Ultra Running & Reviews

The Spine Race 2016

by on Jan.06, 2017, under Race Reports

Last years Spine Race was a tough one for me & I don’t  just mean the physical side. Although the physical side of the journey from Byrness & the Cheviot Hills to the finish line in Kirk Yetholm, just over the Scottish Border was challenging enough.

Image result for spine race 2016

It’s been said before in many other blogs about The Spine race, you need to run your own race & not get bogged down (pardon the pun) with other people’s problems & hangups. However that’s just what I did in 2016. I ran with people in the middle of the race who ended up sapping my mental & physical energy.

This year I’ve promised myself that as soon as someone starts to annoy me or need too much help, it’ll be time to go it alone. Sometimes it’s hard to leave someone when they start to falter & you start to form a bond. You can feel obliged to stay with people who can drain your confidence & lower your moral.

The problem for me is I’m not very good with people, I spend most of my time on my own & like my own company. Sometimes finding it hard to understand what other people are thinking. That’s the main reason I missed the warning signs, the little things most people would probably have noticed.

The Spine isn’t like any other race, you don’t go home & have a nice hot bath after running 100 miles with no sleep & feel great in the morning. On The Spine you get almost no sleep & what you do get is mostly in a very noisy environment. It’s like a pressure cooker, everything is just about THE RACE! The rest of the world outside ceases to exist & it’s just you and your own thoughts most of the time. Sometimes even for someone like me it’s nice to talk to another racer, maybe share a laugh. Break up the monotony of a race that you know will last the best part of a week. A week on your feet in some of the worst weather this country has to offer. Maybe share some of the navigation between you, make the miles pass a little faster.

On The Spine 2015 I teamed up with Alan Rumbles & Colin Searl for the last section & it worked very well. The miles seemed to fly by with the constant banter. All I remember was the laughter and banter flowing freely between us all. Nobody took offence or sulked about any comments or went off in a huff. Hence why I called that blog post “a brutal walk to the shops” If your head is in the right place anything is possible. The pain seems to go away.

Suppose what I’m trying to put across here is be careful who you team up with! Notice the signs & move on, run your own race. Have confidence in your own ability & if you do team up, when it starts going awry do your own thing.
Image result for spine race 2016

On a lighter note, my training this year has gone very well. I’ve tried some new (to me) techniques in my lead up to this years race. More gym based workouts, 10 miles a day on the treadmill plus loads of body weight exercises. I’m also the lightest I’ve ever been. Taking more care in what I eat & sticking to my goals. I’ll be going into the race at about 150lbs which for me is light.

I never eat processed food (apart from on The Spine). So it’s all been game meat, Trout, fruit, veg, dairy, all the good stuff. The things I enjoy eating. Anyway that’s enough for now. I don’t advertise my posts on here, it’s just a personal record for me to look back on & see how or if what I do affects my race.

Happy running & see you in Kirk Yetholm!


3 Comments for this entry

  • jurarunner

    I remember when Dan and I teamed up with you after leaving CP5, we were both crazy tired and probably feeling a bit low, your lighthearted jokes and banter lifted my spirits no end. The hike over to Bryness went so quickly.

    For most of the race I purposely avoided other people, not because I wasn’t feeling social, but I wanted that feeling of aloneness which is one of the reasons I’d signed up. Also it’s nice to be able to go at the pace you want, without worrying about others.

    That final push over the Cheviots was another matter mind, teamwork all the way!

  • Colin Fitzjohn

    I must admit Luke, you were a lot stronger than me over the Cheviot Hills. It was great ending the race with you and Dan. I think maybe the negative splits over the last few miles were a bit much though ;-).

Leave a Reply

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!