Your Name: Cameron Humphries
Occupation: Restaurant Management
Home Town: From Colchester, live in Greenwich
What is your running background?
I ran on and off for a few years but it was in 2012 when I started to train properly as a way to balance out the alcohol and bad food aspects of my life! In 2013 I ran my first marathon and shortly after a 24 hour ultra and have not looked back!
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
My first Ultra was a 24 hour assault course race called World’s Toughest Mudder in 2013. I was broken physically and mentally at the end but hooked on the whole experience.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
Most likely at Parkrun, I’m approaching 100. I don’t race that often. Last year I only competed in Hardmoors and Spartathlon. This year I’ve added the North Downs Way 100 and The Hill Ultra to the same schedule. Every year I say I’m going to train seriously for a marathon PB but never get round to it.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Completing Spartathlon last year, running 137 miles in 24 hours at Tooting Bec and running 2:58 at Chelmsford Marathon in 2014.
What was your hardest race experience?
The last 50km into Sparta last year. I had plenty of time in hand but mentally and physically I was done. I felt moments away from throwing in the towel but my girlfriend Lauren told me to stop being a **** and get to Sparta.
(Honourable mention goes to the time I was borderline hypothermic in the Las Vegas desert!)
What events do you have planned for 2018 up to Spartathlon?
Hardmoors 110 in May and the North Downs Way 100 in August.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
I expect to be at a conversational relaxed pace for the first 3/4 of any long Ultra. I tend to adopt some form of run / walk strategy from early on and want to run strong over the final quarter. In the Ultras that have went best this has happened but it’s always on a knife edge. I’m also a great believer in being efficient at aid stations, particularly at Spartathlon where there are 70 odd – the seconds add up.
What does a typical training week look like?
Tough question as I’ve struggled for consistency the last year. I aim for 5-6 days a week and 40-60 miles in general then in peak ultra training rising to 70-90 miles. I’ve struggled to hit higher mileage alongside work. The higher my mileage the more I plod but I still try to fit in a fast Parkrun as often as possible.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
There are no problems only solutions. With that mantra you will finish.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
The end goal is to summit Everest.
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
Yes, last year.
How did you get on?
Ran well until 120 odd miles then staggered the rest of the way to Sparta after throwing up and struggling to take in more nutrition. Finished with half an hour to spare but last few hours were relatively comfortable once I realised a walk in would be enough. It was the 120-140 mile mark where I was on edge of pulling out.
What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time?
The aid stations are great but the seconds add up. Have a clear idea in your mind of what you need and lose as little time as possible. And don’t think about the cut offs. Set realistic targets for major checkpoints/milestones like you would in other races. Don’t try to bank time! And most importantly remember to enjoy it, it is a wonderful race.
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
The Greek public, the camaraderie before during and after with the British team. The night portion of the race is great and the final run into Sparta is life affirming. Oh and a beer at the end this year!
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
The heat, the nauseating section that passes the oil refineries and the hard miles from 120-140.
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
Better than last year! Sauna sessions and bin bag runs need to be more regular in the build up. It’s highly unlikely the weather will be as benign as last year so I want to be ready!
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
It’s up in the air at the moment but maybe not this year! If not I know the support in Greece and from home will get me through.