James Stewart is an international ultra runner and has competed for Scotland over 100k and Great Britain in the 24-hour World Championships.

Featuring in the ‘fast runners: class of 2018‘ over the next 12 months, the 41-year-old aims to represent GB again – this time at the European 24-hour Championships, further improve his 24-hour time and compete in another 100-mile race in America.

Additionally, the Sherlock Holmes ultra fan wants to improve his core strength and speed over the next 12 months.


Name: James Stewart
Age (Jan 2018): 41
Hometown: Croy, Glasgow
Club: Pyllon Racing/Victoria Park City of Glasgow

Main discipline: Ultra running (100k, 100 miles & 24-hours)
Full-time athlete/work/studying: Work as Head of Service Planning at Sky Plc

Goals or targets for 2018

1) To run for Great Britain again at the European 24-hour Championships
2) To improve my 24-hour mark
3) To compete in a 100 miler in the US – race to be confirmed
4) To improve core strength and speed over the year, and for it to show in my numbers

Career highlights

1) Running for GB at 24-hours distance
2) Running for Scotland at 100k
3) Winning West Highland Way race in 2016
4) Winning Rocky Raccoon 100 mile race in the US in 2017

Personal bests

1) 24 hours: 160.4 miles
2) 100 miles: 13:39:13

Interesting or fun facts

I am scared of open water. People keep asking when I am doing an Ironman but that ain’t ever happening. I can hear the Jaw’s tune in my head as I write this.

I had never run on a trail until 2012, so it’s never too late to find a new passion.

I have an obsession with Sherlock Holmes and often find myself quoting the character in meetings at work, often to the confusion and utter dismay of those around me.

I have around a dozen tattoos, almost all of which are music related.

My left foot goes numb for about 10 minutes at the start of almost every run. It is as a remnant of a footballing injury many years ago where I fractured and dislocated my ankle trying to be like Franco Baresi. It turned out I had annoyed a Franco Begbie wannabe who thought nutmegs were a slight on his good nature.

Why do you run?

I have a pretty full-on life and work. Running is a form of escapism and a way to keep a balance and keep things in check. I initially started ultrarunning to lose some weight back in 2012 and things snowballed from there.

Now, I love pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

Favourite training session

I love long intervals, anything over 5 minutes. I prefer to get close to threshold and stay there than those 400m repeats that have your heart coming out your mouth!

My number one favourite though is long runs with tempo efforts included within the session.

Least favourite training session

I know how important they are but the sessions I struggle to get excited about are the recovery runs.

Favourite pre-race food

Before a long run some coffee with wholemeal toast and Nutella is my go to, it can keep me going for hours.

Favourite post-race food

If I haven’t had toast before the run, it’s toast with nut butter & banana. Or, after a long session (marathon+) porridge and scrambled eggs.

Favourite runner or runners

Being an ultrarunner I am generally drawn to this sport for inspiration. I’ve been lucky enough to meet and race alongside some of the people who have inspired me such as Dan Lawson, Robbie Britton and Debbie & Marco Consani.

I am also coached by Paul Giblin who was the local hero to me in the sport and first inspired me to do the West Highland Way race.

Chosen charity for ‘fast runners: class of 2018’

Kilsyth Community Foodbank – an independent voluntary organisation committed to the provision of emergency food relief to individuals and families experiencing financial hardship

James Stewart is part of the ‘fast runners: class of 2018’ and will share his running journey every month throughout 2018. More information can be found here.