Keep on, keeping on…

Knitters have staying power. Some of us knit projects that feel to us like a marathon effort. I offer up my Laminaria for consideration here 🙂 I daresay some of us even get the running shoes on from time to time and actually run a half  or full marathon. But how many fibre folk go ultra-running? (Don’t skip that link. Go read. Boggle. Try to get your head around the achievements that ultra runners make – it’s not easy to do. and certainly defeats my thinking.)

William Sichel is one. He is also a long-time spinner, machine knitter, dyer and proprietor of Orkney Angora – a company you may well have heard of, and that is based here on our little island of Sanday. William currently ranks World #2 for the six day race and World #12 for the 48 hr. He is also a cancer survivor. His detailed history of post-operative return to training is awesome – from operating theatre to full training schedule in just sixteen days – and must certainly be an inspiration to cancer fighters the world over.

The dedication and fight that William put into his post-op recovery are reflected in his ongoing attempts to improve his personal best distances. These are his targets for the race that he is running as I write this post:

7 Day Target

1000 km/621.37 miles

6 Day Targets

Scottish All-Time Record 912.90km/567.276 miles George Cameron (”Noremac”) Set indoors in New York 1882 – Scotland’s oldest athletic record

Personal Best (overall) 857.07km/532.583 miles Hamm, Germany 2008

GB Road Record 833.649km/518.029 miles Richard Brown, New York 1988

Scottish Road Record 827.202km/514.023 miles Al Howie, New York 1991

Personal Best Road 807.610km/501.849 miles Monaco 2007

World Age Group Record M55  (Road) 722.595km/449.021 miles Achim Heukemes 2008


Personal Best Road 72hrs 443.11kms/275.33 miles

Scottish Road Record 48 Hours 329.71kms/204.87 miles

You can see William’s performance updates for the current race in his blog – the last update shows him in First position after 63 hours and 380 Km. More importantly, you will also find his Just Giving link there -  he is raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Go on, you give up the price of  just one skein of yarn… can’t you?

Just think – he has been running for almost three days. And he’ll be running for another four days yet. Just think about that. Does it do your head in? One thousand kilometres… that’s about 23 Marathons, run end-to-end, I think!  Sleep? Oh, yes, he sleeps – around twenty minutes in every four hours.

William Sichel



Orkney Angora

William in The Independent