Tagged James Ellis

James Ellis

Runners Information

Your Name: James Ellis

Occupation: Journalist/PR and PT/Nutrition Therapist

Home Town: Leeds

Runners Questions

What is your running background?

Good(ish) at school where I had to run cross country to get into the football team (it was a small school, so it was a kind of bribe to make us run). Then I did bugger all for about 20 years. I’m the proverbial middle aged bloke who re-discovered fitness into his 40s, did a three-mile-a-day challenge every day for a year, then read Ultramarathon Man/Born To Run/Eat and Run (delete as appropriate) and got into ultra running.

When did you start running Ultra marathons and why?

Three pals David Bone, Darren Strachan and Jamie Holmes – all also running Spartathlon this year – convinced me to run the Brighton Marathon one week, the London Marathon the next… and run Brighton to London in the middle of the week. It was self-organised (read badly) but we did the 56 or so miles in about 12 hours, had a laugh on the way and talked about what else we could do. Someone mentioned Spartathlon and we decided to go straight for it. Two years later, I was lining up in Athens for my first tilt (2015).

What are your key personal running achievements to date?

Those who have not yet done it won’t get this until 7pm on September 30, 2017…. There is no greater race in the world than Spartathlon. Finishing two years running is the absolute best thing I’ve done and can only be beaten by doing the triple.

What was your hardest race experience?

Any really. Like most people, I battle with the demon on one shoulder telling me to stop, that this sport is crazy. Overall though, 2015, my first Spartathlon finish now looks like a complete fluke. I’d done the miles, but had bad shoes, no blister strategy, nutrition went up the spout and I got the most massive blisters after it chucking it down for most of the night. I hobbled in, death marching the last 50 miles, and despite a 35,35 finish, just had to do it again. I felt I’d cheated myself and the race.

What events do you have planned for 2017 up to Spartathlon?

World 24 Hour Champs, KACR.

What does a typical training week look like?

In the two months before I do 5 x 10 miles in the week with a big run, anything from 20-40 at weekends. I also teach Insanity Live, so two to three classes a week and the odd weights session if I can get it in.

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

Lap up the support of your fellow runners. With the odd exception, it’s an amazing community.

Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?

I’ve shadow boxed with Muhammad Ali.

Spartathlon Questions

Have you taken part in Spartathlon before?

Twice – 2015 and 2016.

How did you get on?

35.35 and 35.05

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

Don’t be scared by the ‘fast’ pace to Corinth. Much of that is run in the morning when it’s a bit cooler so you can gain time there, then slow down for the second marathon. As long as you get to the checkpoint with 30 or so to spare (and I’ve seen it done with less), you can start to pick up time pretty quickly: up to five to 10 minutes per checkpoint if you’re running at even a trot.

What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?

Kissing the feet for the third time, hopefully with my three running pals David, Darren and Jamie.

What are you not looking forward to?

There are bits that are a bit grubby but other than that, there’s nothing to grumble about. Arriving in Sparta is the best race finish ever, so I just try and focus on that.

How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?

Heat training – sauna and black bin bags!

Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?

I will have the blonde bombshells with me. My wife Laura and her mate Nicky Robbins.


2016 British Spartathlon Team – April Newsletter

By Rob Pinningon

Welcome to the first monthly newsletter of the 2016 British Spartathlon Team.

First of all congratulations to all of you who were lucky in the draw. To those that weren’t, hang in there. There is usually 15-20% drop out rate.


2016 Runners

The current 2016 British Spartathletes are listed below:

Martin Bacon
David Barker
Paul Beechey
Tremayne Cowdry
James Ellis
Gabriel Flores
Peter Leslie Foxall
Michel Hardie
Carl Howells
Martin Ilott
Sharon Law
Dan Mayers
Barry Miller
Robert Edward Pinnington
James Poole
Sophie  Power
Pat Robbins
Jim Rogers
Paul Rowlinson
Tarique Shakir-Khalil
Jonathan Steele
Darren Strachan
Ian Thoms
John Volanthen

Profiles for the 2016 team are currently being added to the website here. If you haven’t sent in your profile details then please do so asap (Information can be sent to the British Spartathlon Team email address here)


2016 Supporters

We are pleased to announce that we have several volunteers on board already.

Paul Ali has agreed to carry on as webmaster. I think mainly because he doesn’t want me to make a mess of the site he built last year.

Sarah Dryden will be returning as our team photographer as well. Just check out the 2016 gallery to see examples of her great work.

James Ellis is performing the duties of press officer. He will be putting out an appeal for information about the runners so that he can contact your local press and give you your well deserved fifteen minutes of fame.

