Interview with Andy Nuttall and Robin Bush of Ultra Magazine

Last updated: 03-Apr-21

By Kate Allen

Ultra Magazine is one of those high quality, coffee table style of magazines that was started in 2015 by Andy Nuttall, race director of the Hangman. Andy wanted to share his passion for ultra running by publishing a beautiful magazine that showed the best side of ultra running; the adventures, the scenery and the camaraderie of the sport.

The magazine was a huge hit and Andy was even contacted by some of the greats of the ultra running world such as Lazarus Lake, Anne Trason and Bruce Fordyce, who all lauded the magazine for championing the sport of ultra running.

But, after 12 issues, in 2019 the magazine went into hibernation. Andy’s job was keeping him busy and the pressures of dealing with a high-end publication, his own day job, children and family life were all taking their toll on his mental health. It was with great sadness that Andy felt the magazine had to be the part of his life that gave way.

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Last summer, he met Robin Bush while they were recceing part of the Dragon’s Back. Both men have done this race before, Robin succeeding where Andy has attempted twice. After realising they both shared the same passion, Robin contacted Andy afterwards and suggested they get Ultra Magazine going again, this time with his help.

Robin himself had just been tested for cancer (which he is still currently fighting) and was wanting to do something that involved his own love of the sport and his business management skills would allow Andy to focus on the creative side of the magazine.

One of the first things I noticed at the start of our Zoom call was a BAFTA resting casually next to an enormous bank of musical electronic equipment on Andy’s side of the call. What on earth…?! It seems Andy’s day job is a musician and he was one of the team to design a video game with the first new Sesame Street character to be introduced since 1969.

Robin’s day job is a Chief Executive, transforming charitable companies to help them be more successful. Whilst battling cancer. How do these guys do it? Getting any information about these men was so hard because they are both so modest, yet so passionate and excited to share their plans.

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Together, they have some great ideas for the ultra running community going forward. To start with, they are really excited about the relaunch of Ultra Magazine and Issue 13 will be out in May.

They are organising a three day ultra festival on 30th April with some great names giving guest lectures such as Nicki Spinks, Vassos Alexander, James Elson, Robbie Britton, Damian Hall, to name but a few.

They would love to plan some regional entry level events; all aimed at encouraging new people to the sport they love so much and enhancing the community spirit. Start hangout cafes in running hubs such as Keswick so that runners have somewhere to chat and chill out with other like minded souls. Bunkhouses that could be available to runners wanting to train in certain parts of the country.

They came up with World Ultra Running Day on 1st May. The idea behind it is to celebrate running ultras and getting back out there after such a tough year through Covid. There’s even a Strava club and a tree will be planted for the first 100 runners that clock up 1000 miles.

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Despite believing strongly in the printed word, they are working towards lowering their carbon footprint by removing the page coating and by considering where the ink for printing comes from. Their paper is Forestry Approved and they are working with Trees not Tees.

Everything these guys do is altruistic; they believe strongly in the ultra running community and they want to contribute and make it the best they can and I for one can’t wait to see their plans come to fruition.

"Getting any information about these men was so hard because they are both so modest, yet so passionate and excited to share their plans"

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An ultra distance race including at least two of the following activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kayaking, skiing and climbing. It may also include different climatic conditions (eg ice, snow, humidity, cold water, mud or heat).

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Increase of up to 2000 metres with very challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity, heat or at high altitude)

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Very experienced long distance ultra runners (min 3 years’ experience) or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races is often subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Purchase of specialist kit is often recommended for these races.

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Increase of up to 2000 metres with some challenging climatic conditions (e.g. ice, snow, humidity or heat)

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Experienced runners who have completed at least 4 ultras in last 12 months, or are doing regular long distance running (>50 miles) with elevation and conditions shown (where possible). Admission to these races may be subject to receipt of a recent medical examination certificate. Check with the race organiser regarding entry requirements.

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Runners who have completed several ultra distances or similar events, or are doing long distance running regularly, with elevation shown.

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Runners who have completed at least one ultra in last 6 months or are doing long distance running (>26 miles) regularly, with elevation shown.

Beginner

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Very little change < 500 metres

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First ultra event. Runners completing a marathon or doing regular long distance running (>26 miles) in the last 6 months.