FOUNDER / EVENT DIRECTOR: SIMON JAMES
Simon is an International Mountain Leader and Founder of the trail running holiday company Run the Wild. He spent his childhood growing up on Gower in south Wales where he gained a passion for the outdoors.
In 2006 after having put on 20kgs of weight in a job in the City and following a late-night bet with a client he signed up to a 54-mile race across the West Highland Way in Scotland. The longest he’d run before that was 8 miles. He hasn’t stopped running since. A year later, he ran his first London marathon in 2hrs 57 minutes soon after managed to push this down towards 2.5 hours. Since then he has completed many ultras in the UK including the 87 miles Ridgeway Challenge, finishing 5th in 16.5hrs, as well as abroad including the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, 106 miles around Mt Blanc with 10,000m cumulative ascent, and the Marathon Des Sables, a 155-mile multi day event in 55 Deg C heat. Only 10 months earlier he spent climbing Mt Denali in Alaska in freezing temperatures, as low as -50 Deg C. This is where his other passion lies, as a mountaineer. He has climbed some of the highest mountains in the Americas, Africa, Europe and the Himalayas including Manaslu, the 8th highest mountain in the world. He is passionate about running outside of the race arena too, running Hadrian’s Wall in the UK, the GR20 in Corisca, Haute Route and Trail Du Mt Blanc in France, all in self sufficient style. In 2013 he took a year out to pursue both running and climbing whilst travelling. Having set off on many self-sufficient multi-day trail runs over the European Alps, where mountain passes are normally only reserved for trekkers and mountaineers, the idea of Run the Wild was born.
Despite major hip surgery a few years ago, he believes that life is all about your approach, and dedicates himself to encourage others to realise their full potential.
In summer, he is based in Saint Gervais, at the foot of Mont Blanc, and for the rest of the year in the Chiltern Hills in the UK. He is passionate about getting others into the outdoors and is an instructor and assessor for the Duke of Edinburgh scheme. He also guides International Schools on charity-based projects in Tanzania and leads groups up Kilimanjaro.
Simon is a qualified International Mountain Leader, Trail Running Guide and Leader in Running Fitness as well as a Member of the Explorers Club. Qualified Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist. LSSM Dip, IRSM, ITC Certificate in Outdoor First Aid, WMT Advanced Medicine
LOGISTICS DIRECTOR / LEAD RUNNER: KARIN VOLLER
Karin Voller is an experienced ultra runner, frequently gaining podium positions in popular ultra runs and multi-day ultras in the UK. She was first GB female over the line on the longest stage of the Marathon Des Sables 2011 & 11th female overall. Her passion for running followed on from representing England in Lacrosse for several years. From there she completed numerous marathons including London, Berlin, and Stockholm, achieving a PB of 3hrs 20mins in Abingdon in 2019. She has run the length of Hadrians Wall unsupported, as well as the GR20 in Corsica and a number of other challenges in the Alps and the UK. Recently increasing her distance goals she was 3rd female in the Wendover Woods 50mile race in 2019 and is looking to complete her first 100k mountain race in Italy, and 100 mile race along the Thames Path in 2020. She is a stickler for organisation, a very experienced trail runner and a valued member of our team with a certificate in Outdoor First Aid and UKA Leadership in Running Fitness. She is also a Lead Runner.
LEAD RUNNER (UK): LUCY HUME
Lucy has been a keen runner since 2010 completing several marathons she is now making her way into the world of ultra distances. Having travelled to New Zealand to complete her first 50k, Lucy is now setting her sights on events a bit closer to home and can regularly be found enjoying the Chiltern Hills and surrounding countryside with her dog Logan. Lucy has a passion for running and interest in all sports which has led her to qualify as a sports massage therapist. She loves talking to clients about their sport and helping them to avoid injury and achieve their goals. She believes that everyone should be able to enjoy the thrill and beauty of trail running whatever your ability, speed or running history and is looking forward to sharing her passion with the RtW community.
Lucy is first aid trained.
