Event Report- The Millennium Way Ultra

There was no doubt about it- I was completely lost. Approaching checkpoint three my route description had finally succumbed to the relentless showers and had disintegrated into a soggy illegible pulp, and now I had taken the wrong exit out of the field.

Instead of arriving at the checkpoint marquee on the playing field at Yoxall I was faced with unfamiliar roads and had absolutely no idea how to get back on track. I looked at my watch- 5:03pm. I knew that the checkpoint closing time was 5:05pm and I had no way of finding it in time. It was looking horribly like my race was over… panicking I forced my tired body into a shambling jog- but I wasn’t even sure I was running in the right direction…

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On The Wishlist (Maybe!)- Spartathlon

spartathlonWhat is it?

Now I really don’t want to get obsessed with this race… I really mustn’t. As a slow plodder it doesn’t really have any business being on the Wish List at all… but, oh, there’s something about this challenge, the toughness and the history of it that intrigues me…

Spartathlon is a historic ultra race which takes place in Greece every September. It retraces the journey of the Athenian Pheidippedes, who could well have been the first ever ultra runner. In 490 BC, on the eve of the Battle of Marathon, he ran from Athens to Sparta to seek aid from the legendary Spartan warriors against the invading Persian army.

Pheidippedes apparently arrived in Sparta the day after he left Athens, after meeting the god Pan on Mount Parthenio (the first ever case of ultra-induced hallucination?). At first thought to be a myth, in 1982 five British Royal Air Force officers who were keen ultra runners and who were intrigued by this story decided to see if such a journey between Athens and Sparta was possible in just two days.

Well, they made it and found it was not only possible but would make a cracking race so that many others could experience the torture too… and so Spartathlon was born!

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