Alan McDonogh, is an extreme endurance athlete…

April 17, 2014

Alan_in_Hi_ResAlan McDonogh, from Piddington (in Northamptonshire), is an extreme endurance athlete…
Alan McDonogh is a self-employed graphic designer – married, with two teenage children. He became the first man ever to successfully complete a grand randonee cycling event on an elliptical bike when he completed the 887-mile London Edinburgh London (LEL) grand randonnee in August last year (in under 116 hours) on an ElliptiGO 8S.

The LEL randonnee is Britain’s longest amateur cycling event – held every four years and running from London to Edinburgh and then back again (with a challenging time-limit of just 4 days, 20 hours and 40 minutes – within which riders must complete the entire journey). Of the more than 1,000 long-distance cyclists who took part in LEL 2013, only about 800 of them beat the time-limit.

Here’s our Q & A session with Alan McDonogh…

How old are you?

55 years old.

What’s your sporting background?

When it comes to sport, I’m a bit of a jack of all trades – and quite definitely master of none! Rowing, and its associated cross-training activities, was my main sport from university until my mid-40s. After rowing I moved on to marathon running.

At the age of 50, my ‘mid-life crisis’ kicked in and prompted me to have a go at something a bit bigger. I entered an Ironman triathlon (2.4 mile swim / 112 mile cycle / 26 mile run). This presented two brand new challenges – I was a non-swimmer and a novice cyclist! I have now completed two Ironman events.

What sports do you still do now? 

At the moment, I split my time between running, cycling and ‘ElliptiGOing’.

Alan_and_SteveHow did you get into ElliptiGO training?

I had my first sight of a very bizarre, stand up, ‘elliptical contraption’ on one of our local roads. At the time I had a slight injury preventing me from running. Feeling a bit sorry for myself, I tracked down the ‘ElliptiGO’ on the internet. Being reassured that the ‘GO’ was a serious bit of kit – and not just a recreational toy – I had a trial ride. I was hooked! I could see that the ‘GO’ would enable me to ‘run’ whilst doing less running. It would also perfectly fill the training gap between running and cycling.

Do you use the ElliptiGO to cross-train for other sports, or just for the fitness it provides?

Whilst I initially assumed the ‘GO’ would be a purely cross-training device, for me it has now become a sport in its own right. My first challenge was to get on the ElliptiGO Century Club (‘hall of fame’ list of the first 100 riders to complete an official 100-mile cycle event on an ElliptiGO).

After that, the ‘GO’ took over my life in 2013, when I trained for and completed the country’s premier touring cycle event London-Edinburgh-London (LEL). Nearly 900-miles, in less than 5 days. LEL was my first multi-day endurance event and it ranks as one of my proudest sporting achievements.

What’s an ideal training week for you like nowadays?

Having devoted the majority of 2013 to ElliptiGO riding only, I am currently dividing my training time between running, cycling and ‘GOing’. A typical training week would be a long cycle ride, a long run & an ElliptiGO ride at the weekend – and three mid-week training sessions.

What are your best achievements in each sport you’ve done? 

Starting as a total novice and going on to become the highest level rower in my university’s history at that time. Then going on to become an elite standard rower.

A sub 3-hour marathon at my first attempt and then going on to run my best time of 2:54 at the age of 51.

Overcoming my fear of water to enable me to complete an Ironman triathlon.

Completing the LEL ride on the ElliptiGO.

Alan_LEL_AriveeWhat are your training goals for 2014?

I intend to compete in a number of duathlon events (run-bike-run) in the early part of 2014. I am currently looking for another ElliptiGO challenge for the middle of the year. I have a running marathon at the end of the year.

Why do you do what you do?

I enjoy the challenge of achieving unusual events that are outside my comfort zone.

Do you plan to one day retire from endurance events – and start taking things easy – or will you just keep GOing until you can’t GO any more?

Will I stop? Probably not. Especially as the GO provides a rewarding, non-impact form of exercise with the added benefit of taking part in all sorts of endurance events and challenges.

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