LEAD RUNNER (UK): KATIE VAN DE LINDE
Katie has a passion for running. After a brief spell as a County runner at junior level, her love affair with running really took off in the last 8 years. Over this time, Katie has competed in 6 marathons - in the UK and abroad (including London twice; finishing under 4 hours each time); as well as completing several local UK Ultras and middle-distance Triathlons. In 2019, Katie completed the 3-day 84 mile Druids Challenge along the Ridgeway; finishing as 10th female. Beyond distance running, Katie is equally fond of shorter distance events – both on-road and trail - as well as a Park Run most Saturday mornings. Katie is a Primary School teacher ... so when not having fun in the classroom, she is nurturing the next generation of running talent via a School running club she set up 3 years ago!
Katie is first aid trained.
LEAD RUNNER (UK): MARK HADAWAY
Mark has always had a keen interest in sport having played football from an early age. He went on to play semi-professional football and won national club championships in the process. Cruciate ligament injury in 2005 put an end to his involvement in football, so instead he started training for triathlon. Already a competent runner having completed several marathons amongst other distance events, Mark spent much time learning to swim and improving his road bike skills prior to commencing competing in the sport at a variety of distances in 2006. In 2008 Mark completed Ironman UK in 11.50 finishing 56th in his age group in the process. In subsequent years, amongst ‘going travelling’ and now with a young family, Mark has continued to participate in a variety of endurance sports from mountain biking to obstacle course racing.
Mark holds numerous sports coaching qualifications including diplomas in personal trainer, sports massage therapy and sports psychology. He is currently studying for an MBA.
LEAD RUNNER (UK): ANDY COLLINGS
Andy has been running for pleasure and to keep fit since school. Growing up in Cornwall has meant he has developed a passion for the outdoors. His first foray into long distance adventures began with the Idita Bike in Alaska. This was a self supported 130 cycle on the frozen river Yukon from Anchorage to Knit Lake. Over the last 5 years he has been running ultra distance races and has taken part in a number of events such as the Isle of Skye Ultra, Hardmoors 60 and the Classic Quarter. He has also taken part in a number of multi-day events such as the Atlantic Coastal Challenge and the Trans Britain Ultra. He enjoys the challenges of self navigation and regularly competes in the Original Mountain Marathon (OMM). He is a regular ultra runner but also enjoys shorter distances is a local RD for ParkRun.
Andy is a English Athletics Coach (CiRF) and holds an Outdoor First Aid Certificate.
LEAD RUNNER (UK): PHIL ROBBINS
Phil is an ultra runner who is fond of a challenge and has a bit of a thing for maps! Having started out as a broke graduate he worked up to marathon distance in 2008 and then immediately signed up for the Marathon des Sables, which he completed in 2011. Since then, self-navigated and self-supported running has been his obsession, mainly in an urban setting, having criss-crossed London innumerable times linking airports, following tube lines and piecing together its many landmarks.
He continues to race from time to time, having finally broken the 3-hour marathon mark in 2016 and completing the South Downs Way 100 in 2018 in a shade over 20 hours. But his passion remains exploring places with his running. He loves getting out on the trails and sharing them with other runners. Phil is a Leader in Running Fitness (LiRF).
LEAD RUNNER (UK): SIMON HUME
Simon has a passion for sport and found his love for running in his early twenties after participating in a fun run for the opening of the Olympic stadium. He has since completed multiple marathons, the Artemis quadrathlon over 7 gruelling mountains in Scotland and cycled to Paris from London after buying a road bike only 2 weeks beforehand. When he is not running or cycling along the Chiltern Hills he can be found in the terraces at Watford FC, a lifelong Hornet!
Simon is passionate about encouraging everyone to give running a go, no matter their age or physical condition. With a degree in Psychology, Simon values the positive mental affect of running, escaping the pressures of working life and reaping both the physical and mental benefits of running in the stunning Hertfordshire country side. He also works in market research...so don’t be surprised if he asks a lot of questions!
LEAD RUNNER (UK): CHRIS LYNN
Chris lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and daughter. Whenever he gets the chance he is off out into the Chilterns canicrossing with Monty the Vizsla(the sport of cross country running with dogs. Originating in Europe as off-season training for the mushing community). Chris started the sport in 2013 and has competed across the region resulting in many achievements and podium finishes. Trail running forms an important part of Chris’ off season training.
