Alford man takes on the ultimate challenge

James McNamee completes the New York Marathon.
James McNamee completes the New York Marathon.

An Alford man has embarked on an incredible challenge to conquer six major world marathons - followed by a 153 mile ‘Spartathlon’ ultra marathon in Athens.

Remarkably, fitness fanatic James McNamee, wants to complete the six World Marathon Majors in under three 
hours each - and he has ticked three of them off his 
list already.

James, 46, completed the New York Marathon earlier this month in an impressive 2 hours and 57 minutes, having previously 
completed the Chicago Marathon in 2 hours 56 minutes in October last year, and the London 
Marathon in just 2 hours and 51 minutes back in 
April this year.

His next marathon will take place in Berlin next year, and he hopes to finish it in under 2 hours and 45 minutes.

Once James has conquered Berlin, he will take on marathons in Tokyo and Boston before stepping up to the 153 mile ‘Spartathlon’ ultra marathon between Athens and Sparta - the original 
home of the marathon.

James, who grew up in Sutton on Sea before moving to Alford and now runs training company ‘Pro Level Training’ with his partner Jo, told 
the Leader: “I have been doing marathons for at 
least the last 10 years.

“Completing the six 
world marathons is the ultimate marathon challenge, but having to run them all sub-three hours is a totally different ball game.”

He added: “ I got into doing the ultra distance about a year ago, completing the Hardmoors 110 ultra, which covers the full Cleveland Way 
in North Yorkshire, where I finished 10th, and I did the Grim Reaper 100 mile 
ultra [in South Lincolnshire] this year and came 5th.”

The Spartathlon challenge is set to be a particularly difficult task, not only thanks to the heat and the hills, but also 
because you can be ‘timed out’ if you are deemed to be 
running too slowly.

James said: “Around 500 take part in the Spartathlon, and only about 10 or 15 people actually finish because so many people get timed out within 
the first 30 miles.”

In preparation for the Spartathlon, James plans to take part in the Viking Way Ultra, 
between the Humber to Rutland Water, on April 2 next year, as it is roughly the same distance as the course 
from Athens to Sparta.

James said: “I’m looking forward to the Spartathlon. It’s a very elite challenge. I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to complete it, after 
coming 10th at the Hardmoors 110 mile ultra.”