Ultra/Marathon Coaching

Our online coaching team of Ian Sharman, James Elson, Robbie Britton & Edwina Sutton, have been designing simple, highly bespoke training programs built around individual athletes since early 2012. Between us we have the experience of 100's of marathons and ultras across all different types of terrain and environments and we put all of that experience into coaching you to reach your highest potential. 

Whether you are looking to finish your first ultra or multi-day race, compete at a top level at any ultra distance or simply stay focused and injury free up to your goal event, we can get you there. You can read more about some of the races we have been involved in & our experiences/ coaching qualifications further down the page. 

How does it work?

Davos Swiss Alpine

We construct a day by day training program bespoke to you, taking into account your goal race and work/ life commitments. You do the training and at the end of each day or week we go over everything with you. We then adapt the following week's schedule based on your feedback so that every day/ week of your training is optimised towards getting you in the best shape possible to achieve your goals. 

Initially we ask you to fill out the form below. Once you have submitted it, we will contact you with our initial thoughts and get you to give us as much detail as possible about your past racing and training experiences, daily life, strengths, past injuries, goals and ambitions.

Based on the information you have provided your lead coach will then schedule the initial call, to gain more insight and to openly discuss your program and within 24 hours, you will receive the first fortnight of your training plan. Your lead coach will have the majority of the contact with you through email & skype/ phone calls. Our other coaches will provide input towards your plan and our communication back to you so that you benefit from a personal relationship with your lead coach with the benefit of the combined experience and knowledge behind constructing your bespoke plan. 

Everything we send to you is based on the information that you give to us. No two training plans are alike because your goals as a runner and available time to train and race are different from the next person's. 

The Plan

The coaching service you will receive is highly personal. You will receive a training plan with detailed notes regards training (or rest!) for every day you are with us. The plan will be updated as often as required based on email communication between you and us. Skype calls will be included as often as necessary for you to go over anything you wish with us & in order for us to stay as close to you and your plan as possible. All coaching clients also receive a 10% discount on any purchases made at the Centurion Running online store. 

  The Plan
Minimum Commitment Period 1 month
Initial Consultation Cost £100
Monthly Cost £150 
Training Program Updated As often as required
Email Contact Unlimited
Skype/ Phone Contact Regular
In-Person Coaching Sessions Purchased as an add on

Some highlights from our own running backgrounds

Our personal experiences with ultrarunning go into everything that we offer to our students.

Robbie Britton

Robbie's ascent to the top of the UK ultrarunning scene was a fast one. He began running 100s in 2010 recording some solid perfomances, learning quickly how to refine his training to maximise success and taking his first win in 2011. Over the past 18 month he has expanded on his multiple 100 mile podium places, earning his place in Team GB's 24hr team which he has been a part of since 2013. Shortly afterwards he went on to win the Petzl South Downs Way 100 in a time of 15:42. In 2014-15, Robbie stepped on to the International Stage, running for Team Inov8 at Transvulcania, recording the second fastest ever time at the West Highland Way Race, sub 27hrs at UTMB and took home bronze overall in the 2015 24hr World Championships. He races across all distances on all terrain types and has recently made the Alps his home.


Ultra experience (major races):

  • 24hr World Championships 2015: 3rd Overall.
  • Tarewera 100km (2015 - 7th)
  • UTMB (2014)
  • West Highland Way Race (2014 - 2nd fastest time ever)
  • Spartathlon (2013)
  • South Downs Way 100: 15:42 (1st & CR)
  • North Downs Way 100: 19:47 (1st & CR)
  • Thames Path 100: 16:02 (2nd)
  • Cotswold 100: 20:26 (2nd)
  • Caesars Camp 100 x 2 incl. 21:30 (3rd)
  • GUCR: 31:26 (7th)
  • Winner and Course Record  XNRG Pilgrims Way Ultra 2014
  • Canterbury 10: 55 mins (1st)

James Elson

James has been running ultras since 2005 and has been fortunate enough to race on all 7 continents, competing in and completing initially 5 multi day desert races before taking to running longer one day events.

In 2010, he started Centurion Running to give runners the opportunity to experience running 50 / 100 miles supported, on some of the UK's most scenic trails. He has been helping people achieve their goal of running and finishing 100 milers since early 2009.

He has been coaching since 2010 and is a UK Athletics Certified Coach In Running Fitness.