Chris is trained in basic life support first aid and emergency first aid.
LEAD RUNNER (ALPS): ALISTER BIGNELL
Al has devoted much of his life to the outdoors, and is particularly fond of adventures in the mountains. Having discovered the joys of running as more than just training for mountaineering several years ago, he has turned running and being healthy into a way of life since moving out to the Alps in 2006. An avid racer of both short and long distances on road and trail, Al is as motivated by the training required as the actual competition. He has completed ultra races such as the Trail VSB, Trail des Dents du Midi, Eiger Trail, PTL, UTMB, CCC and shorter races including Sierre Zinal, Glacier 3000 and Les Rochers de Naye. Despite finishing well in most of his races, Al is continuing to learn from every race experience and embrace both the joy and suffering that comes from exploring his limits. His most recent success was completing the TDS in 2017 in an impressive 15hrs 50mins earning him 12th place overall and 1st British athlete over the finishing line.
He has several years experience guiding day trips and multi day excursions as an International Mountain Leader, including the full suite of the North Face Ultratrail races (UTMB, CCC and TDS). Whatever your level or ambitions, Al’s enthusiasm and experience will ensure you are well supported to enjoy your trip and come away stronger and wiser.
LEAD RUNNER (ALPS): EMILY GELDARD
Emily has been leading Alpine running trips for Run the Wild since 2014. She has many years of experience leading groups in Europe, Alaska, Norway, Africa, India and Nepal. Living in Chamonix, she speaks French and can often be found running around the local mountain trails. Emily has run all her life, (unlike everyone else, she actually enjoyed cross-country running at school!), and got into adventure racing before leaving the UK. She's now completed several Ultramarathons, including the 101km CCC. She also plans to do several races a bit further away from home; the next one on the list is in Iceland.
Emily also works as an English and Geography teacher, but manages to get outside whenever is possible. She feels that running is the most accessible and enjoyable way to discover the Alps. Each summer Emily plans a self-sufficient multi-day trail run with friends, enjoying the simplicity of running through beautiful and wild places with everything you need on your back. She also enjoys climbing, ski-touring and cycling.
Emily is a qualified International Mountain Leader.
LEAD RUNNER (ALPS): HEATHER OHLY
Heather lives in Kendal and spends as much time as possible in the Lake District. She loves fell, trail and skyrunning in the mountains. In her work as an International Mountain Leader, she enjoys sharing her skills and enthusiasm with clients and seeing their confidence develop. Heather also works as a research fellow in global nutrition, with a focus on micronutrient deficiencies in low-income countries. Balancing these two contrasting roles keeps her motivated!
Heather is a qualified International Mountain Leader.
PHOTOGRAPHER / LEAD RUNNER: CLEMENT HODGKINSON
As a passionate runner, skier and climber, Clement has built up the skills to both move and shoot in unique environments whilst staying safe and efficient. His unrelenting desire for adventure and creative eye enabled him to shoot unique assignments around the world including; photographing a 9 day ultramarathon crossing Iceland, filming in the fjords of Western Norway for clients such as Ford Europe and Sidetracked and trail running assignments in the Chamonix valley in particular for Run the Wild.
When Clement isn’t taking photographs he is most likely putting in miles on his road bike, running alpine trails or heading off climbing. The Chamonix massif is a valley where he can do all of these sports making it a ideal valley to spend lots of time in. His work focuses on projects whose stories touch on aspects of adventure sports and the environment. He hopes that his work will allow people to engage with our wild places and learn to value and protect them.
Clement’s work has been the face of numerous outdoor campaigns and he shoots the Run the Wild imagery from our runs in the Chamonix valley.
TEAM MASCOTS: LOTTIE AND BAILEY
Lottie and Bailey are sometimes seen on Run the Wild adventures. Lottie (brown and white) is an excellent runner frequently reaching speeds over 30mph (48kph) and is an adept climber. Bailey (black) is more of the endurance hound and has already taken to canicross. Both particularly love trails and trail runners. Lottie likes chasing butterflies and Bailey has an unquenchable passion for tennis balls.