Your Name: Ian Hammett
Occupation: Occupational Health and Fitness Manager
Home Town: Bedford
Twitter Account: @RunHammyRun
What is your running background?
I hated running for any reason other than chasing a football, however in the summer of 2012 I actually decided I would do some proper pre season training to get fit for the footy season. I started running 5k on a treadmill, and after a few weeks I decided to take the major step of running on the streets, sticking to a little 5k loop from my house. The strangest thing happened, I started to enjoy it. So I signed up for the BUPA Great South Run which was a whopping 10 miles long!! What a challenge that would be…. Suffice to say it went pretty well and I realised that I might actually be ok at this running lark. So I joined Bedford Harriers AC in Feb 2013 and ran my first marathon in May 2013… the rest as they say is history (or can be looked up on Power of 10).
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
I started running ultra-marathons for the same reason that most of us do….because I’m completely bonkers. I, like so many others before me decided that a ‘marathon’ just wasn’t far enough and ‘wouldn’t it be fun’ to see how much further I could manage to go without breaking. So in 2015 I decided to tackle Rat Race ‘The Wall’ and as I performed better than I could ever have imagined, I just kept booking races that were insanely long!! Now you could pretty much say that I am a full blown ultra-running addict in desperate need of therapy!
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
I am often racing or volunteering at Centurion Running events but I do have a habit of popping up at random road races throughout the year. I also don’t mind a bit of Parkrun action on a Saturday, so watch out as I might be coming to a Park near you soon!!
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Feb 2019 – Seville Marathon 2:37:40
June 2015 – 1stplace – Rat Race ‘The Wall’ 9:43
June 2016 – 2ndPlace SDW100 – 15:46 (1stAuto Qualifier)
August 2016 – 1stPlace SVP 100km – 9:32
April 2017 – 3rdPlace SDW50 – 6:49
September 2017 – Spartathlon – 28:36:58 (Current Auto Qualifier)
July 2018 – 1stplace Men’s Pair – Endure 24 Leeds w/fellow
Spartathlete Matthew Blackburn
What was your hardest race experience?
Spartathlon in 2017… I had never run more than 103 miles in a race and had never run for more than 19 hrs 30 minutes…. So it was no surprise that the wheels fell off spectacularly around 115 miles. For all the gory details you are best to either read my blog from the race or the team race report from 2017!! Suffice to say I had to dig deep to make the finish line, well dig deep and drink a magic can of ‘sprite’ courtesy of Paul Rowlinson.
What events do you have planned for 2019 up to Spartathlon?
I figure that I will have a nice easy year in the build up by tackling the Centurion Running 100 mile Grand Slam… In their infinite wisdom though they decided to stick in a random one off Wendover Woods 100 in 2019… and I mean what self respecting slammer wouldn’t do all five!! #whatanidiot
May 4th – Thames Path 100
June 8th – South Downs Way 100
July 12th – Wendover Woods 100
Aug 3rd – North Downs Way 100
Then the A100 on October 12thif I can walk!!
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Do lots of laminating prior to a race… I love laminating!! It’s just the best… I don’t just laminate everything though, it’s usually some well thought out and planned pacing strategy that I then end up completely ignoring and just running by feel. I do however try to start of quite steadily and run an even race, but like I say plans are more like guidelines and I generally tend to deviate depending how I feel on the day!
What does a typical training week look like?
I’d love to say that I have a coach that meticulously plans my training weeks, but as I don’t I generally just blag it and get plenty of miles in alongside some strength work in the gym. A typical week can consist of 90 – 110 miles with a couple of strength sessions as mentioned earlier maybe a cheeky ParkRun every now and then for speed work!!
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Embrace the suffering… ultra-running is supposed to feel hard. If it was easy then everyone would do it. It’s ok to feel tired, be struggling, finding it tough, thinking you have miles to go and wondering how you’ll get there… we all do it. But that is no reason to beat yourself up or quit.. stick at it and get the job done however long it takes. I use the motto ‘relentless forward motion’ as it helps to focus the mind on just moving closer to that goal with every step. I also use another motto ‘DBS’ which stands for Don’t be s…… but I think we’ll leave that to your imagination!
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I used to teach a beginners Salsa class when I worked as a Fitness Instructor at Champneys many years ago, so if this year goes well I might need to bust out a few moves on the Dance floor at the Post race awards night party!!
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
How did you get on?
September 2017 – 28:36:58…. 28thplace overall, 3rdBrit
What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time?
Run the race not the occasion. This iconic race is unlike any other event you will have taken part in and it is easy to become overwhelmed and go off plan. Stick with your strategy; trust your crew and you will stand a great chance of reaching that foot in Sparta.
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
Kissing that foot!
The waffles and ice cream in Glyfada when I get back!!!!
Oh and I am looking forward to meeting up with friends both old and new as part of the British Team, it’s a unique ultra-running experience
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Having to run 153 miles before getting the waffles and ice cream… and potentially being beaten to the foot by my good friend Matthew Blackburn as I’ll never hear the end of it!! The swollen legs afterwards aren’t much fun either!!!
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
I will run lots and lots, throw in some strength work and the run some more!! I am also lucky enough to have the guys at Bedfordshire University’s Human Performance centre on hand to help me with some heat acclimation work too prior to the race. I used them in 2017 and we had perfect running conditions so hopefully it will have the same effect this year! After all we don’t want another Zorba!!
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
Yes…. I have the A-Team of Spartathlon crewing in my corner this year with Russell and Sandra Tullett joining Team Hammy in the quest for the foot!! They have a wealth of ultra-running experience and have crewed and supported at Spartathlon several times. Russell ran in 2018 and was unfortunately not lucky enough to be drawn out of the ballot for another go in 2019, so I am honoured to have them on my crew.