First steps to the Spartathlon

The first of the month seems like as good a date as any to start a new training regime, but the first of October this year was packed with neat coincides.

In the blazing heat, well 27 degrees but everyone is talking about the weather at the moment, I took the boy up to Oxford while Mrs H spent the day on the computer. After a couple of hours of chuntering around in-doors, we headed into the park and, with no fore-warning, the boy hauled himself up onto 2 feet, and for the first time in his life pottered off on his own for 22 shuffling steps before dropping to his knees in delight.

Around about the same time that the boy was clocking up his first metres on the pedometer, Mimi Anderson was crossing the finish line of the Spartathlon as the first of a very large British contingent. Mimi is the world-record holder for a number of ultra-distance races, including Lands End to John O’Groats in 12 days, 15 hours and 46 minutes. She only started running at all at 36, yet more evidence that not is it never too late to start running, but that when it comes to ultras age is definitely a bonus.

This is the second encounter I have had in a week with the Lands End to John O’Groats. On Thursday I was invited to a very enjoyable lunch at the Traveller’s Club on Pall Mall with the organiser of the Ride Across Britain cycle race. They are the team behind David Walliams swim down the Thames and James Cracknell’s tandem ride the length of the country, which was also going on this weekend. Over a bottle of burgundy we saluted Cracknell and those who were heading out to Athens for the Spartathlon before I wandered across Green Park looking for an ice-cream.

But now the training for the Canal du Midi run starts in earnest. The notes from 2 years ago have been dusted off, and it’ll be back to lentils and steak, and as close to 100 miles a week as the boy’s routine will allow.


About Robin Harvie

I have been running marathons for ten years. But when I couldn't around faster than 3 hours 12 minutes, I decided to see how far I could run before I keeled over. Turns out pretty far. In September 2009 I took on the Spartathlon - 152 miles from Athens to Sparta. Non stop. Why We Run is about that journey and about why we run at all.
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