Let’s sign up for a 100k Race!

In this blog, you will learn! 

  • What am I looking for in a race 
  • How I researched this race
  • What race I am doing
  • Why I am doing this race

How are you all doing?

Well, it’s that time of year again, in the U.K our nights are getting darker earlier. I would say it’s getting wetter, but it’s been a pretty wet year already! 

This time, last year I decided it would be fabulous to enter a 50k Ultra Marathon run! Which seemed very daunting at the time and to be honest, still is! In the spirit of “Do something that scares you” and “Carpe Diem”. It’s time to book a 100k race! It’s time to do something that scares me.

What am I looking for in a race?

Something not too technical or lumpy for my first 100k, with my 2022 and 2023 goals in mind I felt like this event had just the right amount of elevation for the distance. I have to come to terms with the distance before I challenge myself further with elevation. 

Which is quite reserved for me! Let’s not throw ourselves too much into the deep end.. yet.

How I researched this race

We kids now do everything first and foremost with a Google search right?! 

I’ve had the pleasure of supporting Skippy on her 50k event (which is where the seed was planted) and 100k event, with the same event organisers.

I have spent hours on the below website’s and more…

Websites used; 

https://findarace.com/ultra-marathons

https://www.ukultra.co.uk/

http://www.ultramarathonrunning.com/races/uk.html

What race I am doing

The Ultra Challenge Jurassic Coast 100k race. Please see the below web site. Having spent a couple of days supporting Kate at her events, I have got to know the setup and what to expect from the Ultra Challenge team. It reduces another thing to worry about on the day. I can rock up the night before eat, sleep and get up and run. Simple as that.  

https://ultrachallenge.com/jurassic-coast-challenge/

Coast path along Jurassic Coast in Dorset, UK.

Why I am doing this race

Firstly to raise awareness for the Alzheimers Society. Secondly to challenge me. I am very much project-driven, I need something to occupy my week’s away from the normal working life. If I know I have to get ready for a big run, those rainy, cold days running in December are worth it. Having only ever played football and the furthest I’d have run was maybe 4.5miles in one go before. To have achieved a 31 mile (50k) run three times this year (one being 55k), what else is possible?

There are two expressions I now live by;

“We go again” and “left foot, right foot, repeat”.

When life is getting you down, go again, fight again.

When you’re struggling and can’t see the woods for the tree’s, remember to put that left foot after that right foot and repeat. You will get there.

Good day to you all,

Rich x

As with all my challenges, there is a just giving page…

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/trekkingtweedultra?fbclid=IwAR0GDw_x_9UfeYiHB68KhCAqNexjG4Ch7QcRvHrQ9u2FINp2hxKH5J_14O4

The Cotswold Way, Completed mate…

Hello trekkers, hows it going?

It has taken a minute, but we got there.

It’s with great pride that I can tell you I have completed this route over several runs, several lockdowns and several months! But still, I ran from the start at Chipping Campden to the finish in Bath! Considering I couldn’t complete Wainwright’s coast to coast walk, I am very proud of this achievement.

Outside Bath Abbey

What started as a tiny training idea, became an amazing journey to Bath, across some of the most quintessentially British scenes the country has to offer.

But enough of my written ramblings, you’d like to see the scenes with your eyes, wouldn’t you? As luck would have it, I managed to capture my journey with my little GoPro. There’s a link to the video below…

I’d love to hear your Cotswold Way stories, hit me up in the comments.

On to the next adventure!

Have a great day all!

TT

What is a Wainwright? (Free Tracker too)

Hello my fell bagging beauties. If you already know about Wainwright’s, please feel free to skip, if you’re not in the know, read on, I’ve kept it quick and easy…

Now when I say wainwright’s, I am not talking about a skilled tradesperson, who makes and repairs wagons. I am talking about summiting the 214 English peaks (fells) the main man Alfred Wainwright described in his seven-volume pictorial guide to the Lakeland Fells, way back in the ’50s & ’60s!

Here’s a link to the world of books website, which has a great selection of AF’s works. Don’t get addicted now.

It’s the ultimate peak-bagging adventure, at the time of writing, I have only bagged 49 out of the 214! There’s literally a long way to go!

How many have you bagged?

Taking in the information from AF’s Coast to coast book, whilst walking the C2C!

The FREE 214 Wainwrights Tracker is at the bottom of the post, get scrolling!

