Delighted and grateful to have secured a place at Badwater 2023!!! Now to secure a first class crew! Exciting times! 🙂



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Spartathlon 2022 (40th Anniversary) – What happened there? – A brief update.

Photo courtesy of Chris Mills

Well, another unexpected outcome but of course I shouldn’t be surprised, given the unpredictability of ultramarathons.

I’d prepared extremely well stepping up training for the preceding 13 weeks banking a minimum of 100 mile plus each week and topping out at just shy of 140 miles.

A thoroughly sound block of training which included hills, speed and strength work. However my race execution was flawed and I only have myself to blame for missing an opportunity to teally excel this year.

Having reflected on my performance and feedback from my crew Gill, other crews and fellow runners I believe that it was attributable to a few factors. These aren’t excuses – just costly mistakes but I guess they can all be lumped under the heading ‘loss of focus’.

Lack of electrolytes on a particularly hot first day. I underestimated the demand as many others found out to their cost this year. Yes I was taking them on via Tailwind and even some SCAPS at one point, which is rare for me but clearly not enough for the conditions.

Pacing a little quicker perhaps than I should have in the heat even though I felt very strong and was aiming for sensible marathon and Corinth splits.

Psychological – affects of retirees and ceding to the request of another runner who wanted to tag along. I should have stuck rigidly to my own strategy. Admittedly selfish yes but its critical to run your own race at Spartathlon.

Courtesy of Sparta Photography Club

Having said all this it’s important to keep things in perspective. It was a particularly tough year with a high attrition rate. Only about 48% finished and that’s in a field of Spartathlon qualifiers!

The conditions also ended the race for many and surprised some very notable runners who were expected to be towards the sharp end. You simply can’t take anything for granted in an ultramarathon and especially not in this race!

I stood on the start line with no regrets knowing how well I’d prepared for the race and was pleased with how I performed over the first 124km before night fall, but I’m very frustrated that I allowed my performance to wane.

I was adamant I wanted to reverse the last few performances and return to better form by hitting Ancient Nemea in daylight as I’d done in my early years. I succeeded this year but ironically it was here that my psyche took a downer. 

I allowed the misfortune of another runner to derail my flow which isnt like me. I didn’t realise at the time but it soon played on my mind and then when another runner asked to tag along I made the costly error of yielding when I should have stayed focused, stuck to my strategy and run my own race.

Some might argue that ‘what does it matter if you temper your pace for another runner so long as you finish as its all about the finish after all, right?’  The problem with that is if you’re running well, focused and have your mind right where you want it, making such allowances can easily derail your your best laid plans.

I now feel I need to capitalise on all my efforts in training via another race as soon as possible as I didn’t do myself, my crew or the race justice. I feel a part of me was stifled and I’m still in limbo wondering how to finish stronger in a race that is already over.

As I’m still sidelined with a chest infection picked up post race I’ll have to wait but already I’m planning an assault on some interim targets. I remain upbeat and have already signalled my intent by securing crew for next year.

Despite the inevitable decline in performance as age creeps up on us  I’m always quick to dismiss this as an excuse and do know that with smart training improvements can still be made or fitness levels maintained.

Case in point was being able to hit Ancient Nemea in daylight which I last achieved in my best years 2015/2016. I have failed to do this since, that is until this year and I attribute the turnaround to increased focus on speed and volume this year.

It was great that so many friends and fellow Brits finished this great race (some on their debut!) Commiserations to those that didn’t, but you’ll be back – you’re all winners!

Congratulations to Andy Day and Ali Young for great performances, finishing first male and female Brits respectively! Kudos to you!

Thanks as always to everyone for the tremendous support, especially Gill, Dimitrios, fellow runners, crews, volunteers  the ISA for staging this great race and the Greek people for being such wonderful hosts!

Courtesy of Sparta Photography Club

A frustrating year for myself and Gill who believed in me attaining my ambitious goal of another sub 30, but ultimately I feel privileged and grateful that I’m able to run this great race and delighted that I’ve kept my consecutive finishing streak alive!

I’m sure number eight will be harder still but the first hurdle is securing a place so now it’s time to move on and refocus for 2023!

Courtesy of Chris Mills
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Spartathlon – Final tweaks for the 40th Anniversary

I’ll be heading out to Athens soon having ramped up training over the past three months. In to this my 12th week over 100 miles and topping out at 130 plus over the last two weeks. One more week at this level then I’m easing back as I introduce heat training this week and begin my mini taper.

