For those of us who enjoy the pain of running stupidly long distances, and pushing our body and minds to the edge, check out the inaugural Titanic Ultra on 8th September 2013. Distances from 25k to 101k.
There is no denying that 52 miles, across trail, rough ground, over streams, through mud and mountains is tough. Saturday’s heat made the Mourne Way Ultra marathon even more extreme with constantly trying to drink enough a real challenge. After the first 26 miles of snacking on everything from flapjacks, and fruit cake to energy gels, my halfway treat of chicken and noodle soup was an absolute luxury, and the extra salt, and my secret ingredient of chia seeds (tarahumara staple, see ‘Born to Run’), seemed to perk me up. It was at this 26 mile turnaround point that I was filmed taping my tender foot with duck tape by Extreme 26’s camera man – if that makes it to the video it may not be pleasant viewing. The return was understandably challenging, and I found myself digging deep to cope with some dark places, but the support, especially from the passing marathoners was excellent. With a limited amount of training a run/walk approach was my only option, and it seemed to work, striding out (or hobbling) up the climbs and taking breaks from running the flat sections. After over 12 hours I stumbled through the finish, and felt more of an achievement that in any other run, having made it to the end, in the heat, and with only moderate preparation. An excellent event, and a big thank you to the organisers 26 Extreme for another excellent race, and all the volunteers manning the hot, midge filled, drinks stations.
The Silent Valley Race 2013 was really tough, and check out the NIMRA site for a full, detailed write up. The winning time was 1 hour 43, which was truly epic considering the snow, the sleet, and later in the race for us slower runners, the driving, heavy rain. For me personally, it was a tough slog, cold and wet and the climbs up Slieve Binnian, Doan, and the final, Slievenaglogh showed me that I’m far from mountain fit – but what a great event. I managed to record some of the run, as video and stills, so expect some shaky footage on youtube in the next few days. Thanks to all the organisers for arranging such a great race, and for the heroic volunteers standing and sitting for hours in lonely locations in the cold and rain – just hearing someone shout ‘you’re doing well’ makes all the difference. A final thank you for the hot ribena, and cakes from the ladies serving up the goodies at the end, it may just have saved my life 🙂
Its 48 hours before the Wicklow Ultra begins. Its time to check, and re-check weather and kit, and avoid anyone with any signs of having, had, or could-possibly-get, a cold. Personally I love the slight nervous excitement, of waiting for a big distance race: all training ceases, no last minute runs are going to improve fitness, its all about drinking and eating well, and getting your head in the right place. Mental toughness, as described by Peter Clough, is made up of 4 psychological attributes, control, challenge, commitment and confidence. Those runners, whether slow or fast, must surely show strengths in all such attributes to commit to, and achieve, the training and the racing in all weathers, and such extended distances. So, with probably too little training, and an expectation that the beauty of the Irish Wicklow mountains will throw some surprises including wet weather early on Saturday morning, I’ll be at the start with a few fast, confident runners and many, like me, just giving the 32 miles their best shot.
The opening ceremony was fantastic, only the Brits could produce something so unique – and a ceremony that captured a nations history, collective humour and strength. A great start to the Olympics and already followed up by a well earned silver and bronze from Armistead and Adlington.