Your Name: Darren Strachan
Occupation: IT Consultant
Home Town: Scot exiled to London
Twitter Account: @darren_strachan
What is your running background? I was a keen cyclist in my youth and not at all into running. When I moved down south I somehow got roped into a half marathon, enjoyed it a lot and moved onto marathons.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why? Drunken bravado – a South African workmate bet Jamie Holmes and I that we couldn’t run Comrades. We did, in 2006, and caught the bug for going beyond marathon distance.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you? Fleet Half Marathon and Brighton Marathon.
What are your personal key running achievements to date? Qualifying for Spartathlon in a 24 hour trail race.
What was your hardest race experience? UK 100k championships, naively thinking that hitting the 10:30 qualifying time for Spartathlon would be straightforward, and discovering that I did not have anything like the fitness required. It was a hot day, I had some bad stomach troubles and eventually dropped out at 92k, utterly broken, when I realised I wasn’t going to make it by around 15 minutes. I couldn’t figure out which was worse, not finishing or not making the time. At least I had the privilege of sharing the track with Steve Way on his British record breaking run of 6:18. Quite a sight to behold him thundering round at 6 minute mile pace!
What events do you have planned for 2015 up to Spartathlon? Fleet Half and Brighton, possibly Norfolk 100k in June and probably 2 days of the Thames Challenge in August as a key “double”.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra? Try to focus on the “now” and not think about the enormity of the distance. Know that low patches will happen but that they can be survived and can often be followed by some of the most amazing highs life can offer.
What does a typical training week look like? Er, pretty random! I’ll be aiming for a better level of consistency over the summer, building to 70 – 80 miles a week for a good 10 to 12 weeks before the race.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time? There’s more in you than you think.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself? Hm, struggling there, sorry.
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before? No, but I did crew last year for James Ellis and Jamie Holmes.
How did you get on? The boys did very well on their debut and it was an awesome experience all round. Apart from standing at the bottom of the mountain at 3am in the freezing wind and rain!
What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time? Well I’m not at all qualified to say but I’m planning on trying to take it pretty steady for the first section to Corinth. If, IF, I make it to Corinth I’ll try to build up a buffer from there.
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race? Finally finding out what it’s like to be in this great race. I’ve been thinking about it for nearly 4 years!
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race? I’m pretty worried about heat. My wee Scottish baldy heid might struggle.
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race? I guess I’d better do some heat training! Will also be running a lot of hills and doing some quad strengthening exercises, as I keep hearing how tough the race is on quads.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? Yes, Jamie Holmes will be there for James Ellis and I. Possibly my brother Jeff and a mate Jerry.