Ultra Running & Reviews


2017 What went wrong?

by on Jan.25, 2017, under Blog, Race Reports

During the run-up to The Spine 2017 everything went perfectly. The training went smoothly, no injuries during my pre-race training.  I lost 14lbs in weight compared to last year & entered the race at 150lbs, the lightest weight I’ve ever been for The Spine.

I packed all my gear the week before, a first for me. My stuff is usually not packed until the night before the race. I even managed to get a hotel room in Edale for the night before the race, which meant I didn’t have to drive all the way home after the race brief then drive back again for the race in the morning.

All my food packed into resupply bags & labels for each checkpoint written on each bag. This was had to be the perfect Spine race!

It’s difficult to analyse what the catalyst was for my DNF but I think things were a little to perfect before the race. I tend to work better in chaos.

This time there was none of that. It seemed to be lots of little things conspiring to put me off track. I was expecting the usual Spine weather of cold -C temps & frozen ground. We got rain +6C temps and loads of water & mud. I  had over dressed for these conditions & being unsupported meant I couldn’t just change my clothes to more suitable gear.

The decision to set off slow was made before the start & I knew I would get stronger as the race unfolded. The only problem with this strategy, if I make a couple of bad moves and I’d be right up against the cut off times.

The journey to CP1 at Hebden Bridge went well with little need to worry about cut offs. My navigation on this section was spot on, as it should be by now!

The problems started during the trek from  Hebden to CP1.5 at Malham Tarn. The fog came down & I made a couple of bad navigation decisions due to lack of visibility over the stones at the top of the steps. By the time I reached 1.5 I only had 20 minutes spare before the CP closed! A quick brew & kit re arranged & I was out the door, heading for CP2.

At about 100 miles I started to realise the time had become very tight & doing a few calculations it became apparent I wasn’t going to make it. I had 15 miles to go from Horton in Ribblesdale & needed to do it at 3 mph. This would seem a slow pace but when your carrying a 20lbs pack and have only had a 1 hour sleep over the past two days, it’s a big ask. I ran the first 5 miles as fast as I could, no stopping. I would need to maintain this for another 10 miles. After another 5 miles and reaching a hill which went on almost to CP2 I decided enough was enough & called it a day at 110 miles.

I tried to ring in but had no phone signal, exhausted, tired and wet through with sweat, my only options were to either walk to CP2 over high ground or look at my map and find a pub nearby & maybe get a room for the night.

 It made more sense to get down out of the cold & make my way to the Station Inn near the famous Ribblehead viaduct about 5 miles away. Luckily they had a room spare & I booked myself in for a night & full English breakfast.

After a couple of pints I hit the sack. On waking the next morning I set off for the train station across the road to start my journey home. I never use public transport so assumed that it was just a matter of hopping on a train home. I was on a train platform & we have a train station in my home town so what could possibly go wrong?

Reading the timetable I soon realised that the next train was at least two hours away! It also didn’t go to my home town, I’d have to get a train to the bus station then get another train, than another bus! Oh bugger.

Just as this started to sink in I looked down the platform to see someone walking towards me, it was only Dunc Bruce. We met the day before on the Spine & he’d ended up in the same boat as me.

After a quick discussion we agreed to go back to the safety of The Station pub, they did some great ales & a nice line in pork pies. I rang my other half who said she couldn’t pick me up until the children finished school. Oh what a shame I would be stuck in this pub until 11pm. So after being in the pub for 16 hours I made a few new friends that night & started planning my next Spine race in 2018 . . . . .

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Follow the Spine Race, it’ll be BRUTAL!

by on Jan.12, 2017, under Blog

If you get bored & want to follow me on my way from Edale to Scotland I’ll be in The Spine race starting on Sunday 15th January 2017.
Race number 38
Website http://thespinerace.com/
Live tracking http://live.thespinerace.com/spinerace17/

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Building the miles

by on Feb.18, 2012, under Blog

It’s been a busy last few weeks for me in preparation for my return to ultra-running. I’ve spent most of my time doing longish runs along the Leeds to Liverpool canal. It’s been quite eventful as I’ve been chased by dogs & near the end of one of my runs a group of young lads tried to mug me for my iPod & watch (I must have looked rougher than normal!)

I’ve been mostly injury free apart from slipping a disk in my back a couple of weeks ago after a dog chased me & grabbed hold of the back of my jacket. I twisted around to knock it off & slipped a disk. I left the owner in no doubt about the way I felt about him.  It’s still giving me some jip but hopefully it will sort itself out because I’m running 100 miles along the Thames path in a couple of weeks.

My weight has been going down fast after going on a 1,000 calories a day diet. I wouldn’t recommend this as  a healthy way to lose weight but I’d been overeating for the past year & to be honest left it too late to do it any other way. I started on January the 1st at 13st 10 lbs & am now at 12st 1 lbs so hopefully I will meet my 11st  6lbs target in two weeks ready for my race.

I don’t do much tapering & do my last long run about 3 days before the 100 miles race. I know this isn’t the accepted way but I tend not to pick up injuries & it works well for me. The most important part of my preparation is working out my food and water strategy. I always have a main plan if all goes well & a fallback plan if it doesn’t. That way barring a serious injury I can finish even if I have a bad race.

