Your Name: Sarah Sawyer
Occupation: Marketing Manager/Copywriter/Running Coach/Pilates Teacher
Home Town: Brighton
Twitter Account: SazzleRuns
What is your running background?
In 2009 I spent 6 months travelling round SE Asia with my husband Tom, and when we returned to London I didn’t want to go back to my old party girl lifestyle, so I bought a pair of trainers and went out for my first run since leaving school. I had no great running aspirations I just thought I’d like to be able to run 6 miles as that seemed quite like a nice number of miles to run! After about 18 months I ran my first marathon, a few more marathons followed, and an ultra seemed the logical next step. Now I mix up my running and run everything from short road races to long ultras, and pretty much everything inbetween.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
In the UK, I run a few Centurion races or I’ll be found training on the South Downs/around Brighton. We also do a lot of weekend trips in our campervan with our dogs to the likes of the Brecon Beacons, Peak District and the Lakes. I also like to combine my love of running with my love of travelling so often race abroad under the banner of an ‘active holiday’.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Crawley 24 hours – 127.8 miles, 1st and my Sparta AQ
NDW50 – 1st
TP100 – 2nd
Berlin 100 – 3rd
WW50 – 3rd
RTP Patagonia, Ecuador, Atacama Crossing – 1st, 1st, 2nd
Global Limits Bhutan – 3rd
What was your hardest race experience?
Grand Raid Pyrenees Tour des Cirques in 2018; I’d run the CCC the year before and absolutely loved it, so GRP seemed like a natural progression. However, the reality felt like 80 miles of unrunnable rocks and clambering over boulders – I love running races and I think I ran about 10% of the entire course. I’ve never wanted to DNF a race so much, but I realised that giving up just because you’re hating something isn’t a good enough reason to DNF! I’m very glad I didn’t give up because if nothing else it taught me I can cope with 32 hours on my feet and no sleep!
What events do you have planned for 2018 up to Spartathlon? (Dates/name of key events)
May – Basel 24 hours
July – Al Andalus Ultimate Trail
I’ll also throw a half marathon/couple of 10ks in over the summer.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Slow and steady, the race doesn’t start until the final quarter, I like to get as far as I can into the race without anything starting to hurt!
What does a typical training week look like?
I run 6 days a week – 2 speedwork sessions and a couple of easy recovery days in the week, and then the weekends will depend what I’m training for, but at least one long run/one shorter run or back to back longer runs. I run quite low mileage compared to a lot of ultra runners, normally around 65-80 miles per week. I also do a lot of Pilates and yoga.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Always run with a smile on your face!
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I have 2 Spanish rescue dogs who I love more than life itself called Diego and Pedro (my husband is a Chelsea fan).
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
Kissing Leonidas’ foot. Being part of the British Spartathlon team. The after party.
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
It does seem like an awfully long way to run!
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
I have a coach so will leave that side of things to him, but I know there’ll be some heat acclimatisation runs going on.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
Yep my husband Tom and good friend David; they’re both runners so I know I couldn’t be in better hands than with those two.