Foundling-Hawker stunned by Spartathlon performance

PUBLISHED: 09:39 06 October 2010

Heather Foundling-Hawker put in an amazing performance in the Spartathlon.

Heather Foundling-Hawker put in an amazing performance in the Spartathlon.


Reed targets the wrong trainers

ENDURANCE athlete Heather Foundling-Hawker of Honiton was third lady home in the gruelling 153 mile Spartathlon

She started running alongside 351 endurance athletes from 32 different countries at 7am, in Athens. The race follows the same route taken by the hero of Ancient Greece, Phidippides, who ran 153 miles from Athens to Sparta to get reinforcements in the battle of Marathon over 2500 years ago.

A very strict entry criterion is required to be able to take part in the race, and it was a challenge that Heather had dreamed of completing.

Described as the world’s most gruelling race, the Spartathlon runs over rough tracks and muddy paths (often it rains during the race), which it did for Heather, crosses vineyards and olive groves, climbs steep hillsides and, most challenging of all, takes the runners on the 1,200 metre ascent and descent of Mount Parthenio in the dead of night.

This is the mountain, covered with rocks and bushes, on which it is said Phidippides met the god Pan. In 2,500 years man has had no impact at all. There is still no pathway over the mountain that is swept by strong winds and low temperatures.

The weather was not kind to the athletes with temperatures reaching 34 degrees on Friday with high humidity and heavy rain after midnight and Heather was running over Mount Parthenio in complete darkness with only her head torch for guidance. Heather fell and slipped several times on the loose rocks and suffered a cracked bone in her shoulder and also suffered from sickness whilst descending the mountain. She still had 60 miles of running to go.

She is nothing if not tough - she has been described by a top UK coach as ‘a phenomenal athlete’ - and finished in an amazing 34th place and third lady, completing the 153 miles having run for 32hrs 43 minutes with no rest or sleep.

Out of the 351 athletes that started the race, only 128 completed, with 223 unable to complete the challenge. To achieve a podium place at this race is a great honour and achievement.

TRIATHLON - Luke Reed’s latest triathlon venture, the Langport Triathlon, proved a bit more painful than he had predicted.

A mistake in the transition between cycle and run saw him complete the 5k in trainers two and a half sizes too small!

This event is a 400m pool swim, 22.5k cycle and 5k run. Luke had a good swim taking 7.02, which was 40 seconds faster than last year. The cycle was tough with a strong head wind for the last four miles, but Luke completed it in 42.04. Then things got interesting. Luke went into transition, spotted his brightly coloured running shoes, racked his bike and put his shoes on. He started on the run, but soon realised something was awry. At the halfway stage, another runner shouted ‘you’ve got my shoes on!’ Luke gritted his teeth through the pain and embarrassment and finished in 20.28. After crossing the line Luke found that the trainers were two and a half sizes too small.

He still managed the sixth fastest run time of the day and finished 13th out of a 350 strong field in 1.09.34. His feet are still sore now!

AXE VALLEY RUNNERS - Garry Perratt did all four 10k multi-terrain laps of the Great Western Countryside Challenge relay, and won outright in 3:25, with the first relay team finishing in about 3:50. AXE VALLEY Runner Jonathan Day finished 43rd in 3:43:27 in the Clarendon Way trail marathon, from Salisbury to Winchester, passing through the village of Broughton where the half marathon started. Eleanor Wood was 105th in 4:02:57. Geoff Woodward, 145th, 4:15:12 beating rival Steve Reynolds who was 187th in 4:27:12. Graham Newton led the AVR gang home in the associated half marathon, despite the fact he will be running a marathon in America next week, 36th in 1:44:16. Dave Kelf, 172nd in 2:06:30, Gavin Warren 238th in 2:15:33. Sam Tooze was really pleased with 255th in 2:33:49 and congratulations to Gill Day who finished 420th in 2:52:15.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Midweek Herald