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Martin Johnson, ultramarathon in the service of minorities

On the morning of May 26, 2021, Martin Johnson began to experience pain in his knees. The 30-year-old Brit has taken on the challenge of running the Thames Trail, a 296km track along the River Thames, and feels his body relax. The young father of the family covered more than 200 km in less than 24 hours to reach the city of Oxford, but the most difficult was yet to come. “Not knowing if I could run that distance was part of the adventure,” he told us almost a year after the event. It was at this point that I realized that I could no longer keep the same rhythm and it really became a mental battle to the very end. A battle from which Manchester United will come out victorious, ending their unprecedented effort after 38 hours and 35 minutes of racing, setting the most famous time on this course, which connects the Thames Barrier in London with the source of the river in the Cotswolds, the hills of South West England.

It wasn’t until 2018 that Martin Johnson became a brand ambassador for Patagonia, whose remarkable performance was documented in a documentary. More or less out of necessity, getting to work from the suburbs of London to the center of the English capital on foot. . “I took up running for three reasons: to avoid tiresome public transportation, to save money and to get in shape, because I put on weight after I became a father,” he joked. MJ was familiar with athletic youth, played football at a semi-professional level, ran several half marathons or occasional marathons, participated in charity events or followed friends, but showed no passion for running.

“Road races with mass starts and the goal of setting the time did not appeal to me,” he explains. When I started running, friends told me about the world of ultramarathon running and I was blown away. I had no idea that people run hundreds of miles in the mountains!” Shortly thereafter, Martin Johnson took part in his first long-distance race, the Thames Trot (75 km), and contracted the ultratrail virus. “It was terrible, the track was muddy and I wasn’t really ready, but it opened up something for me,” he said during our video call. I found the type of race that suits me. I was attracted to spending many hours in nature. ”

Holly-Marie Cato / Patagonia – Run to the Source

While pursuing her new passion, MJ quickly noticed that there were very few blacks and people of color…

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