Your Name: Isobel Wykes
Home Town: Truro, Cornwall
Twitter Account: @IzzyWykes
What is your running background?
I currently run with Truro Running Club and compete at various distances from 5km to the 145mile Grand Union Canal Race. I like to run – a lot!
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
I was handed a flyer for a 50k race at the London Marathon expo in 2003. I entered, ran and was hooked. Back then, ultras were far less popular than they are today. Over the next couple of years I ran a few 100km races and the iconic London to Brighton road race before taking a break from it to concentrate on other things and start a family. I started competing in Ultras again in 2012, running and winning the Dartmoor Discovery and the Classic Quarter which secured a spot on the England Team for the Anglo-Celtic Plate 100km Championships.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
Anything and everything! I ran Transvulcania last year and then the Grand Union Canal race 2 weeks later! I prefer road to off-road running, as I’m scared of cows and heights, I don’t like mud and I tend to get lost!
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
It has to be my run at the Tooting Bec 24 hour race. I was second overall, (it was a female 1-2-3 – go girls!) and the distance I covered (231km) ranked me as 5th in the World for 2014 and 6th on the UK all-time list for 24 hours.
What was your hardest race experience?
I was lucky enough to be selected to run for Great Britain in the World Trail running Championships in 2013. It was 5x loops of about 9 miles. Somehow on the 3rd loop, I lost my way and ended up in the middle of the forest not knowing which direction to go in. I backtracked, but still could not find my way. When I finally managed to rejoin the route, I had lost so much time and had covered an extra 2 miles and was right at the back of the field. The frustration and disappointment was huge and I just wanted to stop, but I carried on to finish the race. It took a lot of mental strength to continue and stay focused and get the job done!
What events do you have planned for 2015 up to Spartathlon?
World and European 24 hour Championships, April
Lakeland 100, July
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
To start off steady and maintain the pace throughout.
What does a typical training week look like?
I have 3 young children so finding time to train is tricky. However, I try to do a couple of speed sessions a week and a long run at the weekend. I do core strength exercises and yoga to supplement the running.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Get some good tunes on your iPod!
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
I remember teaching my Year 5 class at the time about Spartathlon never thinking that one day I would actually be able to run it. I’m looking forward to all of it!
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Bad tan lines
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
I’d love to say I would fly to some exotic location for some warm weather training, but the reality is I’ll just be doing my usual stuff in the good old British summertime!
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? (If so, please introduce them briefly)
Andrew Ferguson (finisher of GUCR, UTMB and The Spine Challenger)