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Athletes

Athletes Beth Pascall. When Salomon-sponsored athlete Beth is not running in her local Peak District hills, she works as doctor in paediatrics. Beth is the current Lakeland 100 record holder (21hrs 29mins) and the winner of the Highland Fling and Spine Race. She has excelled internationally on the World Trail Tour, finishing 2nd in the Madeira Ultra Trail, 6th in Diagonale des Foux, and 4th in TGC. In 2018 she finished 11th in the World Trail Champs in Spain, and later in the world’s most competitive trail race – UTMB – she finished 4th. In 2019 Beth won the Ultra-Trail Cape Town 100k, finished 4th at Western States and 5th at UTMB. In 2020 she ran a record-breaking 14hrs 34min for the Bob Graham Round. When racing resumed in 2021, Beth won the Canyons 100k and the Western States 100 in 17hrs 10 mins. Beth’s blog is well worth a read.
Athletes Katie Kaars-Sijpesteijn. An ultra runner for eight years, Katie is also sponsored by Salomon. She is most well-known for her record-breaking performances in some of Britain’s most competitive mountain races. She is the current record holder in the Lakeland 50 (8 hours and 2 minutes) and Lakes In A Day (10 hours and 45 minutes), a race which she won outright in 2018. For the last three years she has represented G.B. at the IAU World Trail Running Champs. She has also competed at a very high level in some of the world’s toughest Skyraces including the Madeira Sky Marathon, Trofeo Kima, Glencoe Skyline, 80km du Mont Blanc, and the Gore-Tex Maxi Race. Katie has started 2019 very well with a second place finish in Reventon Trail El Paso on La Palma, third in the Three Peaks, and 7th in the Mt Olympus Skyrace.
Athletes Rebecca Di-Luzio. Based in the South-East of England, Rebecca is a recent addition to the hugely popular and highly successful VO2max Coaching family. She has a varied and impressive sporting history which includes open-water swimming, a gold medal in the Commonwealth Regatta for rowing, and a few years riding as a semi-pro cyclist. Rebecca only started running in late 2019 and in that time won her first two races (The Fox Ultra 42km and the Endurancelife Sussex 55km). In May 2021 she competed in her first true ultra-marathon (the South Down Way 100km) and finished 4th in an excellent 10 hours 19 minutes.
Athletes Robbie Simpson. With a 3rd place finish in Betws-y-Coed, Wales in 2015, Robbie won the first ever individual medal in a World Mountain Running Championships by a senior British man. He also finished 2nd in the 2014 European Mountain Running Championships. In 2021 ran the fastest ever time by a British athlete at Sierre-Zinal, the world’s most competitive mountain race, finishing 2nd in 2 hrs 32 mins. On the roads he has run 14’25” for 5km, 29’22” for 10km, 64’27” for the Half Marathon, and 2:14’56” for the Marathon. Robbie has also won the prestigious Jungfrau Marathon four times and in 2018 won a marathon bronze in the Brisbane Commonwealth Games. After a promising first ultra in 2019 (the TNF50 where he finished 5th in 6hrs 48mins), he will spending 2021 refining his ultra running skills.
Athletes Josh Bakker-Dyos. Based in Edinburgh, Josh is an anaesthetist and a Royal Navy Commando. His passion for adventure has seen him cycling, skiing, climbing, and diving on five continents. If you think this lifestyle would leave very little time for running you’d be wrong. Josh has recently been focusing on ultra-running and in 2019 finished 10th in the Misurina Skymarathon, 12th in Race to the King, and 7th in the Glencoe Skyline. Despite 2020 being a bit of a washout in terms of racing, Josh recorded solo half-marathon (78’43”) and marathon (2hrs 43mins) P.B.s, ran two Fastest Known Times (5hrs 12mins on the Pentlands 500s and 9hrs 34mins on the Mullardoch Round), won the Lakes Mountain 42 race, and capped it all off with an impressive Rigby Round (20hrs 44mins).
