Vuelio Spotlight

I was asked by Vuelio to be on their Spotlight of the week

Here is the answers I gave to their questions

With 51 ultra-races under his belt, 61-year-old running enthusiast John Kynaston knows what it takes to stay motivated. Read today’s Spotlight interview for his favourite running routes and the best snacks to pack next time you head out.

What got you into running as a hobby and what keeps you passionate about it as a way to keep fit?
As long I can remember I have always enjoyed running. In school, I was one of the children who loved the cross-country season and athletics in the summer.
Throughout my life I have always run, and at 61 I continue to enjoy it. In 2006 I discovered ultra-running, as it combined my love of the mountains and running, and I’ve not looked back. I have now completed 51 ultras.

What’s your favourite thing to post about and why?
I love to write up race reports as it gives me a chance to reflect on the race and share my thoughts on what went well and what didn’t. This gives me a chance to learn for future races.

Did you take part in the London Marathon this year?
I’ve never run the London Marathon as I prefer the trails over road and smaller fields rather than mass events.

Do you think the different format of the Marathon, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, was a good idea?
I think anything that helps to motivate people to run is a good thing. It has obviously been difficult this year with so many races cancelled so all the virtual races that have been going on have been really good.

How did you change your approach and content during lockdown?
I decided to try and keep ticking over and maintain my fitness so I ran five times a week as normal but my longer runs were shortened from around 25 to 15 miles.

What’s the best route you’ve ever taken for a run?
My favourite has to be on the West Highland Way. This race is the one that introduced me to ultra-running and I love the various sections and the variety.
Having said that, I have many close seconds from the Lake District, to the Cleveland Way, to Wainwright’s Coast to Coast, the Dragon’s Back route, etc, etc!

Best snacks/drinks to take along for a race?
Chia Charge bars …. But I’m slightly biased as they sponsor the podcast I host every week called ‘Run to the Hills’.

What advice would you give to someone who’s never been into running but would like to start?
Find someone to run with and learn from them. When you start it can be quite hard going so having a friend to run with who can help motivate can make the difference to whether you stick at it.

How do you collaborate with brands, and which kind of brands do you really like working with?
The main one is Chia Charge, who make flapjacks using chia seeds. also provides prizes for my ‘Guess My Time’ competitions I run where friends try to guess how long I will take in a race. I started this for my first ultra in 2007 and it has been a tradition ever since!

For PRs looking to work with you and your blog/website, how would you prefer they approach you and with what kind of content?
Email is the best way (regarding content anything to do with running in general and ultra running in particular).

What other blogs do you check out regularly?
I have a number of running blogs I read regularly and enjoy.

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Tips on finishing well

As part of my new job hosting the podcast / YouTube channel ‘Run to the Hills’ my co host Edwina Sutton and I take turns to share a top tip and write a blog post which is posted on the Chia Charge website.

I thought I would also share them on my own blog so here is my post from this week.

I ran my first ultra, 53 mile Highland Fling, in 2007 and for the first three years I improved year on year. Then for the next 2 years I had some real struggles especially in the longer 100 mile races. I was proud of the fact that I finished them but it wasn’t pretty as I death marched the final 15 miles or so.

I wondered at 53 yrs old that my ability to ‘enjoy’ a 100 mile race were over and that I would do better to stick to the 50 mile distance but I wasn’t ready to call it a day just yet.

So in 2013 I went back to the West Highland Way with a single goal – to finish well. I wasn’t too bothered about my overall time but I wanted to be able to enjoy the final 14 miles from Kinlochleven and finish with a smile on my face.

I realised that to achieve this aim I would have to start a lot more sensibly. This is what I did and for the first 70 miles or so I looked after myself and made sure I kept my goal in mind. I had a little wobble just after Glencoe but it was almost like my mind was saying if you want to finish well you need to ease off for the next hour or so. 

This is what I did and by the time I reached Kinlochleven I felt in good shape and ready to see if my aim was to be fulfilled.  I ran / walked the final 14 miles as fast as I had when I ran my sub 20hr times and more importantly I did finish with a smile on my face having really enjoyed the whole race.

Over the next few years I worked on this goal of finishing well and one of the things that really helped was running to heart rate especially over the first 5-6 hrs. A friend, Robert Osfield, worked out what should be my target heart rate for different distances based on previous races.

The race that I felt it really came together was the 2015 Lakeland 100. In 2012 I did the race and it took me 34hrs 33mins 59secs and I really struggled over the second half. I felt I was capable of running under 30hrs and that became my goal.

I knew that I had to start a lot more conservatively if I wanted to be able to be running the downhills in the second half of the race.

So I set off with a plan to keep my heart rate below 125 for as long as I could. It took a lot of discipline as on the climb out of Coniston so many people went past me as I had to ease off to keep my heart rate down.

