Date: 13th July Location: The Peak district Distance: 60 miles Accent: 2722m Steepest climb: 32% Navigation: 80% (map, Compass) Time Limit: 24hrs
This event is the hardest event I have ever done !!
I did this event with my good friend Lord Sammuel Wilson ( he’s not really a Lord)
We met a Kings Cross station on the Friday before race day and realised the train went from St Pancras…so we managed to get on the train with 5 mins to spare.
Got to Sheffield at 1ish and with not being able to pitch the tent until 6pm we had to kill time..
When the time came we headed to the bus station to get the bus near to the campsite
We pitched the tent and organised our race bags..and then went down to register, we were given and dibber which you had to enter into a device at each checkpoint (of which there are 20 !!) failure to do so once gave you a 1hr time penalty and failure to do it twice gave you a disqualification, We were also given our race number and route map and a really cool goody bag.
We also found out that there were 43 people competing in the event.
We had a chance to put “drop bags” on the course at mile markers 14, 28 and 42 with the bags containing anything we thought we may need at that point of the race, ( i put a selection of energy bars in, a spare hat, spare pair of socks and a spare t-shirt in each one.
Dinner was quite funny though…should have seen my trying to open at tin of ratatouille with a hammer and tent peg..thank you Sharon for lending me a swiss army knive
Went to bed around 9:30 for a 6:15am wake up.
With a breakfast of muesli and bananas and lots of water this was going to be a VERY hot and long day !!!!!!!.
We had a race briefing at 7:30am and then the race started at 8am..
The course is the most challenging course and route I have ever come across, It really is THE WORKS, and is a full mixture of all types of terrain and surfaces (grass, mud, stone, gravel, tarmac, boulders,tiles (some even on there side),reeds, bogs) and lots of nettles too..which my calfs/shins were covered in.
It takes you through some of the most spectacular countryside I have ever seen (so it make a very hard run that little bit easier).
I was running with a race vest which held at the front full two water bottles of 500ml, 2 compartments at the back for mandatory kit (head torch,windproof jacket & trousers, compass, route map, whistle) the other smaller compartment were filled with gels and bars and also electrolyte tablets and also blister tape,scissors, bodyglide (for chafing).
The weather during the race was the biggest factor for me as it was 30°C for 70% of the race and being that hot..hydration was a BIG factor.
I left the start with 2 x 500ml bottle (one with electrolytes and one with water), my aim was at each station was to fully load the bottles again and also drink as much as possible.
At most of the stations I stayed there for about 15-20 mins, drinking as much as I could ( 2 pints of water with Nunn tablets and 2 pints of plain water and also covering myself in water trying to cool my body temperature down. Most of the time within about 5-10 mins of leaving the water station I are completely dry again.
I think throughout the event there were 6 maybe 7 water stops and in that heat 10 miles between each one is a long way.. especially with the terrain
The aim of the race is to complete the distance within 24hrs and by visiting all of the checkpoints.
At the start of the race we found out that five of the 43 people who had entered the race had pulled out due to the weather conditions…(BOOOOOOOO).So 38 people racing now
During the race I met up with and another runners called Danny and Jonathan who were going at a similar pace to me…I think it helps to run with other people during an event like this as you get to work as a team finding the correct route…with in some parts of the course were really hard to find..
Before the start i put blister tape on both of my feet around the ball of my foot where I would normally get pain…I still to this day haven’t got a blister from running ultras…
The weird thing with me is that when I had the operation after my cancer treatment to remove all the glands from the back of my abdomen and my testis the doctor damaged the nerves on the left hand side of my body in a way that I’m unable to sweat properly on that side…so when I run my foot on that side doesn’t have any issues at all…
At each drop bag stop I made a point of changing my socks and my blister tape…which was wise because the terrain was moving it around so much.
Well as you know most of the course was over the Peaks but there were parts that took us through some really pretty villages with lovely country pubs..It is really hard running past watching people enjoying and drink and a nice Sunday lunch when you’ve got another 7 or so miles till your next drop bag stop…
As the evening drew in and the sun started to come down we arrived at drop bag station 3..which was where my head torch was..(I asked at the briefing if I could leave it there as it wasn’t going to get dark till 9:30pm)..so got the the aid station and found I ran out of blister tape and had to borrow some duck tape from Jonathan to put of my right foot as It was in quite a bit of pain…I also eat 4 bananas 5 packs of worcestershire sauce crisps and my usual fluids.
From that point of were in the dark..and I was very very happy with my head torch…it was really bright and completely lit up the path in front of us…
From I think at least checkpoint 8 we were wondering how many people were behind us…It started of with about 20….and by each water stop the number of people behind us dropped until we found out there was only one person behind us at drop bag station 3…and we found out later that he stop when he got there…after we left…
The last 5 miles of the course were marked and that made life a lot easier… and even though it was 3:30am…you could see some light in the sky and you didn’t really need the head torches anymore..
So the finish line approached and Jonathan many a dash for it…but was met by his girlfriend so a managed to get there first…ha ha.
Thank you so much to Ian Loombe for getting me some lovely veg stew when I got to the finish line..
TIME: 20hrs, 31 mins, 57 secs
Interesting race facts…
43 people entered 5 people quit before the start 23 finished
This was a great event a really well organised…I shall definitely be back next year to better my time…