Did you know?
All but one fell is over 1000ft (304.8m) in height, that fell is Castle Crag.

There’s all kinds of ways to track how many you have “bagged”, log books, apps, websites, framed maps, even the good old spreadsheet, like the one below. Please feel free to click the link and download. If I’ve attached it correctly!

Have a great day, feel free to send me your wainwright bagging stories and pictures!

The next Joe Rogan??

Here’s something a little different to the channel and long overdue! I wanted to sit down, with the normal folk, the people you work with, the people that once the factory bell goes, slip into their running, swimming, cycling, climbing, football, go-karting gear and get out there.

Filmed back in Lockdown 45, on the 22nd of March, I sat down (over zoom) with the myth, the man, the legend, Phil Brown! A husband, a father and an Iron man triathlete, amongst other things! We discuss all of the above and more! Get comfortable and enjoy this pilot episode!

Give him a follow… @mutant_strain_triathlete

Let me know what you think! I’d love any pointers and possible guests!

My first Ultra Marathon

Well, here we are, running a 50k Ultra Marathon. Would you have guessed it? I thought my running days were long gone, now I’m running 3 times a week and I’m in decent shape, not bad for a chap in his mid-’30s. 

The idea started around a table, with Martin Wing and his wife Fiona, thanks, guys! That afternoon I’d entered to Race in the Malverns at a distance of 50k, months and months ahead. All is good. 

Cut a long story short (documented on my Couch to Ultra Marathon Runner Youtube series, if you are bored!). The training has been done, the race has been cancelled and referred to next year, the ITB injury is gone, now all we need to decide is where and when. Do I decide to sign up for another race or just run the damn thing?

I chose to just run the damn thing. There was some method to my madness, however. I ideally wanted to get the 50k done during May, this would aid my plans for the summer and early Autumn months. Most of the races have been put back to September time and I just couldn’t wait till then to do it! That would have been a year of training! 

A few routes had been tossed back and forth, I then decided to head back to my old training ground during Christmas, which was to continue onwards to Bath, along the Cotswolds Way. 

With the logistics sorted, head over to the video to SEE how it went…

Below are some details (but not too many details) of my kit and food for the day. 

Pre Show Fuel

  • Sweet potato burgers and salad, 2 nights before.
  • Meatballs and Pasta, the night before. Kept quite light.
  • Oats and blueberries in the morning.

My kit

  • Altra Lone Peak 4.5 & 5’s, swap over if wet at checkpoints.
  • 2 x 500ml Soft Flask – Containing Tailwind
  • 2-litre Hydration Bladder – Containing Tailwind
  • 2 x Montane technical t-shirt
  • 2 x Ronhill running shorts
  • 3 x Injinji running socks
  • Body glide & Vaseline
  • Vicks
  • Emergency kit (blisters, survival bag etc)
  • Spare battery pack
  • North Face Hat
  • Buff
  • Inov 8 Stormshell
  • Fuel – Baby food, bars and sandwiches

Recovery Fuel

  • Huel – Berry flavour (3 Scoops)
  • Tofu Scramble
  • Bottle of Cobra Beer
  • Electrolytes and Water (750ml)

Thanks for tuning in.

I am now looking for suggestions on projects/challenges to do in the future and I’d love to hear any you would like me to do. 

Please feel free to let me know! 

Peace and Love 

Rich

Kate brought me a medal!!, for my original route along the Malverns! I like to change my plans! sorry Kate!

I want to see mountains again! Get me to Kinder Scout.

Why did I leave you? I want your love back.

If you are like me, you have a few hobbies. They like life, get in the way. But life finds a way. 

After a few years of hitting the Welsh and Lake District mountains, I found myself involved with Football, the good old English game, kickboxing, performing in a band, and brewing beer at home. With the obligatory two jobs thrown in there too. Sadly my dear friend hiking took a back seat. 

But as time evolved, a natural desire for the mountains grew ever stronger, and stronger.

So in May 2018, with the weight of the world on my shoulders, my brain spinning with life’s many issues, I decided to declutter the loft. As one does!

Who doesn’t love a good decluttering session? Me more than most I feel!

Can you guess what was in the tote box labeled “Camping gear”?

The old dogs still going strong in 2021!

