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.
“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.”