28th March saw Honiton Ultra Distance Runner Heather Foundling-Hawker embark on her latest racing adventure at the Athens 1000 Mile Festival.
Held within the beautiful city of Athens, the course for all distances was a 1km loop around an old airdrome in the Glyfada district of Athens. Heather entered the 24hr race which started on Sat 27th March at 1pm and ran though the night until 1pm on Palm Sunday. The aim of a 24 hr race is to see how far you can run within the 24 hours.
Heather had a target of 120 miles to gain entry to the Spartathon Marathon in September later this year which is based on Herodotus’ description of the Athenian ‘Imerodromou’ or messenger, who arrived in Sparta the day after he departed from Athens and also on well known historical events of that time. It is considered the nearest route to that which Pheidippides must have followed and is 153 miles long up mountains tracks with wild dogs, snakes and scorpions to deter her (Heather is now looking for somebody to run with). It has been Heather's dream to take part in this famous race, which only allows the Worlds top runners to take part after strict qualifying procedures.
Due to the windy gale conditions experienced during Heathers 24hr race the target distance to qualify for Spartathon was reduced to 105 miles. Heather started at a nice even pace whilst the wind was picking up all the time and reached 69 miles at 12 hours, well on target. With not only the wind to battle but the mental battle of doing 1km loops and running through the middle of the night Heather showed the true requirements to become one of the world's top 24hr Runners. At the 21 hour stage Heather had reached 111 miles and gained the qualifying time for Spartathon 2010 her target and dream had been reached.
Heather increased her distance by 12 miles in only her second race, if Heather continues at this rate her place in the 2011 24hr world championships is secure.
Heather holds 3 Gold medals and 2 silver medals at 100km and 50km as well as the world's best time for over 40's 50km. A true champion, grateful to all her sponsors past and present. Temper mattresses, powerplate international profeet orthotics since her injury, and her current sponsor Clarks, with their revolutionary Atsu footbed, Thank you.
With 3 hours left to race Heather saw the doctor to check out her feet who also took her blood pressure which they do to all athletes at certain stages of the race. Heather's pressure was a low, she had a headache and was giddy, battling the 25 degree heat and gale force winds had taken their toll on Heather, on 8 miles short of her place in the world championships in BRIEVE france.
So she took the sensible decision to stop running in preparation for her next adventure.
Heather finished 8th overall and was 1st Lady winning a lovely trophy. The race was won overall by the current 24hr World Champion, Ryoichi Sekiya, from Japan running 150 miles in the 24 hours.
Winner of the 1000 mile race was Schwerk Wolfgang from Germany who completed 1000 miles around the 1km loop in an amazing 11 and half days.
Heather now has an invitation to Pilac in Serbia, if you'd like to help fund her dreams or book a massage, she's a fully qualified Sports Therapist. Then give her a call. 01404 45917 or look at her web site www.hands-on.me.uk
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images