Saturday, 22 December 2012

ULTRA 48 - 51

Ultra 48  Edale Skyline Excursion

A few hours after the Frostbite 30 I drove over to my Sisters (Andrea) to have a catch up and wish my Niece (Katy)  a happy 18th.   They both live at South Normanton only a few miles or so from the Peak District so I stayed the night and the next morning I travelled to Hope for an extended run of the Edale Skyline. John Vernon joined us for a few miles up over Lose Hill, Hollin cross and Mam tor. Here we parted ways and I continued over Rushup edge with David Cremmins. It was a stunning day with zero temperatures and an abundance of ice. Dave had his yak tracks with him while I relied on my x talons to keep me firmly planted to the frozen ground. The views over to kinder where stunning. On arriving on the Kinder Plateu progress was painfully slow over the thick ice which seemed to coat every rock in the vicinity. then the mist came down. After several cock ups in nil visibility we decided to head back off Kinder and retraced our steps to drop down towards Hayfield   We took several paths and crossed over towards Rushup edge by this time not only had we thick mist to contend with but darkness too. All light from our headtorches was bounced back at us thanks to the mist. Our food supplies depleted and with sod all water left we missed the correct line and dropped onto the pennine bridleway. Deciding not to return to Hope by Mam Tor and Lose Hill we took the road for awhile and joined the old broken up road under Mam Tor. ( my dad many years ago had taken me on this road as a child when it been shut off to cars because as he had put it the 'shivering mountain' had put it's curse on it and the road kept falling to pieces. ) this Sunday night after hours on the hills in freezing conditions with little food inside me I felt the shivering mountain was only just letting me pass on this ghost of a road. The hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention until I left the 'Shivering Road' and joined up with the main road into Castleton.   We reached Castleton which looked beautiful with dozens of little Christmas trees perched outside shops and house I was hoping for a chip shop but no joy. We passed by castleton and came into Hope. My watch showed we where missing Ultra miles yet we had been out for hours and hours so we ran along the road to Edale and back to round off the day with 28 miles

John Vernon & Dave Cremmins -summit of Lose Hill

Lose Hill to Mam Tor Ridge

kinder Scout

Kinder Scout

Ultra 49 'The Dreadmill'

I had decided I wanted my 50th ultra to coincide with the Runfurther Party plus I wanted to fit 52 ultras into the year as it made more sense. (52 in 52 rather than 50 in 52) and my plan was that the 'Tour de Helvelyn' would be my 52 ultra not my 50th. The only problem was I had done 48 and the Runfurther party was in 6 days time. The solution was obviously to fit another ultra in over the next few days.  With work I had not enough time to travel up to the North York Moors and plus the running would be slow. I needed something fast!  I then decided upon a Treadmill Ultra. I could finish a P/T Session with my client and then directly after I could jump on the treadmill. So there it was ultra 49 ( I decided to make it a minimum of 30 miles ) around about 4 hrs 40 mins later I had covered the 30 miles.   I was hoping to run a lot faster but I had been having a lot of problems with my left calf and anytime I increased the pace the feeling of something bad happening to it dropped me down to 10 minute mili pace   When I first climbed onto the treadmill I had set my area up with 5 x 500ml water bottles Energy gels. Towel. iPod,  iPhone etc much to the amused look of people using the other treadmills around me. As you can guess I saw people come and go. No one spending more time  then 30 minutes in one go on the treadmills   Probably sensible people   Once 3 hours was reached the monotony was easier to deal with. I could play time and distance games with my mind. With less than 3 miles to go I increased the pace ( it's so obvious on a treadmill how much more distance you can cover when you increase the speed, more noticeable then outside with all your speed/distance/time data right in front of you   I finished the 30 miler with a 5 minute cool down. The Treadmill can be a mind killer but has a purpose. Efficient speedwork/ intervals tool if you havent a track to run on  and several years ago was my main training arsenal for getting round the UTMB'S 9500 metres of ascent. I used to live in a very flat area and chances to climb hills never mind mountains would come 4-5 times a year if lucky, so I would spend one 3-4 hour session per week running on the Treadmill at full incline. Ultra 49 brought it all back to me :0)

Ultra 50 'Edale Skyline with Extra Again'

