Saturday 28th April saw four great races on one day, the ‘Fellsman’ the 3 Peaks, the Highland Fling and the lesser known East Yorkshire LDWA Woldsman 50.
After much deliberation I decided to enter the Woldsman, the Highland Fling I had run the year before plus Id also be on the same route while running the West Highland Way Race in June (the Highland Fling is the first half of the West Highland Way)
Then there was the Fellsman, I had never run the Fellsman before and was on my to do list. The deciding factor was that some of the top runners who usually take podium positions at the Woldsman would be running the Fellsman leaving me a good chance of getting a top 3 Woldsman placing, I knew I would be capable of pulling out 9 hours for the course (its always good to be optimistic ;0) ) Also at the Woldsman friends Steve Walker, David Cremmins, Mark Dalton and Danny Aldus would all be there too. Decision made!!
3 weeks before the Woldsman the ‘Bomb’ was dropped, I had to work :0( So 4 great races and I couldn’t run any of them! So Friday night I decided to hit the Cleveland Hills after work for 4 hours of Hill Reps
(14 to be precise and 14000+feet of climb,) Dead legs helped a little way to ease my disappointment and Ultra fix.
Monday 30th April was to be the next Ultra after missing an Ultra the previous weekend. This Ultra was to be a Bob Graham Round recce (27miles 11000 feet) Keswick to Dunmail Raise (sections 1 and 2 of a clockwise round)
I met up with Rorie Macintosh from ‘Runfree’http://runfree.co.uk/(specialist in minimalist footwear, ie vibram fivefingers/Inov 8 Bare grips etc) at Scotch Corner. He is also having a bash at the ‘Bob Graham Round’ Rorie had brought me some Inov 8 X Talons 190’s with a 3mm drop and sticky rubber studs, today was the time to test them out..Rorie drove to Keswick and we arrived in sunshine at 0850!
We had packed numerous layers of warm clothing plus waterproofs expecting a very wet day after the weekend that had seen the ‘Fellsman’ close in the early hours due to weather conditions and people becoming hypothermic. Plus 8-10 hrs of food had to be carried too. Water was going to be a problem, I carried 1 and a half litres of water and 1 litre of Hammer’s Perpeterum ( Protein/Carb drink) So all in all 4 hours worth of fluids ( Im too spoilt with checkpoints providing water at races :0) )
Fingers crossed I would find another source of water along the way.
This climb to me was arguably the toughest climb of the day and half way up the steep slopes my calves went on strike and started to go into convulsions. I dropped my bag off onto the floor (the route up Fairfield, bgr style is also the return journey, so I would be back to my bag within 10 minutes) As soon as the weight was taken off my back I found I could negotiate with my Calves and get on track , 5 minutes later I picked up my pack on the descent back down to Grisedale Tarn. After dropping off Fairfield a climb up Seat Sandal was in store, this climb was much easier on my legs and on reaching the Summit the views which we had been so fortunate to enjoy where still there waiting. Directly ahead after the main road which passes by Dunmail Raise sits Steel Fell and the start of the notorious leg 3 of the Bob Graham Round (Dunmail to Wasdale via the Langdales and the Scafells) To the south views of Fairfield, Rydal Water, Coniston and Esthwaite waters plus Windermere, it was tempting to sit back and take in the views while relaxing on the summit of Seat Sandal but we had a date with the 555 (bus back to Keswick) So we descended down to Dunmail Raise and jogged down the road to the bus stop .
Back in Keswick to keep the tradition we visited the Moot Hall Chippie (purely like I said for tradition, and it would be rude not to order food, wouldn’t it?)
We had kept to a 23hr Bob Graham pace all the way comfortably (except for the calves) while taking pictures, chatting and carrying weight.
I found the shoes to be perfect, exceptionally light and responsive to the ground, A great fell shoe and just right for the decent of Hall’s Fell ridge off Blencathra http://runfree.co.uk/products/inov-8/x-talon-190
NEXT Ingleborough Marathon - Saturday 12th May