Tagged Ian Thomas

Ian Thomas

Name: Ian Thomas

Occupation:   IT Project Manager

Home Town: Norwich

Twitter account: @ultraian

Website/blog: ultraian.wordpress.com

Running Background

What is your running background?

I’ve run recreationally at various points in my life, but I started racing in earnest in 2009 with a desire to be the best I could be. Initially I focused on road racing 5k to Marathons before venturing into Ultra’s. I started a little late in life compared to most, but it’s never too late to push the boundaries!

When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why? 

I dipped by toe in the water in 2011 to see what I was capable of after my first sub 3 marathon. It was the Marriott’s Way Ultra (36m), a low key free event on my main training route at that time in Norwich. Beginners luck saw me win the event and set a new course record, which fortuitously stood for 5 years before being beaten in 2016. I may well return in the hope of reclaiming it 😊

When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you? 

Any Ultra’s really but usually 100 mile plus. I’d like to be a regular at Spartathlon, the Canal Slam (comprising GUCR, Avon and Kennett and LLCR130) and do have aspirations to tackle other classics like Lakeland 100, Western States or indeed the US Grand Slam, though cost rules out the latter.

I recently ventured into the 24hr track race arena via a debut at Barcelona in December 2016 and although I swore I’d never return, I’ve since changed my mind as I’d like to really see what I can achieve as I wasn’t hundred per cent on the day. I learnt some valuable lessons too.

Events like UTMB, Spine, MDS or other multi day events don’t currently appeal to me. I prefer pure non-stop running events tackled without the aid of poles.

I also still enjoy road racing anything from 5k to Marathon and am keen not to neglect this area of my racing, but it’s increasingly difficult to accommodate everything.

What are your personal key running achievements to date? 

  • Finishing my second consecutive Spartathlon in 2016 in 29:14:36
  • Finishing my third GUCR in 2016 in 3rd place 27:43
  • Finishing my third Liverpool to Leeds (LLCR130) in 2016 in first place 24:28
  • Running 2 sub 3 marathons at age 52 (2011) and 53 (2012) Best 2:57:35 (would like to attempt a sub 3 again)

What was your hardest race experience? 

Spartathlon

What events do you have planned for 2016 up to Spartathlon?

British Ultrafest 24hr Track (1st April)

GUCR 145m (27th May)

Avon and Kennett 145m (28th July)

LLC130 (26th August)

Maybe one two marathons, 50k or 100k’s.

What is your typical race strategy for an ultra? 

Generally I tend to go out reasonably fast as I prefer to run well whilst I can. I know this seems ill advised, especially at Spartathlon as it’s easy to overcook the first 50 miles and potentially pay a heavy price. Eat small pieces of fruit, raisins or anything else easily digestible, stay hydrated mainly via Tailwind, but also partial to chocolate milk drink which worked well for me last year. Avoid gels like the plague!

What does a typical training week look like? 

It tends to vary due to work commitments, but could be anything from 70-130 miles plus per week approx, incorporating lots of hills via ‘Doubles’ sessions. All executed on road to build the necessary strength. This assumes I’m not carrying any niggles of course.

What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time? 

Just focus on the now and dismiss the distance from your mind. It’s just a number! Know before you start that you will cross that line.

Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself? 

Not really.

Spartathlon

Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?

Yes in 2015 and 2016

How did you get on?

Finished in 31:33 (2015) and 29:14:36 (2016)

What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time?

Stay calm and avoid trying to build a large buffer over the first 50 miles. I should say that this is contrary to what I have done previously but fast starts seem to work for me, whereas they may ruin some runners chances of reaching Sparta.

Be prepared for the long tough haul to mountain base and again from Tegea to Sparta. People don’t seem to mention these parts of the course, but this race isn’t just about the mountain! It most certainly is about the finish though 😊

What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?

The whole journey, the build up, pre-race get-togethers with fellow runners, the start at the Acropolis, the magical journey, kissing the foot of King Leonidas, the amazing welcome in Sparti and being greeted by my wife, in Laws, fellow team members and Spartans.

What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?

A potentially cold and/or wet transition across the mountain at 100 miles in.

How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?

