Your Name: Matthew Blackburn
Occupation: Site carpenter / office fitter
Home Town: New Mills
What is your running background?
7 years ago I signed up to a marathon with no prior race experience in search of something to keep me out of trouble. Thinking it can’t be that hard. How wrong was I. I was hooked after it beat the crap out of me.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
In 2015 once I was happy with my marathon time. I got fascinated by ultras around my first marathon after watching a documentary. Why? The mental side as well as the physical intrigued me. People pushing themselves for non monetary rewards to discover what they’re capable of.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
I don’t really have set events. But I like to spend most of my time on the Dark Peaks.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Spartathlon 2018 – 29.49.44
3 podium 24 hour finishes (2 single,1 pair)
What was your hardest race experience?
Kennet and Avon canal race last year my only DNF. I’d been suffering with whiplash for two weeks prior. After 30 miles my brain felt like it had melted and all I wanted to do was sleep. 90 miles later I’d decided to retire from running and buy a kayak. At least I could sleep on the kayak and float down the canal, right? Helsinki 24 hour was pretty grim this year as well, vomit, run, vomit, run etc.
What events do you have planned for 2018 up to Spartathlon?
Hell on the Humber 24 hour – August
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Just keep moving forward. Sometimes it’s quick sometimes it’s really really slow.
What does a typical training week look like?
0-100 miles. Dependent a lot of the time on where I’m working in the country and what type of race is next. I’d love to have a routine but work makes it impossible. I tend to do my longer runs on the weekend.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Do it your way. Find what works for you. And ride out the lows because the highs will come back. Because when it’s good it’s really good but when it’s shit it’s proper shit.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I once starred as an extra in a Bollywood film.
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
How did you get on?
2018 – 29.49.44
What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time?
Bring some waterproof trousers. And take extra beer to the after party.
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
Just being able to run. A medical scare this year threatened my running career for the rest of my life. Luckily a MRI heart scan recently came back as normal. So just being on the start line with the rest of the team will make me very happy. Spartathlon last year was a huge highlight for me and I knew straight away we were destined for a second round.
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Being chased by a dog. Also watching Ian Hammett’s soles disappear into the distance.
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
Disown everyone. And sitting in a pop up tent with a rice cooker pumping hot air into it (home-made sauna – Ebay purchase from China).
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
My wife, mum and stepdad again. I think they’ve caught the Sparta bug.