50-mile-a-day-minimum rule – more info
I had a chance to talk to Alan in Athens about the 50 mile a day rule. He tells me that it was made clear by the organisers at the start of the race that there is a 50 mile per day minimum and that this is not going to be averaged across multiple days etc. Apparently the organisers themselves admitted this was a bit harsh, but intend to stick with it – at least in theory…
However, Alan went on to say that he felt it was rather unlikely that we will see any disqualifications if, for example, one of the leading runners had a bad day and then e.g. only managed 45 miles.
The feeling seems to that while this is a “rule” it may be applied somewhat flexibly, if at all (most of the runners will have no difficulty managing 50 miles a day unless injured).
One of the reasons for the rule does indeed seem to be to discourage “casual” runners from entering. The race and the Athens Ultramarathon festival operates on such a shoe-string budget that apparently there was some concern that if there were too many runners & crew taking part in the 1000 day race (and other events) that there might be difficulty even feeding everyone over the 16 days, so apparently the organisers were keen to make sure that only pretty much elite-level athletes entered the 1000 mile race. On the other hand, the race organisers have also been keen to make sure that athletes don’t leave the events too early… In races such as the Athens 7 day event (which William won last year), competitors are required to complete a minimum of a marathon on each day – this rule is actually in place to stop people going home too early (if for example they are mainly interested in setting a 6-day time). As Alan put it, “It’s really a bit different to the usual rules in ultra races – normally people run as much or little as they want”.
In any event. it would seem likely that the 50 mile-a-day rule will probably only actually be applied in reasonably obvious cases of a runner not completing a minimum distance…. So hopefully it won’t be applied at all.