The route yet again was the Edale Skyline with an excursion at the end to Edale and back. Karen mcDonald joined us along the ridge from Lose Hill to Mam Tor. Karen is the backbone behind the Runfurther series  she is not only an ultra runner but a damn good mountain biker and adventure racer. Shes a real gem tough as old boots and great fun to be around. We all ran in kahtoolas and the ground was thick with ice. Further over towards Rushups edge was snow and Kinder Scout  was a winter wonderland. We bumped into Richard Lendon. I had first met Richard on the Lakeland -100, Richards a great guy and a seasoned Ultrarunner. He was putting the finishing touches to his training for the 2013 spine race ( the spine race is the 268 mile Pennine way route run in winter )   After we dropped off Mam Tor Karen left us ( same place where John Vernon had left us the week before, I don't blame them, my jokes are pretty rubbish at the best of times )

Karen on the Mam Tor Ridge

Rushup edge was a real treat  runnable but thick with snow in places. Stuart walker joined us on the climb up to Kinder. Stuart is an awesome ultra runner and had jointly won the Hardmoors 60 at the end of September with Ian Symington in a record time  Stuart had also earlier in the year ran the entire length of the Alps ( 1100 miles) in just over 30 days!!!  Stuart is a true inspiration and an all around nice guy. A real toughy too in shorts and a long sleeved baselayer opposed to my full length tights. Calf guards and skins short,. Merino wool baselayer and windproof plus hat and gloves   He flew along the paths of kinder with great ease but held back so not to cause me to increase my pace when in reality he could of left me for dead at any moment. Running along the more technical paths of kinder in the snow was great fun and the views stunning.
The ascent up to Win Hill proved tough for me. This was my 4th ultra in 8 days and it was beginning to show. Dave and Stuart went ahead and I eventually joined them on the summit   We descended off the summit together and ran to Hope's train station with Stuart where he would leave us   Myself an David ran the out and back to Edale completing in total just over 27 miles ( there I say 27 tough hilly miles ) we drove to Bradwell and showered at Karens before driving to South Normanton to pick my sister and niece up to take them to the Runfurther party in Sheffield    After the runfurther party we drove back to my sisters to sleep the night before driving to Stratford upon Avon the next morning to run ultra 51

Dave C on Mam Tor Ridge looking over to Kinder

Rushup Edge

Rushup Edge


Ultra 51 Broadmeadow Trail Marathon

Ultra 51 was the Broadmeadow trail marathon.  The route was more bridleway or should I say old railway lines turned into cycleways. We arrived there at 0800 for a 0900 start and the route was pretty confusing. Lots of out and backs to the race start ( an old railway carriage converted into a cafe. I clocked it as 27so decided to run a further mile to bring it up to 28 with the route being pretty flat.) I completed the 27 miles in 4hrs 26.  What was interesting in the mild conditions opposed to the Edale skyline was as I felt my long sleeve top was far too warm  I saw people running in 200 weight full zip fleeces and others in bandanna's pulled up round their noses! And one guy in an 800 fill down jacket !!!!!!
And no they weren't training for the MDS or Badwater. Just very cold they reckoned !!!


I am currently in Egypt at the moment sunbathing in 27 degrees writing this on my iPhone ( using the chance to catch up with my blog at last. Friday I return back to the UK. Friday night I go over to the lake District in anticipation of the 'Tour de Helvelyn ' which commences Saturday morning. Last year it was freezing cold with thick snow. This week I have been running 3-6 miles daily in pretty warm conditions. Ultra 52 is going to be a shock to the system ;0)!!!!!!

Tour De Helvelyn

Unfortunately I arrived back from Egypt with food poisoning so TDH was 'out of the window' but there are still 9 days left of 2012... watch this space......

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Ultras 45--47

Ultra 45 Hardmoors 55 Recce

The Weekend after the Palermo Marathon was to be a double Ultra weekend. Saturday a 55 Recce and Sunday a Hardmoors Osmotherley Trail Marathon Recce.

I picked David Cremmins up pretty early Saturday morning and drove over to Cold Kirby (North York Moors) The route started with running  a few road  miles  up to High Paradise Farm to pick up the Hardmoors 55 reverse route, back through Cold Kirby (refuelled at the car) to Helmsley taking notes along the way for the new race route description. It was a pretty cold day and stopping often to add notes to my iphone then sprinting off to try to get warm turned the run into a huge interval session. Once at Helmsley we had a quick coffee at a cafe and set off on the 5-6 mile journey repeating the route but in reverse back to Cold Kirby and the car.