Same as last year largely. High mileage on roads, three or four big ultras, one or two smaller ultras, a marathon or two, plus some additional strength, speed and flexibility training.

Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?

Yes my wife Gill and in laws Kelvin and Collette to share in the experience throughout the build up, the race itself and the finish in Sparti. They absolutely loved it last year!

I should say you can run it successfully without crew as I did in 2015.

Ian Thomas

2016 British Spartathlon Team Ian Thomas 03

Occupation:   IT Project Manager

Home Town: Norwich

Twitter account: @ultraian

Website/blog: ultraian.wordpress.com 

Running Background

What is your running background? I’ve run recreationally at various points in my life, but I started racing in earnest in 2009 with a desire to be the best I could be. Initially I focused on road racing 5k to Marathons before venturing into Ultra’s. I started a little late in life compared to most, but it’s never too late to push the boundaries!

When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why? Dipped by toe in the water in 2011 to see what I was capable of after my first sub 3 marathon. It was the Marriott’s Way Ultra (36m), a low key free event on my main training route at that time in Norwich. Beginners luck saw me win the event and set a new course record, which fortuitously still stands today. Not for much longer I suspect!

When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you? Any Ultra’s really but usually 100 mile plus. I’d love to be a regular at Spartathlon, GUCR and LLC130 where possible and do have aspirations to tackle other classics like Lakeland 100, Western States or indeed the US Grand Slam, though cost rules out the latter.

Events like UTMB, Spine, MDS or multi day events aren’t really my scene. I prefer pure hard running events.

I also still enjoy road racing anything from 5k to Marathon and am keen not to neglect this area of my racing, so I’ll be trying harder in 2016. I hope there are still a few PB’s in me yet.

What are your personal key running achievements to date? 

Completing Spartathlon at the first attempt in 2015 at age 56 to finish 3rd Brit in 31:33

Running 2 sub 3 marathons at age 52 and 53 (best 2:57:35)

Completing my second Liverpool to Leeds (LLC130) in 24:09 (2nd) A PB of 3:50 on the previous year.

Completing the GUCR, the Centurion Grand Slam and LLC130 within the same year (2014)

Completing Thames Ring 250 (2013) at the first attempt – 80:17 (6th)

‘Pb’ing by over 4hrs to finish 3rd at GUCR in 2016 in a time of 27:43

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Ian pictured after finishing the 2016 GUCR

What was your hardest race experience? Spartathlon 2015

What events do you have planned for 2016 up to Spartathlon? Sandy 10 mile (April), Bungay Marathon (April), TP100 (May), GUCR (May), Norfolk 100k (June), LLC130 (August) and maybe one two additional marathons, 50k or 100k’s.

What is your typical race strategy for an ultra? Go out reasonably fast, wobble a bit in the middle and try to finish strongly. Eat a little of everything that’s easily digestible, stay hydrated and avoid gels like the plague.

What does a typical training week look like? Varies due to work commitments, but could be anything from around 70-120 miles plus per week. Incorporating lots of hills and speed via ‘Doubles’ sessions, all executed on road to build the necessary strength for Spartathlon.

What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time? Just focus on the now and dismiss the distance from your mind. It’s just a number! Know before you start that you will cross that line.

Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself? I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I’m currently the fastest ever British finisher of Spartathlon over the age of 55. Fame at last.

2016 British Spartathlon Team Ian Thomas 02

Spartathlon

Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?  Yes in 2015

How did you get on? Finished in 31:33 (3rd Brit)

What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time? Stay calm and avoid trying to build a large buffer over the first 50 miles. It could well undo your race or cause you major suffering beyond the mountain at 100 miles.

What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race? The whole journey, kissing the foot of King Leonidas, the amazing welcome in Sparti and being greeted by my wife, In Laws and fellow team members.

Ian is also running in support of NANSA (Norfolk and Norwich Scope Association) a local disability charity based in Norfolk. If you would like to find out more about or sponsor Ian you can find his fund-raising page here 

What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race? A potentially cold and wet transition across the mountain at 100 miles in.

How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race? Same as last year largely. High mileage on roads, two or three big ultras, one or two smaller ultras, a marathon or two, plus some additional strength training.

Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? Yes on this occasion, as it will be nice for my wife and in laws to share in the experience throughout the build up, the race itself and the finish in Sparti.

The Michael Callaghan Trophy

2015 British Spartathlon Team Mike Callaghan Trophy

(Thanks to Ian Thomas for the update)

As the team will recall Patrick Macke has kindly donated the impressive trophy he won for winning Spartathlon in 1985 in a time of 23:18:00 h. Patrick still holds the record for the best British Performance 23:08 (1990) and during his career has set world records over various distances.

Patrick’s wish is that we rename the trophy the ‘Michael Callaghan Trophy’ after the original Spartathlon organiser Michael Graham Callaghan who unfortunately passed away in 2013 and award it as a perpetual trophy for the best British Performance at Spartathlon each year. I’m sure you’ll agree this is a very kind gesture by Patrick which will be greatly appreciated by all future British Spartathlon runners.

I had the great pleasure of recently collecting the trophy from the custodians Malcolm and Marilyn Campbell but had no idea that Malcolm was in fact a world beater himself on the Ultra scene and inaugural President of the IAU.

His presidency of the IAU started when he was fifty years old and before the age of fifty one he ran one of his races across America in a match race against Marvin Skagerberg (USA)

Malcolm stopped running around the age of sixty and eventually retired from the IAU at the age of seventy but not before he introduced the Constitution at the first IAU Congress.

Malcolm and his wife Marilyn were wonderful, warm and hospitable hosts to me and gave me a valuable insight into the history of Utra Running and the IAU. They also extended a warm welcome to any of the British Spartathlon Team that would like to drop by and have a chat about our wonderful sport and its colourful history.

It was a privilege to meet Malcolm and Marilyn of course, who has supported him throughout his long and impressive running career and Presidency of the IAU. As well as supporting Malcolm, Marilyn took many of the photos used in cover shots for The IAU over many years.

As custodians of the trophy to date, Malcolm and Marilyn have now passed that responsibility to the British Spartathlon Team thanks to Patrick, and on behalf of the team, Gill and I will update the trophy to reflect its new role as a perpetual trophy for the best British Performance, once we’ve agreed wording (Thanks Ian).

Many thanks to Patrick, Malcolm and Marilyn for their kindness in helping the British Spartathlon Team with their kind gestures.

Ian

Note: Malcolm and Marilyn gave Ian a collection of old articles from a rare book from 1985/86 called the Grantham Connection by author Jim Allen. One page of the book features Pattryk and Malcom, which highlighted their achievements at that time which is shown below.

Thank you to the author Jim Allen for allowing us to display a copy of this article.

2015 British Spartathlon Team Patrick Macke Article

British Spartathlon Team News – September 2015

(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. 

British Spartathlon Team - Mimi Anderson 03

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!!! 

British Spartathlon Team - Mimi Anderson 02

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!

Mimi

Sponsors News

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.

Birmingham Runner

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

2015 British Spartathlon Team Birmingham Runner Sponsor

Bee Friends

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.

2015 British Spartathlon Team Sponsor Bee Friends

Corr Recruitment

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.

2015 British Spartathlon Team Sponsor Corr Recruitment

Floodies

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.

2015 British Spartathlon Team Sponsor - Floodies

Rocktape

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

2015 British Spartathlon Team Rocktape Sponsor

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.

2015 British Spartathlon Team Sponsor Ultra Marathon Running Store

Ultra Sun

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

2015 British Spartathlon Team Sponsor - Ultra Sun

Race Drone

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

More details on the trackers can be found on the GPS device hire website at http://www.eventstracking.com and information about the tracking website itself here 

2015 British Spartathlon Team RaceDrone Sponsor

Newbury Runners

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.

newbury-runners

Thank you to everyone else who contributed some individual monetary donations.

Team News

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.

British Spartathlon Team - Dan Lawson

Well done to Ian Thomas who finished second at the Liverpool to Leeds Canal race in a time of 24.09.

British Spartathlon Team - Ian Thomas

Well done to Paul Corderoy who finished 1st in the Spitfire Scramble 24 hour event covering 118 miles.

