Secrets of the Marathon Chefs

Discover the tastiest ways to fuel your body from four kitchen wizards who regularly tackle the big 26.2

by Peter Jaret

gesine bullock-prado
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The Secret: Sweet Treats

Pastry chef Gesine Bullock-Prado (PB 4:15) turns indulgence into endurance

After a day at her award-winning bakery, Gesine Bullock-Prado laces up her running shoes. "I run my ass off, literally," she says. But she runs for more than just weight management. Fifteen years ago her mother, a marathoner, was diagnosed with cancer. "One day while she was resting, I ran around the neighbourhood where she trained. It was a way of connecting with her."

She has since completed four marathons (and two cookbooks). "I'd be a runner no matter what I did for a living," she says. "But I couldn't be a baker without running."

Bullock-Prado now also runs to raise money for cancer research charities. "I want running to be more than just about being fit. What I cherish about running is being part of a community of people running for love and hope," she says. To nourish that community, she writes a food blog for runners (, including recipes that are irresistible and good for you.

"When you're training, you want your calories to deliver all the nutrition you need to power a run," she says. "While some desserts depend on butter, sugar and refined flour, others such as muffins, cookies and breads are perfect candidates for a healthy makeover." Here's how Bullock-Prado turns sweet nothings into runner-friendly rocket fuel.

Switch to wholegrain

Wholegrain flour delivers over triple the fibre of refined white flour and releases energy over a longer period. "Start by switching half the flour in a recipe," says Bullock-Prado. If you like the taste and texture, try switching more. "Wholewheat flour sops up more moisture, so play with the liquid ratios," she says.

Go bananas (or courgettes)

To retain moisture without adding calories, try replacing butter with mashed bananas, shredded courgette or black beans. "Bananas are great in dessert breads," says Bullock-Prado. "Black beans are the perfect healthy addition to brownies as both are dense, dark and chocolatey." You'll also get extra hits of vitamins and minerals, fibre and protein.

Replace sugar with agave

Agave nectar (Groovy Food Agave Nectar, £2.43 for 250ml, is sweeter than sugar, so you can use less of it. "It also has a lower glycaemic index," says Bullock-Prado.

Try Bullock-Prado's long-run cake or her whole foods manna bread.

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