Name: Adam (AJ) Marchant
Occupation: Sales Account Manager
Home Town: Leeds, Yorkshire
What is your running background?
At 22 years old, I don’t really have much of a story unfortunately. I played football from an early age and throughout school and started running in sixth form as a form of exercise and a good way to keep fit which resulted in me taking part in Parkruns, 10k’s and half marathons.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
I can thank the legend that is James Ellis for that one! After setting myself a goal in 2020 to run 10km a day, it kind of got out of hand and I started running further and further. Before you know it, I was up in the Dales running (what I thought at the time was) mad distances with James. After every race, I would say “I’m never doing that again” but for some reason, I keep coming back for more.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
Not many ultra’s as I would like to be honest. I find many races very expensive and with not much disposable income after paying my mortgage and bills, races take the hit I’m afraid. I recently took part in the York & District Road Race League which was a series of 6 x 10km races in which I gained a new PB of 36:47. Other than that, I like to take part in parkruns and my own ventures around the beautiful scenery that Yorkshire has to offer.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Winning Race to the Castle 2021 was a massive moment for me and of course running 120km at the Flitch Way in January in 11 hours 55mins was amazing. I was also over the moon with my 5km time of 17:20 which I gained a few weeks ago in York.
What was your hardest race experience?
That’s a tough question as there has been so many. I would have to say Liverpool to Leeds canal race in 2021.
After 74 miles, I was done. I felt so ashamed of myself at the time and a complete failure. Especially as James Ellis was crewing me. I didn’t respect the race and I can safely say I learned many lessons that day that have made me stronger.
After that, I completed the Flitch Way 12-hour race and without the help of my mum and an impromptu visit from Sir Ian Thomas and Co, I would’ve been nowhere near the 120km in 12 hours.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Before the race…Visualize (I normally dream about running so I’ve already kissed Leonidas’ foot countless times). A good night’s sleep beforehand and plenty of aqua. On the start line, I’ll normally have a little word with myself to psych me up for the task ahead. Depending on the distance, keep my pace nice and steady while retaining a low heart-rate and then as the race progresses, just try to cling on as much as possible.
What does a typical training week look like?
I run most evenings after work. I can get lazy if I don’t have a reason to get out so running with friends helps me. I like to aim for at least 50/60 miles on a good week with middle distanced runs Monday-Friday, Parkruns on Saturday and a longer run on Sunday. Also, plenty of walking with Joanna’s (my better half’s) dogs.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Speed is in the ability, distance is in the mind!
One foot in front of the other, don’t stop.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
Just like Ryan Tipping, I have never run an official marathon.
Unpopular opinion – Black tea > White tea.
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
No! I crewed James Ellis in 2021 and caught the Sparta bug.
Where did you get your qualifier for Spartathlon:
Flitch Way 12-hour race
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
Kissing the foot, drinking a lovely cold pint of Mythos in the sun and bathing in the Mediterranean singing Arctic Monkeys smirking like Andy Dufresne from the Shawshank Redemption when he met Red on the beach, safe in the knowledge that I completed the race.
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Where do I start LOL! The heat, the volatile weather, the blisters, the constant shouting from my fabulous crew, the stray dogs, car horns, lack of energy, lack of sleep and lastly, That Bloody Mountain! That’s enough negativity for today haha!
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
Plenty of long slow runs in the lead up! Likewise to Ryan again, I’m ambitious to spend a week in Spain where my dad resides to prepare for the heat. Mentally, lots of visualization as well as planning concisely with my crew.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? (If so, please introduce them briefly)
I do! The amazing duo of Joe Firth and Georgie Riby will be crewing me. Both good friends of mine that know me and will be able to read me like a book in those dark times.
I also have my mum and auntie coming along for a road trip offering moral support.
Unfortunately, Joanna cannot attend as it is the same weekend as the London Marathon which she will be competing in.