Alistair McAlpine, Ultra-runner, Writer and avid fan of this website.
I’m an ordinary guy who enjoys repetition. When I love something I do it often. By default I have become quite good at a few things, running is one. Not running races so much as running for sheer enjoyment. However in my mid-thirties while training for the Western States 100 mile endurance race I developed hip pain. I could not outrun genetics, the family curse, Osteoarthritis (right hip).
After gaining the WS100 silver buckle in 1991 (virtually on one leg due to hip complications – ouch), my hip continued to deteriorate and I was told that ultimately I would need a hip replacement. My surgeon, Dr Helen Tobin advised me to wait as long as possible before surgery, as new technology was developing (BHR).
Fifteen long years later Dr Tobin went to the USA and arrived back in NZ with some of the first Birmingham implants. By then I was struggling to walk across the living room.
On 22 December 2005 I was one of Dr Tobin’s first BHR recipients and I’m glad I waited. She did a fantastic job and I was home for Christmas. This was untested technology and I was told DO NOT RUN, as no long-term trials had yet been possible. For about 6 years I limited my workouts to power walking hills with trekking poles. All the advice I had encountered said to avoid ‘high-impact activities like running’, but deep down I knew that my ultra-running style was smooth and efficient.
I cautiously started running again, adapting my ultra-running style into something that would be even kinder to my hip. I now happily run workouts up to 5 hours through local bush (tiger country), though I have struggled through cancer and other challenges. It is hard to kill off an ordinary guy.
Recently I wrote the eBook ‘Running with a Hip Replacement’ to let ‘Hippy” runners know of low-impact running alternatives.
Alistair McAlpine, Wellington, New Zealand.
Ultra-runner and Writer.
Fifty mile (6:04)
Hundred mile (23:27:24)