EVEN experienced runners regard the marathon distance with suspicion but, for Stratford Athletic Club’s intrepid Matt Sims, it is no challenge.
The ‘Ultra’ specialist had already completed arguably the toughest race in the world this spring – the Marathon des Sables which features 250km across the Sahara desert.
Now it was the turn of the Javelina Jundred 100k through the wilds of Arizona, which Sims described as a “party event” with competitors encouraged to wear fancy dress.
This was presumably to help take their minds off the extreme heat during the day, extreme cold and pitch dark at night and coyotes howling in the background.
Sims claimed to be running to enjoy the views and finished 41st in 14 hours, six minutes. Given he had fought off heat exhaustion and hypothermia in a race in which more than one third of the 300-plus starters were forced to drop out, this was an astonishing achievement.
STRATFORD AC has a tradition of being represented at some of the world’s most prestigious races and this year’s New York Marathon was no exception as Adam Evans and Jackie Sims joined the 52,000 starters in the world’s largest race.
The course was undulating but the crowd support was epic and helped enormously in getting them both to the finish line.
Evans was home in 3:28:02, just outside his best, but still close to the top ten per cent of finishers. Sims has only ever run over the distance on Ultra trail runs but in her first road marathon she adopted a steady pace to finish in 4:40:58 in the top third of her age group.
Both want to improve their times if they get the opportunity next year.