Ask anyone about the one thing that they've done daily for the past eight years, and they'll most likely tell you: sleep and eat. Ask Clive Saffery and the answer you'll get is: run. The last day he says he didn't run was December 30, 2003. Sleep has certainly taken a back seat to running on several occasions for the 56-year-old Briton, such as during multiple 100-kilometre races worldwide, and most notably at the 135-mile (217-kilometre) Badwater Ultramarathon in California's Death Valley in 2009. It was his third time finishing the infamous foot race - arguably the world's toughest - with his best result coming 10th (39 hours, 55 minutes, eight seconds) in 2000. 'I love events that are so totally wacky that only the truly mad would enter them,' says Saffery, the Hong Kong-based CEO of Swire Beverages China, on what draws him to ultramarathons. 'I've been invited to do a 260-kilometre race in Greece next year, but I need to get a lot fitter than I am currently.' That's not to say Saffery - a father of two who's married to Jacqui, a top masters endurance athlete - is out of shape. This Saturday, he'll be doing 1.7-kilometre loops non-stop for 12 hours around Crissy Field in the San Francisco One Day race. He hopes to complete at least 60 laps, or 100 kilometres. Does he consider himself addicted to running? 'No,' says Saffery. Spoken like a true addict. How did you get started in running? I started running very early and soon found out I had a lot more endurance than other people. I did my first 50-mile ultra when I was just 12 years old. After playing lots of other sports and coaching football, I got back into running again in the late 1980s. The achievements I'm proudest of are setting two different records at Trailwalker UK (both of which still stand) and coming 10th at Badwater. How do you manage to juggle training, work and family? Is there time left for anything else? I travel nearly all week, every week and usually only spend the weekend at home. When I'm on the road, I always run first thing in the morning, as my day gets taken over after that. In Hong Kong I will run both mornings, lunchtimes and sometimes evenings, as well. I work about 12 hours a day. I see my wife at dinner when I'm in Hong Kong, and we try and train together at weekends, but she's got so good, she's leaving me behind. I read a lot of books, 50-60 a year. I'm passionate about modern soul music and spend hours listening and mixing tracks for my iPod. I'm writing a book on a year of eating weird food in China. I also produce a newsletter and calendar for endurance athletes. I relax by taking my kayak out for a paddle, but I know I should do more biking. I don't watch television apart from sport, and I don't go to the movies. When the going gets tough during a race, what keeps you going? I keep telling myself I'm more experienced and mentally tougher than everyone else. How long will you keep this up? At least until May 2017, when I will celebrate 50 years of running ultras. I don't think anyone has done that. Do you make it a point to inspire your staff to exercise too? Absolutely. I take my job very seriously, and I passionately believe in the mantra of a balanced healthy active lifestyle. All companies should do everything they can to get people away from their desks. It's not just about getting people to participate in sport, it's about the simple things like taking the stairs, not the lift. Something I'm lucky enough to do is have meetings on the move while looking at stores in China. We've had lots of our people participate in events. Some have asked me for training programmes. Which is harder: running a company or an ultramarathon? Both have great days, and both have miserable days, but eventually if you stick to the plan, both end up OK in the end. The key to both is having the vision to look up when things are tough and stay focused on the destination. What are three things you can't live without? Sense of humour, family and friends, and Manchester United (soccer). Compete this sentence: crossing the finish line of an ultramarathon is better than ... waking up with a hangover, but it will probably hurt even more the next day.