PSF: You have an amazing passion for running and we know you have done a marathon in freezing cold Antarctica and Greenland which sounds incredible. Where did your motivation for running come from?


DW: I moved to London in my early 20s and after a few years of a hectic, corporate lifestyle I was unfit and overweight.  Initially I took up running for health benefits and to lose weight.  I was far from a long distance runner with anything over 5k a struggle. But I persisted and found running became a useful tool in helping deal with stresses of modern life. 

 

 

 

PSF: And what made you decide to do all continents in under 7 days so soon after your recovery from life threatening brain surgery?

DW: Over the course of 2012 I set myself the goal to run a marathon on each of the 7 continents; North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, Australia and completed the challenge in Antarctica.  Shortly after completing this challenge I was diagnosed with a large brain tumour that nearly took my life.  During the 13 hour operation I suffered extensive nerve damage to the right side of my head losing the balance nerve which required me to learn to walk again.  After an extensive stay in hospital fighting additional complications such as meningitis and swine flu I eventually left in a wheelchair with doctors advising a 12-18 month recovery period and that I’d never be the same..  

 

During the recovery period I was presented an opportunity to run a competitive marathon on each continent in 7 days (777).  Something that initially seemed unlikely but became my focus and ultimately the driving force to my rapid recovery.. 

 

 

PSF: Is running now your ‘day job’?


DW: Running is the primary focus and passion but remains a self funded endeavour.  Prior to illness I worked as an Enterprise IT Architect for a global investment bank which was a good source of income for funding crazy adventures.  A sponsor would be lovely :)  For the time being I am teaching yoga, meditation and doing motivational talks…   

 

 

 

PSF: What was your training diet like for these events before your diagnosis/surgery? How did it change after your recovery?


DW: My diet prior to illness was high in animal products and processed foods which I assumed were good for me.   Before events I would ‘carbo load’ which meant eating doughnuts, lollies and anything else I could find high in calories as I assumed I needed it to get me through the run.    Post race it was straight to McDonalds for a ‘recovery’ meal to replace the lost calories.  I was really far off the mark for a healthy diet but just didn’t know any better.. 

 

During my recovery I came across compelling evidence indicating vegetarian/plant based diets were a healthier alternative to animal based diets that aid the bodies natural healing processes.   I was desperate for anything to help me recover and switched to an organic plant based diet..

 

 

 

PSF: Since the surgery you have moved to a plant-based diet and included superfoods regularly. In what way does your body feel different as a result of this dietary change and the inclusion of superfoods?

DW: It’s like I was given a brand new body..  One that functions with no aches and pains..  I went from being 90+ kilograms with a body fat percentage over 25% to 68-72kg and a body fat percentage of 8-10% depending on the phase of training… I train less with better results and rarely suffer injury or common illnesses like colds & flu…  This is 100% attributed to dietary changes and the inclusion of superfoods! 

 

 

PSF: When you are competing in marathons do you get ‘runner’s high’? What does it feel like and how long does it last?

DW: Absolutely,  for me it’s a phenomenon that occurs randomly.  I’ve experienced it during short training runs or in long 100k & multi day events with the a significant occurrence at the completion of running 777…  An indescribable sense of clarity and calmness came over me and I felt very alive…  It was so noticeable as I hadn’t slept for days and expected the first thing I’d do when finishing would be crash in bed…  But I was wide awake for hours after and felt amazing.   

 

 

PSF: Is it difficult to stick to a healthy diet when you’re in between training for events?

DW: Initially the dietary changes were a struggle as I didn’t know how to manage and maintain a plant based diet which often led to reaching for foods I was comfortable with.. Over time I’ve developed a good repertoire of meals, snacks and healthy treats which makes sticking to the diet very easy.. It’s a lifestyle choice now with no temptation of switching back to a diet based on animal products & processed foods..  

 


PSF: Do you let yourself binge? and if is so what do you binge on?

DW: Usually after a big event my body craves calories so I allow it..  My go to binge food is vegetarian pizza and ice cream for desert..  

 

 

PSF: What are your favourite superfoods and how do you most like to use them?

DW: Maca, Cacao & Acai are used regularly in post training recovery smoothies..  Chia seeds feature in a lot of the snacks we make at home..  I find them the most versatile super food and loaded with energy and micronutrients integral to recovery.

 

 

PSF: What did you think of our new Morning Munch? (there will be some on its way to you shortly.

DW: It’s great..  It’s been a while since coming across a new food source with such a high nutritional profile.  The morning munch has exactly what I crave after a long run and it keeps me sustained..  Really love the ginger in the Cashew Colada!

 



PSF: What is your favourite place in Australia to run?

DW: The Mornington Penisula (Victoria) is amazing for running…  The Two Bays Trail between Cape Schank and Dromana is a world class trail with challenging terrain and stunning scenery..  I go often and feel so blessed to be out there!  Australia is loaded with amazing places for trail running..  I’m also a huge fan of the Blue Mountains (NSW) region..  

 

 

PSF: Do  you have any fave recipes that you can share with us? Fave Smoothie etc?



Pre-run Apple & Chia Juice :

This is my go to drink before a race…   

 

2 Tbsp. of chia seeds 

250-300ml of quality organic apple juice

Method : Add the chia seeds and juice to a jar, I use old jam jars..  Shake it regularly every hour for a few hours to ensure the chia seeds don’t form a big clump..  Leave overnight in the fridge ready for the morning run.. 

 

Choc Banana Recovery Smoothie :

Protein, sugars, good fats and antioxidants are super important for the bodies repair.. 

This smoothie recipe I try to take within 15-30 minutes of finishing a training session.  

 

2-3 medium sized bananas 

2 Tbsp. of Cacao 

1 Tbsp Maca Powder 

1 heaped Tbsp of plant based protein powder 

1 Tbsp of healthy oil (coconut, hemp, avocado) 

300ml non dairy milk (almond, coconut, macadamia etc..) 

2 generous handfuls of frozen berries (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry etc..)

Honey to taste

A generous pinch of cinnamon 

 

Method : Put all items in a blender and blend..  Add water to achieve desired consistency..  Add a generous Tbsp of peanut butter if you’re not watching the calories ;-) 

 

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