Mark Burnell is providing the design. I can tell you his new designs are pretty exciting.


2016 Sponsors

We have also got three sponsors on board…

Ultramarathonrunning store

2016 Sponsor UltraMarathon Running Store

Oyster Wealth Management

2016 Sponsor Oyster Wealth Management

Altas Running

2016 Sponsor Atlas Running

Each are contributing equally and this enables us to provide the same kit to all runners as last year. Namely two runners shirts, two crew shirts and four buffs. We hope to print these via sublimation printing meaning the shirts will “breath” better than last year.

Details of additional sponsors will follow and we are very grateful for everyone’s support.


Don’t forget to join our Facebook Group (British Spartathlon Team) follow our Twitter account @spartathletesUK and stay tuned for more updates.


James Ellis

2016 British Spartathlon Team James Ellis 02

Your Name: James Ellis

Occupation: Journalist and personal trainer

Home Town: Leeds

Twitter Account: @worldofjames

Website/Blog: jamesellisfitness.com

Runners Questions

What is your running background? I used to hate it when I was a kid, largely because I went to a small school and to get in the football team (which I wanted to) you HAD to run cross-country (which I didn’t want to). The only reason they did it was there would be no cross-country team otherwise. It made every race seem like a chore… I fell back into it in 2009 when I did a three-miles a day challenge for a whole year, no days off, from a standing start.

When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why? 2010… thanks to Jamie Holmes who I ran with last year and Darren Strachan, who Im running with this year. Along with our other running pal David Bone, we started running to raise money for Jamie’s lovely daughter Holly who suffers from a rare condition called hemiplegia.

When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you? I don’t do a lot of races: Leeds half marathon and Brighton Marathon (Im ever present) are two annual staples… I usually do one other big race and a major event for the year.

What are your personal key running achievements to date? Nothing beats Spartathlon 2015

What was your hardest race experience? Did you hear what I just said?

What events do you have planned for 2016 up to Spartathlon? Potentially Leeds-Liverpool canal – it’s only a month before Sparta so I might not do the whole thing.

What is your typical race strategy for an ultra? Plod, plod, plod.

What does a typical training week look like? Three/four shorter runs in the week, couple of biggies at the weekends. Plus I instruct Insanity group exercise classes and do some gym work.

What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time? Sit back and enjoy the ride. Ultras are amazingly friendly, if not slightly mad, events.

Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself? I’ve shadow boxed with Mohammed Ali.

2016 British Spartathlon Team James Ellis 03

Spartathlon Questions

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

How did you get on? Started like the clappers. Did the first two marathons in just a bit over eight hours but also knackered nutrition during that stage so was burnt out afterwards. Greek roads ripped by quads to shreds and the heat followed by rain saw me run with massive blisters. The last 50 miles I death marched to come in 20 minutes before the end. I feel unfulfilled!

What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time? Don’t start like the clappers, get your nutrition strategy right. We wanted crew to be involved as much as possible, so we (I ran with Jamie Holmes) only left drop bags at the points we would see them. The result was we ran the second marathon at the hottest point of the day with no Tailwind and no salt tablets. Thank god for the checkpoints and their bottles of table salt.

What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race? You’ll only get this when you finish – but NOTHING beats heading up the main road to Leonidas statue. It’s immense.

What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race? That bloody mountain. Seriously… look at the elevation profile and train for it. I’d heard people describe the race as flat with a big mountain in the middle. Rubbish! From 80 miles on you’re going uphill. The mountain itself is a git (especially if it rains like last year) and you never seem to really hit a nice big downhill until you’ve 10 miles to go.

How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race? 5 x 10 milers through the week, something longer at weekends is what I did last year. This year, I want to drop the mileage – I’m not sure what extra value I got once I hit 70-80 mile weeks and kept going on. So this year, I plan to hover at 70-80 for a good few months and also build some more speed sessions in.

Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? Two support between me and my running pal Darren Strachen (who crewed for me and Jamie last year). Hopefully Jamie will be one of them and I can convince my brother in law Andy to come again!

British Spartathlon Team News – July 2015

Thank you to Rob Pinnington for putting together this months update.


The British Spartathlon Runners & Crew T-Shirts have arrived. Many thanks to Dave Ireland and our other sponsors Lorna Newson and Danny Corr. Matt Mahoney is arranging postage of all the kit (T-Shirts, Buffs and Hats) to each of you of your order.

Please make sure you respond to his request for your delivery addresses. Unfortunately we don’t have budget to pay for the postage. So Matt will need reimbursing from your own pockets.

