Jez’s eye-catching career so far proves that keeping faith in the simple pleasures of running can yield incredible results. His quiet determination has turned him into one of the best ultra distance runners in the world, both on the trails and on the road. He has enjoyed success in iconic races, most notably his victory at The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc in August 2010, when he was just 29 years old. But he has also inspired the global running community with his epic personal adventures. In 2013, he ran the entire length of New Zealand, completing the 3,000km Te Araroa Trail in 53 days – the fastest known crossing.
What really matters to him, however, are the everyday joys of running: the chance to explore trails through beautiful scenery, to observe the changing seasons, to travel to new places, to meet interesting people, and to push his physical limits. He is happy to daydream while running the trails near his home in Dorset because to be alone, on foot, surrounded by beauty, is where he feels the purest sense of freedom.
Birthdate: April 13, 1981
Hometown: Solihull, West Midlands.
Homebase: Dorset, England
Favourite Book: Wild Trails to Far Horizons by Mike Cadahy.
Favourite Music: A whole variety from mellow to upbeat house music.
Favourite Food: You can’t beat a traditional home cooked roast dinner.
Biggest Dream: To run another ‘long trail’ like the Pacific Crest or Appalachian Trails in the US.
How do you focus? Running gives me focus and 'head space' to think clearly and make sound decisions.
Best advice ever received: Run with your heart (from my great team mate, Lizzy Hawker)
Words to live by: Enjoy being in the moment
Favourite fitness exercise: Cycling, swimming and kayaking.
I wouldn’t leave home without my… The North Face Base Camp Duffel
It’s hard to believe that this lean endurance athlete spent his university days playing rugby, but he believes having an all-round active life – from climbing trees as a boy to enjoying kayaking and cycling trips today – has contributed to both his fitness and his hunger for adventure. A one-off charity marathon in 2002 sparked his move into running and he has been clocking up the miles ever since.
Following his epic crossing of New Zealand, Jez has been busy working on his speed as he bids to return to racing and satisfy his competitive edge once again. Last year he set a new record on Ramsay’s Round in Scotland – running up 24 summits over 58 miles in a time of 18 hours and 12 minutes. He’s eager to return to The North Face Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and to try out the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji in Japan and The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail in Italy. His big ambition is to win the prestigious Western States 100 in America where his highest finish so far was third in 2009.
Jez still balances his running with a demanding day job as a construction project manager, but with wild scenery to explore, inspirational countries to visit, and fresh challenges to take on, nothing stops him pulling on his running shoes and hitting the trail.