Alex Bampton is another who the Fast Running readers might recognise from recent articles, so we’ve got him onto the Fast10 as a regular contributor. The people had spoken, and we listened.

Chasing those sub 2:20 marathon and sub 30 10k marks is no joke and the Highgate Harrier will be trying to run as fast as possible in 2020 alongside studying for a PhD.


Name: Alex Bampton
Age (Jan 2020): 25
Hometown: North London
Club: Highgate Harriers
Main discipline: Marathon
Other disciplines: 10K – HM and Cross Country
Full-time athlete/work/studying: PhD student in neurodegenerative disease at UCL

Goals or targets for 2020

Sub 2:20 marathon.
Sub 30 10k.
To be able to consistently string together 80-90 mile weeks.

Past Running highlights

2:21 marathon at Frankfurt (2019).
First England vest at the Rennes international 10k.
Buckinghamshire County XC Champion (’19, ’20).

Interesting or fun facts

I’m about to run my 6th BUCS XC champs…way too old for this.
I ran my first 5 mile race when I was 5 and later won the key stage 1 prize (5-7 year olds) for the same race in 45 minutes. Health and safety was lacking.
I re-found my love of running after a few grumpy teenage years at my local (Swindon) parkrun coming in at 20 minutes.
I train almost exclusively in pure singles up to 80 miles per week.
I eat 2 packets of chocolate biscuits a week at work.
Sub 6 minute chunder miler (4 laps, 4 pints).
When I’m finally retired from running I want to play snooker properly – my true sporting love.

With Ollie Lockley and Jack Gray, also part of  the 2020 Fast10, representing England. Credit: Richard Own

I run because…

I started running initially because my Dad used to take me out to train for the local village 5 mile run, a strong runner to this day himself. Later on, I caught the competitive bug myself. Even without the competitive element I love to run. Running and talking about running makes me happy and chills me out, without it I’m a frantic, grumpy mess.

Favourite training session

I like to play to my strength which involves grinding out long tempos. My favourite marathon pace (MP) session set by my coach (Simon Burley) is: 22-23 miles including 7 mi easy, 13 mi @ mp (last 2 at sub mp), 2 mi CD.
Another favourite (mid-week) example is 16 miles including 5 x 2′ (1′) hard, 5 mi tempo, 5 x 2′ (1′) hard.

Least favourite training session

Anything with loads of reps because it’s so psychologically tough. A Highgate house specialty is 20-22 x 400 with the first 10 off 1′ and the last 10-12 off 30”.

Favourite pre-race food

Night before I’m easy pasta, pizza etc (but not curry!)

Breakfast is ALWAYS beans on toast (3 slices). Before Frankfurt the hotel had no sliced bread so I had to settle for beans on croissants.

Favourite post-race food

Pizza and an Irn Bru.

Favourite runner or runners

Callum Hawkins, Chris Thompson, Dewi Griffiths, Ryan Seaward, Aly Dixon, Stephen Scullion, Jo Pavey. – really bloody hard athletes.

I’m also incredibly inspired by the numerous ridiculously fast masters athletes who really do defy age even now! Andrew Davies, Nick Tory, Helen Davies, Graham Rush, Aly Dixon (again!) among others!

Brands or organisations that support me

I’m on the Hoka racing and TeamUCL Elite athlete programmes.

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