(Thanks to Mimi Anderson and Paul Ali for this months update).
We are all now counting down the days until the start of the 2015 Spartathlon. I was looking back at the blog I wrote after my 2011 race and this is how I felt – a moment in my running life that I will always cherish and remember.
“Coming into Sparta was the most wonderful feeling – just over 9km to go, I knew now I would finish. Running down the long road towards the town the views are stunning and makes everything you have done in the last 30 odd hours worth it.
Getting to the last CP I was about to complete the one race that had scared me for years. Running down the street I did wonder where this statue was. People were cheering from their balconies, shops, street corners, it was a wonderful feeling. Finally I was instructed to turn right and given a police escort towards the finish.
It seemed as though the whole town had come out to support the runners, Tim and Bridget (my Crew) together with a fantastic group of Brits were there cheering me in, kids surrounded me on their bikes but I didn’t mind, this is what is was all about – but where was the statue, I still couldn’t see it.
I passed the a bar on the left hand side full of British supporters cheering, people standing on both sides of the street, now I could see the statue of King Leonidas – trying to hold my emotions together was almost impossible as I ran up the steps and touched and kissed those marvellous feet. I HAD DONE IT!!!”
Even now I can recall in my mind the last few moments of that race and how special it was and still is.
In under 3 weeks time the British Spartathlon Team together with other world class competitors will be standing on the start line of the most iconic Ultra race in the world – something we should all be proud of.
The Spartathlon isn’t the most beautiful race in the world but it is steeped in history going back to the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. it’s definitely a race not to be taken for granted.
In 2004 I met John Foden and I remember him telling me that I should enter the Spartathlon my reply was “you have got to be joking, I can’t run that fast”. Yes you have to be able to run at a good pace for a long time but for me (as a runner at the slower end of this group) I believe that one of the reasons we can fail this race is because the cut-offs apply to each and every checkpoint along the route, 74 to be precise. This plays on the mind all the time – even with a good “buffer” you know that this could disappear with every stop to refuel.
I have heard many previous participants of the Spartathlon saying that you can’t walk during the race or you won’t finish in time. In 2011 on the 2nd day I walking for 15/20 minutes with a wonderful guy who was having a bad time, I don’t regret that decision and perhaps I might have finished faster but it was part of my journey and I still managed to come in 3rd female.
The only bit of advice I can give is run your own race and stick to your plan. If things go wrong the race has a fantastic support structure and you will be looked after – as I well know from 2013!
I’m very much looking forward to seeing you all in Athens. We have an extra-ordinary group of athletes going out this year and I for one am proud to be one of them.
See you in Athens guys. Run strong, stay safe but as with all our running – enjoy!
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported the British Spartathlon Team. Every donation, item of kit or supplies is very much appreciated by the team who will aim to represent the UK well at this international race. In no particular order we would like to thank.
Thank you to Dave Ireland from Birmingham Runner for sponsoring the 2015 Spartathlon Team and supply each of the runners with the official team kit including crew T-Shirts.
The Birmingham Runner Shop is a UK based sports retailer in Solihull, West Midlands offering a wide range of top name brands and with over 25 years of experience in the specialist running sector.
The team offer an in-store Video Gait Analysis Service and have an on-line store covering a complete range of running related products.
You can visit the Birmingham Runner store website here
Bee Friends are a Newbury based organisation who provide personalised social and domestic services.
Bee Friends aim to provide high quality support to their service users and recognise that people’s needs are different offering tailor made care plans for each individual.
Please visit the Bee Friends website here for details of their services.
Bee Friends have kindly made a monetary donation to the team which will be put towards kit and equipment.
Corr Recruitment are a Newbury based independent recruitment organisation specialising in 3 separate divisions Driving/Industrial, Catering and Commercial.
Corr have been successfully supplying staff in their local region since 2001 and in recent years have expanded outside this area and can supply staff Temporary or Permanent anywhere in the UK. Other services they provide include site managed services and master vendor services.
You can visit the Corr Recruitment website here
Corr Recruitment have kindly made a monetary donation to the team which will be put towards kit and equipment.
Thank you to Keith Flood from Floodies for providing the team some discounted Injinjui Desert hats which will be vital for protection of the runners during the race.
Floodies are a team of outdoors enthusiasts, who have a wealth of experience in expedition’s outdoors activities and Ultra Events.
Please visit the website here for your outdoor adventure needs.
Thank you to Rocktape UK who will be supporting the British Spartathlon Team and providing the athletes with supplies of kinesiology sports tape for use during the event.
Details of Rocktape’s products can be found here
ULTRA marathon Running Store
Thank you to Keith Godden from ULTRAmarathonRunningStore who will be providing the British Spartathlon Team with some supplies of 2Toms blister and chafing prevention products and some supplies of Succeed S!CAPS Electrolyte Capsules.
