A couple of years ago I found myself standing beside Ian Sharman on the starting line of a 78 km trail running race in Switzerland. I knew he was fast and thought it would be interesting to see for how long I could keep up with him.
I guess something in his running style makes it all look easy and relaxed. He might look like he is just jogging along while chatting with friends.
After the first few hundred meters he was already out of my sight. I sprinted the first 30 km all out in 2:29. Despite him falling down and hurting his leg in a slippery downhill, he was already about 16 minutes ahead of me, in 31st place. Then he went on to pass 16 runners and finish strongly in 6:51, in 15th place. I came in over two hours later, exhausted as always.
In retrospect I remembered that he carried a hydration pack and a big bunch of gels. I never carried any extra weight and also took in very little nutrition at aid stations. I thought that was probably one thing I could learn from Ian Sharman, although my running style will never look as great as his.