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I was recently asked for a ‘Do’s & Don’ts’ list. This was a first ‘cos as a coach I usually focus on what my runner wants as opposed to what they don’t want. It got me thinking though, and as I coach, compete and crew here’s the ‘Don’t’ part of my list from three perspectives. I suspect you have your own…



  • Be swayed by precedent and opinion. This is a sport where the normal rules don’t seem to apply
  • Buy a big pack – you’ll end up filling it
  • Buy a GPS without learning how to do map and compass first
  • Expect to knock out big miles and big races consistently without some form of payback
  • Be impatient – it’s a long way and lots can happen and probably will
  • Make a DNF decision at a checkpoint. Wait. Eat. Cry if you must. Wait some more. Set off – then decide
  • Blindly use elite runners as training role models
  • Look behind you at night with a head torch on – you may as well wave a carrot to the folks behind you
  • Buy poles without learning how to use ‘em
  • Expect your Significant Other to support you in your ultra endeavours without some serious payback
  • Expect The Answer on social media: Do expect opinions, nuggets and muppets


  • Drop litter or crap on the trail
  • Tag along with another runner and freeload with navigation duties
  • Wave your poles about. The tips are supposed to go into the ground
  • Expect your gizmos to work perfectly all the time
  • Expect other people at work to understand you
  • Be affronted if the person you’re running with isn’t much of a talker. It doesn’t mean they don’t like you – it just means they’re not much of a talker


  • Piss the marshals off. They make your playtime possible. Remember your pleases and thankyous and if stuff gets said in the heat of battle then for gods’ sake make it up afterwards
  • Enter an ultrarunning race and then walk round – that’s what LDWA events are for
  • Try and blag your way through the pre-start kit check without the correct kit stated in the race rules: ‘You will not be allowed to start unless…’ means exactly that and you should expect it to be enforced
  • Expect checkpoint crew to sort out your blisters
  • Allow your own crew to hog checkpoint space and eat the food on offer: Your crew, your responsibility
  • Sleep at a checkpoint without telling a member of the crew – discovering a body without explanation can be very disconcerting

Finally, Do Remember That…

  • Most people in this country sit on their arse for recreation
  • This is something most of us do for fun
  • There is only one Kilian Jornet

Andy Mouncey – Extreme Energy Resident Coach

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