In addition they have offered a free pair of Hoka One One shoes (the Hoka range can be seen here) to one randomly drawn British Spartathlon Team finisher of the 2015 Spartathlon event. So a little extra incentive to the UK runners to complete the event!
ULTRAmarathonRunningStore is a specialist online ultrarunning store based in the UK. Details of the range of products can be found here.
Being out in the sun for a couple of hours is all you need to start the process of serious sun damage, and with the Spartathlon being held in Greece in September when temperatures are still in the 30s, the British team needs all the protection it can get.
Which is why the team would like to thank top sun protection brand Ultrasun for sponsoring our runners with adequate protection.
Ultrasun’s sports specific range is a one-application-a-day product that should be applied inside about 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. Details of Ultra Sun products can be found on their website here
GPS tracking website Race Drone have offered to sponsor the UK Spartathlon team, by offering each runner use of a mini GPS tracker to during the event, so their friends, family and supporters, both in Greece and a home can follow their progress in the race.
The GPS trackers are small, around the size of a matchbox, and weigh just 60g. They have a long life battery which lasts for almost a week. They will be programmed to transmit your exact location every 5 minutes to the RaceDrone website.
The British Spartathlon Team will be tracked during the race using the following link Spartathlon Tracking
Newbury Runners are a running group based in Newbury, Berkshire who meet, train together and enter events together.
The group have a strapline which is “We never leave a runner behind.”
2015 UK Spartathlete Paul Stout is a member of the group and Newbury Runners wanted to show their support for Paul and the rest of the UK team as they have all at some point been supported by Paul in their running.
Newbury Runners have kindly made a monetary donation to the team which will be put towards kit and equipment.
Thank you to everyone else who contributed some individual monetary donations.
Most of the team members are now entering their taper period but there are a couple of notable results to mention.
Congratulations to Dan Lawson who set a new course record at the Ridgeway Challenge event finishing in 12.07.
Well done to Ian Thomas who finished second at the Liverpool to Leeds Canal race in a time of 24.09.
Well done to Paul Corderoy who finished 1st in the Spitfire Scramble 24 hour event covering 118 miles.
Thank you to Mark Burnell for his fantastic design work, the British Spartathlon Team will look as good as any other team in Greece in a few weeks. We have a few more bits of kit to deliver to odd people (Crew and Sponsors) so please bear with us whilst we organise this.
The International Association of SPARTATHLON in cooperation with Free Life Productions have announced that this year’s race will be covered in real time with live streaming were it is possible.
The live broadcast of the race 2015 will be recorded and transmitted from two high-definition cameras with video shots from micro copter (drone) were conditions allow.
Live video will be transmitted from the official website www.spartathlon.gr in 720p, High Definition for high quality.
The Historical Ultramarathon will be LIVE in all multimedia devices (Smartphones, Tablet, IOS, Android, Windows mobile).
The first broadcast will begin with the briefing of athletes at FENIX Hotel in Glyfada on September 24, 2015 and will continue at the start of the race under the Acropolis (Herodium) on September 25, 2015 till the end of the race in Sparta.
Coupled with the GPS tracking and hopefully the odd social media updates then all the UK supporters should be able to follow the team very closely this year.. no pressure!
Finally, we would like to wish all the British Spartathlon Team runners good luck for the upcoming race in a few weeks time.
James Ellis makes an appearance in his local press. Please see the article below.
The Desert Hats with the bespoke British Spartathlon Team logo have now arrived as pictured below and are in our possession.
We have received a number of requests from runners asking whether we can supply the kit in advance in order for them to have a chance to try out the kit (and fit) prior to the event.
Matt Mahoney has kindly offered to organise this on our behalf (subject to people agreeing to pay postage costs) and we are currently awaiting completion of the kit order forms before we progress this, so watch this space.
Sean Maley successfully completed the JOGLE (John O’Groats to Lands End) run and is pictured here at the finish after running 50 miles a day for 17 days in a row, congratulations Sean.
Well done to Mimi Anderson who completed the Thames Path 100 last week finishing as 2nd Lady. Mimi is pictured below with her crew.
Finally good luck to Rob Pinnington who is taking part in a the Ultraloop Steenbergen a 24 hour race which takes place from 2pm UK time today. Robs progress can be tracked live here
Welcome to the first of our regular updates charting the training and progress of British runners who are part of the 2015 British Spartathlon Team.
There has been a huge amount of activity over the past few weeks with the organisation of the British Spartathlon Team.