Kit News

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.

British Spartathlon Team Kit 01
British Spartathlon Team Kit 03

British Spartathlon Team Kit 02

British Spartathlon Team Kit 04

Live Streaming

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!

Good Luck!

Finally, we would like to wish all the British Spartathlon Team runners good luck for the upcoming race in a few weeks time.

British Spartathlon Team News – May 2015

(Thanks to Mimi Anderson for putting together the latest team update)

The British Spartathlon Team has been out in force over the past few weeks as the Spartathlon is now only 16 weeks away (GULP)

A few results:

THAMES PATH 100

2015 Thames Path 100 Mimi Anderson - British Spartathlon Team

Ian Thomas – 19:38:04

Mimi Anderson – 20:06:41 (2nd Lady)

Tremayne Cowdry 20:20:00

Paul Corderoy – 22:49:50

 

GRAND UNION CANAL RACE

2015 Grand Union Canal Race - British Spartathlon Team

2015 Grand Union Canal Race with 4 members of the British Spartathlon Team (Photo by Ross Langton)

An outstanding performance by Dan Lawson who absolutely smashed Pat Robin’s record in an incredible time of 22:16 taking 3:21 off the record! I’m looking forward to seeing what Dan is capable of achieving in September.

Dan was interviewed on Talk Ultra, you can listen to the podcast here:

Mimi Anderson – 32:28 (1st Lady) race report here

Paul Rowlinson – 32:30

Paul Stout – 33:50

Paul Ali – 34:55 race report here

Martin Ilott – 37:15

John Volanthen – 40hrs

 

HARDMOORS 160:

Neil Cloke – 46:19:57

2015 Hardmoors Neil Cloke - British Spartathlon Team

Neil Cloke finishing the Hardmoors 160 (Photo from Neils Facebook Page / Kelvin Dunk)

 

 

KENT ROAD RUNNERS MARATHON

Paul Ali – 3:182015 Kent Roadrunner Paul Ali - British Spartathlon Team

Paul Ali pictured at the Kent Roadrunner (Photo by TZ Runs)

CALDERDALE WAY ULTRA

Sonny Burrows completed the Calderdale Way Ultra,a 50 (ish) mile hilly ultra with over 10,000 ft of ascent in 11hr 40mins coming in at 22nd place. Sonny commented that it was a great course with stunning views, expertly organised and highly recommended.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

In terms of upcoming events, Paul Ali and Paul Stout have a few marathons planned as part of their build up and Sean Maley who finished JOGLE in April will by flying out to India in August to take part in the 333km La High Ultra (now that’s a tough race!)

Our very own Rob Pinnington did a 24hour race in Steenbergen in May and in August will be taking part in a 100km race in Leipzig together with a few marathons.

2015 Steenbergen Rob Pinnington - British Spartathlon Team

Rob pictured at the Steenbergen 24 hour race

Jamie Holmes having successfully completed the Brighton Marathon after recovering from an Achilles issue is now building up his distances by doing a 35 miler in the Peak District in July and the last two legs o the Thames Path (Windsor & Richmond Ultras) in August.

Jon Steele continues to push himself hard, he Ran the Hardmoors 110 a couple of weeks ago, the 50 mile Tabular Hills Route, Dukeries Ultra 40 miles, all three races in the space of 8 days. In July he has the Lakeland 100, Lyke Wake Race (40) and the Crosses (54).

Ian Thomas who set a new 100 mile PB in the TP100 and unfortunately wasn’t able to start the GUCR due to a virus is now doing the Norfolk 100k in June, together with a couple of marathons and the Leeds to Liverpool Canal 130 miles in August.

Izzy Wykes who run a great time in the World 24hrs in Turin in April, came away with team Bronze and 8th lady overall is now putting the finishing touches to her training for the Lakeland 100 in July.

Finally, Tremayne Cowdry has the multi-stage Dragons Back race across the length of Wales in two weeks time.

I took two weeks off running after the GUCR to make sure I was fully recovered, I was disappointed with both my TP100 and GUCR results, but as I hadn’t been able to do any speed work due to an issue with my left leg I really don’t think I could have done any better. I have no more races planned at the moment but will be working hard on my speed, plus I have started Yoga so hopefully this will help my ageing body more flexible! I have a hiking holiday in France for a week so that will help strengthen my legs.

