ULTRA 52 was going to originally be the 'Tour De Helvelyn'. Accommodation had been booked and I was due to run with Mark Dalton, David Cremmins, Garry Scott and Tony Holland. A stomach bug (food poisoning??) put an end to that and I spent the weekend in bed. Ultra 52 had to be rearranged and time was of the essence leaving Boxing Day to be the only possible option.
Christmas day I was still in a decent amount of pain but I would just have to recover quickly or just suffer during the run. Early Boxing day morning I picked David Cremmins up from Knaresborough and drove to Beeford (Near Bridlington) To a good friends house, 'Steve Walker' (Steve used to be my running partner when I lived on the East Coast. We had ran various Ultras together other the years such as the Woldsman, West Highland Way Race, Highland Fling and a Bob Graham Attempt to name a few.) Steve regularly runs the Hardmoors 110 and 55 to keep his toe in the water so as to speak.
The plan was to drive to Skipsea and run on the beach plus cliff tops to Flamborough Head North Landing, via Bridlington, a total distance of 31 miles, majority on sand with dozens of steps up and down cliffs thrown in for good measure. The first 10 miles flew by, chatting about numerous things (I hadn’t seen Steve in person since he had supported me on the West Highland Way race in June so we had a lot to catch up on)
We stayed on the beach below Sewerby rather then taking the cliff tops and battled over the rocks which slowed progress. This didn’t seem to affect Steve as he kept on at his steady pace. Myself and Dave struggled to keep up. The coastal erosion is very much in evidence around these parts.We reached the half way point at Flamborough Head and ran to the bottom of the steep Lifeboat Launch slope before running back up to the top ( we had in previous years done reps on this in training for a BGR attempt and for my 2010 UTMB) I started to suffer on the return journey feeling very weak, just digging in deep to continue. Bridlington promenade was reached and 7-8 miles was left. 6-7 miles of the miles in sand with a headwind, not an easy proposition anytime never mind when your recovering from food poisoning. We had several drain outlets to cross which were now pretty deep with the tide coming in. The second crossing for me was waist deep and bloody cold!! And I’m 6ft 2. would have been over Andy Knowles’s head ;o))
The lads pushed on but waited for me for the last mile and we ran in together to the finish. It had been a fantastic run with stunning views and great company but the food poisoning had taken it out of me and the last 15 plus miles had been very tough. No regrets though, what better way to spend Boxing Day if it couldn’t be with Shirley.
The run had taken just over 6 hours. Earlier in the year (March) I had completed Ultra no 8 with Steve, running the same course in just under 5 hours but not taking the rocky beach section opting for cliff tops. Also while rereading the Ultra no 8 blog I had mentioned suffering with a tooth abscess before the run. A month or so later I had the tooth removed. A few days after Ultra 52, 2 tooth abscesses had started giving me a whole world of pain. I had a tooth removed on New Years Eve and some work on another tooth a couple of days later. ( in 2004 I had hit the back of a truck at 30mph while on my mtb with my face, in fact they found traces of paint from the van on my tongue, I had split my tongue in two, it had taken them about 8 hours to sew it back up. I had fractured my jaw from one end to the other, Broken my nose and had had some head injuries, my teeth had been wrecked from the accident, so every year I usually loose one or two or have to have work on them. Ultras in cold weather can usually bring on quite a bit of facial pain. The crash was 3 days before my second proposed Bob Graham Round attempt.
On the 5th January I ran the Scarborough Rock (a 25 mile LDWA event) I ended up doing over 26 miles due to several navigational mishaps (I was not alone in this) It was such a relief not to have to add 2 miles onto this to become an Ultra. The end of January I have the ‘Dubai’ Marathon.
My knees are back to normal, no pain, no rock tape or painkillers needed for either Ultra 52 or the Scarborough Rock. After my immune system has been lowered by the food poisoning I have caught my first head cold (man-flu) since last Christmas making yesterdays run pretty tough. I almost expected to become quite prone to illnesses/colds etc after the challenge was completed and my body would start to rest.
I will post a blog soon with some boring stats and an overview of 2012 plus what my 2013 challenges will be.
I had photos for this blog, but either blogger or my computer isnt playing ball and won't let me upload them to this blog. Sorry
Thanks for taking time to read my ramblings.
See you on the trails/roads