When Orkney based ultra marathon internationalist William Sichel, 55, sets off in the Athens International Ultramarathon Festival 7 Day race on April 3rd he will need a super-human performance to surpass the 127 year old 6 Day record set by Edinburgh's George Cameron ("Noremac") in New York in 1882.
William just missed the record last July when he recorded 532.60 miles when winning the Hamm 6 Day race in Germany.
William will join 30 starters from 10 countries in the 7 Day race, the longest he has yet attempted. The Athens Festival also includes 24 hour, 48 hour and 72 hour events as well, which will involve a further 70 athletes.
The 7 Day race starts at 2pm (local time) at the Hellikin Olympic Complex south of Athens. The site of the former Athens airport, it was completely re-developed prior to the 2004 Olympic Games and the race course will wind around the hockey stadium and adjacent warm up pitch. The lap length is 1km -- approximately 2/3 of a mile.
As stepping stones to the major target William will be aiming at the World Age Group Record of 449.02 miles; the overall Scottish Record, set in 1991, 514.02 miles; then moving on to the overall British Record of 518.02 miles before the final push to the 127 year old performance set in an indoor event all those years ago when the sport of ultra distant running, known as 'pedestrianism' was in its heyday.
A good crew is essential in events of this nature and William's regular crew man, the Brechin runner Alan Young, will again be in charge. He will be assisted by William's local GP, Dr Peter Hardus and his wife Marja, traveling from Sanday.
William goes to Athens fresh from his victory in the "Across the Years" 72 hour race in Arizona over the New Year when he was a clear winner with a 32 mile advantage over the runner up. William is also, so far, unbeaten in any event over 48 hours and hopes to keep that streak going.
"I have had a good build up to this event and I'm really looking forward to having another shot at this amazing record. I'll need some luck with the weather conditions but I'm prepared for everything so fingers crossed."
In order to allow more people to be involved in the race William has arranged for his web site www.williamsichel.co.uk to be updated regularly during the event. BBC Radio Orkney will also carry regular news of my progress www.bbc.co.uk.
William, as a cancer survivor himself (see Cancer Story: www.williamsichel.co.uk) will use the event to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Donate online at: www.justgiving.com
Race website: www.dayrunners.gr
William is grateful to sponsors: Myprotein and Loganair.
William winning the Hamm 6 Day race in July 2008 with 532 miles