Spartathlon 2023 — lessons learnt

Simen Holvik
5 min readOct 3

A working document. Today is Tuesday October 3rd. I ended my race at Sunday October 1st at 5:33 am (after 22:17:17) (2nd place). I have not yet done a recap / lessons learnt with my coach Sondre Amdahl — but below are my initial thoughts. More details to be added after in-depth discussions with my coach. Many improvements, but also a lot of positives (of course). My best race exection ever. Better than my BADWATER 135 male champ victory.

Note to self:

  • Issues with diarrhea from 50 km or so. Had four (or five) “situations” and was really struggling with a “bubbling” stomach. Next time, either skip the 4 am breakfast — or make it more normal. My breakfast with eggs, sardines, olive oil, kiwi and cheese was — most likely — too much! Stupid :-(). Next time bring with me my own bread and jam.
  • With regards to above, maybe all the hugging at the start line was not very smart. Next time, be anti-social at start line, and only show up right before the start. Do not hug people that day, or the days ahead. Save that for post race.
  • Apartment downtown Acropolis did not work out. Too much noise and very difficult to sleep. I traveld down a week before the race and did not use any of the race hotels, but instead book my own accomodation. Next time, still travel a week a head (and alone), but make sure to have an apartment, with kicthen, outside of the main city centre. (Making my own qulity food worked out very well. Did not eat out a single day.)
  • Gear all worked out fantastic. No improvements needed. I did not change anything.
  • Post race, at the evening, my left hip was very stiff. Need to check that out. Can be problem for longer races (48–6 days). Now, two days later — it feels a lot better.
  • Got a lot of scratches around my ancle. (Too tight shoelaces). Not an issue during race.
  • At the mountain decline, I was nauseous and used my fingers to provoke some vomiting. Could be too much gel during the road decline up to the mountain pass. (I was very eager with swollowing the gel with water). After that point, I had really heard time to get the fuel and nutrition back on track. From then on, I was hard on Coca Cola and some water.
  • Very happy with myself that I managed to return to gel and chews after my vomiting and down period. Even if I did not stick to my 100 gram cabis per hour plan, I managed at least to get down 30 grams per hours. That…
Simen Holvik

A professional Norwegian ultra runner, adventurer, speaker and writer | Next race: Fat Ox. 48 hours November 17th