How often do the runners change direction?

I had a question earlier on today (Thanks to Bella for this one) – Do the runners change direction during the race and if so how often?

It is usual for runners to reverse direction during ultras but exactly how often varies with the race in question.

I checked this with Alan with regard to the Athens 1000 mile and he replies :

“The first change of direction was at 9 hrs. I think it will be every 12 hours from then on.”

To put all this in context, the course is 1km in length. William completed 87 laps in the first 12 hrs, so if direction changes come every 12 hours for the rest of the race, that’s going to be circa 87 km (54 miles) making all turns in the same direction, followed by a similar time and distance making all of the turns in the other direction. And this will be going on for the next couple of weeks or so…

This might not seem like a big deal – no one is actually going to get dizzy making turns during a lap – but unlike shorter races, with an ultra of this length this can put quite a strain on the runner’s ankles, knees, neck (etc).

William is well prepared for this however, and his training includes work on his posture as well both stretching and exercises to strengthen his joints (he’s come on well in this respect over the past couple of years, and I’ve managed to improve both his flexibility and joint strength considerably).

If anyone else has any questions, please fire away and I’ll do my best.

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