This is Marcus, He is crazy cat number 2 : My crazy cat athletes are people I m working and consulting with so they can achieve epic shit : These guys remind me very much of NIKE Crazy advert. I love this approach so much and getting to work with people doing epic stuff is a pleasure and I m grateful to be involved with such cool and unique projects.
Reading Marcus’s past achievements its clear to see the man is a beast, I feel sorry for the Atlantic ocean 🙂
Tell me a little about yourself
I’m 49 this year and about to undertake one of my biggest challenges to date…rowing 5,000 km across the North Atlantic, solo to raise money for Macmillan Cancer. (you can donate here )
I was born in Devon and was brought up in Birmingham. I had a very difficult childhood but took ownership of my own life aged 17 and have never looked back. I graduated from Leeds University in Law/Finance, and opted to train at KPMG as a Chartered Accountant. After a short spell in Corporate Finance I “fell” into recruitment and then headhunting. My last role was Partner in a firm I helped build and grow over 12 years from humble beginnings into one of the largest global firms. I left them in November 2018 to focus on my row.
I stopped playing competitive sports aged 30 and when we had our first child. I then did barely any training at all for over a decade. Aged 42, I ran the Marathon des Sable, a 250km self supported race across the Sahara desert, and surprised myself with a top 100 runners finish. I have been taking part in endurance events ever since.
How did you get into fitness?
I was always good at athletics at school. I moved school when I was 13 to a school that played rugby. I was big and fast and someone put a rugby ball in my hand. I was told I had a natural gift and a year later I was “spotted” by a coach. I played for school, county and a first division club and was put in the England Development Programme. I was given my first cap against Canada and loved it. At the same age I made the national athletic trials in Crystal Palace at 200m. I won the race and came second at 110m hurdles. All of a sudden I was expected to train as an elite athlete in two disciplines and at the same time juggle schoolwork and O levels. As a result training hard and juggling commitments now feels perfectly normal, and I struggle when it is not so.
I have discovered that I am quite tough mentally and this has overidden what I perceive as my physical limitations. I was always a sprinter at school but managed through training to change my physiology to longer distances. In my early-40s I got a PB Marathon time of 2 hours 47 minutes and started running Ultras.
I have never rowed before but have chosen the “Toughest Ocean Row” to test myself physically and mentally. I now need to train my body and mind to cope with what I need it to do.
Do you have any daily / morning routines?
With all of the training I have put my body through over the years, I now have arthritis in my feet and knees and I also have a genetic condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis. Add to that years spent at a desk and I have very limited mobility. So I normally wake up quite stiff and in moderate pain, and I need to go through a series of stretches and a mobility routine before I can get out and about.
I wake at 0530 every day, go through my stretches and 15 minutes of meditation. Then training, shower, breakfast – nearly always porridge with honey and eggs, then work.
What does your training typically look like?
Because I’m training for my ocean row, all of my current training is rowing oriented.
At the moment if I’m not on the ocean in my boat (once a week) then its either mobility circuits or strength, involving a warm up, ramp session and then a focused strength session courtesy of @oceanready (Gus Barton – a previous Atlantic rower): either a power, hinge or squat session. A friend of mine Valentine Rawat (@rawfit) an incredible PT from Leeds, helps spot me and makes sure I don’t skimp on any reps!
What does your diet typically look like?
90% of the time, its good quality protein, loads of veggies and good quality carbs. 10% of the time it’s whatever I fancy. When I was running ultra’s, I was running 188 miles a week during my peak training and my bodyfat went down to 3 percent at 82 kilos. Even eating 6 meals a day, I physically could not consume enough calories. Not sustainable.
I’m not interested in a six-pack any more as I need to “bulk up” for my row. To me its all about being functionally fit for what I am doing that year rather than how I look. So at the moment my diet is good quality fresh food three times a day, with periodic snacks and good quality supplements. I’ll use meal replacement shakes occasionally if I cant get a proper meal. Oh and cake!
How do you describe your mindset?
Focused and determined verging on obsessive.
How do you balance training with work / family?
Always tricky; family come first but after that its all about meticulous planning. I go to bed early and I don’t drink, and this opens up a lot of hours in the morning to train, after that its about squeezing in training when I can. When I was running ultras I would do a daily early morning and late evening session, when I was doing Ironman it was two sessions a day but using one session as active rest for the other, e.g. a 6am run followed by a 7pm swim. With the rowing its more strength related and this is much easier to plan around a gym.
I have a very understanding and supportive wife. Without Susanne keeping all of the plates spinning I just couldn’t achieve what I want to do.
What’s your biggest achievement?
Without doubt, my biggest achievement to date is bringing up two healthy, successful, focused and determined teenagers. Both are elite athletes in their own right. Charlotte is part of the England pathway for Netball and Ben is in the England Development Programme for Rugby. They both grew up used to my training regimes and think it is perfectly normal.
What one bit of training advice would you give to someone else?
Do the work. There is so such thing as a shortcut. Set yourself unreachable targets, then seek the advice of experts to help make those targets a reality. Always support those trying to achieve their own targets and help wherever you can; what goes around comes around.
What one bit of nutrition advice would you give to someone else?
This is one area where I know relatively little. The longest endurance event to date has been 9-10 days and my body can tolerate most things for a short time. My next challenge is likley to last over 45 days and I’ll be burning around 10,000 calories a day for nearly 2 months. This area is where I am hoping Paul Johnson can assist me.
I once sprained an ankle listening to music when I was trail running and when I should have been focusing on foot placement. These days I do most of my training without music. However, when I do train to music it is dance music, specifically deep house and trance. When I need to dig deep its Renaissance Sasha/Digweed.
If I have a theme tune it is Sparta by Ten Walls.
‘Go to’ workout:
At the moment, its 2.5 hours a day of stretching, foam-rollering, warm-up, ramp then then olympic bar, Dumbells and kettlebells, followed by cool down.
My incredible children
“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training”
Where can we find you
Sponsors or supporting partners
Editors Note: Please show your support for Marcus throughout his training by following his on social media, sharing his links and donating here: