Riverside Runner Taylor is a virtual Wings for Life World Run champion!
- Credit: Archant
Michael Taylor, of St Neot’s Riverside Runners club, won the global virtual race Wings for Life World Run on Sunday.
The 38-year-old Taylor ran loops of 2.5k and completed just under 70k (69.9k) at a stunning pace.
After completing the first 50k in under three hours, father-of-five Taylor finished with an average of 5.47 per mile for the 43.5-mile distance, which was faster than Jim Walmsley’s world record pace for 50 miles (80.5k).
Taylor, who serves in the RAF and clocked 2:25 at the 2019 London Marathon, finished ahead of Florian Neuschwander, who set the 50k world record of 2:57 on a treadmill a month ago.
Club captain Rodrigo Santos said: “He is too humble to brag about his feats. I can’t wait for him to have a go at the 50 mile and 100k world record.
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“He is coming to the ultra scene and I’m so proud of him.”
Race director Colin Jackson, the former 110m hurdles world record holder, surprised Taylor with a phone call after his victory, during he which he said: “I was quite looking forward to doing longer races this year, I’ve never really run long before, I’ve been doing triathlons.
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“I prefer running, it’s more relaxing. I thought I might have 70k and to be 90 metres short, I had nothing left at the end.
“It’s been really nice, quite a few people were taking their daily walk where they knew I would run and were waving and cheering.”
Wings for Life raises money to fund research to find a cure for spinal cord injury and runners use an app, until caught by a virtual catcher car.
Taylor added: “It’s a fantastic charity, I actually broke my back in 2016 so it does ring true to me, I was lucky to get away with it. It was a nasty little break, so it’s something I do believe in so if we can keep raising money for them it’d be great.”
As for using the app, he added: “It rained really hard at eight miles so my headphones exploded. I was on speaker phone for the best part of 35 miles and at one point it said ‘Holy s**t you’re moving fast!
“It was really funny and nice, but I was cursing it because my Garmin said I’d gone further and it was bleeping 20-30 seconds later. It’s a really good, fun thing. It’s unique, something different.
“The app was fantastic, very funny, it made me smile. I was looking at Don Ritchie’s times, he’s a mega hero, and I was about 40 seconds outside his 40-mile time and thought I should’ve kicked early. There’s nothing like having other British people spurring you on, it’s good fun.”
As for how he would celebrate, Taylor said: “I’m meant to be running our club Zoom session but I don’t know how that’s going to go! I’m sure they will take advantage and push the pace a bit. I might just have to watch.
“I’ll tell them Colin Jackson called my mobile and I get to do anything I like.”