Chris O’Brien - Bio
My life in 2009 was slightly different from that which I enjoy now... I was 38 years old, fat, unfit, ex-smoker, and couldn’t run from one lamppost to the next - oh and we were expecting our first babies... yes, it was going to be twins! I had to get my life together if I was going to be active with my kids and set a good example of health and well-being.
By chance I saw a poster for a charity 10k and immediately entered. The problem was that it was 2 months away, it was multi-terrain (and had a huge hill in the middle) - oh, and I couldn’t run...
I pulled out all the stops and set about training with determination and focus, as if my life depended on it. And it hurt. But I ran the race, and I achieved my goal of being ahead of the last third of the pack. This was the beginning of my love for running and the start of a journey to fitness that has been one long experiment in all things training, hydration and nutrition.
Starting with Brighton in April 2013, I ran 3 marathons, each 6 months apart. I went from 03:25:45 (Brighton, 2013) to 03:24:28 (Bournemouth, October 2013) to 03:15:51 (Brighton, April 2014), narrowly missing out on the qualifying time for London. Despondent and knowing something had to change, I ditched the marathons until I could get my fuelling correct.
By 2015 I was running 38 minute 10ks, 18 minute 5ks and 85 minute half marathons. Perhaps not the fastest times, but not too shabby for a 45 year-old and way beyond my wildest dreams when I first set out on this journey.
2015 was also the year I found Generation UCAN SuperStarch. I was experimenting with nutrition and fuelling by being fat adapted and needed a supplement that would support me on longer and more intense runs without spiking insulin. I was hooked! Finally I had found a supplement that I could rely on for not just slow release carbs over a longer time period, but a reliable release of those carbs at high intensities during intervals sessions and shorter races. Even though I am no longer fat-adapted (pressures of life!), I have used SuperStarch ever since.
October 2016 saw me tackle the Bournemouth marathon again. This time though, I had a reliable fuelling strategy with Generation UCAN at the heart of it. The training comprised of brutal interval and tempo sessions, all fuelled by SuperStarch. I finished in 03:03:45, qualifying for London as a Good For Age... I also now had a taste of a sub-3!
April 2017, Manchester Marathon. 03:00:29! So close, but a tactical error on my part meant I was just squeezed outside. I was disappointed, but sub-3 was in sight.
October 2017. The weekend Storm Brian visited the UK. 40mph winds and I was running the Abingdon Marathon. Everything had gone in to this. Was the weather going to trash it all? The morning of the race and the wind had died to 20mph, so at least a little better. I set off at my target pace aiming to finish in around 02:55:00 and by half way all was going well. But the weather bit back hard in the second half and the strong winds were just too much to get my target time. However, I did finish in 02:59:04! Mission accomplished and I firmly believe that the slow release characteristics of UCAN played a major role. Not having to consume lots of gels (I do use some at strategic points in the race) is a blessing as I suffer GI issues - especially when the effort is intense.
June 2018, Endure 24. A 24-hour team relay, Mixed Pairs category. A 3rd place podium result. Again, SuperStarch played a crucial role.
I’m now a UKA qualified running coach specialising in endurance running (off-track), and run my own gait analysis and running re-education company (runteach.com). As part of my job I am often asked about nutrition, and I always endorse SuperStarch. It has changed my running so much, and freed me up to focus more on the training and less on the nutrition.