Thursday, 21 October 2021

Runner used to smoke 10 cigarettes a day

LUC JOLLY hopes to compete in the one of the world’s hardest endurance events.

LUC JOLLY hopes to compete in the one of the world’s hardest endurance events.

He has gained enough points to make him eligible for the ballot for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc next year. The event involves running the entire mountain, climbing 9,600m while passing through France, Switzerland and Italy.

Mr Jolly said: “It is meant to be the ultimate challenge in Europe and the one to do. It really appeals to me because it is quite high- profile and I love running in the mountains.”

He finished fourth in the 50-mile Thames Trot from Oxford to Henley in February and completed a 10 Peaks challenge in the Lake District in June. Completing the Ring O’ Fire at the weekend earned him the last four points needed to enter the ballot for the Mont Blanc race.

Mr Jolly used to smoke about 10 cigarettes a day but decided to kick the habit on his 30th birthday.

“I just thought it was time to give up,” he said. “My birthday gave me that extra motivation and going for a run helped me not to smoke and do something a bit more constructive. I started off doing short distances and then I started running pretty much every day.”

He used to run half marathons when he still smoked and was inspired to take on extreme distances after reading about other people’s successes. Now he trains twice a day, before and after work, and runs 60 to 70 miles a week. Mr Jolly’s first long-distance race was the Thames Trot, which he completed in five hours, 45 minutes and 57 seconds.

The 10 Peaks race, which he ran with work colleague David Davies, involved running over the 10 highest peaks in the Lake District, covering 73km and more than 5,600m of ascent. Competitors have to finish within 24 hours and the two men completed it in 21-and-a-half hours.

Mr Jolly said: “I kind of roped David into it. He wanted to get involved but I don’t think he really knew what he had signed up for. It was a huge physical battle and a long time to go without stopping so it was pretty gruesome by the end.”

Mr Jolly is raising money for the Prader-Willi Syndrome Association because his six-year-old nephew suffers from the genetic condition and has so far made £2,200, which his employer will match-fund.

Mr Jolly says his life has changed a lot since he quit smoking. “My family and friends say I am completely different,” he said. “I feel a lot better and I sleep a lot better. My mum thinks I am mad and the running is like another addiction but I think it is a good thing to do. I get a huge buzz out of it.”

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