Your Name: Jonathan Steele
Occupation: Race Director
Home Town: Tadcaster
What is your running background? I started running in my teens as part of my Martial Arts Training. Then upped the mileage by joining the Parachute Regiment (albeit usually in boots and with a bergan) I always ran to train and never particularly liked running. I returned to running when I started teaching Martial Arts years later.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why? My first Ultra was in 2004, I started Ultrarunning to train for the Bob Graham Round (had heard about it while on Holiday in the Lake District and guess I needed a new challenge, I ran the UTMB in 2006, got to Champex this then fuelled my energies away from the Bob Graham and I chased down the UTMB, eventually getting round on my third attempt in 2009.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you? LDWA events in Yorkshire, Lakeland 100, Mark Cockbain’s events. I run both Trail and Road.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Mark Cockbain’s Grandslam (The Hill, The Viking Way, C2C )
‘The Hill’ 1st place in 2013
Hardmoors 110 3rd place in 2011
Completing the UTMB on my 3rd attempt
53 Ultras in 52 weeks in 2012
What was your hardest race experience? West Highland Way Race 2007 I ended up collapsing during the race at Kinlochleven with Rhabdomylosis and hypotranemia after hours pushing on through hell. Ended up in Fort William hospital without my trainers (taken from me by my support crew so I didn’t continue running, didn’t work because the next day I pulled the drip out of my arm and escaped from the hospital so I could go to the WHW Awards Ceremony and then get the train back to York )
What events do you have planned for 2016 up to Spartathlon?
I have kept the amount of Ultras I usually run down this year and incorporated more Road Half/Marathons.
APRIL London Marathon
MAY Dukeries 40
JUNE West Highland Way Race
JULY The Lyke Wake Race (Trail 42 miles) Lakeland 50
AUGUST–SEPT Road and Trail Marathons
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra? To Finish ;o)
What does a typical training week look like?
Mon 1 x 10 miles Treadmill (Tempo run)
Tues 1 x 5 miles (Road) 1 x 5 (mile repeats, Treadmill)
Wed 1 x 10 miles (Road)
Thurs 1 x 20 miles (Hilly lanes of the North York Moors)
Fri 1 x 10 miles (Road) if an event on the Sat then day off
Sat Event or day off
Sun Day off
1 leg session a week concentrating on individual leg work ie 1 leg squats, leg press, split squats etc .
(Work core twice a week, plus stretch and foam roll)
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time? Don’t set off too fast and EAT!!
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself? I’m Rob Pinnington’s son
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before? Yes, twice
How did you get on? 2014 Spartathlon, I timed out about 70 miles in 2015 no comment
What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time? Prepare well, there are about 75 cut offs, the difference with this race compared to other Ultras is you have to constantly be on the pace. You cant slow down then speed up later as the cut offs every 2 miles will catch you out
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race? The atmosphere and of course kissing the feet of king leonidas
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race? The first 20 odd miles
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race? More speedwork this year to speed my average pace up, plus high mileage road weeks
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? Yes my beautiful Wife ‘Shirley’. Shirley is no stranger to Ultramarathons. She is a member of the 100 Marathon Club and has completed Ultras such as the UTMB, West Highland Way, Lakeland 100, Hardmoors 110, Comrades etc. She also helps me direct the Hardmoors Race series. She supported me fantastically last year in Greece and is the perfect crew.