Tagged Paul Ali

Spartathletes on Tour

Spartathletes on Tour

The British Spartathlon Team were delighted to be asked to visit the children of Orchard Meadow Primary school and give a presentation on the Legend of Pheidippides and the Spartathlon race to accompany the classes current studies on ancient history.

This was tentatively arranged before this years Spartathlon event with myself (Paul Ali) and Paul Beechey agreeing to visit the school. As Paul Beechey was participating in this years race, the classes also excitedly followed Paul’s tracker during the race and started to prepare lots of questions in advance of our visit.

Running 153 miles non-stop in the heat may be hard but keeping a class of 10 year olds interested and engaged in a talk may be considered equally challenging!

You can find a copy of the presentation here (or click on the image below).

The children were very well prepared with lots of questions and we had a great afternoon engaging with them and teaching them a little history about the Spartathlon race and answering their questions. The British Spartathlon team also donated a small handful of buffs to the school.

Following our visit, the children also organised a wall display which you can see in the photo below. Perhaps a future Spartathlete will come from Orchard Meadow Primary school one day? Thank you to the school, teachers and children for a great interactive afternoon.


An Evening with the British Spartathlon Team – Reminder

Finally, hopefully most of you reading will be aware that Darren Strachan and David Bone are organising a get together for Spartathlon runners, supporters, friends and family in February next year. This event will include a screening of the Road to Sparta amongst other entertainment and tickets are available here.

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.


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!


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


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


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.


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 – 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.


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:


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



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



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)




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

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


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.

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!


2015 Grand Union Canal Race Mimi Anderson





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

Paul Ali

About Paul

Your Name: Paul Ali

Occupation: Business Change Manager

Home Town: Reading

Twitter Account: @ultraavon

Website/Blog: www.ultraavon.com

2015 Paul Ali 02

Runners Questions

What is your running background?

Not much to speak of. I played amateur football for many years and started a bit of jogging (and the odd 10k) in between seasons as a way of keeping fit. After suffering a nasty ankle injury in 2007 I stopped playing football and set myself a challenge of running a 50 mile event as a way of proving my fitness after a long lay off.

When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why?

After finishing near the back in my first ever Ultra-marathon (The Thames Path Ultra) I was hooked and decided to run another 50 mile 3 weeks later (the inaugural Thames Trot). It was far too soon after the first event and I finished near the back again.

Undeterred I started to run a few more miles and steadily improved my results over the next couple of years.

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

I live in the South East close to the Thames Path & Ridgeway so events around here along with Centurion events are all close by.

I now organise the Saturday Night Marathon events which are a couple of small, sociable and friendly marathon and half-marathon events and I also help organise the T-Series events.

What are your personal key running achievements to date?

2013 was a good year which saw me finish 4th in the GUCR, complete the Thames Ring and finish Spartathlon.

2014 was an ok year which saw me complete the Centurion Grand Slam, the GUCR and I managed a 100 mile PB at the Winter 100 (18.57).

What was your hardest race experience? 

The one you didn’t finish. For me it was the T184, too many races, not enough training.

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

I am doing The Oner in April, the GUCR in May and possibly looking at one more ultra in July/August before Spartathlon. I will also be running a few marathons in between.

What is your typical race strategy for an ultra?

My better performances have usually come when I’ve started near the back and taken it very easy for the first part of the race and then gradually creep up through the ranks until you reach those of a similar ability around you.

What does a typical training week look like? 

Lots of short runs during the week (usually double runs per day of 4-5 miles) and then back to back runs on the weekend. I like clocking reasonably high mileage but I should really be doing more ‘quality’ (speedwork/hill-work) sessions.

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

Treat each event as if it was the last time you were running it.

Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself? 

I always wear a blue shirt to work on Fridays.

2015 Paul Ali 04

Spartathlon Questions

Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before?

Yes in 2013.

How did you get on?

I finished in just over 35 hours and was honestly pleased just to finish.

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

More road miles, my quads were so sore I couldn’t really run the second half of the race and I ended up marching a lot of it.

What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race?

A few things. It’s all about the finish really but I’m looking forward to getting to the top of the mountain and looking back to view where you’ve just come from. When you get to this point, you’ve got a great chance of finishing the race.

Also, looking forward to taking part in a truly international event with my running buddy Paul Stout. It was only a few years ago we were lining up as ultra-running muppets at our first GUCR. Some may argue, we haven’t changed from being those two ultra-running muppets.

Finally, being part of (unofficial) Team GB and having some good banter with anyone running from Malta.

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

That 30-50 mile stretch when you realise that you can’t stop at 26.2 today.

How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race? 

Lots of miles, more road miles and I’ll be wearing a bin bag/sweat suit over the summer.

Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? 

I’ll be accompanied by (my buddy and running ‘wife’) Stouty but he’s also running so there’s no extra crew. My wife and daughter will hopefully be cheering me on from home via any web updates/social media updates.

2015 Paul Ali 05