2015 British Spartathlon Team Top 01

Crew T-Shirt Design (Photo by Matt Mahoney)

2015 British Spartathlon Team Top 02

Crew T-Shirt Design (Photo by Matt Mahoney)



The final list of trackers has been published thanks to Richard Weremiuk of Race Drone for the sponsorship The ones who signed up are:

Dan Lawson
Debbie Martin
Ian Thomas
Isolbel Wykes
James Ellis
Jamie Holmes
Martin Ilott
Matthew Mahoney
Mimi Anderson
Neil Cloke
Paul Ali
Paul Corderoy
Paul Rowlinson
Paul Stout
Peter Goldring
Rob PInnington
Sean Maley
Sharon Law
Tremayne Cowdry

You can follow the above listed people here on the race.


New UK Ultra Running Magazine

Andy Nuttall who made a contribution to the team has published the first issue of his magazine Ultra available here. We hope to cover the British Spartathlon teams efforts this year in a future issue.



Racing / Events

Some of the British Spartathlon Team have been racing in events, whilst the others are (hopefully) all busy training for September.

Several members of the team took part in the Lakeland 50 & 100 event a difficult and challenging Ultra Marathon which takes place in the Lake District.

Debbie Martin-Consani came 2nd in the Lakeland 50 event and Isobel Wykes came joint 3rd in the Lakeland 100.

Lawrence Eccles came 7th in the Lakeland 100. Unfortunately Jon Steele had to withdraw from the event with breathing issues and will be focussing for recovering and getting fit for Sparta.


Debbie Martin-Consani pictured during the Lakeland 50 event.

Paul Ali ran the Endure 12/50 50k, a small evening to night time trail ultra. He finished in 3.53 coming 4th out of 40 runners and followed this up with a 3.05 finish for 3rd place out of 72 runners in the Phoenix Summer Marathon two weeks later. Paul Stout also took part and completed the Phoenix Summer Marathon event after a difficult run.

2015 Phoenix Summer Marathon Paul Ali 03

Paul Ali (centre) and Paul Stout (right) pictured. (Photo by Fi McNelis)

Neil Cloke completed the Ice Trail Tarentaise in France mid July. Running and climbing over mountainous snowy terrain at altitude is probably a little different than a hot, dusty roads of Greece but it’s all good preparation.


Neil Cloke pictured.

Ian Thomas completed the Fairlands Valley Challenge off road 50k on 19th July finishing joint 5th but reporting a tough day at the office to dehydration thanks to a faulty Salomon flask. Ian is also planning to run the Stour Valley Special Marathon on 1st August and two weeks later the Stour Valley 100k.


Training / Other News

Our beloved ‘Captain Pink’ (Mimi) is on Holiday in the Alps geeting a lot of training done in the alps with crew which includes our accountant Becky Healey.

James Ellis and Jamie Holmes have been spending some time training (and team bonding) in the Peak District as pictured below. Paul Rawlinson has also been spending some time hiking around the mountains in Chamonix during the past month.


Training in the Peak District

Martin Illot has been spending some time cross training and he recently completed the L’Etape au Tour which was described as an arduous cycling sportive in the Alps where he spent over 10 hours in the saddle in 30C heat.


Martin Illot (left) pictured.

For those Strava users, we have setup a British Spartathlon Team Strava Group so we can share training information (or just for stalking other runners). The Strava Group for the team can be found here, feel free to join the group.

I (Rob) am on holiday in Tenerife and getting in lots of speed work and tempo runs and have the Leipzig 100km planned for the middle week of August as a build up run.

Good luck to Sean Maley who is taking part in La Ultra – The High with former British Spartathlete Mark Woolley.

We hope everyone’s training is going well and we will post a further update towards the end of August/early September.


News Update

Press Update

James Ellis makes an appearance in his local press. Please see the article below.

2015 British Spartathlon Team - James Ellis Press


Kit Update

The Desert Hats with the bespoke British Spartathlon Team logo have now arrived as pictured below and are in our possession.

2015 British Spartathlon Team Hats

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.

Runners News

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.

2015 Sean Maley Jogle

Well done to Mimi Anderson who completed the Thames Path 100 last week finishing as 2nd Lady. Mimi is pictured below with her crew.

2015 Thames Path 100 Mimi Anderson


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


British Spartathlon Team – April Update

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.

Team Kit

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.

2015 Spartathlon Runners TShirt

 Runners Tops

2015 British Spartathlon Crew T-Shirts

 Crew Tops


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.


Press Update

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).

