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Events

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Grand to Grand 2016 Team Member: James Kyriacopoulos

Why did you sign up to the G2G? 

Two things motivate me in running the Grand-to-Grand Ultra.

One is the determination to achieve something special and lasting in my life. To find that pride which will (I hope) last a lifetime; to have endured, to have been tested – and to have prevailed.

The other reason is less worthy. It is to show myself and others just what I’m capable of.

Above all though, I want to achieve something so few have, though I admit that as I write this  the prospect of the event feels like an insurmountable challenge.

Why WWTW? 

We live in an age of 24 hour media coverage, and from this we are all only too aware that British Military personnel put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us. What happens to these guys if they are injured and forced to leave the Armed Forces? Often these individuals have no time to plan for this, and as such are not prepared for the move from one career to another. Furthermore they could be facing a future with physical and mental disabilities.

For these brave young men and women, their future security will be under-pinned by finding employment.  WWTW helps fund training and education to help them find a career, so that they can support themselves and re-build a life in the civilian work place.

I have a great deal of respect for those who sacrifice and risk so much, and the families who support them through their trials. 170+miles may seem a long way for me to run in the heat of the Grand Canyon, and i’m sure it will feel it! It may be full of mental and physical pain, and at times without doubt I will want to throw in the towel… However, lets get this into perspective….the people that WWTW support face bigger challenges, their lives are torn apart, their families thrown upside down not by choice and their battle lasts a great deal longer than the 7 days of endurance I will be facing.

How’s your training going – what have you done so far, which milestones have you hit and are you happy with  where you are so far?

I started 2016 off with a number of injuries. So the first few months were spent in the doldrums, questioning if i’d bitten off more than I could chew. However, things came together during the London Marathon and I finished that feeling that I had turned a page. Training is going well, with two Ultra Marathons coming up. I still have a few niggles, but i’m positive about the challenge.

What do you see as the biggest challenge?

Moving with painful blisters and aching muscles, whilst physically and mentally exhausted. I think this is all about bending my mind to look beyond the pain and fatigue, beyond the road still untraveled, the miles and the obstacles. It’s about keeping calm, and managing ones needs. The mind is a powerful tool, and I love the spar between it and my body when competing.

Feet… Toenails needing to be lanced, skin falling off of feet, blisters upon blisters. It appears by all accounts that the heat and dust destroy the runners feet. So for me this is a huge concern. Do we enter the event with tough or supple skin? This is one of many unresolved questions!

What luxuries will you treat yourself to during the G2G?

If I can get hot water then i’ll be taking coffee with me!

What 1 item of food are you taking which is your treat?

I’m not sure really, this isn’t something i’ve given a great deal of time to consider – yet. I have a sweet tooth and I know sugar can pick me up and help me along. So the only thing i’ve considered is Marshmallow as it’s light to carry and easy to pack.

What will you be listening to on your iPod?

I doubt i’ll take music, it’s just something else to carry. Besides, i’ll have cotton wool in my ears because Dave Elliott has a habit of singing songs about his love of Guinness whilst running….

Is there anything which you know you will be looking forward to at the end, before even beginning?!

I run most of my events with my friend Dave Elliott. His family will be meeting us at the finish line of the event and together we will spend a week holidaying in Texas, before I go onto spend some more time with other friends elsewhere in the States. So i’ll be really looking forward to relaxing with some special folk and eating the biggest Texas steak i’ve ever had! What i’m least looking forward to is Dave’s guaranteed question at some point “What shall we do next?”

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