Athens 1000 miles race – summary at 300hrs

A quick summary of the race at 300hrs

1st           #19   Schwerk Wolfgang – GER          1000 miles                        11d 23h 18m 32s

An amazing performance from Wolfgang Schwerk saw him win the race at just under the 12 day mark. The favourite before the race (in part due to his winning a previous 3100 mile race) Wolfgang has proven himself to be the epitome of the ultra-ultra-distance runner. Congratulations go to Wolfgang from all at “Team Sichel” and I’m sure the rest of the ultra-running world in general.

First place may now be done and dusted, however the race goes on…

2nd          #18   Sichel William – UK                    901.5 miles                       1451 km

3rd          #8     Bazzana Lucio – ITA                   893 miles                          1437 km

At 300 hrs into the race (and that’s the first time I have ever had to type that…), William has passed the 900 mile mark, with Lucio Bazzana hot on his heels and only about 8.5 miles behind (8.69 miles to be exact).

William and (or rather, OR)  Lucio Bazanna still have 56hrs, 44 mins in which to set a new M55 World Record.

The current M55 World Record belongs to Dan Coffey’s with a 1000 mile time of 356hrs, 45mins (14 days, 20 hrs, 45 mins.)

It looks very likely that both runners will break this time by a considerable margin – but the question remains – which one will do so first?

While the figures at 300hrs / 12 days and 12 hrs, give a good indication of how the race stands at present, there is still a very long way to go…  98.5 miles for William, 107 miles for Lucio.

With a race that is already approaching its 13th day it is easy to forget that both Lucio and William still have a distance to cover that many ultra-runners would be proud to achieve in any race… and a lot can happen in around 100 miles…

In context, prior to the 1000 mile World Cup, the longest race William has ever entered was the Athens 7-Day event last year. Even this was in some ways not quite so long as it seems, as William mainly ran to set a 6-day time and completed a fairly minimal mileage on the 7th day (and won the 7 day event in the process). Every hour beyond the 7 day point – and every mile -has been a journey into unknown territory. William leads at present and will aim to maintain or increase the distance between himself and Lucio, but the next 12 hours will be the hardest of William’s career so far.

This has turned into a race in every sense of the term, and a test not only of endurance but also of the ability to maintain speed under intense physical and psychological pressure. At a time of life when most of the population struggle to find the energy to locate the TV remote control and are perhaps more used to wearing carpet slippers than trainers,  William and Lucio are battling it out for a World Record at a distance that few ultra-runners half their ages would contemplate attempting – and both men look like beating the existing M55 World record in the process…

4th           #16   Dvoracek Vlastimil – CZE           840.5 miles                       1353 km

5th           #7     Lo Wei Ming – TPE                    820 miles                          1320 km

Vlastimil Dvoracek has marginally increased his lead over Lo Wei Ming, now by 2.5 miles. This also has the makings of an epic battle for 4th position as both men near the 850 mile mark. While attention is currently on William and Lucio, the race for 4th is in itself a battle well worth following, and with over 150 miles to go for both these runners, this too could  turn in to a very exiting contest…

6th           #10   Hausmann Martina – GER           819.5 miles                       1319 km – Women’s 1st

7th           #6     Okiyama Hiroko – JPN               812.5 miles                       1308 km – Women’s 2nd

8th           #9     Tahkavuori Maria – FIN             795.5 miles                       1280 km – Women’s 3rd

The women’s 1000 mile race is again a contest that deserves its place in ultra-running history. Commentators on sporting events so regularly pepper their descriptions with superlatives that words such as “epic”  start to loose any real meaning, yet it is very difficult not to use them when describing a 1000 mile race.  The three women runners still hold 6th, 7th and 8th positions overall, and only 24 miles separate the women’s #1 and #3.  The next day should prove very exiting for all followers of female ultra-running as it is still anybody’s race….

9th           #13   Thanos Nikos – GRE                  712.5 miles                       1147 km

Still adding to his mileage, Nikos Thanos is showing that he’s not going to quit. With 3 and a half days left until the 16-day cut off point for the race, Nikos will be hard pressed to complete the thousand miles inside the time – but whether he manages it or not, no one doubts his determination to do his best in one of the hardest sporting events ever conceived. Best of luck to him.

The final times for the runners who have left the race early have now been published :

  • 10th         #14   Istvan Sipos – HUN                    DNF 10d 5h 36m 45s      1068 km
  • 11th         #12   Nomikos Nikitas – GRE              DNF 10d 23h 04m 02s    1050 km
  • 12th         #1     Sherrington Abichal – UK           DNF 10d 23h 04m 02s    1000 km
  • 13th         #5     Schlotter Hans Jurgen – GER      DNF 6d 6h 03m 21s        757 km
  • 14th         #4     Baxevanis Costas – GRE             DNF 4d 18h 04m 39s      542 km
  • 15th         #2     Katsaros Achilleas – GRE           DNF 6d 15h 15m 03s      525 km
  • 16th #17   Zimmermann Walter – GER         DNF 1d 7h 16m 18s        161 km

Of the 16 starters, 1 has finished, 7 have retired from the race and half the field are still running –  5 men and 3 women.

While I’m sure everyone reading about the race is impressed by the figure of 1000 miles, it can still be quite hard to grasp just how far this really is for a runner – the figure is simply too large to picture mentally. I’ll try to put this in some sort of perspective. A fairly serious marathon runner might well typically run something in the region of 100 miles per week when training for a race (not all in one go, but spaced over the seven days). A more average marathon runner might run around 50 miles a week. This means that to cover a distance of 1000 miles in training might well take between 10 weeks and four and a half months – with a lot more time spent resting than running during this period.

This race has a maximum duration of 16 days in which to cover 1000 miles, or achieve the best distance possible. Those of you who have been reading the little bits on the history of the 1000 mile race that I’ve posted to the blog will realise that 16 days is less than some of the earlier world-record times recorded for 1000 miles.

No athlete competing in this event should ever be said to have “lost” the race. Some performances will inevitably be better than others – but every athlete who has even attempted to run 1000 miles is worthy of the deepest respect. It is often more noble to strive to achieve that which seems impossible than to succeed  at that which is easy, as even when “failing” one may manage more than others might achieve in a lifetime.  But that is the spirit of ultra-running – to always seek to redefine what is possible, both for the individual and for humanity as a whole.

More news as I get it.


Shaun Brassfield-Thorpe – William Sichel’s training advisor –