I’ve built in some strength and core work and races of 100k and 12hrs in July and August respectively with a strict attention to weight and abstinence from alcohol.

Runners Kit

This is Spartathlon’s 40th Anniversary year so the British Spartathlon Team are marking it with kit to commemorate the pioneers and all those involved in setting up the first race by having the names of the pioneers, original organisers and this years runners displayed on the kit.

Race Pioneers and Organisers Detailed

I’m hoping to correct some serious errors from 2021 regarding hydration and nutrition and do my best to improve on my PB of 2016. The dream would be to beat it by an hour to achieve the all time World best V60 finishing time. This would require me going sub 28:12. Very tough indeed but absolutely not impossible!

Ultimately however the most important goal is to finish!

I’m honoured and humbled this year to have been asked to be Team Captain which has itself helped focus my mind even more on achieving my goal but I also hope I can play some small part in helping others achieve theirs.

Many runners will be supported by their own crews and the BST have ensured that this 40th Anniversary year is also commemorated on the kit they will be wearing.

Crew kit Commemorating 40th Anniversary 2022

The kit was made possible by the support of our generous Sponsors who’s names are emblazoned on the crew shirts. Runners aren’t permitted to display sponsorship which is in keeping with the ethos of the event.

Rear of Crew Kit Displaying Sponsors

This will undoubtedly prove to be an amazing event again!

All the best to everyone running from around the world and to the International Spartathlon Association (ISA) who brilliantly organise this epic event every year!


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Gloucester Update 2022

Weather forecast above courtesy of the BBC

6 weeks now until Spartathlon and I’d initially envisaged going for an official 100 mile split at Gloucester 24 to satisfy a PB attempt, that is until the weather forecast of 34-35 degrees materialised, so I decided to take the 12 hour split to save something for Sparta.

Not a 12hr PB for me of course but happy with my decision to spare myself. It was an absolute quality heat session to add to an already solid 7 week block of mileage and heat training and I feel it hasn’t interrupted the continuity of my schedule.

More of the same 2-3 weeks out from Sparta will yield greater benefit of course in terms of heat acclimation.

Tremendous support from too many to mention but great organisation as usual from Paul and Maria of Severn Valley Events Ltd. They always look after the runners and crews so well!

Huge thanks to everyone involved, supporting, crewing (especially Gill) and fellow runners! Well done to everyone that endured that crazy heat.

I shared some quality time with so many like minded friends old and new on and off the track. It was a great day!

Big congrats to first lady and overall winner of the 24hr Kelsey Price and first man Endymion Kasanardjo!

Thanks everyone!

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Sparta build up – Next up Gloucester 100 mile / 24hr

Less than three weeks until Gloucester 24hr where I’m hoping I’ll be ready to attempt a 100 mile PB split / Sparta AQ.

The outcome of that may dictate whether I stick with it for the 24hr duration to attempt GB AG V60 AT Best Performance / Sparta AQ. It might be all or nothing but I’m focused.

*Latest update 10/08 – weather is forecast to be mid 30’s so it looks like a reevaluation of targets may be necessary. Great Sparta training weather wise though!

En-route to Sparta 2020 (during SpartathlOFF an unofficial journey to the king with James Ellis and Ektoras Agothokleous)
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The Journey Continues – Spartathlon 2022

Photo from SpartathlOFF 2020 (Courtesy of Elias Pergantis)

I’m absolutely thrilled, honoured and privileged to have been given the opportunity to run once again at Spartathlon in 2022!

I live for this race and can’t wait to embark on what will be my seventh consecutive official journey to King Leonidas in Sparta.

I say official as I also completed the journey in 2020 accompanied by my good friends James Ellis and Ektoras Agathokleous as we were determined to keep the flame alive when the official event was cancelled.

I’m hoping now that my training and build up goes to plan and I manage to arrive at the Acropolis fit, well and raring to go!

The latter is never a problem when we’re talking about what is in my eyes the greatest, purest foot race on earth!

Courtesy of Elias Pergantis
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Sparta City Ultra 6hr/ 12hr/ 24hr (19th-20th Feb 2022)

This very welcome new addition to the race calendar came as a complete surprise to many and immediately struck a chord with me of course.

I read the announcement too late really but I was adamant I had to participate despite not having banked appropriate training for a 24hr race over the last couple of months.

George Koulogiannis (President of Spartan Runners) was a great help and invaluable in bringing me up to speed on arrangements.

