On Thursday last, ultra endurance runner and Old Columban Alexandra Panayotou visited the school and gave a presentation to our TY pupils. Jessica Beresford reports!
On Thursday last we were visited by Alexandra Panayotou, an Old Columban and ultra endurance runner. Alex hasn’t done sports her whole life, though she does it intensively now. She began running properly, when she was 30 - her first time since doing running at the college.
She started running marathons, and quite by chance one day happened to do an ultra endurance run, up mount Olympus. She loved it. Much to her surprise she was able to do it, finishing in an unbelievable 2nd place. From here developed her ultra endurance running career.
In 2008 Alex decided that she really wanted to challenge herself, by doing a solo ultra endurance run. She was going to run from Barcelona to Santiago de Compostela. This run was 1208 km and would be from April 26th to May 16th.
This would be her first time running constantly day after day.
Her next challenge was to run against a horse. With a 5 hour headstart the statistics were that the horse would come in 15 minutes before her. She managed to arrive 15 minutes before the horse.
In 2010 she ran 2010 km in 31 days to promote the European Athletics Championships. She ran 70 km a day allowing herself a “rest day” on a Sunday- 30 km .
Her most recent challenge was in aid of Foodbank, a charity that helps send food if a natural disaster occurs. In this she ran 315 km non-stop. To really publicize what Foodbank does she ended her run, in the half time of a football match, in front of 40 000 people.
I thought Alex was very interesting, an amazing inspiration. She maintains a belief that with mental preparation, determination, resilience, discipline and courage you can do anything. Her story just shows that it’s never too late to aspire to fulfil your dreams.
“Find your own motivation to keep you moving forwards for when the road ahead seems tough” –Alex.