Skip to main content

To Overcome Grief, Ultra Running Became Will Goodge’s Therapy

Will Goodge started ultra running by accident. Though he used to be a rugby player, Goodge actually hated running until he was on a trip to California. “I had jet lag so I woke up super early. I think it was 4:00 a.m. and I was in Santa Monica. And for some reason, I decided I was going for a run and I was going to run until I saw the sun come up. So I ran along the Santa Monica boardwalk. I didn’t take shoes with me, which was another strange choice. I don’t know why I did it,” Goodge said.

Related Guides

Just as the sun peeked over the Malibu Hills, Goodge realized that there was only one way to get back, and that was to run, too. So he turned around and ran all the way back to his hotel’s reception where he picked up his shoes. “They looked at me quite funny. I had all these blood blisters on my feet, but I was in the most elated mood. And at the time my mum was going through cancer and she’d spoken to her doctor that day. So she called me soon after I got back and she said she was in remission,” he explained. “So I had the feeling of my first long run ever and the best news I’d ever heard in one moment,” Goodge added. Sadly, the disease returned and he lost his mom just nine months later. That’s when Goodge “used running as [his] therapy.” The first Christmas after his mom passed, Goodge completed his first marathon, and after that accomplishment, ultrarunning was the logical next step.

No distance is too long for Goodge

Ultrarunner Will Goodge smiling
Will Goodge/PureSport

Once Goodge began ultrarunning, there was no looking back it seems. Though he primarily trains on pavement, one of his favorite races was the Maverick which is trail running with big elevation gains. “That was the most fun for me because it was technical as well. The most fun I have is always trail,” Goodge said. Though that race was shorter at just 50 kilometers or 31.1 miles, Goodge has run 12 marathons in 12 days and 875 miles in just 16 days. Naturally, with distances like that under his belt, Goodge’s upcoming races and goals are no small feat.

“I’m doing Marathon des Sables next year, which is a really big one. It’s in the Sahara Desert. It’s a five-day stage race over 250 kilometers. And it is crazy but in the best way. I think those races are the ones that you find out a lot about yourself,” Goodge said. But until then, he plans to run a marathon in every English-speaking county. With a goal of just 30 days and 48 counties to visit, he’ll have to run more than one on some days. The last marathon is the official London 2021 marathon. It’s an idea inspired by Dean Karnazes’ 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days ending with the New York marathon.

As if those challenges over the next two years are not enough, the 27-year-old has one more major goal to achieve before he turns 30. He also wants to follow in the footsteps of his “Yoda,” Robbie Balenger. Goodge wants to run some 3,000 miles across America.

He Started London’s Largest Running Club

Will Goodge wearing PureSport tank
Will Goodge/PureSport

In the meantime, Goodge is head of running relations at Puresport, the most inclusive running club in London that he started. With more than 1,200 members, Puresport’s Run Club meets weekly in Battersea Park with running opportunities for everyone to get involved. Whether members are looking to jog out a 5k or improve their sprints, Rub Club offers many exercises and even an opportunity to socialize and meet new running partners. “I absolutely love Run Club from the first one I turned up to, I instantly felt part of a community and like I’ve made friends. I actually look forward to seeing everyone on a Wednesday and whilst having fun I’ve managed to knock 2 minutes off my 5k time,” Tara Jackson, a Puresport Run Club member said. It’s completely free to join and updates can be found on Instagram as well as through their WhatsApp group.

Tips for Beginners

Will Goodge running with a group
Will Goodge/PureSport

While joining a running club is an excellent way to get involved and make running more fun — especially as you gain distance — not every city has awesome resources like Goodge’s Puresport Run Club. But he does have some great pieces of advice for those who just starting out with the hopes of becoming ultra runners.

To Goodge, ultrarunning is all about the head game. “Understand why you’re getting into the race and why you want to do it. And then if you keep that with you the whole time, then you can basically do anything,” he said. But don’t take yourself too seriously. “Have fun with it and don’t put so much pressure on yourself to make a time. Just accomplish the distance. If you put too much pressure on yourself then I don’t think you’ll get the whole experience,” Goodge added.

While it’s all about enjoying the experience, Goodge admits there are tough times. In order to win, you do have to put in the time to train and push through tired moments alone without a cheering crowd. But ultimately, it pays off and that’s one of Goodge’s favorite parts of ultrarunning. “I think you learn about yourself and you can carry those lessons with you in the rest of your life as well. Things seem a little less significant and hard if you’ve overcome those kinds of obstacles before and in an ultra, it’s like you overcome them consistently because you’ll get to a point in a race where you don’t want to take another step and then you’ve got another 20 miles to run and you do it,” Goodge explained.

Editors' Recommendations

Topics
Molly Harris
Molly Harris is a freelance journalist, cyclist and outdoor enthusiast. Her work has appeared in Travel + Leisure, Lonely…
How to build strength and mobility with functional training
Strengthen your upper and lower body with functional fitness
a man doing pull ups

As you prepare to start your summertime fitness routine, you’ll want to include functional training. Now more than ever, there’s an increased focus on this type of training within the fitness-conscious world, and with good reason; functional training primes your body for your everyday activities. 

As we go on with the hustle and bustle of our day, we often overlook it, but functional training provides the strength to carry out the daily tasks that require you to push, haul, load, and lift. Keep reading to learn more about functional training and how to include it in your routine.
Does functional training build strength?

Read more
How to do a hack squat: Tips, tricks, and advice from the experts
Fire up those quads and build tree-trunk legs with the hack squat
blonde-haired man doing a hack squat on a hack squat machine

Looking for a way to torch your quads and sculpt those treetrunk legs you’ve always dreamed of? You’ve probably done your fair share of squats, but if you want to switch things up and really target your quads, it's time to try the hack squat.
The hack squat can be done one of two ways: with a hack squat machine or with a barbell. In this guide, we’ll break down both methods for you and cover everything you need to know to perform this exercise effectively and safely.

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to conquer leg day with confidence and take your quad strength to the next level.
What is a hack squat?

Read more
Spark your fitness journey with accessible home gym equipment from Major Fitness
Major FItness family workout with Dad and son on Spirit B52 AIO home gym

A gym membership is great, especially since it gives you access to a lot of useful fitness and health equipment you probably don't have at home. But at some point, if you're serious about your fitness journey, you'll probably start looking into getting some gear for your place. Having at least something on hand is perfect for those days when you're tired, got off work late, but don't want to hit the gym. Or, better yet, when you've woken up early and you're ready to hit the equipment first thing. While there are a few brands you could turn to, we recommend checking out Major Fitness. Its mission is specifically to "enable your fitness journey," and a huge part of that mission is offering accessible, excellently crafted fitness equipment from power racks and Smith machines to storage options, free weights like dumbbells, and much more.

Of course, we like Major Fitness because of its focus on people first. They don't just want to deliver equipment and leave you to the wolves. They want to help you craft a customized and ultimate home gym that meets your needs. There's no sense in getting equipment you're not going to use, but at the same time, you want something that will evolve with you along your journey. As your strength, focus, and exercises change, your workout system will also grow with your body. Major Fitness aims to be a fitness companion rather than just a provider, continuously improving alongside you with your personal wellness and growth in mind.

Read more