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Ultra Festival 2017 Speakers

Jo Meek - 7th female World Trail Championships, Peneda Geres, Portugal Oct 2016

Aleks Kashefi - First person to run the length of Europe

I am a runner through and through but also have a very fulfilling life. I love my work as a Physiotherapist and have just started a part time Masters in Sports Physio. I am married and have dog called Rufus. Apart from running, actively I love cycling, sailing, diving and seeing the world and passively I enjoy reading, cooking and catching up with friends over a coffee and cake or good food and wine!

Aleks ran LeJog barefoot in the summer of 2015, and inadvertently ignited a need to adventure more, travel and pursue the clarity and calmness of the void. One particular void was a run from the very north of Europe to the very south, a journey of some **** kilometres. He wants to inspire people to have less and do more.

Damian Hall - FKT 630-mile South West Coast Path

Anna-Marie Watson - 2nd overall female, Marathon des Sables 2015

Outdoor journalist and GB ultra-trail runner Damian Hall has finished on the podium at the Spine Race and the 2016 UK Ultra Trail Championships, fifth at the Dragon's Back Race 2015, and has twice completed UTMB including a top-20 finish. In May 2016 he set a Fastest Known Time for the 630-mile South West Coast Path of 10 days, 15 hours and 18 minutes.

Anna-Marie combines the disciplines of long distance triathlon and ultra-running with the odd adventure race thrown in for good measure. Her greatest achievement was at the Marathon des Sables (2015) where she placed second overall female and in the elite top 50. Her endurance journey spans over thirteen years with an initial gentle introduction with the London marathon (2004 and 2007), CCC race of the UTMB series (2007) and Everest Marathon (2007).

Richard Weremiuk is a multi-day ultra veteran and Race Director at Beyond Marathon

Guillaume Arthus - Barkley 2017 competitor & Runnexplorer videographer

Richard's company Beyond Marathon has quietly been gathering a reputation for well-organised ultra-distance races with innovative themes, including the King Offa's Dyke Race, Dusk Til Dawn and Escape From Meriden. Before injury prevented him from running he completed many ultras including the Atacama Crossing, Kalahari Augrabies and MDS.

A self-professed running and adventure addict, French ultramarathon runner Guillaume Arthus started long-distance running by mistake. He has since raced in over 30 countries on four continents. Today, he is known for Runnexplorer, which traces his running shenanigans all across the planet.

Javed Bhatti - The first Pennine Way double in winter

Dick Kearn - Former ultra runner and long-term Grand Union Canal Race organiser

Javed completed the 2016 Spine Race, a gruelling 268-mile journey along the full length of the Pennine Way in January, then turned around and did it again in reverse. A reflective researching practitioner who loves to learn stuff, he considers that doing something twice helps you consolidate and test learning. He is intrigued to see if it's possible to help any 'average' ultra runner or keen walker (and he considers himself to be distinctly average) with limited time and abilities to develop the kind of resilience that allows them to cover hundreds of miles.

Dick Kearn organised the legendary Grand Union Canal Race between 1995 and 2015, with the aim of seeing as many of his runners as possible complete the distance with minimal support and finish safely in Little Venice, London.

Richard McChesney - Fastest person to circumnavigate London's M25 motorway on foot

James Adams

Ultramarathon race walker Richard McChesney holds multiple endurance walking records in his native New Zealand, including 100 miles in under 21 hours and 200km in just over 27 hours. He is chasing more records for distances from 100 miles and upwards in 2017.

JAMES ADAMS likes nothing more than talking about himself in the third person. And did you know he had a book out?

But seriously James has been riding a wave of ultra running mediocrity for nearly a decade now, coming in the top 47% in a number of big ultras over the years such as the Spartathlon, Badwater, The Grand Union Canal Race, that one in the Desert, Northburn, UTMB, the Vol State and probably most significantly the Los Angeles to New York race in 2011.

What James lacks in running prowess he does not make up in technical writing skills, but he gives that a go anyway. In fact ultra running really was just an excuse to start a blog (back in the days when blogs were hip and cool).

He has run about 100 marathons and 100 ultras. He now has to take care of his new born twins and so his ultra running days might be on hold for a while. However being housebound might allow him to indulge in another hobby of his, ultra social media trolling.

Stuart Levett - Guinness World Record holder - Fastest Continuous Mixed Relay Run JOGLE

To me running isn't about the winning of medals or obsessing over times and performance statistics. It is all about the run. To simply get out there and enjoy running.