Courtesy of Sparta Photography Club and Spartan Runners)

The event was organised by Spartan Runners with the support of the Municipality of Sparta and a host of local support organisations and sponsors. It was the first time an ultramarathon was to be staged within Sparta City limits.

It offered three different formats with the 12hr and 24 hr starting together at 17:00hrs whilst the 6hr started at 10:00 a.m the following morning.

  • 24 hours: 17.00 (Sat 19/2/2022) – 17.00 (Sun 20/2/2022)
  • 12 hours: 17.00 (Sat 19/2/2022) – 05.00 (Sun 20/2/2022)
  • 6 hours: 10.00 (Sun 20/2/2022) – 16.00 (Sun 20/2/2022)

The idea for the race was concieved by Spartan Runners I believe and consisted of a 2km loop (1km out, 1km back) along the main street of Sparta to and from the statue of King Leonidas. What could be better!

I can certainly appreciate the importance and potential of this event. It’s ideally placed as a last minute Spartathlon qualifier and being based in Sparta itself obviously  possesses huge appeal both domestically and internationally.

It also reinforces the association of Sparta with athletic prowess and can only be a great addition for the city, perfectly complimenting the Spartathlon which itself concludes at the statue of King Leonidas of course.

Given the above it was no surprise to me to see that some members of the International Spartathlon Association (ISA) were present in support along with many other friends associated with Spartathlon.

I was delighted to see Kostis Papadimitriou, Panagiotis Bonelis, Panagiotis Ermilios, Dimitris Karvelas and Kristian Tsantoulas all at the event at various times.

With Kristian Tsantoulas (Left) (Courtesy of Αλέξανδρος Τσαντούλας)

In fact, Kristian Tsantoulas, the media artist behind the superb Spartathlon movies over the last four years or so was actually running himself in the 6 hour race supported by his father Αλέξανδρος Τσαντούλας.

Everyone was so warm and hospitable as they always are in Sparta and Greece. Sparta feels like a second home to me.

In fact I recall international consultant Dora Papadopoulou who usually heads up the medical team in Sparta as part of Spartathlon remarking only a few weeks ago that I spend more time in Greece than she does 😀

The race in its inaugural year was IAU Bronze label accredited along with AIMS and World Athletics so any records set could be officially recorded.

Although the course elevation is zero gain there is a subtle rise towards the statue and obviously a descent outbound towards the 1km turnaround where an intermediate timing mat was located.


For me personally l knew I certainly wasn’t in 24hr shape, having only ticked over with low mileage the last two months, although plenty of strength training. The short notice meant very little time to prepare.

Running in Sparta and being part of the inaugural event amongst Greek friends was just irresistible to me though. Attaining an AQ was unrealistic of course but foregoing an opportunity to try anyway seemed silly too.

Due to the above, an horrendous flight outbound to Greece the day before due to Storm Eunice and repeated flight delays resulted in me arriving at my Athens hotel in the early hours of race day, then trying to grab a few hours sleep before an onward coach journey at 10:00 a.m from Athens to Sparta courtesy of the organiser.

Combined with going without crew and limited time to find supplies just added to the stress and tiredness I felt but in all honesty the time frame was far too tight so I only have myself to blame. Next time I’ll make allowances for this

I’d sought hotel recommendation from friend Paul Katsiva Corderoy and Maria Katsiva of “Eventswerun’ who knew Athens very well. I opted for the Stanley which was excellent but the Wyndham Grand was also an option.

These hotels are situated right on Karaiski Square in Athens where the coach would collect athletes from so this was perfect.

This was a huge help for International athletes especially which included the UK, Hungarian, Swedish and Finnish. I anticipate the international presence will be much more comprehensive next year.

Myself and Marcel Brandon Mckinley (Courtesy of Dimitris Karvelas)

Thankfully friend and fellow Spartathlete Marcel Mckinley a UK based Hungarian runner was also staying at the Stanley so we could bounce ideas off each other.

After a few hours sleep we located the coach on the square and at 10:00 a.m departed for Sparta, arriving around three hours later after a brief stop and chat with fellow athletes.

I’d arranged a table for provisions in advance and a fellow Spartathlete named  Eirini Gianne was invaluable helping us set up and proved a constant inspiration throughout. Eirini ran at Spartatlhlon last year putting in a very gutsy performance!

Spartathlete and volunteer Eirini Gianne (Courtesy of Panagiotis Ermilios)

Leaving it so late meant that we were ill prepared to gain the provisions we wanted in time so it was a case of winging it and relying on the organisers race provisions.

