Local athlete Andy Day (Daysey) achieved his sporting dream this September when he completed the iconic Spartathlon, a 153 mile race in Greece.

The race starts at the Acropolis in Athens and follows the historic route that Pheidippides took in 490 BC to ask the Spartans to help the Greeks in the invasion against the Persians.

Andy, who has competed in several different sports, trained extremely hard in preparation for the race, running 115 miles per week while also working full time in Birmingham.

Prior to the challenge he entered two races: Race to The Stones in Oxford (62.5 miles) he finished in 2nd place in 8 hours 54 mins; and the Hell of the Humber. This race is over the bridge and back and lasts 12 hours. The aim is to run there and back as many times as you can in the time. He ran 78 miles and broke the record of 76 miles held for nine years!

Unfortunately towards the end of his training Andy fell and seriously injured his shoulder, but he didn't let that stop him!

On 27th September, the race started at 7am at the Acropolis in Greece.

Andy's partner Diane Hamilton said: "It was a very emotional start, and an amazing atmosphere. The weather soon reached temperatures of 36 degrees plus. I was allowed to crew him at certain Aid Stations, the first was at 26 miles. In the blistering heat Daysey sais his shoulder was agony and his legs didn't feel like his own - he only had five marathons still to go!"

Running as much as he could through the night meant Andy had fewer miles to run when the sun came up the next day.

Diane continued: "At the finish line in Sparta the atmosphere was amazing. Daysey came running in with his teammate both with British Flags over their shoulders, an incredible sight.

At the statue Daysey let his team mate go first and kiss the feet of King Leonadis. Then Daysey had his moment, I hugged him and then he got down on one knee and proposed - I said yes!"

Daysey was taken away by medics after the race, as is every athlete to check they're ok. He needed a drip but quickly recovered.

The tradition is that the morning after the race the athletes run a mile on the track at the back of the statue in their underpants. Andy could hardly walk but when the gun went off he managed a seven minute mile! It was then onto lunch with the Mayor of Sparta and a gala presentation dinner the next evening.

396 athletes started, 196 finished, Daysey finished 28th. He said: "This year I completed the race next year I want to really compete!" Watch this space!  

Follow Andy on Instagram @painted.ultrarunner 

Published November 2019