We have an amazing team of athletes going out to Athens in September, everyone is training hard and working towards kissing the foot of King Leonidas As you can see everyone has been extremely busy and working hard towards a successful Spartathlon. Stay injury free and good luck to the Team.

Happy Training!

Mimi

2015 Grand Union Canal Race Mimi Anderson

 

 

 

 

Ian Thomas

About Ian

Name: Ian Thomas

Occupation: IT Project Manager

Home Town: Norwich

Twitter Account: @ultraian

Website/Blog: www.ultraian.wordpress.com

 2015 Ian Thomas 03

Running Background

What is your running background?

I’ve run recreationally at various points in my life, but I started racing in earnest in 2009 with a desire to be the best I could be. Initially I focused on road racing 5k to Marathons before venturing into Ultra’s. I started a little late in life compared to most, but it’s never too late to push the boundaries!

When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why? 

Dipped by toe in the water in 2011 to see what I was capable of after my first sub 3 marathon. It was the Marriott’s Way Ultra (36m), a low key free event on my main training route at that time in Norwich. Beginners luck saw me win the event and set a new course record, which unbelievably still stands today. Not for much longer I suspect!

When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you? 

Any Ultra’s really but usually 100 mile plus. I’d like to be a regular at GUCR and LLC130 where possible and do have aspirations to tackle Lakeland 100 and Western States, although cost rules out the latter. Having now achieved the Centurion Grand Slam, I don’t envisage revisiting it again. I’d like a crack at the US Grand Slam, though cost rules it out unfortunately.

I also still enjoy road racing anything from 5k to Marathon and am keen not to neglect this area of my racing. I can also be found at my local Parkrun most weekends, either running or volunteering.

I think there are still a few PB’s in me yet.

What are your personal key running achievements to date? 

  • Running sub 3 in my last two marathons at Abingdon at age 52 and 53 (best 2:57:35)
  • Completing Thames Ring 250 (2013) at the first attempt – 80:17 (6th)
  • Completing the GUCR unsupported 2013 & 2014, PB’ing in 2014 by over 4 ½ hrs – 31:50 (9th)
  • Completing inaugural Liverpool to Leeds (LLC130 2014) in 27:59 (8th)
  • Completing all 5 of my 100 milers to date in sub 24 hrs. PB 20:13, but looking to smash this at TP100 in 2015. (score to settle here due to some navigational hiccups).
  • Completing the GUCR, the Grand Slam and LLC130 successfully within the same year (2014)

What was your hardest race experience? 

Difficult to decide really, as they are all hard in their own right.

However, suffering Hypothermia on the Peddars Way undid my race which was hard to take as I was running 3rd at that point

What events do you have planned for 2015 up to Spartathlon?

Currently…

Coltishall Jaguars Mad March Hare 10k (March)

Sandy 10 mile (April)

Bungay Marathon (April)

TP100 (May)

GUCR (May)

LLC130 (August)

…and a selection of road races 5k, 10m, 20m, marathon, and potentially a 50k a month or so out.

What is your typical race strategy for an ultra? 

Go out fast, wobble a bit in the middle and finish strongly. Eat a little of everything, stay hydrated and avoid gels like the plague.

What does a typical training week look like? 

Varies due to work commitments, but could be anything from around 50-100 miles plus per week. Incorporating lots of hills, Speed and more recently ‘Doubles’. I hit my first 100 mpw this year for the first time.

What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time? 

Just focus on the now and dismiss the distance from your mind. It’s just a number! Know before you start that you will cross that line.

Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself? 

I’m an Ultra runner

2015 Ian Thomas 02

Spartathlon

Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?

No

What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?

The whole journey and kissing the foot of King Leonidas in Sparti.

What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?

Being attacked by rabid dogs?

How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?

Not sure yet. I won’t know until after GUCR, as GUCR will be my testing ground for a new strategy, which I may or may not adopt for Spartathlon.

Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?

TBA (Still undecided at this point)