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NewsBritain’s best ultra-runner, who trains with goats and chickens, targets 28 records

Britain’s best ultra-runner, who trains with goats and chickens, targets 28 records

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By Nick Harris

8 October 2010

Earlier this year William Sichel, Britain’s foremost ultra marathon runner, became the first British man to complete a “non-stop” 1,000-mile running race in 19 years. He finished second in the event in question (taster report here) and the English-born resident of the Orkney islands, just turned 57, has now set himself a new target.

He has already set 32 records at Scottish, British and world level, including age-groups records, and now he intends to break 28 more records in the coming three years as part of “Project 60 @ 60”.

By finishing second in Athens in the 1,000-mile race in March in 13 days, 20 hours, eight minutes and one second, Sichel become the oldest Briton ever to run 1,000 miles in under 16 days.

Neither is his professional or personal life especially run of the mill. He survived testicular cancer in the 1990s, and along with his wife, Elizabeth, nows runs the Orkney Angora mail order business in Sanday, Orkney, selling hand-dyed knitting wool and thermal clothing, including underwear.

The new records he will target – opportunity and finance permitting – include various British six-day running endurance records, and Scotland’s oldest athletics record of 567 miles in six days by George Noremac in New York in 1882.

“I admit it’s an incredible target and will be very difficult to achieve, but I’ve always been motivated by tough challenges and this one really excites me,” Sichel says. “The jewel in the crown would be the record set by Noremac, that’s stood for 128 years so far.”

Sichel is currently seeking sponsors (click here or here to find out more). Currently he meets almost all of his expenses himself and is often completely dependent on the goodwill of his training and race support team to waive charges or accept reduced fees for their own assistance.

Most of his training takes place not in a high-tech gym but in an old barn where he shares space with two goats and some chickens.

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