The old faithful dogs, the Salomon boots I purchased at the age of 19 (Two years ago ;-)), they don’t make boots like these anymore, literally, the weather battered and looking nothing short of damn comfortable old dogs. You know that look, broken in and ready to roll.

They looked up at me like a puppy who hasn’t seen its owner all day (or years, that poor puppy). “Where have you been?”, “I have been here in this tote box waiting to be unleashed, waiting to be knee-deep in a bog. Waiting to scramble up towards the Kinder Plateau and come face to face with the Duke of Devonshire’s gamekeepers”. 

It’s not Sunday, April 24th, 1932 but we are ready to do this.
The inspiration for this particular hike is linked below, be careful though. You will want to leave the house and head to the Peak District for the weekend. Like you need an excuse anyway, you’ve been locked up for a year, but you have been warned!

http://kindertrespass.org.uk/kinder-mass-trespass-history

Hike Itinerary

  • Bottle of water
  • A couple of breakfast bars
  • Map
  • Screenshot of the route
  • Post code for the car park
  • The old dogs
  • Lowe Alpine back pack from the “Enraged” band days
  • Sunnies
  • New York Yankees hat

I am ready for the drive from Manchester to Hayfield. The weather is clear and sunny, yes really, it is clear and sunny.

The Route

The Route

Time: 5-6 hours

Distance: 8 miles (12.8km

Difficulty: Challenging

Map: Explorer OL1

Dog friendly: Yes, a few greeted me on this route!

On the way up!

Parking at the Bowden Bridge car park was easy enough and there’s a lovely little pub before the car park called the Sportsman Pub. No pub for me today, as I’m there early (ish) 8 am will do. No dawn raid this time either, more on dawn raids in future posts.

There’s a delightful leafy lane running alongside a river Kinder. There’s a slight incline up to Kinder Reservoir! You may see a lamb or two in the spring. My lungs are blowing and my calves are mooing, I’m no longer the fit 18-year old I once was. But the views open up of the reservoir, kinder plateau ahead, and the initial panting is rewarded. The walk along the water is beautiful and refreshing from the slight incline earlier.

Now we approach William Clough’s path with views of Leygate Head moor to the left and Sandy Heys to your right, you will part towards Sandy Heys at the top of William Clough in due course.

Looking back at where we first left.

Traversing Sandy Heys is something to savour in great weather, my shoulders are lifted of all issues. Mission Completed already. Breathe in the fresh air and break out some snacks for a very deserved break.

During the first half of the hike, I’d noticed I was sweating a fair bit, especially my lower back. As it turns out, the water bottle I was using was leaking, everywhere. Don’t worry, I had plenty to survive on! And looking back it was quite refreshing in the heat and continued to cool me down as my bag was wet too. I planned it, honest. 

“I want to see mountains again, Gandalf, mountains!” – J.R.R Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.

Did I see Kinder Downfall? Nope! Such was my ignorance back then and the fabulous weather, I missed it! One to revisit. 

Did I head in to Kinder Scout trig point? Nope, What Tweed?! “No Summit trig point Instagram banger selfie here”.

Did I head to Edale Cross and see the Cloughs, Jacobs Ladder, and Edale skyline? Nope, I cut the corner at Cluther Rocks and headed down in between Broad Clough and Kinderlow End. 

I was quite happy and content just walking along in the great weather, enjoying being out in the Peak District. 

Keep Dogs on Leads, they chew on Tweeds

The descent is easy going and you can gaze back and enjoy the route you’ve just walked. Hopefully, your knees will enjoy it more than mine. I like to go from doing no exercise to an 8-mile yomp, you’ll see a theme of this until I learn to be patient in 2021! 

I revisit this route on the below video, for a lovely mid-week wild camp on Sandy Heys, even saving a lamb from a bog. Superman pants to the ready. 

Mid week wildcamp, vistas, beers and a curry.

Where next I say as I drive home, where next?

COMING SOON: WALK UP THAT HILL, DAD!

The story of a fisherman’s goal to walk up a hill.

No puppies were hurt writing this blog.

Did somebody say? JustGive?

Everyone remembers their first hike.

Do you remember your first hike? I’d like to forget mine, just joking.

“What did you do at the weekend Tweed?”

“You went to Wales?! Are you mad?”

Whilst my memory is not the best, between my friends and I, we won’t forget this hike in a hurry, we are still shaking from the cold. I am not talking about the childhood adventures through streams and fields, thinking you are Indiana Jones with your parents. 