It’s been great getting back onto the moors around my home over the past few weeks as my fitness has improved, this is where I feel most at ease running. I like running the hills & it’s great strength training.

Looking forward to the Thames Path 100 which will be my first time running of this race.  I have run parts of the Thames before on the Thames Trot & Country to Capital ultras. It’s a great place to run and almost flat. The only thing I’m struggling with at the moment is my core stability, it’s been hard doing my usual sit-ups with a slipped disk so I’m looking at other core exercises to do.

Happy Running!

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A fresh start

by on Jan.22, 2012, under Blog

As of January 1st I’ve started afresh with my running having done nothing for about 6 months. I entered a race which will push me to the limits and given myself 12 weeks to train for it. I started at 13st 10lbs on the 1st of January & couldn’t run a mile. One week of training got me running 17 miles then 26 & this week 31 miles. I’ve also been doing 8+ mile runs most nights & cut out all the junk food & most of the wine! My weight is now at 12st 4lbs, I’d like to be around the 11st mark for the race so some way to go.

Most of my long runs have been along the Leeds to Liverpool canal as it’s only 4 miles from my house and a nice place to run. I hope to run the full length from Darwen to Liverpool a couple of weeks before my race as a last training run before I taper down. I’ll try to keep this diary updated as and when I get time, if only as a way of keeping a diary of my training.

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JOGLE my memory

by on Apr.24, 2011, under Blog

Myself & Ruby went for a run the other day & it was the first day of JOGLE 2011. I wore my JOGLE T-shirt for the first time since JOGLE and thought about the race & how the seven guys who would be running this year would fair? It seems hard running our 2 mile loop & hard to imagine what another 61 miles would be like. Today is Sunday and sadly only 4 of the seven are left. It’s been great watching the story unfold from this side this year and remembering when things happened last year. It’s like being in your own little bubble with pain, joy & sadness all in equal measure. The road seems to stretch out in front of you forever and your left only with your own thoughts & fears.

One thing is for sure every one of them will know the uniqe feeling you get from running JOGLE and they will remember it forever. . . .

If you’d like to watch the story unfold visit Rory’s blog here http://9barjogleultra.blogspot.com/

Pictures from the event are here http://www.flickr.com/photos/ultraracephotos/sets/72157626217520131/

happy running

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Runs with Ruby

by on Apr.22, 2011, under Blog

Every day this week myself & Ruby, my 8 year old daughter have been running a 2.25 mile loop through the woods near our home. It’s quite a hilly run with around 300 feet of climb over the 2 miles & she’s really improved over the week, I wish I could see the same improvement in myself! It’s quite disconcerting to see your 8 year old daughter skipping past you on a steep up hill section. This week has made me realize how long a road it’s going to be back to full fitness. I used to have the odd bottle of win and the odd bar of chocolate here & there when I was fit and it would make very little difference to my fitness but as the days turned into weeks then months without running the weight slowly creeps up and all the fitness you took for granted gradually ebbs away. Looking ahead though I have just started to get back into the running habit and made a commitment to myself to run every day. In the words of the song “things can only get better. . . ”

happy running

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First few runs . . . .

by on Apr.20, 2011, under Blog

I’ve been finding time for a few runs this week & also gone from 13st 7lbs to 12st 10lbs, the weight really makes a huge difference. Already up to 2 miles, got a long way to go before reaching the 100+ mile runs of last year! Just 2 miles seems to be just as hard as running 50 miles was last year, it made me realise how soon you can lose all the fitness it takes so long to build up. Not setting myself any goals yet just want to enjoy running again, it had got to be a bit of a chore & I must admit I was getting bored & tired mentally from all the running. Suppose I’d forgotten how much other things meant to me & how ultra running can take over. I’ll try to update this blog when I get time, as much to just keep a diary as anything else. It’s good to keep a record of what your doing, then if you get injured it’s possible to look back & see how it started. Thats it for now

happy running . . . .

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Run fat boy run!

by on Apr.16, 2011, under Blog

I’ve been very busy recently with my day job as a property developer; this is a great time for us to take advantage of the falling market. I’ve not done ANY running at all for at least 5 months other than a very slow 5 miles off road. This along with eating as I did when running ultras has meant my weight increasing from 11st 4lbs to 13st 7lbs! Yes the belly has got me. I look at this in a positive way though, I think not running for a few months has made me look at my fitness in a new way & also given me a rest mentally which after last year can only be a good thing.






I’m now looking for new goals with the ultimate aim of completing JOGLE in 2012. I’ve got some new ideas which I’ve had time to think about during my rest & am looking forward to putting them into practice. At the end of last year I got a Kurt Kinetic spin trainer (review soon) for my bike which should get the pounds off fast. I used a spin bike last year in my training for longer ultras & it seemed to work well. It’s a good idea to use none impact exercise when possible if you’re doing lots of road miles, gives the joints a bit of time to recover from the constant pounding.

We also moved house this year which is always fun. I’m looking forward to running some new trails from here, it’s just a few yards to the local park and up onto the moors.

That’s all for now, happy running. . . .

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