Our ambassadors are different, they’re special. They may not be (or may be) podium finishers, but they have unique qualities of thinking big, self-belief, determination, no fuss, stoicism (and are pretty fit too!). They have set themselves incredible challenges and overcome great odds to succeed. They do not seek out the limelight, they are focussed in their approach and go about their business professionally, quietly improving day by day. They are never content, never settle and continually push boundaries. They are great examples to us all and each has their own story.
Damian Hall went from his first half marathon 10 years ago, aged 35, to representing GB five years later and is now a record-breaking ultrarunner and UKA coach. He’s placed on the podium at the Spine Race, Dragon’s Back Race and the most recent UK Ultra Trail Championships. Internationally he’s placed in the top 10 in five Ultra-Trail World Tour races, including 5th at Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc and 2nd at Mozart 100. In the UK he’s set numerous records/Fastest Known Times, including on the Pennine Way, South West Coast Path, South Wales Traverse and Paddy Buckley Round. He’s a parent of two, an occasional journalist, a vegan and his lifestyle is verified carbon negative by Our Carbon. He loves bimbles, lumps and tea.
Sabrina Verjee was introduced to off road running when she started adventure racing. She has adventure raced all over the world in many different teams of different nationalities. She started ultra-running in 2015 finishing first female in her first ultra the Grand Tour of Skiddaw. Since then she has enjoyed racing and been highly successful in the longer ultras including, The Dragon’s Back and The Spine Race. She broke her own ladies Pennine Way Fastest Known Time in 2020 and in June 2021 she set the Fastest Known Time for the Wainwright’s Round which is an incredible 525km with over 36,000m ascent!! In 2022, she was first female in the formidable Tor Des Geants 330km, one of her best results to date. When she is not out on the fells, Sabrina is a very busy small animal vet with her own independent veterinary practice in Carnforth.
Galen didn’t like running. After defaulting into running by what kit was at hand and a desire to be in a shape other than round, everything changed after completing his first ultramarathon. He developed a passion that would lead him to take on races that challenged both physically and mentally, like the Tor des Geants and Dragons Back Race. Galen has an eagerness for the long ultras, long days out in the mountains and seeing where the limits are. In 2019 Galen won the Dragon’s Back Race, setting a new record! He placed 2nd in the Tor des Geants in 2018 and 2019, one of the toughest mountain races in Europe. He had an incredible 2022 season of races with wins in the Swiss Peaks Trail 360km, Cervino Matterhorn Ultra 170km and Dolomiti Extreme 100km. After a long day in the mountains, his favourite post-activity event is a pint and a coffee, preferably at a refuge where he doesn’t share any common language – not hard; he only speaks passable English! He’s overwhelmed often by his two young boys and works with his wife in their paediatric therapy clinic.
About Harry in his own words: ‘I could ride a bike before I could walk, growing up on Dartmoor and having a Dad really into Mountain Biking has put me where I am today. I competed in my first race at around 7 years old and haven’t stopped racing and enjoying riding bikes since! Now it’s what I do full time being on the Great Britain Cycling Team for Cross Country MTB. Some of my best results are 3x British National champion, bronze medalist at the 2019 European championships and in 2018 I was lucky enough to get selected for GB for the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aries where I won two out of the five events and came home with a bronze medal. I love training and pushing myself mentally and physically so its important I’m always fuelling well and keeping track of what’s going into my body. When I’m not training or racing I’m usually in the sea swimming and surfing or out walking with the dog!’ More recently Harry represented England in the 2022 Commonwealth Games MTB cross country event.
Jo has been a runner for a long time. She moved up to ultra-running in 2013 after coming second in the Marathon des Sables (and is still the highest placed British female).
She enjoys racing all over the world on roads, in the mountains, and on trails. She has represented GB in the World Trail champs (her best is 7th) and in the 100km champs (her best is 4th).
She is also a passionate physiotherapist working self-employed and as a contractor for the English Institute of Sport.
In her spare time, she can be found on Dartmoor with her husband and border terrier, Wilfred, enjoying good food and good wine in the company of friends.
James is an endurance cyclist and world record holder. As an amateur club racer doing criteriums, road racing and time trials, James was immediately hooked on ultra-cycling when he discovered the Race Across America.
The chance to ride across a continent non-stop in under 12 days sounded something of a lifetime’s achievement to James and in 2016 he succeeded first time to ride the 3089 miles in just 11 days as a rookie rider.
He then went on to break the long held Guinness World record in 2017 for the return journey between Land’s End and John O Groats. In 2019 he attempted to break the World Record for the furthest distance travelled by bike over 24 hours – the indoor record is always the fastest and the furthest but he failed to break the record that day; he is currently preparing and training to re-attempt this in 2022.
John Kelly has a long list of records and achievements to his name in ultras and triathlon, with some of the highlights being: 2017 Barkley Marathons winner (one of only 15 people ever to have completed the race), 2020 Spine Race winner, the Pennine Way FKT (2021) and most recently Wainwright’s Round FKT to name a few. Some more about John in his own words: ‘I grew up adventuring through the dense mountains and forests around my family’s rural home in Tennessee, constantly trying to keep up with my older brother and cousins. That grew into a love of exploration and a drive to continually challenge myself with goals that push my boundaries and that have failure as a probable outcome. Mountain running allows me to do both of those things at once; the longer and the tougher the terrain and conditions, the better. The closer to my limit I go the more I become aware of my own strengths and weaknesses – helping me improve not only as a runner, but in other areas of life. I’m a husband and father of four, and I currently work in the UK as the tech co-founder of a start-up. I hope to be able to pass along my love of exploring and appreciation for wild places to my kids and to others, but more importantly I hope to pass along the confidence and passion to pursue big goals’.
Jasmijn Muller is a management consultant turned cycle coach with a passion for helping others to get fitter, go faster and explore further. As a rider, she has a number of big achievements to her name, including UK and World 24-hour time trial champion and fastest female in 1,000km and 2,000km long unsupported ultra-cycling races. She is currently training for the 7,400km unsupported North Cape to Tarifa race.
As a coach, she works with both men and women, from complete beginners to experienced racers, supporting them in their goals to improve fitness, cross continents or break records.
In 2019, Jasmijn was part of Cycling UK’s 100 Women in Cycling list which celebrates inspirational women who are encouraging others to experience the joy of cycling.
Although only 21 years old, Hattie Harnden already has a long list of multi discipline cycling titles to her name. In 2021, she became the youngest ever women’s elite Enduro World Series race winner at 20 years old. She is a GB cyclist in the disciplines of enduro, cross country and cyclo-cross and is the current elite U23 national champion in cross country and cyclo-cross. She has been a European Champion and a British Champion an amazing 15 times. When she’s not on her bike, Hattie enjoys cooking, baking and art.
Emma is comparatively new to running, having started with a couple of half marathons about five years ago, before stepping up to the ultramarathon distance in 2019. Prior to that, the only running she did was to catch a bus, train or plane! Since then, she has won a number of races including the Lakeland 50, Lakeland 100, Kong Lakes Ultra, Lady Anne’s Way, Cheviot Goat, the Arc of Attrition and UTS100M.
Emma enjoys the longer distances where mental fortitude is just as important as physical fitness and enjoys challenging herself to see how far she can go. She is passionate about increasing female participation in ultramarathon events and wants to show that anybody can do these distances if they just set their minds to it. She lives in the Lake District with her partner, James, dog Moss and cat Baloo. When not running, Emma spends her time as a farm animal vet, with specialist interests in advanced reproductive technologies and sustainable agricultural practices.