Towards the end of the run it started to get dark much to Davids delight! He had just bought the Petzl Nao, a pretty expensive headtorch which corrects the amount of light emitted (or should I say lumen's) to the amount light there is already available (streetlight, other headtorchs )Apretty powerful headtorch. David jumped at the chance to wear it and he acted like an excitable puppy!!!  On arriving in Cold Kirby we bumped into Gerry Orchard (Osmotherley Phoenix organiser) (lives n Cold Kirby) he invited us for a coffee at   his caravan (his house is being rebuilt at the moment) I forget the exact number but he has ran over150 completions of the Lyke Wake !!!! (the Lyke Wake is a tough hilly 42 mile route across the North York Moors from Osmotherley to Ravenscar)

The route is beautiful and a pleasure to run on and no I'm not bias ;0)

Oh just to prove Ive been stretching between runs ;0)

Ultra 46  Osmotherley Trail Marathon Recce

The Following day I met up with David C, Garry Scott and Mark Dalton to run the Osmotherley Trail Marathon Route ( The Osmotherley Trail Marathon route is the first Trail Marathon of the Hardmoors 26.2 series) I had run this as an ultra by sticking a couple of miles on twice before. Once on my own and the second time with Garry Scott. The second time  while out running the course we could see some oppurtunities for improving the route. So we were back again to get elevation data and exact mileage plus a feel for the course.

There had been some pretty heavy downpours during the night before and the course was pretty wet and
muddy in  places which slowed us down but we had a great run.
Garrys skin's tights kept working their way down so in the end he took them off and ran in his underwear until 8 miles later we reached a strategically parked car (Mark's) at Lords Cafe and he put his waterproof trousers on (it was a very cold day) I changed my top for a merino wool one and we set off over the Cleveland Hills. Dropping off the back of Cringle Moor I took a decent a bit too quick which left me hobbling about at the bottom after I felt a twang in my calf.
Several hills later we had ran out of food and were bloody hungry. Darkness yet again came upon us and I ran across Carlton Bank without headtorch ahead of the others to preserve my night vision. David had put his new headtorch on at the first available oppurtunity and belittled Mark's and Garry's headtorches power.
(we'll get the last laugh don't you worry won't we lads ;0)) )

The day had been a good one and we covered 28miles in total and ascended over 4000ft

Pictures courtesy of Garry Scott

Ultra 47 Frostbite 30

The Frostbite 30 was a new race for 2012. A 30 mile circular race open to solo runners and relay teams. Set around Nidderdale in Yorkshire (slightly outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park but by far an equal of any of the areas found in the Yorkshire Dales.) T Rob Jarman was the race director and what a fantastic job he did as well! A really well organised event in a stunning location.

I picked David up and drove through to Pately Bridge (the race start) I met up with Garry when we got there and had a chat with Rob as well as various other runners including Andy Norman and Sarah Booth who both looked vibrant (young love and all that ;0) ) We piled outside for the race start..
I wasnt  taking any chances. My knees and calf was taped up with Rocktape (this stuff performs miracles!!) I was wearing Compression calf guards and warmed up/stretched before the event (My calf had been giving me a lot of pain throughout the week and was I very unsure if it would hold out for the duration of the  race.)

left to right David C, Garry Scott. Me, Andy Norman

 Pic nicked of Sarah Booth ;0)

I took it very steady for the first couple of miles. Strangly I felt strong on the climbs and had a great run through the first 14-15 miles. The views throughout the dale where breathtaking but underfoot there was quite a bit of ice which made progress a little slower.

The route was well marked and several hours later I found myself pushing hard to get in under 5hours (my original target was 6 hours) The last mile was tough  and seemed to drag on forever. Eventually I reached the finish with Dave in 4hrs 59 mins taking joint 20th place, Garry had ran fantastically and came in just over 4hrs and only narrowingly missed 3rd place!

I caught up with Rob and had another chat before searching for a chip shop which may be open, and of course all 2 of them where shut!

The Frostbite 30 is a great event and I truly reccomend it for 2013!!