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Wheying up ultra runner's diet; CHEESE THE SECRET TO ATHLETE'S SUCCESS.

Byline: HARRI EVANS Daily Post Reporter harri.evans@reachplc.com

THE ultra marathon runner who has taken on the toughest endurance challenges in the world has revealed the secret to his success - cheese.

Huw Williams has run thousands of miles including the world's toughest ultra marathon - the gruelling 250km Marathon de Sables in the Sahara desert - and now organises the Pen Llyn Ultras which push endurance athletes to their limit, running up to 100km in a day.

The 46-year-old dad-oftwo from Pwllheli credits his endurance running ability with munching on local cheese.

Huw is sharing his unusual diet tips in order to help other runners get prepared for this year's Pen Llyn Ultras event, which will see up to 200 endurance athletes running distances of 50, 75 and 100 miles around the Llyn Peninsula, on June 29.

He will even be holding a cheese and pasta party the night before to get participants fuelled up.

An ultramarathon is anything over the distance of a marathon, which is 26.2 miles or 42.195 kilometres, so those taking part in the 100-mile Pen Llyn Ultras will be running almost four times the distance of a marathon. Huw first started eating a "fat-adapted" diet fuelled by cheese two years ago, when he was training for the 2017 Marathon de Sables, having hit a "wall" running his first ever ultramarathon, the 2016 Snowdonia 50.

Huw said: "I hit an almighty wall at 30 miles on the Snowdonia 50, and it made me realise how crucial diet was if I was going to run these great distances.

"I started training with a high fat, high protein keto diet, and the results were phenomenal.

"Without the cheese from South Caernarfon Creameries I wouldn't have finished in the top half of all the runners in the world in the Marathon de Sables.

"I'm no top athlete but it shows if you have the right balance of nutrients then you can generate the power you need." Huw has now run several ultramarathons including official events and his own independent adventures - such as running 135 miles once from his cowshed to Birmingham to attend a running show, and running 120 miles from Holywell to Nefyn along the ancient Pilgrim's Way path, for charity.

He explained that by eating a diet rich in good fats and protein, the body enters a "fat-adapted" state known as ketosis, enabling athletes to burn fuel highly efficiently while avoiding the sugar highs and energy crashes that can be associated with a high carb diet.

His routine when preparing for an ultramarathon event involves eating huge amounts of cheese from Wales's oldest dairy farming co-operative, South Caernarfon Creameries. Huw said: "More and more endurance athletes are now turning to a 'keto' or 'fat adapted' diet to help them to keep going over long distances.

"This nutritional plan is where you remove the majority of your carbohydrates and your body enters a 'keto' state where it becomes efficient at burning fats as a primary fuel.

"When you are running long distances you don't want a spike of energy, you want to keep your heart rate below an aerobic level, so you are at a constant slow burn like a candle, and you can keep going for longer.

"You don't want to risk having a carb or sugar crash, and you don't want to be reaching for a packet of crisps."

Huw, who is also UK organisational representative for the International Trail Running Association said: "One of the best sources for good fats as well as things like coconut oil and avocados, is cheese.

"In particular Dragon cheese is great because per 100g you have got high proportions of high-quality fats and proteins from natural sources and zero carbohydrates.

"It is very easy to digest because it has not been over processed, so it is very close to the protein and fat as it comes in its natural form."

To find out more about the Pen Llyn Ultras visit: penllynultra.co.uk To find out more about South Caernarfon Creameries visit: sccwales.co.uk

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Ultra runner Huw Williams with Trystan Povey from South Caernarfon Creameries
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Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:May 28, 2019
Words:691
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