Shoe choice was Hoka Carbon X 2 which were unproven in an ultra for me. I’d decided that comfort over speed was important on the hard road surface having erred at Spartathlon by wearing Saucony Speed 2.

The Saucony Speed 2 and Endorphin Pro 2 were perfect for my track ultra targets last year but not suitable for a road ultra in my opinion. In fairness Saucony don’t claim them to be.

Unusually for me however my lower front leg muscles were very tender after the race so I’m not sure if this was attributable to the shoe affecting my gait or whether it was purely the nature of the course.

I’d calculated some splits to work to but didn’t get preoccupied with the plan I’d drafted. I knew roughly where I’d want to be around the 6hr, 12hr and 18hr marks

Courtesy of Sparta Photography Club and Spartan Runners)

It became apparent quite early on that I was struggling with tiredness which when added to toilet breaks (unusual for me) meant I was losing a lot of time. Hitting 100k in 11hrs on the face of it didn’t seem too bad as this would put me around 110k at midway.

The reality of being unprepared physically, unprepared provision wise and given no crew to mitigate the consequences soon took a toll forcing me to take uncharacteristic breaks from the course and more frequent walk breaks.

The problem was that even with perfect pacing and no slow down 112.5 km would be required in the first/second half and an effective negative split was never going to happen.

I knew from past stats I would slow so would need to be hitting around 118-124 ideally at the midpoint. This wasn’t on the cards so I resolved to just see this one out.

Most would agree that 24hr races rarely go to plan and although I have exceeded 200km on many occasions with my two best performances being 218km and 216km, I know I’m capable of better but on this occasion I was in no shape to demonstrate that.

The support was very welcome and many, many volunteeers, support staff, Physios and Medics, Police etc helped ensure the event ran smoothly.

Bill Kouman, Angela Terzi and Kristian Tsantoulas (Courtesy of Panagiotis Ermilios)

Some 6 hour runners, including fellow Spartathlete Angela Terzi came out to show their support for the 12hr and 24hr runners before they embarked on their own challenge the following day, whilst Giorgos Panos, another Spartathlete was crewing for a friend.

Kudos to Angela who I believe ran the best Greek female mark this year, the second best Greek female mark in history and the Greek AG best AT mark (all 6 hour)

Courtesy of Sparta Photography Club and Spartan Runners)


I have already confined this performance to history but I was so glad I did manage to participate in what was the inaugural event and witness some gutsy performances, not least those who succeeded in securing Spartathlon ballot qualifiers.

Two females secured ballot qualifiers in the 24hr race, namely Tzima Eleni and Ntoutsi Lambrini with respective performances of 176 and 172 km.

I also believe that Angeliki Stefani secured a ballot qualifier in the 12hr race with 111km

Of the males securing qualifiers in the 24hr, this included Vasileios Glentzes 182km, Panagiotis Mikrogiannakis 192km, Efthymios Vlachos 182km, Georgios Koulogiannis 181km, Spyros Spyropoulos 180km, Vasilis Koumanakos 181km and last but certainly not least Ivan Bretan 210km who won overall but called it early when an AQ looked just out of reach.

Ivan Bretan (Courtesy of Panagiotis Ermilios)

I should add that Ivan has proved on previous occasions that he is more than capable of far exceeding the AQ mark.

With Thanos-Kalamaras Mpompos, who was tremendous support throughout (Courtesy of Panagiotis Ermilios)

It was great to witness such enthusiasm from the runners, volunteers, supporters, the organiser and Sparta Photography Club. Sparta did itself proud with this first outing!

With Maria Kavouri of Sparta Photography Club (Courtesy of Παναγιώτα Καρύγιαννη)

I really do believe this event will establish itself as a unique and special addition to the Ultra race calendar and I have no doubt its appeal will be truly international.

In its first year, we have witnessed a new 12hr Finnish National record from Noora Honkala.

In fact, Noora set four national records going through 50km in 3:39.32, then 6 hours with 79.00km. Then it was on to 100k which she went through in 7:41:54. Despite suffering stomach issues over the last two hours Noora still managed to set yet another national record over 12hrs with 145.5km. In fact had it not been for the stomach issue, Noora would have taken the world record!

We’ve also witnessed a Greek AG AT Best from Angela Terzi in the 6 hour and a host of Spartathlon Qualifiers over 24hr

I foresee many more new marks being realised across all three formats at this event in the future.

