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Meet the members: Matt Duckett

Matt enjoying a bacon sandwich and (non-alcoholic) beer during the North Downs Way 100 ultramarathon

How long have you been a member of Queen’s Park Harriers?

I started with QPH at the start of 2017 – nearly three years later I’m still trying to properly work out how to do the cariocas!

What's the best thing about running?

Exploring new places and meeting new people – preferably whilst running on trails!

You did an ultra recently. Tell us about how you trained for it and what it was like on the day.

Yes, it was the North Downs Way 100 which runs from Farnham through to Ashford. It was great—albeit I’m still trying to get rid of knee niggles a month later! Something to do with Box Hill / Reigate Hill / Bluebell Hill / Puttenham Hill—seemingly all of the hills!

In terms of training, I was training quite hard in spring for the Hardmoors 55 and London Marathon, so was able to build on this without too much adjustment to life. My only real adjustment was including back-to-back long runs on Saturdays and Sundays. I wasn’t quite doing Hansons' levels of mileage but was still hitting around 50 miles per week. The difficulty I find with all training is getting through it injury free!

Thankfully, I managed to get to the start line okay and the only real area of preparation I could have done better with was the nutrition. I overdid the carb-loading in the days leading up to the event. My usual pre-race coffee didn’t have its usual effect and, as such, I spent the first 10 miles working out where the closest public toilet was! I eventually found one but obviously lost a load of places that I then had to make back up!

Consequently, I stayed off solid food for a while and stuck to gels…to keep motivated for the latter parts of the race I stashed bacon sandwiches and (alcohol-free) beers in the drop bags and with my crew! It was great motivation having my family and girlfriend (with foodie treats) at various points on the course as it really helped with mentally breaking down the race.

Generally, I was really happy with how the race went. It was a long day – the race started at 6am and I crossed the finish line at 2:30am in a time of 20 hours and 30 minutes – I overtook someone about 400m from the finish which I felt pretty bad about!

The race finished at a sports track in Ashford so I showered and ended up having a snooze on the floor of the indoor track whilst I waited for the first train at 7am.

What's your favourite running event?

I always love following the Barkley Marathons ultra when it comes around. Mainly because and it’s so difficult to get any news on what’s happening ‘out there’ that even the smallest bit of news that comes out of the camp is really exciting. There are a few people from the event who live-tweet it, so I tend to resurrect my twitter account for that weekend only and spend it constantly refreshing. The week following, the competitors start to update their blogs and you can start to get a clearer picture of what happens ‘out there’…

What else do you do?

I work as a structural engineer at Battersea Power Station in my spare time (that I’m not running!) I enjoy bread baking (and bread eating).

Tell us something surprising about yourself that other members may not know.

I actually started running properly when I was living in Zambia in 2016. I joined a local running club to meet new people and better explore the city and ended up loving it! There weren’t a huge amount of established races so whenever we could find one we would travel across the country (and sometimes to other countries!) to attend.


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