William Sichel planning on getting HIGH!

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Orkney-based ultra marathon runner, William Sichel (61) has announced his race programme for 2015 which includes races as short as 40 miles and as long as 6 days in duration, but nothing as long as the 3100 mile race he finished in August last year. Read my interview HERE

One of the most eye-catching of his races will be his attempt to complete the World’s Highest Ultramarathon – ‘The High’ – in the Himalayas in August. With an average altitude of 14,500 feet/4400 metres and with two mountain passes to tackle at 18,000 feet/5500 metres, that’s almost 3½ miles high, it will require very special preparation if William is to have any chance of success.

“This event will take my right out of my comfort zone as I have never trained or competed at any kind of altitude before. There will be a lot to consider with regards to health and performance at heights like that. I will need to prepare very carefully and seek advice from those with previous experience. I’ll need to be on top of my game to complete that one.”

William will open his season by returning to the Barry 40 Mile track race in South Wales on March 8th, a race he last attempted 12 years ago. Then follows a two week warm weather training spell in Lanzarote followed by the World 6 Day Trophy in Balaton, Hungary from May 6th to the 12th – an event William won in 2011.

August will see William head east to the Himalayas for ‘The High’ – 222kms/134 miles over the mountains of Ladakh in India.

“My main event after the high altitude race in India will be the new indoor 48 hour race in Oslo in November which will provide some new record opportunities for me. This year is a very challenging schedule of races following an epic 2014 when I managed to complete the World’s Longest Footrace – 3100 miles in New York.”

You can follow and find out more about William HERE

William Sichel completes 3100 mile Sri Chimnoy

William Sichel 3100-mile Sri Chimnoy

William Sichel 3100-mile Sri Chimnoy

Orkney-based ultra marathon runner, William Sichel (60) completed the World’s Longest Certified Footrace – the Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race in New York last week, in a time of 50 Days 15 hours 06 minutes and 04 seconds.

A full and in-depth interview with William will be on episode 68 of Talk Ultra available on August 22nd via iTunes or this website.

William has now run further in a single, measured race than any other Scot, any other British athlete, and/or anyone over the age of 60 – ever. In doing this William set over 50 records at the Scottish Over 60, Scottish Overall, British Over 60, British Overall and World Over 60 levels.

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Finishing as the 6th male finisher overall, William became the first person over 60 ever to complete this incredible challenge. William struggled early on and by day 19 was 71 miles behind the daily average required to complete the race in time.

He managed to claw his way back, day by day and eventually finished with more than a day in hand. This entailed running the second half of the race 3½ days quicker than the first half, a feat that had never been done before in the 18 year history of the race.

Race Director Sahishnu Szczesiul described William’s run as “the performance of the race”.

“I found the race incredibly hard – far and away the hardest thing I have ever done. I then made it harder for myself by falling behind and having to run a negative split to finish. I had to battle the heat and humidity, the noise, the unreal distance and duration. I was so relieved to finish within the time limit.”

William hopes to have high-lighted the benefits of exercise for the over 60s as well as raise money for the CLAN cancer support charity.

William made the decision 18 months ago to compete in this race as he wanted to mark his 20th year in ultra distance running and his 60th year, by tackling something rather special and this event seemed to fit the bill.

William will now allow time for a full recovery, both mental and physical, before returning to competition next year.

Make sure you tune in to Talk Ultra HERE on August 22nd for a fascinating interview by an inspirational and very humble, pure, ultra runner.

William is raising funds for CLAN Cancer Support and his dedicated web page can be found here: http://www.justgiving.com/William-Sichel

William Sichel 2nd at Monaco 6-Day

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Orkney-based ultra marathon runner, William Sichel came second overall (first over 60) with 533.57 miles over the 8 Days run around the harbour in Monaco.

William will claim eight Scottish and one British age-group records achieved during the race.

Over 9100 runners took part in the whole event which raised almost 300,000 Euros for children’s charities.

The race was halted on the Monday night when Cyclone Cleopatra hit the port area of Monaco wrecking part of the course. When a tower collapsed, crushing a row of toilet cubicles and a car, the authorities moved in to halt the race as it was unsafe to continue.

“It was a bizarre situation as when the race was stopped we had no idea when it would resume.  We went back to our hotel and awaited news of a re-start which came the next morning.”

William lost 12 hours of the event which completely altered the race and ruled out chances for any World Age-Group Records.

“I had to re-assess my goals for the event so that I knew what I was doing.”