2015 British Spartathlon Team - Paul Stout

Paul Stouts press article

2015 British Spartathlon Team - Sonny Burrows

Sonny Burrows press article

Hopefully, we will see a few more press articles appearing over the next few weeks.

Team News

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.

2015 Team GB Ultra

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.

The Oner - 11-12.4.15 - www.brutalevents.co.uk

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.

2015 Sean Maley JOGLE

 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.

Crew News

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.

Paul Ali

James Ellis

About James

Your Name: (Miles) James Ellis

Occupation: Journalist, copywriter and personal trainer

Home Town: Leeds

Twitter Account: @worldofjames

Website/Blog: (if applicable) jamesellisfitness.com

2015 James Ellis 02

Runners Questions

What is your running background?

I used to hate running – I went to a small ex-pat school in Athens and to get into the football squad, you HAD to run cross-country. After a season or two, I began to enjoy it, but then wine, women and song took over and my sporting prowess (at both running and football) came to an end. I got back into fitness eight years ago after the death of my dad, and did a running challenge where from scratch I ran three miles a day, every day for a year and blogged about it (1095miles.com). The three miles got longer and longer through the year, and I eventually did two halves and a marathon as well.


When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?

A year later, along with three pals, we wanted to do something different. Jamie Holmes (who is also on the Spartathlon team) has a lovely daughter Holly who suffers from a condition called hemiplegia and we want to raise some cash for a charity called Hemihelp that gave the family some assistance. We decided to run the Brighton and London marathons a week apart – and run from Brighton to London in the middle of the week between the two. The middle run was self-organised, relatively shambolic, great fun and an amazing experience – a bit like most other ultras I’ve completed. Other runners came and joined us for little bits of the run. It’s when I first really ‘got’ the idea of ultra-running. Sadly, our other two running pals from the ‘dream team’ that completed that challenge (and every one we’ve done since) David Bone and Darren Strachan are on the waiting list. I never want to wish ill on any other runner, but I would love it if by some quirk, they could join us in September.


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

I’m an ever present at the Brighton Marathon – the first one I completed – and the Leeds Half which is my hometown race and one I always fit it into my training diary. I also used to love the London Ultra but that’s now gone. As a foursome, we tend to do one real biggie a year – but not always an organised run, so mostly, you’ll see me pounding roads and dirt tracks around Otley on the cusp of the Yorkshire Dales where I live.


What are your personal key running achievements to date?

Most memorable was the four of us crossing the finish line together in joint first place at last year’s 24 Ultra Trail run at Ashburnham, near Hastings (http://www.24ultrarun.co.uk/)


What was your hardest race experience?

I was so buoyed by my first that first place (above) that the following Sunday I decided I was invincible and tried to follow a up with a PB attempt at the Yorkshire Marathon. I flew the first half and was on course for a 3.10 when I felt a twinge. By mile 15, I was limping and dragged myself around the course to come in just under four hours and in total agony. Along the way, people were trying to gee me up: “come on, you can do it” – I wanted to scream “I ran bloody 113 miles a week ago, I know I can do it.” The resultant stress fracture left me sidelined for two months – the most frustrating thing ever. At times, I still hate running, but when it’s not there, I don’t half miss it.


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

None! I’m plodding my way around with a couple of long ones self-organised with Jamie.


What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?

Plod. Steadily.


What does a typical training week look like?

I try to mix things up and do lots of cross training. I teach an Insanity Live! exercise class twice a week, swim and have a garage gym. I then try and do 4 shortish runs through the week, increasing my two/three weekend biggies with Friday and Saturday‘s runs being a little shorter.


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

If you’ve trained well, you can do it… even when that nagging voice is saying you can’t, you can.


Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?

Muhammad Ali threw a couple of punches at me. I met him at the launch of a PlayStation boxing game along with Lennox Lewis (who I was interviewing). When I got to talk to him, he took up a stance and chucked a couple of air punches my way. Even though he was clearly blighted by Parkinson’s, he lit up the room. A giant of a man.

2015 James Ellis 03

Spartathlon Questions

Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?

First time caller, long time listener.


What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?

Kissing the feet. Some good banter on the way. I was also raised in Greece and speak Greek fluently, so it’s kind of a homecoming for me. I don’t want to let anyone down.


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

The bit after the Acropolis Athens, until we hit Cornith.


How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?

Plod, plod, plod…


Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? 

Hoping to bring the long-suffering missus, Laura, who keeps our four-year-old twins Martha and Gracie occupied while dad’s training. What more does she want than a weekend away to watch me running for 36 hours? Can I give a girl a good time, or what?