1st Λεωνίδας Τζωρτζάκης 73 km 5.59
2nd Balats simonyi 72 km 5.58.
3rd Ioannis Dimopoulos 69km 5.57

12 HRS
1st Noora Honkala 145 km 11.58
2nd Thomas Vouzonis 118 km 12.00
3rd Maltezos john 114 km 11.59

1st Ivan Bretan 210 km 22.47
2nd Panagiotis Mikrogiannakis 192 km 23.41
3rd Ευθυμιος Βλαχος 182 km 23 47

Congratulations to all prizewinners, all runners who participated and huge thanks to Spartan Runners for staging this unique event!

Noora Honkala (Courtesy of Sparta Photography Club and Spartan Runners)

Looking forward

Personally, I’m refocused on trying to beat the GB AG V60 AT Best Performances I set last year over 50 mile, 6hr, 12hr and 100 mile, with my 6hr target just 5 weeks away.

The 24hr target eluded me last year but I will be tweaking my training this year with a view to achieving that too.

*Just for info I will be following up this report with one that will appear in either issue 37 or 38 of the great publication ‘Ultrarunning World’ edited by Abichal Sherrington.

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Sparta 6/12/24 hour Inaugural Event

Last minute decision to enter the inaugural Sparta 6/12/24 hour event in Sparta itself on 19th February.

It can’t get any better than this except of course for Spartathlon itself. I already have a qualifier for Spartathlon but thought it would be a missed opportunity for an AQ attempt if I didn’t go and it would be great to be part of this inaugural event.

I’m not in 24 hour shape but hey ho, I’m still planning to give it a good go!

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2021 Summary and Looking Forward to 2022

Well that’s 2021 nearly over and I’m really grateful for a decent year apart from a couple of poor displays that I really have no excuse for if I’m brutally honest.

I set myself targets for GB AG V60 AT Best Performances at 50 miles, 6hr, 12hr, 100 miles, 24hr and a Spartathlon improvement back in January and am really pleased to have achieved all of the first four at least.

The latter two proved a stretch too far for me largely due to poor scheduling/time management of training on my part but I hope to give those another shot next year given the chance. Need to ease back on the strength work a tad too.

Still to firm up options for 2022 but will aim to improve on all of the above performances as well as targeting a new 100k PB.

Looking forward the below are either already booked, I’m considering, are subject to qualification, selection or dependent on other races.

February 2022 – Donadea 50k / Sparta 24hr?
April 2022 – Crawley 6hr
July 2022 – Gloucester 100k
August 2022 – Gloucester 24hr
September 2022 – Spartathlon
November 2022 – Phidippides Run (Athens-Sparta-Athens)

Still contemplating other options I’ve been made aware of, but much will depend on Covid situation regarding international races. Whatever I decide I’m really looking forward to the challenge of 2022 already.

Thank you to everyone who has been part of my journey in 2021 in whatever capacity!

All the best to you for 2022 and I hope the training, racing, organising or supporting goes well!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


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Barcelona – Brief Update

Well, not all races go to plan of course and this one certainly didn’t. I nearly called it at 12hrs due to a combination of  tiredness from two consecutive poor nights sleep before the race and the proximity of heavy strength training I believe. It wasn’t my day but I have no excuses.

I was so sleepy and my legs were utterly trashed by 12 hours. I knew at that point there was no way I could possibly hit target based on the midway mark which I’m usually well capable of hitting.

I left the track many times to try to rescue the situation and ended up taking a nap for 80 minutes for the first time ever in a 24hr race. It wasn’t to be though, but the positives for me were watching tremendous performances by Aykut Celikbas, Rolando Espina and Anne Jennings.

Aykut smashed his PB, improved on his Turkish 24 hour record and secured a podium finish with over 231 km. An outstanding performance!

All three of the runners above delivered amazingly inspiring performances! A simply stunning finish by Anne Jennings to hit target!

Thanks to my wife Gill and everyone else supporting from home, trackside support from Aykut’s crew and Anthony Lee and of course the organisers.

It was great to share some miles with Robert Payne too, who has previously hit GB qualifying distance for 24hr – on his debut at that!

It was also nice to meet Pablo Casal of Espiritulibre who gave me a shirt and shouted support. Thanks Pablo!

Anyway, onto the next one where I hope to deliver a better performance. I’m still smiling and looking forward to 2022 already!

Cheers everyone!

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