After the very well attended Edinburgh Park Run in June it was suggested I should meet up with Allan, not only a well-respected Consultant in Clinical Oncology at the Western General, but also a runner of nearly one hundred marathons. My interest was piqued, possibly because I have a run a few marathons myself.

When I met Alan he was walking somewhat gingerly and I wondered if perhaps the 100th marathon could be on hold. He confided that he had climbed 4 Munros at the weekend which he recognised was most probably not the best preparation for the Lakeland 55 in Ambleside. For those of you unfamiliar with the Ambleside it is in the Lake District, a most amazingly beautiful part of the world, which is somewhat undulating. On further investigation this is not just a marathon, it is actually an ultra-marathon – only 55 kilometres instead of the usual 42.

It was typical of my conversation with Allan. He seemed to understate almost everything that he was involved in. According to Allan the pace he runs marathons at means that you don’t really have to be that fit or train that intensively, really anyone can do it. He seemed to get a lot of enjoyment out of his running though and for someone who only started running just over 10 years ago he has covered a lot of miles! And as I discover when Allan says marathons he very often means ultra-marathons. Like the Great Glen Ultra which is a mere 71 miles or the Highland Fling which is only 53. He seems to fit the odd marathon in when at a conference – one of his highlights has been the night-time Night Sweats Trail in California.

I imagine that the achievements of his work career are also more impressive than he lets on. Still to Allan it is the team that creates the excellence not just one individual. A recurring theme in my meetings with staff at the Western.

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