By the time I arrived at the first checkpoint at Seathwaite I was in 201st position out of 304 starters. But from then on I made my way up the field and finished in 60th position in a time of 29hrs 26mins 25secs

Here is a summary of my positions at each checkpoint

 I made a navigational mistake before Braithwaite which accounts for the leg position to CP5!

I was pleased with my pacing. Here is another graph which shows my overall pace compared to my friends Dave Troman and Jonny Rowan.

 I was still slowing down over the course of the race but a lot less than the previous attempt in 2012 which this final graph shows. Red line is 2012 and blue line is 2015

Based on my experiences of the last few years here are my top tips for finishing well.

  • Be realistic with your time goal – if you are aiming for a time which is beyond you then the tendency is to push too hard from the start to keep to it.
  • Start really comfortably – I have heard of runners deliberately starting right at the back. One year in the West Highland Way a lady walked the first mile allowing everyone to disappear and then over the course of 95 miles caught the majority of them finishing in under 23hrs.
  • Walk the hills early on so you can keep your heart as low as possible. Make sure you are not breathing too hard. I have been amazed in races where runners going past me in the first hour or so sound as though they are doing a hard 10k run.
  • Trust your strategy – It does take discipline to allow runners to push on but if you get it right you will see them again!
  • Enjoy the feeling of catching people in the second half of a race – psychologically it is so much better catching people over the last third of a race than being caught!

I love the fact that there are so many ways to run an ultra and many will have a different approach to this one but if you have had some ‘tough’ finishes I would encourage you to try this approach and see if it works for you!

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Guess My Time – Hardmoors 55

This will be my first proper ultra of the year after a couple of ‘virtual’ races in the summer.

I love the Hardmoors 55 having run it 6 times before. This race was due to be in March but it was postponed to October.

I’m really looking forward to running the course from Guisborough to Helmsley again. It will be interesting to see what the conditions will be like in October rather than March.

It is fair to say it can’t be any worse than 2018 when I ran with Katrina and the race was stopped at Kildale due to the ‘Beast from the East.’ Then last year in 2019 we had rain and wind in our faces for the whole route!!

Here is a summary of my 6 Hardmoors 55 races

To help you with my ‘Guess My Time’ competition were you have to guess how long it will take me to run the 55 miles here are my bronze, silver and gold goals.

I have the South Downs Way 100 two weeks after the Hardmoors 55 so I’m going to take it a little easier that I normally would as I want to be able to recover in time for the longer race.

  • Bronze – sub 13hrs
  • Silver – sub 12hrs 30mins
  • Gold – sub 12hrs is once again providing a great prize. This time it is an Ultimate Direction Ultra Belt 5.0

Plus a limited edition key ring!

So please send you guess by 5pm on Thursday 22nd October 2020 by

  • leaving a comment on this post
  • Facebook
  • Twitter – @jkynaston
  • Email –
  • Text – 07905 218162
  • any other method!


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Review of September 2020

During September I continued to train for the Hardmoors 55 and South Downs Way 100. I ran a total of 144.63 miles. Plus I did a fair amount, for me, of cycling as I’ve been taking cycling groups on Monday and Tuesday as part of my work as an Active Schools Coordinator.

List of all my runs this month

Summary of my runs this year so far

In total this year I have ran 1434.07 which means I’m 81.15 miles behind the red line in my target of running 2020 miles this year. I’m not going to make a special effort to catch up. If I get there great but it’s no problem if I don’t!

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Review of August 2020

In August I ran a total of 147.84 miles and it felt like a ticking over month after the virtual Lakeland 100 at the end of July.

It also felt a significant month as I really feel I have turned a corner in my running and for the first time since the Dragon’s Back in May 2019 I feel I’m running a little stronger again.

Summary of my runs

Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 06.48.52

Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 06.52.10

Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 06.58.53

Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 06.58.39

Cycles during August

Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 06.57.24



In my goal of running 2020 miles in 2020 I’m 59.88 miles below the red line but I’ve entered the South Downs Way 100 in November so I’m hoping that race and my training for it will push me closer to the target!

Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 06.54.04

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EXCITING NEWS – new Podcast/YouTube channel

Thanks for reading this post whether you are a regular reader or this is your first time clicking on this blog.

I started running ultras in 2007 and right from the start I have enjoyed sharing my journey firstly via this blog and also on my own YouTube channel   where I have posted loads of videos including Race Diaries, Recce Runs, Course reviews etc.

I also started a Podcast  ‘whwrace’ in January 2012 which is now up to 178 episodes.

Doing the recent lockdown I decided to do some live interviews with key Race Directors and ultra runners to help keep the ultra running community together.

During these live interviews it gave me the idea to try and develop my YouTube channel and in particular to produce a weekly news type show highlighting a recent ultra-race.

