Ultra/Marathon Coaching

Our online coaching team of three, Ian Sharman, James Elson & Robbie Britton have been designing simple, highly bespoke training programs built around individual athletes, for over 2 years. 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 two 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 three times the 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 3 months
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.

Ian Sharman

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
  • Rocky Raccoon 100 x 3 (incl. 2 wins & course record of 12:44)
  • Marathon des Sables (13th in 2008)
  • Comrades x 5 (fastest time of 6:01 or 6:31/mile for 55.5 miles)
  • 2014 Montrail UltraCup Winner
  • Western States Endurance Run (5 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

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 holds a UKA Run Leadership License. 


Ultra experience (major races):

  • Race Director at Centurion Running
  • 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)
  • '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 incl. 50 Ultras of all distances


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 for 2013 where he went on to a 17th place finish covering a total of 239km. 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 most recently the Tarawera 100km where he finished 7th overall. 


Ultra experience (major races):

  • 24hr World Championships 2013: 239.008km (17th)
  • 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)
  • Barcelona 24hr: 231km (4th)
  • GUCR: 31:26 (7th)
  • Winner and Course Record  XNRG Pilgrims Way Ultra 2014
  • Canterbury 10: 55 mins (1st)


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.

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 Ian, James & Robbie, who will respond to you via e mail within 24 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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