Athletes Daniel Shaw. Dan has been running competitively since 2012. In that time has racked up an impressive array of performances in Mountain Ultra Trail events in the UK. These have included the Ultimate Trails 100km, the High Peak 40, the Peaks Skyrace, the Lakes 3 x 3000m Ultra, the Kielder 80k, the Green Man Ultra, and the Ridgeway Challenge 86. So far in 2018 Dan has been continuing in much the same vein with great runs in Transvulcania, the Kielder 50k (4th overall), the Grand Tour of Skiddaw (5th), and the Scafell Pike Marathon (7th). Over the past year Dan has turned his attention to some faster workouts on the roads, and in the first half of 2021 he has managed to whittle his 10km personal best down from 39 minutes to 37 minutes and knock 4 minutes off his half marathon P.B. by running 74’25” at Aintree.
Athletes George Foster. George is a 31 year old Scott Sports sponsored athlete from Yorkshire. A member of Ambleside A.C., his main interest lies in mountain running and has performed very well at Lairig Ghru, Wasdale, Kentmere, Langdale, the Scafell Skyrace, and the Glencoe Skyline. Since joining the VO2max Coaching team George has improved steadily. In 2019 he won the Cross du Velan (Switzerland) and the Lakeland Four Passes, and backed that up with a 2nd at The Rut Skyrace (USA) and 6th at the Pikes Peak Ascent (USA). In 2020 he improved further with a 2nd place finish at the Matterhorn Ultraks and an excellent 13hrs 44mins Bob Graham Round (the fastest time by an English runner). George also has a great blog – www.fellicionado.com – which documents his running and various other interests.
Athletes John Yells. John competes for legendary Scottish hill running club Lochaber A.C. He is 28 years of age and has been a serious mountain runner for five years. In this time John has racked up an impressive series of performances in Scottish hill racing. These include Goat Fell, the Carnethy Five, Aonach Mor, and Stuc A Chroin. In 2018 he competed strongly in the Scafell Skyrace. In 2019 John won the infamous triple crown of British hill running, the Three Peaks series – running well at Scafell, Snowdon and Ben Nevis. He finished a career best 3rd in the Isle of Jura Hill Race. He also gained his first Scottish vest at the Snowdon International, won the SHR Long Classics series, and finished 3rd in the SHR Championships! John has started 2021 well with an FKT on the Dartmoor 600.
Athletes Peter Abraham. After turning his attention from shorter distances towards ultras, Altrinham athlete Peter immediately produced some notable performances. In 2017 he finished 3rd in the British 50km Road Champs and ran 15hrs 58mins in his first 100 miler, The Autumn 100, where he was also 3rd overall. In 2018 Peter continued to improve in ultra-distance events with a win in the Connemara 39 mile road race and 27hrs 30mins in the Lakeland 100. In 2019 he completed the Comrades Marathon in 7hrs 28mins and the legendary 250km Spartathlon in 33hrs 03mins! Peter has improved further in 2021 with 9th in the North Downs Way 50, 5th in the South Downs Way 100, and a total distance of 231 km in his first 24-hour race (where he also ran a 100 mile P.B. of 14 hours 37 minutes).
Athletes Runar Sæther. Hailing from Norway and based in Yorkshire, in his seven years as a competitive athlete Runar has stacked up an impressive array of performances on the roads and mountain trails. Largely an ultra trail runner, he has finished in the top 5 in a number of big international events including Festival de Templiers 100km. Runar competed for Norway in the 2019 World Trail Championships in Portugal. In 2020 he ran a marathon PB of 2 hours 35 mins in Malta, along with an impressive Bob Graham Round in 16 hours. In 2021 Runar continued to improve with a dominating win in the Lakeland 50 (7 hours 41 minutes).
Athletes Mark Walsh. One of the most recent additions to the VO2max Coaching team, Mark hails from West Cumbria and races mainly on the roads (with the occasional fell run) for Keswick A.C.. Mark has been running competitively for about seven years and in that time has set personal best times on the road of 15’13” for 5km and 31’11” for 10km. Having recently joined the veteran ranks, Mark hopes to improve significantly on these times in 2021. Early signs of this happening are good. And he’s started the year well by running a 10km P.B. and a three minute Half Marathon P.B. at Chester in a time of 68’49”. Mark does not have a blog.