Ultra experience (major races):

  • Race Director at Centurion Running
  • Athens 24hr (2016) - 242km
  • Western States 100 (2011)
  • Grand Union Canal Race (2013) Winner 
  • Spartathlon (2013)
  • Bob Graham Round (2014)
  • Badwater 135 (2010)
  • Marathon Des Sables (2006)
  • Leadville Trail 100 (2011)
  • Autumn 100 (2015) (14:35/ Course Record)
  • 'UTMB' (2010, 2012)
  • Rocky Raccoon Trail 100 Mile x 4 (PB of 14:50)
  • Comrades
  • 4Deserts Series: Gobi, Atacama, Sahara, Antarctica (3 x top 10 finishes) (2007-2009)
  • Over a dozen 100 mile finishes across Europe and the US
  • Ironman (2013)
  • 100 marathon club with a PB of 2:43


Edwina Sutton

Eddie studied Sport at Durham University and went onto Exeter to do a PGCE in PE. She taught for 10 years with 8 of them as a Director of Sport. After having children she decided to not go back to work full time and took on some part time work talking at seminars, running courses on how to motivate and encourage girls in sport and took my triathlon coaching qualifications. She went on to qualify as a gym instructor, advanced personal trainer and run leader. Being a busy mum and athlete, she prides herself on making plans athlete centric not the other way around. Eddie has been coaching triathletes over many years and working closely with ultra focused athletes since 2013. 

Eddie is a Level 2 Gym Instructor, Level 3 Advanced Personal Trainer, SAQ (Speed, Agility and Quickness) coach, Level 2 British Triathlon Coach, Bodyweight Certificate & holds a UKA Run Leadership License.


Ultra experience (major races):

  • 2016 ACP British 100km Champs 2nd Lady
  • 2016 Steyning Stinger 1st Lady
  • 2014 South Downs Way 50: 7:09 1st Lady and CR
  • 2014 Country to Capital: 5:42 1st Lady and CR
  • 2014 Weald 50km: 1st Lady and CR
  • 2013 Salisbury 50km 3.53, 2nd overall and 1st lady
  • 2013 Downslink Ultra 38 miles, 3rd overall and 1st lady, 4.47
  • 2009 Ironman World Champs Kona: 10:48
  • 2009 Ironman European 30-34 2nd Lady: 10:07

Ian Sharman (Currently Full For New Clients)

Ian has been ultra running since 2005 and has run all over the world in every type of weather and on all terrains. He has won multi-day races, road marathons, trail ultras and been lucky enough to run in several mountain ranges, including the Himalayas, Andes and European Alps. He holds the fastest time in a trail 100-mile race in the USA: 12hours and 44 minutes for an average of 7:38/mile.

He has the depth of experience of training for virtually every type of endurance running event and has been passing on this knowledge to others since early 2011. He has coached people all over the world from beginner ultra runners to elite athletes. He is a USA Track & Field Certified Coach & a Certified Personal Trainer from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (“NASM”) in the US and is the Race Director for the US Sky Running Series. 

Ultra experience (major races):

  • 2013 US Grand Slam of Ultrarunning Champion
  • Leadville Trail 100 Champion 2013 & 2015
  • Rocky Raccoon 100 x 3 (incl. 2 wins & course record of 12:44)
  • Marathon des Sables (13th in 2008)
  • Comrades x 6 (fastest time of 6:01 or 6:31/mile for 55.5 miles)
  • 2014 Montrail UltraCup Winner
  • Western States Endurance Run (6 consecutive top 10 finishes with a best time of 15:47 in 2012)
  • Transalpine Run Stage Race 
  • Everest Marathon (within a longer event)
  • 100 marathon club (approx. 100 road mara's with a PB of 2:32)
  • Crewing at UTMB and Badwater 135


Sarah Sawyer

I originally contacted James about coaching with the objective of making the A100 (my second 100 miler) 'less horrific than the first'. Prior to this, I also had a 155 mile multi-day race in Ecuador. The training was totally specific to these races and I saw improvements in my running from the very start. I ended up as first female in Ecuador and ran a 19:47 time in the A100 (over 3 1/2 hours faster than my previous 100, but more importantly loving every minute of it - something I didn't think was possible!). After two longer races, I decided to focus on shorter stuff and a road marathon. Again the training was completely targeted to these goals and I couldn't believe road running could be so enjoyable. In the run-up to Barcelona marathon, I got PBs at 5k, 10k and HM, culminating in a 19 minute PB in 3:19 at Barcelona. The results speak for themselves for James' thorough and detailed coaching, but beyond that he's given me a confidence and belief in my running, has given so much invaluable advice and is constantly pushing and challenging me. Starting coaching with James is without doubt the best thing I've ever done for my running.

