Your Name: John Melbourne
Occupation: Distribution Centre Manager
Home Town: Tadworth, Surrey
What is your running background?
Aged 23 I was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy. I had never run before other than cross country at school. In 2003 entered the London Marathon and the rest is history.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
After a few road marathons I wanted to test myself and find a new challenge. My first ultra was the Dartmoor Discovery in 2009.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
On the North Downs Way and surrounding Surrey Hills with the occasional ultra up in Yorkshire where I hail from originally.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
Maui Oceanfront Marathon Hawaii 2nd place 02:54 (first sub 3 marathon after 24 attempts)
Heroes Ultra Crete 1st place 2016 (21:31 97 miles 5000 metres ascent)
Berlin Wall 100 12th place 2017 (16:00:24 auto Sparta time)
Everglades Ultra 2017 1st place (06:59 50 miles)
What was your hardest race experience?
The Beer Ultra in 2017. 10 x 5K laps with 10 cans of craft beer. Off road in Wales with lots of mud and hills.
What events do you have planned for 2018 up to Spartathlon? (Dates/name of key events)
London Marathon – April
North Downs 50 – May
South Downs 100 – June
Vegan Welsh 3K – July
Glossgockner 110K (Austria) – July
Downland Challenge – August
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
To start out at a steady pace and work my way through the field.
What does a typical training week look like?
Typical 80-100 miles when training for a big race, reducing to 60-80 when not. I run mostly off-road in the summer and road in winter.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Eat and drink plenty.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
I have ex battery hens as pets and will be running Spartathlon for the British Hen Welfare Trust.
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
The challenge, the solitude and the beers at the finish.
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
More road running and less trails.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
No, my wife/immediate family couldn’t care less as long as I don’t die on the route.