I know I’ve been there before and I just take myself to a happy place. I always try to think of people who are struggling far worse in life than me, being a little bit sore and uncomfortable. I just try to embrace and appreciate every moment.
What items of kit are you using?
I’m so appreciative to 361° degrees for getting on board and for giving me the trainers and kit; it’s ace and feels good for my body, so I’m mentally in the right place every time I put the shoes and kit on. I’m especially loving running in the Taroko 2 trail shoe and the new carbon-soled 361 degrees Flame.
Who are you sponsored by at the moment?
I’ve been very lucky with people wanting to help and get on board. 361° degrees have been fab, supplying the trainers and kit. Clif Bar is supplying fantastic energy bars and snacks. Metres to Miles running shop has been a massive help with advice and knowledge of all the kit. Thorne joinery services, Kay Shackleton photography, Tim The legend Boon, CA rail specialists, The Unit MMA, VH sports massage therapists and Pete Chappell Signs have all been fantastic in supporting me and the run. Also my fantastic mates for giving up their time to help me on my biggest challenge yet.