Your Name: Tom Byrne
Home Town: Bury st Edmunds
What is your running background?
Used to be a gym monkey before running my first marathon in 2013; became hooked and since then I’ve run multiple marathons and ultras ranging from 50k -180km on road, trail and dessert
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
My first ultra was a 50km hot, humid and hilly road race in Malaysia in 204. I have never been a particularly fast runner and time is generally not a motivating factor for me. I use ultras as a means to travel to new countries and test what I can do physically and mentally.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
I live in Jordan and despite having a small running community, has some top athletes great running events including a multi-stage 5 day ultra in the Wadi Rum desert and a much lower key 100km ultra from Petra to Wadi Rum.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Probably the qualifier I did for this race which was the Olympian Race 180km. Met a bunch of Spartathlon veterans at the event who motivated and encouraged me to apply.
What was your hardest race experience?
Having to power hike 50km lost and alone with minimal marking through the soft sand at the Wadi Rum 100km after getting badly dehydrated and suffering the worst cramps of my life.
What events do you have planned for 2019 up to Spartathlon?
April – Dead Sea Ultra 50km (Jordan)
May – Tengri Ultra 70km (Kazakhstan)
June 4 Seasons Mountain Trail 75km (Lebanon)
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Start too ambitious and hang on / suffer!
What does a typical training week look like?
80km – 160km over 5/6 runs mostly on road. (probably increasing this to do double ups)
One run will be tempo / intervals
One long run 30-50km
One mid/long run 25-30km
The rest are easy 10km-20km
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Cliche but, enjoy the journey and experience. Forget about the time and try to finish wanting to come back for more.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I’ve spent almost the entire of my adult life country hoping / living around the world having left the UK in 2005.
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
The history, atmosphere and camaraderie amongst the runners
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Potentially very high temperatures.
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
I live in a hot hilly city (Amman) so doing most of my training here should replicate the conditions from Athens-Sparta quite well.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
Trying to convince people now I’m officially in 🙂