Posts Tagged ‘ultramarathon’

LEJOG

Friday, October 16th, 2020 | Family & Parenting, Sport

With COVID forcing everything to go virtual, for this year’s father’s day, we got my dad the Land’s End to John o’ Groats running challenge. It is a 1,744.2 kilometre ultramarathon that winds its way up the UK via a needlessly indirect route and we undertook it as a family.

We set a 140-day (20-week) target. Early days went well because I was polishing off the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee and even when I stopped running as much everyone else was crushing it. This included a week where my parents walked about 100 miles around Flamborough that pushed us even further ahead.

In the end, we finished in 103 days, 5 weeks ahead of schedule. The biggest contribution came from my dad who filed 542.8 km of the distance himself. We finished it off with a socially-distanced walk using a WhatsApp video call.

GVRAT buckle

Friday, August 7th, 2020 | Sport

One of less good bits about virtual races is that it tackles a while for your medal to turn up. Or, in the case of the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee, your buckle.

Buckles are a common alternative to medals in ultramarathons it would seem. It’s nice. I don’t have any belts where I can change the buckle (I don’t have many belts, to be honest), but it’s no less useless than a medal and probably higher in sentimental value.

Grand Canyon medal

Tuesday, July 14th, 2020 | Sport

Last month I completed the Grand Canyon virtual ultra, a 450 km run in 28 days. It makes a bit of time for the medal to turn up, but it’s well worth it: Conquerer does the nicest medals of any race I’ve done.

EveryMayDay medal

Sunday, July 12th, 2020 | Sport

Back in March, I took part in the Every-May-Day 10k for the WHO’s COVID-19 relief fund. We ended up hitting our target of raising £10,000 and felt pretty good about ourselves. Especially with this awesome video put together to remember the event:

That was it, I assumed. But last week this dropped through my door:

A lovely surprise addition to my collection!

Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee

Saturday, July 11th, 2020 | Sport

When COVID-19 struck and everything started getting cancelled, Barklay Marathons organiser Laz Lake stepped up and announced a 1,000 km Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee. Of course, it was Laz, so the distance was actually 1,022 km, but then it would be somewhat unreasonable to expect Tennessee to be exactly 1,000 km from the south-west corner to the northeast corner.

I entered the race in order to get the t-shirt, intending to make it halfway. But then I signed up for the EveryMayDay 10k Challenge and by the time I had completed that I was 40% done and thought I might as well finish the thing.

Runners need to average 8.3 km per day to make it by the 31 August deadline. 10 km gets you there three weeks early, though, and I thought I better do that in case I got COVID-19 and couldn’t get out of bed for three weeks. Then I realised that one additional kilometre, 11 km per day, would get me there on 1 August, and a double run the day before would allow me to finish in July, within three months of the race start. Things spiralled out of control from here.

Days: 69
Average distance per day: 14.81 km
Position: 2,174 / 19,605 (provisional)
Biggest effort: 86 km at Endure24
Recovery days (sub-10k): 2
Calories burnt: 74,080
Weight lost: None

I ran most of the miles in my Nike Next% shoes, with some easier miles in my Hoka Clifton 6s when the Next%’s speed-over-comfort approach became too much for my poor feet to bear.

The elite runners managed to complete the course in less than two weeks, and have since done BAT (Back Across Tenessee) and Race That Never Ends (the 3x crossing), but I am perfectly content with a single. Especially with a surprise Ironman now less than seven weeks away.

Grand Canyon virtual ultra

Wednesday, June 24th, 2020 | Sport

Just as my medal arrived for Hadrian’s Wall, yesterday I crossed the finish line on the Grand Canyon challenge. This one was somewhat longer: 450 km but with all the running I am doing for GVRAT, I managed to get through it in 28 days. Pretty happy with that.

Hadrian’s Wall medal

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020 | Sport

I finished the Hadrian’s Wall virtual ultra three weeks ago. Yesterday, my medal arrived. I’m impressed by the quality. It looks great, has a chunky feel with the cut-out edges at the bottom and a lovely soft strap.

Endure24 NHS

Monday, June 15th, 2020 | Sport

With COVID-19 cancelling this year’s Endure24, the organiser’s created a virtual version to raise funds for the NHS Charities. I only found out about the race a few days before but it sounded fun so I thought I would give it ago.

The race takes place from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday with the object being to run as far as you can. I set my car up as a basecamp with spare clothing, food and drink. I spent Friday night testing out potential routes and decided on one up the call and down Kirkstall Road, giving me a 5 km loop where I could return to the car each time for nutrition.

I started by running the first four laps before taking my first break. After that, I ran another two laps, then switched from my Nikes to my Hokas for a bit of added cushioning while I walked the next two laps. By this point, it was 6 pm, so I started cooking tea (there’s no escape from parenting) while I ran another swift 5 km before taking a proper break to eat.

I managed another three loops but by this point, my hip was starting to hurt. At 10 pm, I decided to walk a final two laps as the sun went down.

At midnight, I headed home to grab some food and get some sleep before getting up at 6 am. Between being wired and in pain, I didn’t get much sleep, but that’s pretty standard after a long day. I managed to get a bit of breakfast in me and back running again just after 6:30 with a best-case scenario of running another six laps. I ran the first two, but my hip was increasingly unhappy and by the third loop my run, turned to walk, was a slow limp so I decided it was time to throw in the towel.

In total, I managed 86.44 km. Not bad for my first 24-hour race. Fair play to everyone who managed 100 miles, which is almost twice what I managed. As the time of writing, the JustGiving page has raised £17,602 for NHS Charities Together.

EveryMayDay 10k challenge

Sunday, May 31st, 2020 | Sport

Every day this month, a team of runners (including myself) have been running 10km each day to raise money for the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Relief Fund. We are aiming to reach £10,000 and, at time of writing, are already over £9,000.

Click here to support us on JustGiving.

It’s been a tough month. I don’t run anywhere near 70km a week, so it was a big uplift. Typically, they say do not increase your mileage by more than 10%. But if anyone actually did that, how would ultramarathons get done? I did take it easy at the start: most limiting myself to 10km and some days were super slow. Every run involved some running, but some “recovery dates” were mostly walking.

Towards the end, I picked up the distance a bit as I wanted to reach 400 km total for the month (I am also clocking up mileage for the Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee). So, the final week was made up of a lot of 15 km runs and reaching 401 km by today meant I have averaged just under 13 km per day. Not bad, although nothing compared to the superhumans I was running with, several of whom knocked out marathons today.

My body has mostly held up. I’ve been done strength and stretching exercises every day. My left ankle is not happy but it does not feel serious. I can still run on it once I warm up. Calf muscles are fine. Mostly, I am just tired. I think I have been eating enough and I have gone through several cases of energy drinks, but I still find I am lacking energy. I haven’t lost any weight, either.

Well done to everyone who completed the challenge and thanks for your support. It has been a pleasure running with you all.

Hadrian’s Wall virtual ultramarathon

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020 | Sport

On Monday, I finished the Hadrian’s Wall virtual ultramarathon. 144.8 km in 11 days. But, before I brag too much, there are a couple of caveats.

It was a virtual event, so it’s not like running a real ultra: you get to sleep in your own bed each night and have plenty of recovery time between runs.

Second, I’m already running the Great Virtual Race Across Tennesse. Both events explicitly say you can run in two virtual races at the same time, so I decided to join this one in case I fail to finish GVRAT, which has a strict cut-off and much longer distance.

Full disclosure over, I’m looking forward to my medal turning up.