Name: Andy ‘Daysey’ Day (Everybody calls me Daysey… It could be a lot worse!)
Occupation: Secret Squirrel. I provide the blanket of comfort under which you sleep each night ☺
I get to pretend to be Starskey & Hutch every day but I can’t jump in through the window of the Corsa ☺
Home Town: Mansfield, Nottinghamshire (originally from Birmingham. #PeakyBlinder)
Twitter Account: (if applicable) What’s Twitter??
Website/Blog: (if applicable) I’m not that clever but I do like to write the odd article
What is your running background?
When I was about 3 I ran a tap for the first time. Whilst on the way to school once, I remember running for the bus. I also remember my dad growing veg in the garden & I was partial to a Runner Bean. It just seems that running was in my life from an early age ☺
Actually…. I played football until I was about 30. I’d been into recreational cycling & decided to give cycle racing a go & wasn’t bad, had a few wins & was even Police National Road Race champion one year. I decided to do a bit of running one winter & quite enjoyed it, so I then did a few Duathlons (Run/Bike/Run) Managed to represent GB a few times at Euro Champs. I decided I’d add a bit of swimming in, so naturally progressed to Triathlon.
I always like to see how far I can go, so I keep upping the distances. Triathlon progressed to several Ironman Distances & a double IM. Unfortunately I HATE swimming, so my Triathlon career stopped at a double ☺ I chased the sub 10hr IM time but never quite made it due to my s@#t swimming. My best being 10hr 11 at Roth.
So with the above in mind my interest in running slowly moved up the distances to completing a marathon. Stopping with a 2:55 (Not as fast as many of you smokey racing snakes but it’s the best I’ve done to date)
Then around 2014 I somehow got to know about this Ultra Running lark & I think Gower was my first one. I’ve since done the ‘Chamonix Thing’ & completed CCC & UTMB. Done a few 100 milers amongst others & naturally I was looking for something longer & boooom! Spartathlon appeared.
It’s all natural progression. I aim to keep pushing the distances etc until I find the point where my brain makes demands that my body can’t keep….. I’ll then stop…. For a few days, then think “Well I could have improved there. “Maybe if I did that….” Before probably having another go ☺ (which is why I’m returning to Sparta)
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
As above, I started around 2014. It was just my way of continuing to push the distances. Then I realized that there is so much natural beauty out there & things I’d never get to see if I didn’t run. It’s simple…. Grab your trainers & go. Plus, having done others disciplines I can say that Ultra Runners are some of the best people that I have met. There’s very little ego & the journeys we share together often make a special bond.
A lot of the events are simple too, without all the glitz. My good Lady joked that there was a proper finish line at the Kielder Ultra “ You usually just run into a hut” ☺
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
As with the rest of us, 2020 has been ‘A very long training block’.
I don’t have any events I keep returning to. I was due to race GUCR this year….. maybe in 2021?
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
I’ve had a few podiums but I have to say that Sparta 2019 was a ‘real moment’. I got to propose to my now wife too at ‘the foot’
There are other ½ decent results but a lot of the time my best achievements have been when I’m struggling like fook & don’t know how the hell I’m going to get to the finish line. BUT somehow we push through it & those are the best results. It’s our brains natural instinct to tell us to slow down when things are hurting but they say that we’ve only used up something like 30% of what we can actually do at that point. “Ya gota keep on pushin on”
What was your hardest race experience?
It was RTTS (Race To The Stones) 2015 0r 2016? This was one of my first Ultras. In my infinite wisdom I thought that it might be a good idea to take a strong pain killer when it got hard in the race. Enter co-codamol at around mile 35. By mile 40 I was almost crawling. My stomach had shut down & I had no energy. I just wanted to lay down on the grass & go to sleep but I was wearing a brand new, white, rather expensive Compress t-shirt & I didn’t want to get grass stains on it ☺ (Always thinking!)
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Pace myself. Start off slow. Don’t get carried away with the excitement at the start of the race & pulled along by other competitors. Ease in gradually & get into my stride. Stay on top of nutrition & my calorie plan. Negative split. Run the last few miles overtaking runners & wave to the crowd & a big smile at the finish line.
Reality…… BANG! First mile in under 6 mins. Say to myself “ slow down, you’re going too fast” Turn to runner next to me & both agree that we always have the intention of starting slow but get carried away. Nod & laugh out loud…. Continue to run the next few miles too fast. Forget to drink & don’t eat soon enough…. Run into Aid station “ Oooohhhh Jelly Babies, just the sugar fix I need at 5 miles in” Approach half way having looked at your GPS watch several times, giving it a shake to see if its working as my pace has dropped & I can no longer hold a usual easy pace….. Have an argument in my head for starting too fast AGAIN! Continue on with the ultra-shuffle. Stubble over any minor tree root because I can no longer lift my feet high enough…. Find a second wind once I approach the finish & im in front of the crowd. Look down to stop my GPS watch to save the pointless data. This results in my finish line photo showing the top of my head ☺
What does a typical training week look like?
Im currently around 75/80 miles per week, heading towards 100 for a block. (Well I think that’s Nathan FLEAR’s intention) As we get older we know our bodies better & I know that I have to be careful with doing too much because it takes longer to recover. Having said that I was able to run 100 mile weeks in the build up in 2019 & thankfully stayed injury free.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
- Don’t run in Flip Flops.
- Don’t run after a Slippery Nipple (Sambuca & Baileys) session the night before… It has a tendency to curdle ☺
- (Serious answer, although the other 2 are valid points) PACE. I know we all say it & have the best intention but generally we all set off far too fast. As they say…. If you start at a pace you think you can hold to the finish, you’re already running too fast. Enjoy the journey. Through running we all get to see many beautiful things that we’d probably never see otherwise. We’re the lucky ones!
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I’m Plant based but I don’t go on about it ☺
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before? Yes in 2019
How did you get on? 2019 – A long 30.
(If you have participated before) What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time?
If it’s hot, which it usually is, then respect the heat! I joke I run on Solar power & those that know me know I love the sun. However 30+ degrees is a different animal to run in. You have to manage / keep your core temperature down. Hopefully we will have another hot year but you will look forward to all 74 aid stations, where you will be grabbing for the ice.
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
Hopefully finishing & going sub 30, if the gods are with me! ☺ I’m looking forward to meeting up with friends again & meeting new like minded nutters, sharing the journey & making memories. We’re a strange breed but events like this make friends for life. Oh….. & those waffles afterwards in Glyfada 😛 Plus…. It’s a 153 mile rolling buffet!
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
If my legs are as shot as they were in 2019, then the last 14 miles down hill. It was painful.
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
Love the tarmac & building up my weekly mileage to a higher level, that I can hopefully sustain for a few months. Do some old fashioned ‘Heat training’ with an extra layer & beanie hat.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? (If so, please introduce them briefly)
I will be bringing my good lady / wife & number one supporter Diane. She’s the wind beneath my wings & has supported me on nearly every ultra I’ve done. Including the logistics of navigation around the mountians to get to the check points at UTMB on time, in the black of night.
I got to one check point & made the passing comment ‘ Id love some salty chips’ I got to the next check point about an hour later than intended (due to being fooked!!) & there she was with a cold tray of chips…… Bloody useless, who eats cold chips…….. No, seriously, they were awesome & she’s a true diamond.