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Sam Wilkes Runner XMiles Ambassador

Sam Wilkes - Ambassadors during Lockdown

The short story is that I got fat at uni, started running to shift it and never stopped. The long story is that my relationship with running almost broke down after a terrible London Marathon in 2010 and it was only through reading Born to Run that I realised there was another way to run and new challenges to try.
Since then I’ve run 50k, 100k and have a 100 mile PB of just under the coveted 24 hour mark of 22:49. Now I’m looking at exploring geographies and formats that I would never dreamed of like Madeira Island Ultra Trail (7200m of elevation), Swimrun and potentially a half Ironman triathlon. I’m also just as keen to see other people get involved in activity but as far away from the pressured environments and judgement that most of us experience in school and at formal clubs.

What are your personal bests?

19:35 for 5k

1:36 for half marathon

3:36 for the marathon

22:49 for 100 miles

2:58 for Olympic triathlon

What have you been doing during lockdown?

I lost a bit of the running mojo prior to lockdown so I’ve been doing a lot of HIIT training with my girlfriend - we’re on the Joe Wicks 90 Day Plan so that has been an interesting change. Being a runner means that I usually have zero upper body strength and I joke about T-Rex arms, but I feel a lot stronger than before this all happened.

We also moved to a new house at the end of February, so we’ve been getting used to adulting and all the challenges and rewards it brings. 

Did COVID-19 affect many events / training?

The only I event that was affected by Covid-19 was my return to Madeira for a revenge mission at the Madeira Island Ultra Trail after a DNF last year. It holds a special place in my heart, and I will definitely be back when allowed to but I know I need to go into the training with 100% focus as it is such a brutal, if beautiful, race. 

Aside from that, I was looking into new activities such as rock climbing, paddle boarding and kayaking which have obviously been affected by the pandemic.

Sam Wilkes XMiles

How did you cope with training during Lockdown?

I’ve been enjoying just getting out and running for the fun with no focus. One of the reasons I fell in love with running was its meditative way of allowing me to empty my mind and focus on the present. As the name Sam Staggers On suggests, I was never fast but it’s been good to reconnect with the feeling of running rather than always pushing distance or time to reach a goal. I am lucky enough to live a stone’s throw from the beach so even a quick barefoot run in the sand brings a lot of joy and grounding in a very strange time.

I also tried to vary the activities that I did do. As well as the HIIT, I completed the BRECA Beowulf Virtual Swimrun Challenge (, the virtual Jersey Triathlon and have been exploring the lanes and bays of Jersey now that I am not tied to the office in the same way.

How have you found being an ambassador for XMiles?

I’ve found it incredibly inspiring to be honest. The other athletes on the team are all fantastic and I sometimes feel like I’ve been selected accidentally! Watching the training they’re doing and the variety of different journey’s they’ve all been on to get to now is amazing. The products from XMiles are great too - SNB and Goodrs are staples of any training or race and would’ve been regardless of being an ambassador or not.

Sam Wilkes finishing race XMiles ambassador

What do you have planned for the future?

I’m contemplating doing the BRECA Jersey Swimrun in September as this is still planned to go ahead and I’ve been doing a lot of running and swimming during lockdown.

I’m also keen to get back out on the trails so will be signing up for some of the local races - Jersey is an amazing venue for cliff paths and beaches.

In terms of new plans, I’ve somehow managed to agree to take part in the Dubai half Ironman in February next year which is a long way outside my comfort zone, especially the cycle, but I’ve been promised a new bike if I do it so I have an incentive now!

About the Author
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