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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > April 2019 > THE ACCIDENTA L ULTRA RUNNER

THE ACCIDENTA L ULTRA RUNNER

MATTHEW GOODMAN SET OUT TO NURSE OTHERS THROUGH A SIX-DAY DESERT CHALLENGE AND ENDED UP RUNNING IT HIMSELF. HIS IS A TALE OF TOENAILS AND TREATMENT TABLES

The prodding. It starts as a small but painful sensation. After a few hours, it’s still there, regular as a metronome, not hurting so much as gently reminding you with each aching step that, yes, when you reach the end, when you remove your shoe and sock and look down at your ravaged feet, that toenail will be gone or, at best, clinging on for its life.

Multiply that prodding by 10. Then consider the prospect of having to run eight marathons in six days with it - that rawskinned agony as each one of your inflamed digits, relieved of their protective sheaths, jab relentlessly into the toe box of your running shoes, grinding against sand and synthetic material with respite hours away.

In reality, it is just one of a long list of problems runners encountered during the 2011 Jordan Ultra, a sadomasochistic trial by sand and sun through the desert. For one runner, it was not only his job to coax his own broken body through the challenge, but to finish each day and begin his second marathon, the one that involved rubbing, taping, popping, stretching, manipulating and holding together the carcasses of those others brave or daft enough to sign up.

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About Men's Running

I started running in the mid 1980s. Ask anyone around at the time and they’ll tell you it was the heyday of British middle and long distance running. I got swept along by the Coe versus Ovett battle of the Moscow Olympics and the then addition of Cram for LA in 1984. Britons ruled the world and I loved every second of the battles, the highs, the lows, the medals and the media. These guys were my inspiration and I wanted to be them. They were the reason I started running and it was no surprise that my chosen events were 800 and 1500m. That I was best at these was just an added bonus. There are so many influential figures in our brilliant sport. Some are well known, others less so. So we decided to choose our favourites so that you could also get a little sprinkling of inspiration. Whether it’s Dean Karnazes eating pizza by the roadside or Ron Hill running every day for more than 50 years, we know there’ll be something for everyone. Read and get inspired and hit the road for your next run!