Andrew Murray – not the tennis ace but an endurance runner – recently complete the Big 10, scaling the UK’s 10 highest peaks inside 24 hours.
The 34-year-old ultrarunner and his training partner, Donnie Campbell, scaled the ten mountains – all in Scotland – in 13hrs 10mins.
The pair covered more than 30 miles, including 5,200m of ascent.
Murray, who is a doctor and an author, has already run over 2,500 miles in the Sahara desert, seven ultramarathons in seven continents and won the North Pole marathon.
MR caught up with the brave Scot to discuss the appeal of epic challenges.
Can you tell us a little more about your Big Ten challenge – what inspired you to take part?
“It’s a challenge to climb the 10 highest peaks in the UK, and they’re all in Scotland. I often go on long weekends with friends to the mountains, so it wasn’t exactly a new experience for me. It was surprising to hear that no one had ever done it before, so it seemed the logical thing to do. It seemed a really difficult thing to do, but a really interesting one too.”
What kind of training did you do?
“I run a lot anyway so it was all about specific training. The challenge is essentially all about hills, so my training was mostly just hitting the mountains at the weekends and working on that specifically.”
What was the hardest part of the challenge?
“I had a bad back before the event, so that was pretty tough. But the challenge itself, it wasn’t as bad as I first thought. After climbing to the top of the first mountain, I thought it was quite manageable to do all ten. However, the next day, I could hardly move and my back was very sore.”
What advice would you give to other people looking to complete an epic challenge like the Big Ten?
“Mainly it’s about doing something that appeals to you, like a marathon or a ultramarathon. You need to choose something that will give you motivation and make you feel great once you’ve achieved it. Training with friends makes it much easier than doing it all by yourself. And finally, make sure you have a target to work towards and you’ll be able to do it.”
What kind of kit did you wear?
“I tried to get the best possible running gear and footwear as we were going uphill and through bogs, but you also need to be in good shape. I made sure I had comfortable kit that was lightweight and suited all aspects of my training.”
What’s next for you?
“There are more and more events of this kind in the UK, so I’ll have a look to see what’s available. I’ve completed a 2,659-mile run from North Scotland to the Sahara desert as well as running seven ultramarathons in seven continents. But I’m mostly looking forward to the IAU 100K World Championships in Qatar in the last week of November.”
Dr Andrew Murray is a Merrell Pack Leader, shop his kit via merrell.com