Darren Chilcott

I signed up with James in mid 2014 after several months out injured, with the aim of working towards the SDW100 (my first 100 miler) in June 2015. Unfortunately further (non-running) injuries prevented me from getting into the programme until I was running again in November 2014. James was instrumental in helping me through the very frustrating injured period with gym-based plans and since returning to running progress has been nothing short of remarkable with the carefully-tailored, very personalised plan, based on discussion, statistics and my feedback (on every session), getting me through half a dozen marathons and the SDW50 within 5 months. Once I’d learned to trust the plan, where every session has a specific purpose, (including easy and rest days) improvements in both endurance and speed have come at an incredible rate, culminating in such things as doing the SDW50 way, way quicker than I ever expected, and taking well over 2 mins off my 5k PB in the same period. Cumulative mileage has been higher than ever, but the careful design of the plan means I’ve never felt any long term fatigue. As well as the running, the advice on kit, race tactics/strategy, hydration and nutrition has been utterly invaluable and led to much better experiences on long events. I can’t recommend Centurion Coaching highly enough -  I write as a middle-aged, modest club runner, not an elite ultrarunner. 

Louise Ayling

Before I signed up with Centurion, I thought that training plans came in twelve, fourteen or sixteen week varieties and that the key to success was arranging your life to fit around the plan.  In the three years that I’ve been coached by Centurion, I’ve had the luxury of a training plan which fits in around my life, incorporates my parkrun obsession and maintains a base level of fitness that means I can run half marathon distance runs on a whim.  I’ve also had a coach who challenges me to find new trails to run, convinces me that I’m capable of more than I think and who has taught me that running is not merely a convenient way to fit exercise into my everyday life, but also massive amounts of fun.

John Duncan

I have seen amazing progress in my ultra performances in the 7 months working with Ian:  From middle of the pack results to a 10 hour 20 minute PB at the 95 mile  West Highland Way race in Scotland, and a 1st place (131 miles) in my first 24 hour trail event.  Can't wait for the year ahead!

Mark Zirbser

After getting through on my first attempt at the Western States 100 lottery, the first thing I did (after panicking!)  was get in touch with James at Centurion Running to get some formalised coaching for this iconic race.  The combination of race specific training & advice (i.e. a tonne of downhill workouts), a great  balance of quality vs. quantity (I am sure I would have over trained on my own), and James' ability to align my programme to the realities of day to day life were critical factors in my successful preparation for Western States.  There is no doubt in my mind, I would not have been able to finish the race without his coaching support.  

Nick Reed

Under Ian's guidance my running has improved beyond recognition and I have achieved goals I never previously thought possible. His structured but reactive approach has improved not only my simple running ability but also my mental focus and race strategy. I am proud to have achieved all my running goals in the last year or so including finishes in races such as T184 and Apocalypse 100 where the finish rate was less than 25%. Ian's detailed guidance and very specific training plans played a big part in this.

Lucy Clayton

After signing up for a 125km (78 mile) race in the Canadian Rockies I decided I was going to need a proper training plan.  Having run my share of marathons and a few short ultras (40 miles max) I knew the basics but kept finding conflicting information about the best way to approach longer races.  I came across Centurion and decided to give them a whirl.  Not only did I get a training plan that I could confidently follow, I also got the benefit of their advice, encouragement and support.  Knowing that I'm going to have to report back on my training (and racing) helps to keep me focused, and in some cases moving!  Without their help I'm not sure if I would have got to the start of the Canadian Death Race uninjured let alone been one of just 30% of starters that finished it.  I'm now looking forward to working with them to achieve new targets. 

Darla Crispin

As an experienced marathon mid-packer, I had been inspired for many years by the idea of going for ultra distances, but was uncertain of how to optimise my training to cope with such a gear change, fitting this around a busy professional life. Enter Centurion Coaching! After a detailed personal consultation, including a long, friendly and confidence-building Skype call, Ian and James created clear and effective bespoke weekly training programmes with real-life flexibility and an ongoing process of feedback. After five months of working with them, I'm looking forward to lining up for my first 50-miler in one week's time, well-trained and injury free.

Ross Le Blanc

I wanted coaches to elevate my performance, outsource my training plan, ensure I had expert guidance and for peace of mind. All have been fulfilled. James and Ian are incredibly responsive and have a wealth of experience between them which releases a lot of pressure when it comes to planning. This allows me to focus on training and I have quickly seen great improvements in performance.

Ronnie Station

In 2010 I decided to have a go at running! Since then I have completed numerous ultras, including two Centurion 100's. Upon training for the Lakeland 100 in 2012 it seemed the right time to seek advice. Centurion Coaching took the stress out of my planning so I could enjoy my training. Importantly the sessions kept me focused each and every run with great consistency and I never felt time was lost. The weekly feedback ensured progression and I hit the start line in great shape. I am a huge believer that results speak for themselves. I finished the Lakland 100 in 28hrs 47mins in 26th position, above my expectations. I am now working with Centurion on my next goal, a sub 3hr marathon and a winter 100.

