My First Ultramara­thon: Anna Spar­row

Writ­ten By Anna Spar­row

By day, Anna is an Asso­ci­ate at Link­laters law firm. By annu­al leave, she is an avid adven­turer and ultra run­ner. Anna com­pleted Ultra X Jordan in 2019.

10 Janu­ary 2020

0 Com­ments

Sub­mit a Com­ment

Your email address will not be pub­lished. Required fields are marked *

Read­ing Time: 4 minutes

Part of the Ultra X mis­sion is to con­vince people that every­one is cap­able of an ultra mara­thon, and that simply approach­ing an event with the right mind­set puts you in a great pos­i­tion to cross that fin­ish line. A 250km event may seem daunt­ing but it is really more an adven­ture than a race. We want to show you that people who do not run, or run very little, and have full and busy lives can get to a point cap­able of com­plet­ing an Ultra X in a rel­at­ively short peri­od of time.

One such example is Anna. Anna com­pleted Ultra X Jordan 2019 hav­ing signed down with her boy­friend James in July (the race is the first week of Octo­ber). Work­ing as an Asso­ci­ate at Link­laters Law firm means that find­ing the time to juggle train­ing around long work hours was not always easy, how­ever she man­aged it and with only 3 months of train­ing com­pleted Jordan com­ing in the top 50 over­all.

We caught up with Anna, who has recently com­mit­ted to Ultra X Mex­ico as her 2020 chal­lenge, this week to dis­cuss how she man­aged it.

Start Line Ultra X Jordan Ultramarathon

Ultra X: Tell us a little about your back­ground. What got you into run­ning? What made you sign down for Ultra X Jordan and what is the 9–5?
Anna: “I’d always done a lot of sport at school and uni and then when I moved to Lon­don I found I had less time so play­ing team sports was not so easy as they all had fixed prac­tice times. I got more into run­ning then as its more flex­ible.”

Ultra X: What was your exper­i­ence of doing ultra mara­thons before Ultra X Jordan?
Anna: “None, I hadn’t done any ultras before I star­ted train­ing for Jordan and I had only done one mara­thon.”

Ultra X: What simple advice would you give to a new or novice run­ner?
Anna: “I feel like I am a novice run­ner so don’t feel like I could give very much good advice. I guess be care­ful and don’t ramp up mileage too quickly, I always seem to and then get injured which just sets you back. Also enjoy your runs; I star­ted run­ning much slower (and longer) when train­ing for Jordan so I was run­ning in new places and at a way more com­fort­able pace so really took in the scenery and enjoyed it.”

Ultra X: What was the hard­est part of the event or train­ing?
Anna: “100% not get­ting injured, I mostly trained over the sum­mer so it was pretty enjoy­able on the whole, what I found hard wasn’t the train­ing itself but doing the right amount so that I didn’t get injured. I actu­ally think that train­ing for an Ultra was way nicer than for a mara­thon as I took most runs nice and easy.”

Anna Sparrow During Ultra X Jordan

Ultra X: Can you describe your typ­ic­al train­ing week? How far in advance did you start train­ing and what was the fur­thest you ran before the Azores Jordan?
Anna: “I would say that I trained 4–5 times a week (but that was not always run­ning), I would cycle whenev­er I could/ walk when com­mut­ing so that even if I wasn’t run­ning I was gen­er­ally a bit more act­ive than nor­mal. I also tried to be good about doing some strength­en­ing so I didn’t get injured (per­haps half an hour twice a week). I also swam a little if I had time. I star­ted train­ing about five/ six months before but then had to stop for about two months in the middle because I was injured. The fur­thest I had run was one 30 mile run and then on a one week­end I did a mara­thon on each day.”

Ultra X: What did you eat dur­ing the week?
Anna: “For break­fast I had por­ridge and an oat bar. Through­out the day I snacked on cer­eal bars, biltong, nuts and sweets and then for lunch and sup­per I would have a freeze dried meal (mostly pasta). I took gels but didn’t really eat too many of them as I looked for­ward to snack­ing through­out the race and gels just aren’t as yummy — I’d say run for x many miles then you get some sweets (gels weren’t quite as motiv­at­ing).”

Ultra X: What was in your race pack dur­ing the week?
Anna: “First aid kit, man­dat­ory kit, snacks, gels, torch, loo paper, whistles, sun cream, cap, iPod and music.”

Ultra X: What’s next?
Anna: “Hope­fully the Ultra X race in Mex­ico in Novem­ber!”   Anna did fant­ast­ic­ally well and we can­not wait to see her in 2020. She also used Ultra X Jordan to raise £3,500 for The Roy­al Marsden Can­cer Char­ity. You can find out more and donate here.  

0 Com­ments

Sub­mit a Com­ment

Your email address will not be pub­lished. Required fields are marked *

You may also like…