Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Scafell Pike Trail Marathon

It's the height of British summer time, so the weekend weather of constant rain, blustery winds and grim grey weather was of no surprise. I'd entered the Scarfell Pike Trail Marathon ad hoc and consequently had no expectations. Over the previous couple of weeks, I was still feeling Zugspitz in my legs and so treating the Trail Marathon as a training run seem pretty sensible. 

It's a 27 mile race with approximately 1700m of ascent in the Lake District. In fact, Scafell Pike is England's highest mountain and I was excited to be racing to the summit and back down.

 There was plenty of chance to warm up as the first few miles are flat following the trails along Derwent water and a chance to find and settle into you pace, just before a change in tempo as the climbing starts through Borrowdale. A short taster to get the calves working and ready for Scafell. The weather proved testing, causing the rocks to be greasy and every opportunity to slip and slide your way to the summit. Anyone who is familiar with Scarfell Pike, will know of the corridor route with the boulders and the technical terrain nearer the top which is pretty incessant. I took a total of four falls during the course of the race, the most epic being on the drop off the summit in the boulder field. It shook my confidence on the rock and in the shoes that I was wearing, so I gingerly limped my way off the mountain for 15 mins before the pain and fear subsided. I managed, eventually, to get into my groove again, yet I had lost a lot of time. It is a difficult descent passing broad crag and heading for Esk Hause and Sty head. The difficulty is with the changing terrain and simply not being able to get complacent or take your eye off the ground. It's the English mountains at their best, there is nothing manicured about the tracks and limited obvious path at times. The race requires some navigation on the way up, over and off the summit, however the marshals had helpfully put a few flags en route as the clag was down which meant some of the mental work alleviated and folk could concentrate on staying upright in the wind, up on feet on the boulders and move quick enough so as not to develop hypothermia. Ok Ok, I may be being dramatic here! 

I believed I'd lost so much time that I was soon to be caught by the ladies behind, so I resigned myself to my fate and was happy to have not sustained any serious injuries, reminded myself it was a training run and enjoyed the rest of my time on the course. Beautiful forest, running alongside waters edges, paths, roads, tracks and grateful that I was feeling fresh enough to keep plodding on wards. 

There is a sting in the tail in this race up to Watendlath so if you've left it all on Scafell then you'll struggle over the last hour or so on the approach to the finish. I think my time lost earlier through superficial injuries had in fact, ensured that I didn't push it too hard too early and found that I had plenty left to push on over the latter stages. 

I was shocked to have finished first lady given my attitude to it being a training race and certainly had not expected to win. I'm not going to complain, the trophy is amazing, it's a firm reminder of the rocks that I had been breaking my neck on all day long. 

Super race High Terrain events
Thanks Raidlight UK for supplying my trusty kit
And a special thanks to My coach Martin for your wise and trusted knowledge

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Comedy in Ultrarunning

I first met Nadeem in 2013, at the IAU world championships in Wales UK. Who is this guy? Well, he's a member of the committee for the International Association of Ultra Runners (IAU). His primary role is the director of communications (among others) and he's certainly a character to spend some time communicating with as he's a warm, welcoming and modest individual. He's also knows a think or two about ultra running given that he's ran twice for Canada in the 24 hour World Championships (Taipei in 2006 and Drummondville in 2007).  I was lucky to catch him during his visit to Manchester in the UK this weekend as he's usually based in Canada.

So, what is the IAU?
Simply put, it's an association that is focused on developing Ultradistance running internationally within the IAAF rules and regulations. It aims to promote and develop long distance running world wide.

There is no doubt that ultra running has experienced a BOOM and more and more folk are discovering the beauty of the sport, particularly the trail running within the sport. For what is 'hot', races, news and general up to date what's occurring in the international world of the sport, then it's certainly worth a visit to the site and peruse at your leisure. International Association of Ultra Runners

We spend some time at the local comedy club, Ultra runners share a wonderful mentality, no matter your individuality and diversity there is a knowing and understanding that only UR share, Joe Blogs struggles to 'get it' at best. I'm wasn't sure if the crude (and funny for us locals) Manchester comedy scene is ready for the USA sense of humor, however, it was great to see Nadeem enjoying some nostalgic comedy and enjoying his experience.

Thank you Comedy Store Manchester for a great evening and IAU for supporting and promoting the Sport.