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The race was subsequently hit by torrential rain which rendered part of the course almost impassable, due to flooding, for some hours.  There were also major issues with the computer system at the race which meant that very few distance updates were available to runners during the race.

“All in all a very difficult and unusual race!  Finishing 2nd to Didier Sessegolo, for the the third time, is no disgrace, as he is a worthy World No 1 for this year.  I should hang on to my overall World No 3 ranking which isn’t bad for an over 60 year old!”

William now has a short break before heading across the ‘pond’, just after Christmas, for a very competitive Phoenix 6 Day race in Arizona.

William is just starting Project165.com in which he will attempt to have set 165 ultra running records before his 65th birthday on October 1st 2018. These records will be at World, British and Scottish level, including age groups, in certified races on road, track or indoor courses.  Amongst William’s current records he holds seven world age-group records including the fastest time to run 1000 miles.

Who is William Sichel?

I was told I “might be an ultra runner” in 1994, following some success at ‘ordinary’ marathon running but reporting that I “wasn’t exhausted at the finish”.  I enjoyed instant success, winning the Scottish 100km (62 miles) Championships in July of that year.

I went on to get my first Scottish vest in 1995 and my Great Britain call-up in 1996 and represented GB in all European and World 100km Championships through the 90’s. I also won the British Championships and the World Age-Group Championships at the 100km distance.

During the early part of the 2000’s I focused on 24 hour races, being ranked in the World Top 10 for two years.  I had outright 24 hour wins in Switzerland, the USA and the UK.  I also tackled some classic ultra distance events including the Spartathlon (twice) – 153 miles from Athens to Sparta, setting a Scottish event record and the World’s hottest race, the Badwater Ultra marathon, through Death Valley in California, setting a British event record.

In 2006 I had a winning debut in my first 6 Day race, in Monaco and became the overall World No1 in that event, for that year. Since then, multi-day races, up to 1000 miles in length, have become my specialty.

In the November 2011 Monaco “No Finish Line” 8 Day race (which had over 6,000 participants) I won the event outright, set a new course record and became the first person to cover more than 1000km during the 8-day race.  

For some years I have been engaged in Project 60@60 in which I was attempting to have set 60 ultra distance records, at World, British and Scottish level, including age-groups, before my 60th birthday on October 1st 2013. The two 1000km records, achieved in Monaco in November 2012, marked my 59th and 60th records thus achieving  my target 10 months ahead of schedule. Full details are provided HERE.

Project165.com was announced in September 2013.

I run a very active blog, which has had almost 1 million hits over the last 2 years and receives visitors from 91 countries.  I also actively promote my performances and my sport via social media.

The Scotsman newspaper described me as a ”role model for the middle aged”.

William Sichel – Monaco 8 day

Orkney-based ultra marathon runner, William Sichel (59) will return to the Monaco “No Finish Line” 8 Day ultra marathon this week to defend the title he won there last year.

In last November’s race (which had over 6,000 participants) William won the event outright and set a new course record becoming the first person to cover more than 1000km/624 miles during this event.

The Monaco event will be started by Princess Stephanie of Monaco, at 1pm UK time on Saturday 17th.  The final gun will be fired at 1pm UK time on Sunday 25th, after which, Albert II Prince of Monaco and Charlene Princess of Monaco, will present the prizes.

Normally William and his team operate on a shoe-string budget for the race, but this year one of the world’s leading hotels – Hotel Métropole Monte-Carlo will be sponsoring William and his support team’s participation in the event.  William will also run for the Hotel Métropole team for the first time.

“It will be good to have some local support and back-up, as we usually operate in a very low key manner for this event.”

William is still looking for two more records to complete his Project 60@60.

“There will be a number of opportunities for records in Monaco but, because the course gets extremely crowded for long periods, especially at the weekends, it isn’t really conducive to record setting.  Having said that, I’ll be doing my utmost to set more records.”

The 8 Day race is part of a huge festival of running which, last year, saw a total of over 6000 participants, lap the 1 mile circuit around the port in central Monaco, over the 8 day period.

Every lap completed generates one euro for children’s charities, donated by the Government of Monaco.  The vast majority of participants come and go, during the 8 day period, amassing a huge sum for charity.

William is a member of the Orkney Athletic Cluband is currently engaged in Project 60@60 in which he is attempting to have set 60 ultra distance records, at World, British and Scottish level, including age-groups, before his 60th birthday on October 1st 2013.

Currently William has set 58 records, including 6 World Age-Group records.