AN ultramarathon runner whose ambition is to set 165 records by his 65th birthday has spoken of his latest technique - hypnotism.

William Sichel, 60, who lives on the island of Sanday, Orkney, has just completed a challenging six-day race in Arizona.

He said he listened to hypnosis courses on his MP3 prior to the endurance event, which saw him cross the finish line on Friday after completing more than 470 miles in the difficult Arizona desert climate, in which temperatures change from 20°C to -2°C in hours.

Yet, along the way, Mr Sichel was able to set 17 new records, including a world best, taking his current career tally to 94, including 77 long-distance running records.

He said: "I've been doing more and more work in self-hypnosis. It helps the brain cope with the overwhelming fatigue and to accept it has to go further than it's gone before. For most of the race I was in a semi-hypnotic state."

Across the Years is an annual endurance event in which ­participants aim to complete as many circuits of mile-long course in various time periods, from one day to six.

Mr Sichel - one of only six who attempted the full six-day race - finished first in his age group, setting a new world record for men aged 60-65, and fourth overall with 472 miles completed.

The winner, Joe Fejes, clocked up 555 miles.

Along the way, Mr Sichel also picked up 16 new British and Scottish records and put his success down in part to mental preparation. He now has about four and a half years to collect the remaining 71 records he would like to pick up before his 65th birthday.

"I think I can do it. I run every race as if it's my last and I push hard to the line. My motivation is self-curiosity, to explore the limits I can push my body and mind to."

He recently came second in an eight-day race around Monaco Harbour, covering more than 533 miles and taking one British and eight Scottish records.