Tracey Horne

Changing from one sport (Ironman triathlon) to a new one of ultra running has presented challenges in terms of training, recovery and racing. James and Ian are brilliant in terms of reining me in and stopping me overtraining whilst at the same time giving me the confidence in my ability and years of endurance training. The programs are well thought out and flexible when life gets in the way! James and Ian are responsive, understanding and incredibly patient with all my questions and I can't wait to start my first 50 miler! 

Paul Navesey

James and Ian have been a fantastic help to me in providing specific a training plan to suit each race that I do, their coaching quality easily matches that of their own running and racing. It helped that their views on training were similar to my own, but both are very open to suggestions and excellent at providing alternatives to sessions should that be required. They gave my training more direction and purpose, this alone allowed me to be far more consistent than I had been previously leading to almost immediate improvements in my results and race times from 5k through to 100 miles. Responses to my updates are always prompt, clear, informative and they are very aware of any upcoming events. With the experience they share between them I would certainly recommend James and Ian to anyone looking to improve at any distance.

Paul Reader

After years of self training, I finally took the plunge and sort professional coaching. Since finding Centurion Coaching (James & Ian) on-line my true potential has been realised with my training becoming more targeted and fun!!! Over the past year Centurion have helped me knock over 20 min of my marathon PB and complete my first 100 miler in under 21hrs. What ever your running goals are, I would not hesitate to recommend Centurion Coaching.

Anja Hav Thomsen

Ian is as down to earth as they come - and it is with thanks to Ian and his balanced training plan and direct support -  I have completed faster road races, trail runs and most recently the 180 km  Olympian race in Greece.  I am without a doubt in the best shape I have ever been – and when it comes to my mental strength I got a lot to thank Ian for. I cannot wait to cross more finish lines with Ian as my coach - as I know he will always push me that bit further to get me there.

Dominic Smallwood

I have been working with Centurion Running for over two years now and cannot recommend their services more highly having taken me from a regular half marathoner to completing my first 50 miler. There are a variety of factors that sets them apart from other coaching services in my experience: punctionality and consistency of programme updates, variety of training sessions, helpful advice around goal setting, technical advice, attention to detail, race experience and in particular heavily tailored and flexible training plans. Furthermore whilst books and magazines may cover many of the above, I do not believe they would have provided me with the level of consistency, improvements or (more importantly) enjoyment that I have experienced. Many thanks for all of the hard work!

Shawn Timmons

Having DNF'd the SDW100 in 2013, I knew I needed some help to achieve my goal of being able to complete a 100 mile race. So I signed up with Centurion Coaching in June 2013.  James Elson was my lead coach. Training on my own I had been prone to burn out, injury and poor motivation. Working with James none of that occurred, by following the carefully set training programme  with weekly communication I was able to train consistently for 16 months. The main brief was to finish a 100 mile race. But along the way I completed L2B, a long held dream. I also PB'd at 50km, marathon and half marathon distance races. I also finished 3 x 100 milers in 10 1/2 months.  Working with James enabled me to achieve my goals and believe I can achieve what I set out to do. I look forward with confidence to completing other races along the way with the knowledge of how to build a training plan and carry it through. We achieved a lot James.

Jan Lavis

I was coached by James Elson from May 2014 to June 2015. I had been running for a few years, completed many events and was an ok runner. I had already completed the SDW100 and NDW100 events but my ultimate goal was to do the SDW100 better and get the coveted “100miles One Day” Buckle. I could not have predicted what working with James would do for my running. He elevated me to a new level. He completely tuned into me, planning my schedule around my shifts. He planned around me, not the other way round. The schedule was structured and balanced with the perfect amount of recovery built in. This allowed for a completely injury free year.

I thought that at the age of 52, all my PB’s were behind me. Not so. In those 12 months, I achieved PB’s at 5k,10k, Half Marathon and Marathon (3:32).  In June 2015, my ultimate goal was achieved with my sub 24hr time at SDW100. How chuffed was I with that buckle. I have learned so much about myself. I cannot recommend Centurion Coaching enough. Thank you James for all you have helped me achieve.


Register your interest in ultramarathon coaching from Centurion Running

If you are interested in being coached please fill out the initial form below. This will be submitted to the team who will respond to you via e mail within 48 hours. The response will include details of how to make payment and a link to the full consultation form. Once that has been filled out and returned, a call will be scheduled and you will receive your first training schedule following that call.

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