w Biegach Ultra
I don't stop when I'm tired, I stop when I'm done !!!
I know many people in ultrarunning world and when I asked around, who is one of the best race supporters for ultrarunner at Spartathlon Nicole from Florian Reus Team was mentioned several times. I seen many great results and races where Florian “Flo” participated and I am sure that she played important role in his team. We all know how important is to have an experienced crew during ultraraces, especially at Spartathlon. In addition if you know the runner well this is even better. I think it will be true if I will say that big part of Florian great performance at Spartathlon and 24h races is Nicole support. I will focus on Spartathlon as I am more interested on this race.
Foto: Spartathlon 2014 (Florian archive)
Can you please tell us how long are you working with Florian as part of his support/crew team. How many races did you do together and how many Spartathlons.
I started supporting him in 2008 and since then I've done with him 3 Spartathlons. In total we went through 13 races together.
When you prepare for Spartathlon how far in advance you start the preparation. Are you responsible only for support during the race or you organize the logistic before as well.
In spring I start looking for flights. Around May/June I book the flights, as well as reserve the rental car (I recommend www.economycarrentals.com) and book a hotel, if we stay a bit longer than the days included in the Spartathlon package. Flo takes care of his nutrition himself.
How is your preparation just few days before Spartathlon looks like. Can you share what you take with you when you are going to Greece.
A week or two before we fly, I check the Spartathlon track on a map to see at which places I need to take special attention (for example, to take the right turns, not missing any little streets) and write down the GPS coordinates. A day or two before we fly, Flo writes down the most important things for me, for example, how often he needs his carbo-loading drink during the race and when I should give him his head lamp. These are some of things we take with us: powder for carbo-loading drink, shaker, enough clothes (also warm clothes, as it gets cold at night!), a second pair of running shoes, sun cream, tissues (dry and wet), head lamp, hat, tea bags, vaseline, Ibuprofen and Iberogast, power bank, etc. When we are in Greece, we buy packages of small half liter water bottles, which we fill with Flo’s standard drink. Flo use them during the race and throws away when empty. For his standard drink, fruit tea mixed with juice, we buy the juice in Greece and take the tea bags from home. We have often used Polish fruit tea bags because they taste very fruity!
Foto: World Championships 2013 in Steenbergen (Florian archive)
Do you think that it is important to be in Athens few days before to get use to local weather condition, food, etc., kind of acclimatization.
I think that each runner has his or her own opinion about acclimatization - some prefer to spend more days in Greece before the race than others. It's probably a good idea to make some races during the summer heat before going to Greece.
How the early stage of race looks like from crew perspective. You are not allowed to help in the first part. What do you do.
Actually it's never boring! I spend it finding my way through the traffic jams of Athens - last time a police officer stopped me and so I had to find a different route. At approximately km 20, in a village called Elefsina, I stop at a really great bakery, have a chat with other supporters, cheer the runners and buy some coffee and snacks for the way. I also use the time taking some pictures and sorting some things in the car. Next at km 42 I can already start supporting!
What is the critical moment in the first part of Spartathlon (before Sangas).
From my perspective, it's to find the right turn to Corinth and afterwards how to get to Ancient Corinth and to get from Ancient Corinth to the next place. The race gets through the pedestrian zone in Ancient Corinth, and I don't feel comfortable driving through this zone. And there's also a place called Zevgolatio with many one-way streets. In the first half it's important to make sure that the runner drinks enough and takes enough salt tablets.
How you manage Sangas from crew perspective
As always, I take my large bag with me when I go out of the car. In the bag, there's everything, which Flo could possibly need, for example a hat, a long shirt, etc. I'm also interested in the positions and like staying there a bit longer because of the great atmosphere.
Foto: Spartathlon 2014 (Florian archive)
This is a long day for you. What do you eat during the race. How you manage your own needs.
Last time I stopped at a burger restaurant in Corinth because I had lots of time for a break. I usually take some snacks and some beverages with me. It's hard to find some shops in the second half of the race so be prepared! Toilets are also very rare in this part. In the middle of the night I try to take some short naps but last time I was so excited that I couldn't close my eyes.
How did you feel when Florian was the first one in front of Leonidas
It felt incredible and I couldn't really believe it! I was so proud of him that he finally won after being second twice. And I also couldn't believe how fast he was.
In summary if you can say few most important things to our readers at Poland Spartathlon Team website.
I'd recommend all supporters to take a folder with all the important information with them. In the Spartathlon documents you get during registration, there are some sheets with all the check points. I always take it into my folder. In addition I also have my own checklist, where I write down what I have to do at each checkpoint. I'd also recommend to talk to other people who have experience in supporting a Spartathlon runner. I'm a huge fan of Spartathlon, although I'm not running myself and I absolutely love the unique atmosphere up there!
Thank you and we wish you lots of great races.