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.
Your Name: Paul Beechey
Occupation: Head of Applications at Capita Knowledgepool.
Home Town: Reading, Berkshire.
What is your running background? Started running for fitness about 9 years ago and progressed from 10km’s through to the marathon. After a 3 year foray into the world of ironman I came back to pure running.
When did you first start running Ultra marathons and why? My first ultra was the Thames Trot 50 in 2014. I entered just to see what it was like to run more than a marathon. I met a certain Mr Paul Ali and from that moment my fate was sealed. I learnt more about myself in those 50 miles than I had at any of my previous 6 ironman finishes.
When or where (at which events) are we most likely to see you? Running around and around and around Calcot/Tilehurst in Reading. There is a certain ‘roundabout’ that my friends think I’m having an affair with! Next event I’ll be at is ‘the Oner’ in April where I am out for revenge after a pitiful second half last year!!
What are your personal key running achievements to date? Hmmmmm probably the Cotswold 25 and Joust 24 events last year where I won the singles category, I never thought I’d ever win an event let alone 2. Also, the first Thames Trot where I met Paul Ali and Alex Whearity who are my 2 greatest sources of inspiration and comaradarie!
What was your hardest race experience? Endure24 2015. I had a really bad case of dehydration after the first 30 miles and then the worst case of blistered feet ever which led to stopping at 90 miles, with about 7 hours of the event left. I’ve never known feet pain like it. The week following I purchase my first pair of Hoka’s and have not had a (foot) problem since.
What events do you have planned for 2015 up to Spartathlon? This year I will be at ‘The Oner’ – for revenge, Hope24, Endure24, Cotswold 24 and the Joust 24 (defending my title I hope at the latter 2 events). Will probably do the shires and spires 35 in June to complete the ‘Scott Series’
What is your typical race strategy for an ultra? Start running, keep running, run some more, moan and whine to my wife about the pain, walk a bit, run a bit finish. I intersperse the running/walking/moaning with Jackmans sweets and my all time favourite ultra food ‘ the pepperami’.
What does a typical training week look like? Between 50 and 80 running miles around Reading and the Kennet and Avon canal unless I’m doing something silly like ‘Run until you Drop’!!! I also tend to cycle to work (15 miles each way) most days from the spring onwards.
What one tip would you pass onto people running an Ultra marathon for the first time? Don’t be afraid of eating and drink from the outset – don’t wait until you need it!!
Can you tell us one interesting fact about yourself? None, I’m boring! I do have a fused big toe joint from an old footballing injury which I never god sorted which makes getting trainers to fit interesting sometimes!
Have you taken part in the Spartathlon before? No
What are you looking forward to at the Spartathlon race? Sharing the pain with as many people as possible as we all need help to get to the end!
What are you not looking forward to during the Spartathlon race? The first afternoon when the sun is at its hottest, oh, and getting lost!
How will you prepare specifically for the Spartathlon race? I doing more 30+ miles days through until August (I work 15 miles away from home) and I’m going to be looking to put some strength work in too which I haven’t done a lot of.
Will you be bringing any support crew to the race? Hopefully my best man Alex will be there as crew and possibly my sister/dad/wife and kids depending on other factors.