Latest news from Tim in Athens

As I spoke to Tim, a bit before 2am UK time / 4am in Athens, William was 2 laps in to his next 5-hour running period, having just returned to the track after a break. William completed 2 laps in the time I was on the phone (hate to think of what the mobile phone charges are going to be like…), and Tim managed to pass on some quick “hellos and good wishes” from myself, the blog and William’s friends/fans on Facebook.

During the night Tim and Alan will be supplying William with warm drinks every 20 mins, currently alternating between hot chocolate and Horlicks. Tim sounded a little groggy, having just had a brief nap (he got about 4 hrs sleep last night during a “long” rest, and has had less tonight, just two and a half hours).

Tim and Alan are alternating, each taking a longer sleep one night and shorter the next. Speaking from experience, crewing during an ultra-race is no small task in itself as one has to do more than just stay awake, one also has to motivate the athlete, accurately record and add up figures etc, and make sure drinks etc are mixed with the right ratios (and so on) – none of which is easy when you feel like you should yourself have been asleep sometime the previous day… I recall being awake for about 50hrs in order to crew for William at a 24hr race (that sounds like a joke but it isn’t – the race was 24hrs but one has to be awake travelling to and from the race, attending the award ceremony afterwards, making sure the runner gets food and clothing etc…). As ever, my hat is off to Alan and Tim for their dedication to crewing during the event.

Tim tells me the weather was a good deal milder today, 8 degrees c.,  calm and dry but with a cooling wind (which helps the runners – it was  bit hot  on the first day), though it turned really rather windy in the afternoon.

A keen runner himself, Tim managed to find time to moan that he had only been able to run 3 miles himself so far during his “rest” breaks (not including a LOT of running up and down the track side carrying drinks and sponges etc). With his flight home put back a day and a half, he also warned his club members at the South Harriers that he probably won’t make it to training next week!

I got some details concerning the technical disqualification of the German runner Walter Zimmerman, for failing to complete the minimum required daily distance, plus a little more detail on the 50 mile minimum rule itself – A post on this coming up shortly (but at about 3am now please don’t expect a perfect prose style…)

Tim had to rush off as the 20 minute timer was sounding for the next drink. Tim commented

“William’s pace and timing is impeccable”

– he had just come in to sight as the buzzer sounded.

More news as and when I get it,

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