Update courtesy of James Ellis.
And we have ourselves a winner!
Not of Spartathlon of course… it’s been 21 years since James Zarei was first to kiss the foot of Leonidas (although Dan Lawson came mighty close last year with a second place finish).
But Ian Thomas absolutely smashed the Leeds-Liverpool Canal Race at the end of August with a time just over 24 hours.
Ian’s one of the nicest guys on an ultra circuit that is already chock full of the good folk, and displays all the best of our sport: encouragement of others and never-ending grit, while he always (almost) runs with a smile on his face.
He says he’s disappointed he didn’t duck under the less-than-a-day mark, but another thing you should know about Ian is he’s taken great confidence from a storming run at Spartathlon last year, so if you want to follow in his podium footsteps, smash it…
Two weeks to go: Last minute-prep for runners and crew
Blimey, are there only two weeks to go? Right now, you should all be tapering well… there’s little point in putting big miles in now, you’ll only end up tiring yourself out before the race.
Here are some things you should be doing:
- Downloading the rules and making sure you and your crew are aware of them. Getting to the end of 153 miles in less than 36 hours and then finding you have been disqualified on a technicality is not a good idea.
- Downloading the Road Book checkpoint documents and make sure you and your crew have an idea where they are. You can also use them to plan your dropbag strategy (what do you mean, you don’t have one).
- Make a list of all the things you want to take to Greece with you: sports nutrition, kit etc. Also make sure you have a smaller bag for the overnight in Sparta – you won’t be allowed to take a big case on the bus, those stay in Athens till you come back from the race.
- Medical certificates. If you’ve not already done so, get these emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
What some of the rest of the team have been up to (aka ‘as far back as we can be arsed to check on Facebook’)
Tremayne Dill Cowdry and Rusty Rusk have been running and organising the We Run They Run I Run race.
Stu Wilkie has been keeping an eye on the temperatures. There was some hope with the race being a few days later that temps might drop this year, but Athens seems to holding steady in the early 30s. And whatever the temperature, those Greek roads have been baking all summer, so look forward to lots of residual heating pinging back at you! Hats, sunblock, good hydration strategy are all essential to a good Spartathlon finish.
Darren Strachan and James Ellis have been testing nutrition strategies, each running 50 milers over 2.5 mile loops with Sparta-like tables of various drinks, potions, biscuits and crisps. Dazzler set his up in Finsbury Park and came back on one loop to find his cool box had been taken to the tip by a council official. The pair also did a 43-mile night run through London as their last big run.
Super Paul Rowlinson has also been testing his feeding strategy with a 40-miler fuelled purely on Tailwind, one of our fab sponsors.
Paul Beechey did the T-Series T-100 with no niggles and is looking good to go.
Lots and lots of lovely pics of all the British Spartathlon Team have been posted in their gear on the site.
The hotels have been announced
Team hotels have changed for this year … Out goes the Oasis in Glyfada (Athens) where the team have been based for the last couple of races and in comes the (perhaps aptly named) Hotel London, just across the street. Nice hotel, similar set up and a rooftop bar for us to exchange stories post-race.
In Sparta… well, we actually aren’t staying in Sparta this year but in the Hotel Belle Helene in Gythio about 40 km away. In the past, those picked up by the Death Bus have often been shipped back to their hotels – so if you want to see everyone at the finish, the only way to guarantee it is to not drop out!
Live GPS Tracking (Courtesy of Race Drone)
Those UK Spartathletes who have elected to carry the GPS Tracker can be tracked here during the race. Feel free to share the link with friends and fellow runners.
(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.