Englishman nears end of 1,000-mile race

Since a week ago last Monday, William Sichel has been running around a 1km circuit of road at a disused airport outside Athens in an attempt to become the first man in more than a decade to finish a 1,000-mile running race.

Now into its 12th day, the World Cup 1,000-mile event at the International Ultra-marathon festival is "live" from start to finish, with stops only for food, changes of clothes, naps, and, increasingly, medical attention.

An international starting field of 16 is down to 12 remaining competitors after four forced withdrawals, one by a German runner who had already run 757km.

Sichel, 56, is an Englishman of Scottish heritage who lives in the Orkney islands and makes his living hand-dyeing Angora wool to be made into clothes, including thermal underwear. He currently looks most likely to finish second in the race, staged at Loutraki just outside the Greek capital.

The leader at the 11-day stage, at 2pm local time today (midday UK time) was Germany's Wolfgang Schwerk, who had covered 922 miles (1,484km) by that point. Schwerk is expected to finish the race – and therefore win – sometime tomorrow.

At 2pm Sichel was lying in second place, having run precisely 800 miles (1,287km), with Italy's Lucio Bazzana behind him in third on 789 miles (1,270km).

Sichel's crew manager, Alan Young, speaking to sportingintelligence from Athens this afternoon, says Sichel is in "fantastic" shape and is still targeting a world record from second place. The 1,000-mile world record for men aged 55 and over is in sight. It stands at 14 days 20 hours and 45 minutes and is currently held by another Briton, Dan Coffey. Sichel will need to finish before 10.45am on Tuesday, Greek time, to beat that record.

If Sichel finishes at all, he will become the oldest Briton ever to run 1,000 miles. He will also become the first Briton in almost 20 years to run 1,000 miles in under 16 days. The last person to do that was a Scottish-Canadian, Al Howie, in 1991.

Sichel had a setback earlier this week when the race doctor forced him off the track to rest for a total of around five hours in short spells. All the runners have a brief medical at 9am every morning to check their weight and blood pressure; at these extremes of endurance, serious health problems are a possibility.

"William's blood pressure was a little high and the doctor said rest, so rest was mandatory," Young says. "William felt absolutely fine. He didn't want to stop. We think it cost him about five hours altogether. But we accept you have to be careful. There was also an issue of some fluid retention and puffiness around one eye. That could have been dangerous but wasn't. He's fine.

"He's in great shape. He's doing his running in five-hour blocks and as we're towards the end now, we're doing five hours running, stop for three, five more, stop for two. He's got that record as his target."

Sichel always knew that his toughest opponent would Schwerk, 54, who has covered the distance before (unlike Sichel), although the Briton beat the German in a head-to-head over six days in 2008 when Schwerk retired early.

Schwerk certainly has long-distance pedigree, as the current 3,100-mile world record holder and as someone who ran an average of 72.8 miles per day for 42 days in 2002, setting 74 distance records in the process.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive or Senior Sales Executive - B2B Exhibitions

£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Support Services

£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Team Leader

£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager / Sales - OTE £40,000

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future