I am talking about two eighteen year old lads and their older, seemingly wiser pal loading up my newly purchased black Vauxhall Corsa and head off. We have all been there, rushing from work to get going to the hills. Lets hope the A5 traffic isn’t too bad. I don’t recall bad traffic but i recall being the only one sober in the car. Thankfully I was the one driving.

Did I mention? It’s February. There’s no romance this Valentines weekend. Only bromance, beers and mountains. There is freezing cold conditions, a tent in a farmers field and the warm arms of the pub around the corner. 

We wake, huddled together with a Newcastle brown ale induced hangover, a soaking wet tent floor, clearly between us and the tent, something has leaked! Fire up the stove and lets get amongst the howling wind and chilling snow.

Whilst this isnt the same weekend! As we didnt have camera phones or cameras back then, you get the Snowdon vibe!

The route

Start and Finish: Pen-y-pass to Snowdon Summit via the Pyg track.

Distance: 5.19km

Ascent: 704m

Time: 4 hours

Lets go

Of our party, the elder, known as Martin, is mountain leader. By mountain leader, i mean he’s been up here before and has checked todays weather at the hut. It’s safe enough he tells us, we are equipped with new boots and coats, no Reebok classics and tracksuit bottoms here. The lads have new coats, i have my dads trusty green wax coat. Map and compass ready, off to Cheltenham races we go…

I’d love to tell you about the epic snowdonia vistas, the views up to Crib Goch and below to Llyn Llydaw. But there were no views a plenty here! Just hard honest graft up the Pyg Track in freezing conditions with no visibility! After a few hours of slipping and sliding on well polished ice cover rock. We reach the summit of Snowdon. A quick ham and mustard sandwich and sip of orange squash and lets get back to our warm tent via the pub! On a side note, the green wax coat was heavy and has never been used again.

It’s safe to say the leaky tent went to the rubbish tip, our gear took days to defrost and dry out and need to get back to the mountains was amplified. Same again in two weeks time boys? Hell Yes!

If you’d like to tell me your first hike, leave a comment! Never hiked before, leave a comment too! 

I have Martin, searching his boxes at home for some footage from our first hike!
Here’s Crib Goch a few weeks later.

Run

Let’s start this thing at my lowest point. I am a few weeks away from the race. What race you say? “It’s the Malvern Ultra Marathon race held on the 1st of May 2021” I say. For the runners amongst us, if i say ITB injury, you’ll most likely know what i am referring too. For those who do not, head to Senior Google. Other search engines are available. Up until now I have been doing fine with injuries, or lack of injuries. So for the first time during my training i have not ran for two weeks, give or take a couple miles “testing and trying”. 

You join me on a Sunday morning, its 10am, I am about to go to my shed and record an update video for the youtube series I’ve been sharing. “Couch to ultra marathon runner”. Be a good sport and nip over to the channel subscribe, hit that bell, like and comment. Where I have documented the last few months fun and games training for you viewing pleasure, or pain. So back to this injury, practice what you preach Richie. Ive been preaching, “take your time”, “don’t jump your miles to quickly” and in my impatience with the world and flooding fields I rushed my furthest run to date. 20.5 miles. 

With the lacking of consistent bigger miles over the last few weeks, I have over worked my IT band on my left side. As you will gather from my grammar, I am no Bill Shakespeare, let alone trained running coach/runner/physio. I in fact typed grammar with an “e”. Welcome to my warts and all blog! 

So for my first nugget of wisdom, take your time and don’t rush into the bigger miles. Whether that’s going from 100 yards to a mile or 15 to 20 miles. Chill your beans and don’t get injured. You only end up sitting there wishing you were running half marathon’s with your cherished friends! Not that we can during lockdown number 3, but let’s not get to negative on our first entry. For those who don’t have the time to watch the hours of great footage on my channel, here’s a brief run down of events. My week has been split into 3 running sessions. 1 x intervals/hills, 1 x short run, 1 x long run. 1/2/3 sessions of strength and conditioning, which has over the last few weeks been intensified. In the beginning it was just some resistance band exercises for the glutei and hamstrings. In the coming entries I shall endeavour to elaborate on my activities if it would suit the reading public? For my first post, I shall leave it short, witty and full of positivity.