(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.
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.
Crew T-Shirt Design (Photo by Matt Mahoney)
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:
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.
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.
(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
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 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
Neil Cloke – 46:19:57
Neil Cloke finishing the Hardmoors 160 (Photo from Neils Facebook Page / Kelvin Dunk)
KENT ROAD RUNNERS MARATHON
Paul Ali – 3:18
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.
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.
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.
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
Your Name: Mimi Anderson
Occupation: As far as my husband is concerned – NONE!
Home Town: Smarden
Twitter Account: @Marvellousmimi
What is your running background?
I began running in 1999 and haven’t looked back.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?
I did my first ultra in 2001 when a running friend suggested the we entered the Marathon des Sables – I couldn’t think of any reason why I couldn’t do it, even though the furthest I had run at that stage was half a marathon, it seemed a great idea at the time!
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you?
The longer 100 mile plus events.
What are your personal key running achievements to date?
3rd female at Spartathlon 2011
Female Guinness World Record Holder for running from John O’Groats to Lands End – 840 miles
Overall Guinness World Record Holder for running the length of Ireland (M2M) 345 miles
Overall Course record holder for the 6633 Extreme Ultra Marathon in the Arctic
Fastest female double crossing of Badwater.
Only female to complete Double Comrades (no sleep between).
What was your hardest race experience?
Usually my last race!
What events do you have planned for 2015 up to Spartathlon?
TP100, GUCR & pos Glenmore 24 hr.
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?
Depends on what I want to achieve!
What does a typical training week look like?
I usually do 6 sessions a week which will include a couple of speed sessions of some description, two long sessions and a couple mid-length session. I will also do 3 core/strength sessions per week but this are short otherwise I get bored!
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time?
Choose and event that suits your strengths and the terrain you enjoy running on; this will help keep you motivated during your training. Most of all enjoy what you are doing.
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself?
When was younger my mother used to make me wear boys shoes so I didn’t end up with squished feet (don’t think it worked!!)
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?
How did you get on?
2011 – 3rd Female
2013 – DNF
What tip would you pass on to those taking part for the first time?
Don’t panic about the cut-offs at each CP, run your own race; it’s very easy to get caught up in someone elses.
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?
Giving the foot a good old snog!
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race?
Coming down the mountain.
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race?
My training will incorporate lots of road running and hill work, plus I have entered a few longer races of 100 miles plus of to get my legs used to running the distance, I will also make sure that I have a big enough taper.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race?
I’m bringing out a crew of 3, although only two will be looking after me at the designated CP’s (there is a reason for the 3rd crew member).
My long suffering husband Tim (HWMBO), Becky Healey who has crewed for me since my JOGLE World Record in 2008 and Paul George who has crewed for me several times now including my Double GUCR in 2013 – they are the dream team of crewing.