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Interview with Marc Jones

Our very own Marc Jones, Manager at Lion Quays’ gym, undergoes the ultimate test of stamina, endurance and willpower on 16th November 2018, completing 2 Ironman races in the space of 24 hours. We thought we’d catch up with Marc on what drove him to commit to such a monumental challenge and quizzed him, interview style, on the details. After a great discussion on sports, inspiring youth and tattoos(!), the parting piece of advice that Marc left us with was ‘Run the hills, walk the flats’ which we found to be rather profound really, and can be applied to many aspects of life! Our full interview with Marc on the Iron Lion event is below. Let us know what you think.

For those that have not met you before, please can you share with us a little bit about you and how you came to work for Lion Quays.

Wearing the many hats of husband, dad, gym manager and sportsman, my career began with Lion Quays in 2011 when I joined the team as a Fitness Instructor, working my way up the ranks to Gym Supervisor. I then took a break for 2 years and re-joined the team as Gym Manager, the role I’m currently in.

What led to your decision to complete 2 IronMan challenges in 24 hours? Have you always been into fitness?

Fitness and leading a healthy life has always been important to me. In fact, in 2013 I set myself the challenge of completing every distance of a triathlon possible - e.g. 5km, 10km, half marathon, slowly working my way up to the Ironman race I completed.

What I value most about this challenge isn’t just the athleticism, but the total, all-round exertion that it puts you through, testing not only your endurance as an athlete, but your mental stamina and ability to fight through tough situations, pushing your body to keep going when your mind wants to give up. A quote that I keep in the back of my mind for occasions when my mind is testing me come from the Navy Seals and goes a little something like this:

“When you think you’ve hit your limit you’re only 40% there.”

This provides a lot of reassurance when you’re 80 miles into a race, legs like jelly and you’re struggling to find the will to keep going. Knowing that at that point, you’ve got another 60% left in the tank, helps you dig a little deeper.

What inspired such a daunting venture was more than just a desire to complete a huge challenge, a few factors came into play; showing my daughters that with determination you can succeed was the biggest personal driver. Our chosen charity for the event, Alzheimer's Research UK is also something that is close to my heart having affected friends and family members, whilst also being Lion Quays’ charity of choice. This horrendous disease is yet to have a cure however there are things you can do to help prevent and reduce risk - the main one being leading a healthy and active lifestyle. I hope that this activity represents that well. Hopefully his will inspire those who thought they were unable to do such a challenge to get out there and try it. I’m not suggesting that everyone signs up to an Ironman tomorrow, just that we choose to make healthier/more active life choices. And if you do think that you’re up to the IronMan challenge, you need to commit. Because if you're not 100% committed, you simply will not do it, and you’ll discover many “reasons” to give up.

That sounds like no mean feat, tell us what EXACTLY is an Ironman, what’s involved in a DOUBLE Ironman and how do you envisage the day itself panning out?

An Ironman event consists of a 2.4 mile swim, immediately followed by a 112 mile bicycle ride and lastly a 26.22 mile run (marathon). Events are consecutive with zero rest time in between. On 16th November at 10am, I shall be completing two of these, sequentially... within 24 hours! The event is not only open to spectators, but also participants as we invite you to complete a leg of the challenge alongside me between 10am and 9pm on 16th November! This could be as little as 5km on the treadmill, or as much as a half marathon - the choice is yours. More details on this to follow, but if you would like to sign up, just contact Lion Quays or pop in the gym and let us know what you would like to do.

The following day, our prestigious awards ceremony shall take place and all fellow participants are invited to attend the evening and will receive an award as special thanks for participation.

In terms of preparing for an event like this, what do you do? And what advice would you give to anyone looking to do something similar.

As training is a year-round thing, general fitness levels are good. So I start by gently building up a routine and clocking miles for each of the 3 events. About 4 months out I’ll start by doing the odd long run on a Sunday, a mid-week 10km, a couple of bike rides, hitting the pool in the early mornings and going from there. Personally, I prefer to run off my own intuition and listen to my body’s needs rather than following strict regimes. During a run, I find this works better for me also so rather than pacing myself with a wearable device such as a Garmin, I’ll adjust my pace according to my own judgement. But it really is about what works for you.

When it comes to food, it’s important to keep your energy levels high for training and the event itself and use food for fuel. Throughout the day I’ll be consuming 30g carbs every 30 minutes and sometimes this can prove difficult, but the repercussions of incorrect nourishment are detrimental to the success of the event so sometimes force-feeding is needed!

Last but not least, I’d like to thank the hotel in advance for helping make the event happen, the incredible event sponsors Technogym (equipment), Wolverson (sp?) (equipment), and Torq for fueling my energy throughout the day by providing hydration and nutrition. Huge thanks to my beautiful famiy for their love an support and look forward to seeing everyone at the event.

DONATIONS FOR THIS GREAT CAUSE CAN BE MADE VIA THE JUST GIVING PAGE:

www.justgiving.com/ironlion24     #IronLion24