At Darth Mannion HQ, we love to use the latest scientific techniques to help our runners get the most out of the event.  With this in mind, our head of analytics has analysed 6 years of Darth Mannion data to produce 10 unique types of runner.   Each description outlines the type’s style, strengths and weaknesses.  By identifying yourself (and your weaknesses), you will be better-placed to complete the event. At the very least we hope they will raise a smile.

The Loper:  A common sight in The Darth Mannion. Their weaknesses are the over-stride, too much body height in the leg drive and unnecessary upward arm movement. The Loper is inefficient, easy to spot but strangely aesthetic. Chris Coles, Tenderfoot Regulator adopted the style in the mid 90s but his lack of stamina suggests this was a bad decision. Videos of Lopers (including Chris Coles) are shown to Darth Minion juniors to teach them how not to run.

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The Floater.  Exhibitors of a classic leg and arm action, chest pressed forward. Languid in style, but limited ability to conduct a fast finish or drive up hills. Floaters have come close to winning The Darth Mannion but fail on The Hill of Death and on The Killing Fields. Marcus Toft and Robin Benton (Darth Mannion Regulators) both fall into the Floater category.

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The Pounder (AKA The Plodder).  A technique adopted by big rugby forwards and/or those packing a few extra pounds. The Pounder has no stealth qualities but does very well on hills and muddy ground.  Less commonly described as ‘a cart horse’, they have one speed which stays the same regardless of gradient or terrain.  Due to the connection to rugby, the Pounder is a common sight in The Darth Mannion. Darth himself and his Chief of Staff are classic examples .

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The Shuffler.  Amusing to watch but very effective.  The Shuffler has little or no arm action, very small steps and hardly any bend at the knee (think Olympic walking athletes). Despite such a slow and ponderous running approach, The Shuffler does well at distance events, and anything over 50 miles they will likely win. Darth Mannion Silent Sweeper, Rob Coles, and Al the Cat (below) utilise the Shuffler technique on the home straight.

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The Rotator. Characterised by the lower limb foot flick.  When running, the Rotator’s  heel reaches their buttock and rather than driving forwards to the hip flexed position it rotates outwards in an absurd arc.. Not only incredibly inefficient, the foot flick demonstrates a complete lack of running experience and adolescent motor function. It can be trained out, but it will take sometime. Patrick Maclernon was diagnosed as a Rotator in 2011 and it is only in 2015 that the physiotherapists, osteopaths and surgeons have had any success (he is now a Loper). If you were picked last in PE Lessons, or came last in the sports day 50 metre dash,  the chances are you’re a Rotator.

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The Elongator (AKA The Strider). Genetically advantaged, they have been born with long legs. A superior stride and leg drive mean even average Elongators will dominate hill sprints and river runs. Despite their natural gifts many lack true speed and are often overcome in the final sprint. James Gough and Lucas Daly are typical Elongators and both are considered slow on the flat.

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The Sprinter.  The Sprinter is muscular and aggressive and often confused with The Pounder. Their strength is the finish but will they still be in the race at the end? The average Sprinter has little adaptability and will struggle to modify their running technique during a distance event. If they finish in the top 20 it would be a surprise. Extreme examples of Sprinters include Nathan Jones and Ian Blackwood – each were laden with so much fast twitch muscle fibres in their respective Darth’s that neither could run beyond a snails pace once they had completed the first 100 metres. If you’re a Sprinter start with the Early Birds and dawdle.

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The Jumbler.  Fat Tony, Chris Mason, Rob Tovey and Wozzer: are just a few of the Jumblers that have entered Darth Mannion.. Their running style is chaotic, moving quickly from a shuffle to an all out sprint. Limited leg extension and ferocious arm movements (think Phoebe from friends) is their curse. Their weight and natural padding ensure they survive the river runs and sea dips without a second thought. If it’s freezing and wet the Jumbler is an outside bet for a podium finish.

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The Dawdler – The Dawdler technique is not strong enough to mount a serious threat to any Darth Mannion award but embracing this style should get you home before the Silent Sweeper. Limited arm movement, a slight stoop (arse pressed backwards) and a lazy leg action sees the Dawdler conserve significant energy but generally drift to the back of any Peloton. Dawdlers tend to be adaptable types who can implement alternative techniques when the finish line is in sight. The technique is often confused with The Shuffle but to spot the difference note the upper body lean of The Dawdler.. The Silent Sweeper is a very proficient Dawdler, as is Ceri Hughes, winner of the Most Improved Award in Darth Mannion V.  Ceri dawdled the majority of the course before adopting his more natural Floater technique.

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The Cruiser: As effortless as The Floater on the flat and as strong as The Elongator up hills, this well drilled running technique is a strong contender for any Darth Mannion. Efficient arm movement and powerful leg strength enables the Cruiser to motor over any terrain. The majority of runners adopting this technique tend not to have a powerful sprint finish but when they do they are world beaters. Hywel James dominated the early Darths utilising a Cruiser technique and later Gareth Mathews, with an enviable sprint finish, achieved success with the Cruiser. Less able Cruisers include Regulators Alun Board and Craig Gavin.

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