It would be a gross understatement to say that Dave More has endured an extremely testing year.
But the Metro Aberdeen club member has rediscovered the joy of running and now hopes to help others by embarking on an ambitious ultra-distance challenge.
More admits the extended Covid lockdowns of the past 12 months hit him particularly hard, but he has now rekindled his enthusiasm.
He said: “The whole lockdown affected me really badly. I am quite open about the mental health problems I have experienced and it was really tough for much of last year.
“I stopped running altogether for about four months and my weight shot up to over 15st by the beginning of November.
“But I got things together and set a target of getting back to 10st 7lb by the end of December – and I made it.
“I decided to get going by doing a 2k run, then 3k, then 5k. Within no time at all I was up to 10k and it just progressed from there.
“I got back in touch with my coach, Brighton-based ultrarunner Sarah Sawyer, and told her I was ready to go again. She is so positive and it’s good to have a plan from her so you know what you are doing on a regular basis.
“Now I am physically and mentally much better and really enjoying it again. There’s no doubt about how good running is for mental health.”
More hoped to make a return to racing in the Dava Way 50k next month but the race has been postponed until November because of the continuing restrictions.
Although disappointed, the Metro man has channelled his energy into setting up an alternative challenge – and one that will benefit youngsters in Aberdeen and Kenya.
He said: “I’m going to do a 24-hour run to raise funds for Cove Boys club under-11s, as my son plays for them. But I’ll split the money with the Gathimba Edwards Foundation, the charity set up by Aberdeen’s Myles Edwards, which helps under-privileged children in Kenya.”
Using a play on his name, the charity run has been given the title 24 hours+a Wee Bit More.
More explained: “I’ll run for 24 hours then see how I feel. I might go on for another 30mins or it might be six hours. We’ll see.
“I’ve no planned route. I’ll roam the streets of Aberdeen for 24 hours and when we look back on this past year I’ll be able to remember having done something positive.
“Hopefully people will join me for some parts of the run. I’ll be posting on Facebook as it progresses so folk will know where I’m going.”
More is also looking forward to getting back into the competitive groove as soon as events are allowed to go ahead.
He hasn’t been able to tackle an ultra-distance race since October 2019 when finishing fourth in a 24-hour track race at Tooting Bec, London where he covered an impressive 202.9k.
He said: “That’s my best performance so far. I had been trying to crack 200k for about three years. Sarah’s coaching helped me a lot. She told me to slow down early on, which was opposite of what I had been doing.
“She said I should aim to be bottom of the leaderboard after the first hour as I’d gain confidence from moving up from that point on. It worked at Tooting Bec as I was 40th after one hour and went on to finish fourth.”
More is now an accomplished ultra runner having tackled many of Scotland’s classics including the Dee 33,the Glen Ogle 33, the Highland Fling 53, The Great Glen 71 and the West Highland Way 95 mile races.
He’s keeping his fingers crossed that the new Moray ultra series gets the green light over the next few months, but admits a new track challenge has also captured his imagination. He said: “I’ve entered all the Moray races but I also have a place in the Gloucester 48-hour track race scheduled for August.”
More has never run for that length of time before, although he came close a couple of years ago when taking part in the Tunnel Ultra, in which competitors have 55 hours to run 200 times through an old railway tunnel in Somerset.
He said: “I completed 43 hours before stopping, so it’s another five hours on top of that. I learned what I need to do from that experience.
“I like to be in a dynamic environment and to test myself all the time physically and mentally. Sports psychology has become a hobby of mine and it’s all very interesting.”