Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jonathan Savage – Lion on the Savannah

“The limits you have are probably just in your head, what you think is impossible is often just brutally hard but if you’re prepared to pay the price it’s remarkable what you can achieve” Jonathan Savage

My friend Stacey, me and Jonathan at Frosty 50 K 2010
Jonathan is well known in the ultra-marathoner scene. He writes a great blog called “Fellrnr.” His blog is an amazing source of information for runners, from product reviews to training ideas. He is always willing to give expert advice and encouragement (which comes naturally). I first met Jonathan when I ran my first 50K, he helped a friend and I develop a plan – we finished and felt great. He also kept us company even though he could have lapped us at least once, maybe twice. He had a funny saying that kept us going and laughing, “How hard can it be?”

His background story is very interesting, he was self-proclaimed as sedentary and had never really been physically active, since he suffers from a painful skin condition called Epidermolysis Bullosa (an inherited skin disorder characterized by blister formation in response to mechanical trauma). He was born in Bedford, England and while still living in England he started suffering from bad migraines, he said that was his wake up call that he needed to get healthy, and he was 205 lbs at that time and is now a lean 135. He started his journey to fitness with an aerobic class and just kind of “fell into running".

He ran his first race, a half marathon in 1997 and then signed up for the London marathon. He remembers hardly being able to walk for a week after his first half marathon. Somehow he wanted to keep going and signed up for the London marathon, in which he did very well. He has gone on to do many marathons and ultras and place in many.

After moving to the US, he started running more marathons and, later, found that he really enjoyed the ultra-marathon scene. Recently he volunteered for the Umstead Ultra 100 mile race, he was at the last 12.5 mile lap aid station and a lady came in to the aid station close to the limit of time provided, Jonathan says she was crying, and had very blistered feet, she wanted them bandaged and was determined to finish. He says she finished with only 15 minutes to spare for the cut off. He said that inspired him!
Jonathan believes that achieving something big, like an ultra-marathon, changes who we are and how we view life and its other challenges.

“Having something to fight for or overcome is an essential part of who we are.”

He says that “ humans have a need for challenge”, he uses the analogy of a caged lion It is feed well cared for but bored, whereas a lion in the wild has to struggle and fight for food etc. So he says, you have a choice.... You can decide to remain caged or run in the Savannah, the latter can be tough but is much more rewarding.

I think it is fitting to end with a quote he relayed by Descartes, “don’t mistake comfort for happiness”. Thank you Jonathan for again motivating us to get outside our comfort zones!


Triple F said...

I call Jonathan a friend. But then . . . so does everyone else in the SE ultramarathoning world. Inspiring but has his feet firmly on the ground. And one of the nicest guy I know.

bdotson said...

He recently did 145.9 miles in 24 hours. Amazing ... and inspiring, so much so that I recently have started running. Tnx J!

Emily said...

Yes! Johnathan got 2nd place in that 24 hour race. He rocks! I'm very excited to hear you have started running J, that is so awesome!