I was developing this idea when Tim Taylor from Chia Charge got in touch with me and asked me whether I would like to host the podcast they sponsor called ‘Run to the Hills.’

As we shared ideas it was a real win-win situation for us both and basically over the last few weeks, we have worked out a plan. I’m going to work with Chia Charge for one day a week producing a weekly podcast and YouTube channel.

I will be co-hosting the shows with Edwina Sutton who is a very well-known and accomplished ultra-runner and coach.

Each week we will produce a podcast (out on Friday each week) and YouTube episode (uploaded on Saturday each week).

Here is the plan for the first 3 weeks

  • Friday 14th August – Review of North Downs Way 100 with interviews from James Elson (Race Director) as well as the winners and runners from the field
  • Friday 21st August – Get to know your hosts John Kynaston & Edwina Sutton
  • Friday 28th August – Review of Hardmoors 110/160 including live interviews from the weekend

We have lots of ideas of how we can develop the ‘Run to the Hills’ YouTube channel including

  • Monthly Live Interviews – starting in September with an interview with Donnie Campbell
  • Race Reviews
  • Race Recce Runs

How can you help?

Here are a few things that would be great to grow the channel and raise interest

  • Visit the new YouTube channel and subscribe and click the notifications button so we can let you know when we upload new episodes. There are some trailer videos.
  • Please share the channel with your friends via social media. Recommendations are so important and we would love it if you could share our channel.
  • Subscribe to our Podcast  ‘Run to the Hills’ on your favourite Podcast provider.
    • Chris Bland who has been producing the podcast since April is now moving on from Chia Charge and this week (Friday 7th August) will be his last podcast. Chris is going to interview me as a handover.

I have also set up a twitter and Instagram account so please follow us so we can keep in touch

Thanks for reading and I hope you will enjoy this new venture!





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Review of July 2020

In July I ran 206.50 miles with just over half of that total in 7 days as part of the Virtual Lakeland 100 race.

All runs in July ….

Screenshot 2020-08-01 at 20.11.56

All runs in a graph ….

Screenshot 2020-08-01 at 20.08.09

All runs taken from Strava ….

Screenshot 2020-08-01 at 20.04.11

A summary of the types of runs I’ve have done this year so far ….

Screenshot 2020-08-02 at 06.45.29

In my aim to run 2020 miles in 2020 I’m only 36.29 miles behind the red line now so I’m thinking it is still possible …

Screenshot 2020-08-02 at 06.47.03

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Guess My Time Entries

Thanks to those who sent in a guess for my latest race – virtual Lakeland 100.

I started yesterday running 30.36 miles in 7:01:41 and then 10.42 miles in 1:56:39 this morning. So on the virtual course here is where I am …

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 09.43.38

Here is the full list of guesses

Screenshot 2020-07-21 at 18.59.50

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Guess My Time Virtual Lakeland 100

I enjoyed running the #virtualWHWrace so much I decided to enter the virtual Lakeland 100 race as well. This one is a fair bit tougher (just like the real event!) in that you have to run 105 miles in 7 days. The event runs from Monday 20th July to Sunday 26th July.

I have worked out a plan to cover the 105 miles. Fortunately I have Monday as a holiday so I’m going to do a long run then to give me a good start. So here is the plan

Screenshot 2020-07-15 at 13.05.26

I have decided to do my ‘traditional’ Guess My Time competition! All you have to do is guess how long it will take me to run the 105 miles.

To help you here are my bronze, silver and gold goals

  • Bronze – sub 29:36:25 (my pb for the Lakeland 100!)
  • Silver – sub 27:00:00 (15:26 per mile pace)
  • Gold – sub 24 hrs (13:43 per mile pace) have kindly offered a pair of Drymax or Injinji socks for the closest guess

Plus a limited edition key ring!
So if you want to take part please send me your guess by 5pm Sunday 19th July
  • on this blog
  • on Facebook
  • twitter – @jkynaston
  • email –
  • any other method!


Posted in Guess My Time, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Review of June 2020

The main focus of June was running the Virtual West Highland Way Race which involved running 95 miles over 9.5 days from Friday 12th June to Sunday 21st June. I really enjoyed taking part and completing the challenge.

In June I ran a total of 150.75 miles

Screenshot 2020-06-30 at 08.01.35

Here is my strava trace with cycle rides as well as running

Screenshot 2020-06-30 at 12.08.05

Here is a graph of my runs for June

Screenshot 2020-06-30 at 08.04.04

Table of types of runs during 2020

Screenshot 2020-06-30 at 12.11.26

One of my targets for 2020 was to run 2020 miles. I’m going to see where I am at the end of lockdown but at the moment I am 71.36 miles short of my target.

Screenshot 2020-06-30 at 08.05.30

Posted in Monthly review, Uncategorized | 2 Comments