I have had a lot of questions asking “How can you knock more than 4 hours off your Spartathlon best time? I will summarise:
1) I always said that my 2005 run was a conservative performance. I ran within myself trying to be sure of a finish. I wanted to have a good look at the course, not get lost and learn as much as I could about the event. I lost a lot of time on the night time mountain crossing as I was hopeless going up and down th egoat track at night.
2) For the first time in my ultra career and after 11 years of personal research and trial & error I have now discovered the right way, for me, to take on nutrition in ultras. This knowledge gave me the confidence to start much faster than in 2005. By the first major check point at 81km I was 53 minutes ahead of my 2005 time and feeling good despite the heat.
3) Good specific preparation. The long weekend training camp in the Highlands paid off as I covered the mountain section Lyrkia to Nestani 90 minutes quicker than 2005. I did nine 45 minute sauna training sessions in the last 3 weeks before the race so I was very well prepared for the heat.
4) I simply ran faster for much of the remainder of the course. The only section I covered slower than 2005 (6 minutes) was the last 22km down into Sparta. Partly because I was more tired and partly because it was about 20degC warmer than in 2005!
Put all that together and you have an improvement of 4 hours 13minutes.