Name: Ian Thomas
Occupation: IT Project Manager
Home Town: Norwich
Twitter Account: @ultraian
What is your running background?
I’ve run recreationally at various points in my life, but I started racing in earnest in 2009 with a desire to be the best I could be. Initially I focused on road racing 5k to Marathons before venturing into Ultra’s. I started a little late in life compared to most, but it’s never too late to push the boundaries!
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
Dipped by toe in the water in 2011 to see what I was capable of after my first sub 3 marathon. It was the Marriott’s Way Ultra (36m), a low key free event on my main training route at that time in Norwich. Beginners luck saw me win the event and set a new course record, which unbelievably still stands today. Not for much longer I suspect!
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
Any Ultra’s really but usually 100 mile plus. I’d like to be a regular at GUCR and LLC130 where possible and do have aspirations to tackle Lakeland 100 and Western States, although cost rules out the latter. Having now achieved the Centurion Grand Slam, I don’t envisage revisiting it again. I’d like a crack at the US Grand Slam, though cost rules it out unfortunately.
I also still enjoy road racing anything from 5k to Marathon and am keen not to neglect this area of my racing. I can also be found at my local Parkrun most weekends, either running or volunteering.
I think there are still a few PB’s in me yet.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
- Running sub 3 in my last two marathons at Abingdon at age 52 and 53 (best 2:57:35)
- Completing Thames Ring 250 (2013) at the first attempt – 80:17 (6th)
- Completing the GUCR unsupported 2013 & 2014, PB’ing in 2014 by over 4 ½ hrs – 31:50 (9th)
- Completing inaugural Liverpool to Leeds (LLC130 2014) in 27:59 (8th)
- Completing all 5 of my 100 milers to date in sub 24 hrs. PB 20:13, but looking to smash this at TP100 in 2015. (score to settle here due to some navigational hiccups).
- Completing the GUCR, the Grand Slam and LLC130 successfully within the same year (2014)
What was your hardest race experience?
Difficult to decide really, as they are all hard in their own right.
However, suffering Hypothermia on the Peddars Way undid my race which was hard to take as I was running 3rd at that point
What events do you have planned for 2015 up to Spartathlon?
Coltishall Jaguars Mad March Hare 10k (March)
Sandy 10 mile (April)
Bungay Marathon (April)
…and a selection of road races 5k, 10m, 20m, marathon, and potentially a 50k a month or so out.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Go out fast, wobble a bit in the middle and finish strongly. Eat a little of everything, stay hydrated and avoid gels like the plague.
What does a typical training week look like?
Varies due to work commitments, but could be anything from around 50-100 miles plus per week. Incorporating lots of hills, Speed and more recently ‘Doubles’. I hit my first 100 mpw this year for the first time.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Just focus on the now and dismiss the distance from your mind. It’s just a number! Know before you start that you will cross that line.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I’m an Ultra runner
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
The whole journey and kissing the foot of King Leonidas in Sparti.
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Being attacked by rabid dogs?
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
Not sure yet. I won’t know until after GUCR, as GUCR will be my testing ground for a new strategy, which I may or may not adopt for Spartathlon.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
TBA (Still undecided at this point)