Your Name: Richard Pomeroy
Home Town: Guildford, Surrey.
Twitter Account: (if applicable) @pommers
Website/Blog: (if applicable) http://www.the-poms.com/richard/
What is your running background?
Running for fitness for last 25 years or so.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
First marathon was London in 2003, and first ultra was Two Oceans in Cape Town SA in 2004 which I ran to push past the marathon distance.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
I really enjoy the Centurion events as there is a good community spirit with these and their 100-mile races are a ‘doable’ weekend distance. There are some other great events in Britain, but the events in Europe and USA are also fantastically supported, although difficult to get into the bigger events.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Other than completing Spartathlon in 2017, I was third in Centurion 100 mile grand-slam 2015. I have also completed the MdS twice (2008, 2013) and finished the UTMB in 2009.
What was your hardest race experience?
UTMB was tough in 2009, but in 2010 I broke my leg at Leadville Trail 100, and had to pull out at 75 miles That was my first DNF and I was unable to run for 12 months, but went back to complete Leadville in 2013
What events do you have planned for 2019 up to Spartathlon?
I am doing the 1066 100-mile race in July, but no other long events planned at present. My training will consist of several long days running up to the event, as well as the obligatory heat training!
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
It is essential to break an Ultra down into chunks, so I always study the route beforehand, even if I don’t get the opportunity to recce the course, so at least I know how far the next checkpoint is and what obstacles I am going to experience in between. So, my typical race strategy will be to get to the next checkpoint, but not think about the overall distance until (at least) halfway when you can start to countdown. I try not to stop for long at checkpoints as a lot of time can be wasted there.
For longer distance races, it is important to pace yourself as well; exactly as for a marathon, you may feel like there is plenty in the tank, and be able to go faster, but early race exuberance will inevitably come back to bite you later.
Nutrition is also important, although that is a subject in itself, and everyone is different. I do find it is important to eat regularly – little and often works well for me, so I take gels for between checkpoints to keep my energy levels bubbling away at a quiescent level, and then grab and go at checkpoints. Having said that, I also find it impossible to know what I am going to fancy or need or even be able to digest! Three sides of the nutrition triangle which are often difficult to balance, especially during the latter stages of a race.
Finally, and most importantly is to realise that ultra-running is a metaphor for life in that there will be good times and bad times, and if you are feeling bad you can be confident that the feeling will pass before too long – unfortunately, the opposite is also true! the highs (lows) will be followed by lows (highs).
What does a typical training week look like?
- Monday: Cross-training,
- Tuesday: Pace / speedwork,
- Wednesday: Easy.
- Thursday / Friday: Midweek long.
- Saturday: Rest or Dog run.
- Sunday: Long
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
It’s all mental. Running an ultra, or any distance in fact, requires mental preparation. The difference with an ultra is that, by definition, it lasts longer than most people will train for, so when you are toeing the start line of you first ultra it is always going to be unknown territory. You can train physically for the distance by running longer distances and being ‘on your feet’ for progressively longer periods of time, doing back to back long runs over two days, and training on similar terrain to your race. All good contributors to success, that will give confidence in reaching the finish line. With the physical training behind you and provided then you ‘want’ to finish enough, all that is normally required is stubbornness, obsession and focus on the job in hand.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I am currently pursuing a long-term passion in Astronomy by studying for a degree in the subject and love to run through the evenings in dark sky sites. I will be starting my final year of my degree in September!
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
Yes, but only once.
How did you get on?
In 2017, I finished within the 36 hrs (just!) as the last British finisher.
What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time?
The flat and hard tarmac is a killer and the monotonous movement is tough. Make sure you train for time on your feet, and when you get there just take each checkpoint one at a time, but remember the race starts after Corinth. Take it easy and enjoy!
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
The race and the area is steeped in ancient history, so I am looking forward to finding out more about that and immersing myself in the cultural aspects of the areas through which the race travels. I’m also looking forward to the camaraderie of the event and the team spirit with which I am already highly impressed. Other than that, I’m looking forward to seeing the finish line!
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Not looking forward to Mount Parthenio in the dead of night.
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
Most of my ‘training’ will involve the 1066 race and training along the North Downs Way 100 locally, as the terrain here can be challenging and awkward at times. I will also make such I’m road training in heat!
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
Yes. Last time I was uncrewed, but this time I am coming with my wife and rest of my family. My four children are between 12 and 17, and in fact my 3rd son will have his 14th birthday on the Saturday of the race. They are wonderfully supportive of my racing and missed being with me last time. I know it will be tough for them as crew (and they don’t even get a medal!) but I am extraordinarily grateful for their support and know that they will have a fantastic experience.