Guide spotlight - Alister Bignell
***Guide Spotlight - Ali***
This week in Guide Spotlight we introduce to you Ali! Ali is one of our guides you will get to meet on our European trips based out of the Chamonix valley. Ali lives with his girlfriend Kate close to the trails in Interlaken (a beautiful Swiss town in the Bernese Oberland, surrounded by 3 stunning mountains: Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau). Aside from his main passions of running and climbing in the mountains, Ali works as an International Mountain Leader and website manager for non-profit organisations.
~What got you into running?
I ‘discovered’ running in my early-20s. Initially it was as a way of getting fit for climbing, along with the inclement weather in Snowdonia where I trained as an outdoor instructor, that got me into it. Eventually, the running became an end in itself and has remained central to my existence ever since!
~What or who is your biggest motivator
My ambition to run my first marathon (London) was largely driven by my Mum and Dad, who had both run it in previous years and continue to be a huge source of support. Friends and family continue to inspire me to seek out new challenges and see what I’m capable of, and perhaps my biggest motivators are to maintain fitness, stay healthy, keep my body robust, and be outside in nature.
~ What is your favourite distance to run?
I still enjoy the sustained, maximal effort of a good old 10k, but am also a bit of a hills addict so would likely opt for an 8k and around 1000m of up (and down of course)!
~ What is your favourite area to run the trails?
The Bernese Oberland has so much to offer trail runners: varied trails to suit all abilities, stunning views, good signage, huts and cafes aplenty, and glistening lakes and rivers to cool off in afterwards!
~ What is your favourite snack while running?
I am partial to a cheese and marmite sandwich on long days, otherwise a steady supply of Clif Shot Bloks go down a treat.
~ Funniest trail memory?
Becoming an impromptu goat herder in the final km’s of a Swiss trail race! About 10 goats broke through their fence as I went past and almost followed me to the finish line! Perhaps it was the smell...
~ Favourite sort of training session?
One that’s followed by a treat! I still enjoy (?!) some interval training and putting in speedwork as part of a longer run, but increasingly I’d opt for a long (5-6 hour) run/hike on a mountainous route, preferably exploring new terrain.
~ Any current running goals?
It’s a tough situation for races this year, but I had applied for the Tor des Glaciers in September which requires getting out on the hilly trails as much as possible. Thats fine by me whether it goes ahead or not! (For those who haven’t heard of this epic race, it is a 450km race, starting and finishing in Courmayeur in Italy, with a massive elevation gain of 32km. Ali completed the slightly shorter version of this race last year, the Tor Des Geants, a mere 330km with 24km ascent, coming 17th overall...wow)
~ What do you enjoy most about being a RTW guide?
Being part of a dynamic team with a great ethos that I fully believe in!