Firstly, thanks to some sterling work from Rob Pinnington organising the kit and Paul Stout who has raised some sponsorship towards the cost of team kit which will include Runners T-Shirts, Crew T-Shirts, Buffs and ‘Desert’ Hats. The buffs and hats have now been paid for and we are awaiting delivery and we are currently collecting the runners orders for the T-Shirts.
I enclose some photographs of the kit design and should add our thanks and credit to Mark Burnell for the design work. All of this work will mean that the runners are visibly represented as “British Team” at the event.
I would also like to use this opportunity to publicly thank out sponsors without whose support we wouldn’t have been able to design and purchase the team kit. Our thanks go to:
Dave Ireland from Birmingham Runner for sponsoring the 2015 Spartathlon Team and supply each of the runners with the official team kit including crew T-Shirts.
Corr Recruitment who kindly made a monetary donation to the team which will be put towards kit and equipment. Thanks to Daniel Corr.
Bee Friends have kindly made a monetary donation to the team which will be put towards kit and equipment. Thanks to Lorna Newson.
Newbury Runners have kindly made a monetary donation to the team which will be put towards kit and equipment.
Thank you to Keith Flood from Floodies for providing the team with some discounted Injinjui Desert hats which will be vital for protection of the runners during the race.
The team also received separate monetary donations from Spartathlete Paul Corderoy who has kindly passed on the ‘cash back’ received from recommending the Transferwise payment scheme for making payments abroad. If you haven’t yet paid your Spartathlon entry fee then you may wish to check out this cost effective way of transferring this money abroad using the link here.
In addition, Rocktape have kindly agreed to provide some kinesiology tape for the team to use during the race.
Spartathlete James Ellis has kindly taken on the role as Press Officer for the team and has been busy putting together a press release and making contact with national and local news agencies in order to spread the word about the British Spartathlon Team.
We will post links and details of any runners or articles featured in the press. Our aims here are to increase the profile of British runners undertaking this race and also to raise some more sponsorship to support the team.
The first report to feature was an article on Peter Goldring which can be found 2015 Spartathlon – Echo News Peter Goldring.
Paul Stout and Sonny Burrows were also featured in their local newspapers (pictures below).
Paul Stouts press article
Sonny Burrows press article
Hopefully, we will see a few more press articles appearing over the next few weeks.
Many of the 2015 Spartathletes have been in race action during April.
The most high profile race was the World 24 Hour Championships (a 24 Hour track based run) which saw Pat Robbins achieve 7th overall and Dan Lawson achieve 24th. Combined with the efforts of other Britsh Runners (including 2013 Spartathlete Robbie Britton who achieved 3rd overall) the Men’s team won the Team Gold which was a brilliant result.
Isobel Wykes (8th position), Debbie Martin-Consani (12th position) and Sharon Law (13th position) were also in action and they successfully earned an Team European Bronze for their efforts as well as achieving high placings individually in the ladies competition.
This was a fantastic achievement for the team who were competing at the highest level of competition and demonstrated that we have some strong UK runners taking part in the Spartathlon this year.
Team GB Pictured (Picture by Dan Lawson)
Other athletes were also taking part in races including; John Volanthen who took part in the South Downs Way 50, finishing in (8.56). Paul Stout completed the Compton 40 miler in (6.42) whilst I (Paul Ali) completed The Oner, an 80 odd mile run along the hilly South West Coastal Path. You can find my race report here.
Paul Ali taking part in The Oner
Well done to Ian Thomas who took part in the Bungay Black Dog Marathon where he came 4th out of 175 runners with a time of 3hrs 2mins in his first marathon in over 2 years.
Finally, a ‘huge’ shout out to Sean Maley who is currently midway through his JOGLE (John O’Groats to Lands End run) and is due to complete this on the weekend. Five runners started the event but only Sean Maley is left and is due to finish this 860 mile run this weekend.
Here’a s link to a local press article detailing Sean’s current progress here. Hopefully, Sean will write a few words on this epic achievement when he completes the event and puts his feet up for a few days.
Sean taking part in the JOGLE (picture from Seans Facebook Page)
Good luck to anyone who is running in the Virgin London Marathon this week.
I would also like to formally introduce you to the Photography Team who will be following the British Spartathlon Team in September.
Sarah Dryden has kindly offered her services as Team Photographer and she will be supported by Russ Bustley, Richard Tullet & Sandra Hopkins who will be providing valuable support/driving etc. as part of the official photography team, thanks guys your support is much appreciated.
Next Update May
That’s it for moment, we will put together another update in May where potentially 9 of the 2015 British Spartathlon Team members are taking part in the Grand Union Canal Race a 145 mile non-stop footrace from Birmingham to London which will be a good benchmark for people’s fitness and ability to complete Spartathlon a few months later.