Taking on the Ridgeway 85 Ultra

Well I finally did something this week that I had been pondering for sometime I sent off my completed entry form for the Ridgeway 85 mile ultra.

This 85 mile event is run along a 5000 year old trackway (Ridgeway national trail) through the Chiltern Hills and North Wessex Downs (along Grim’s Ditch for several miles), Barbury Castle and Liddington Castle (hill forts) are en route and with 9,000 feet of ascent (2731m) it surely will be a formidable challenge.

This event takes place over the weekend of 28th and 29th August (Bank Holiday) and it has been given a very good write up both from an organisation standpoint and personal challenge. A fellow ultra runner I know (Johnny Hall) also completed the race last year and he said it really is a race you must do. Given that this race is a little over 5 weeks after the Lakeland 50 mile event I am nervous about recovering sufficiently to take this on. However at the moment my first task will be to log some serious mileage over the next 3-4 months as I will be looking to finish this race under 24 hours.

I still haven't given up hope yet of maybe booking up one more ultra race this year, it will most likely be the 50 or 100 mile race at Caesars Camp although you never know what might happen! I will also be setting up shortly my charity sponsorship page very shortly for a very worth cause so please watch this space for more details.

As for now I am looking to get to bed as I am out early doors for a long run tomorrow! So need to go and get the Camelbak ready. Gotta get the miles in!

Happy Running! ~RS

Brentwood 1/2 Marathon. Sun 21/03/2010.

Last Sunday I joined over 1,800 runners at the Brentwood Half Marathon. This popular event, organised by the Rotary Club of Brentwood à Becket, is now in its 29th year and has raised well over £870,000 for Local, National and International Charities, plus much more through runners' own sponsorship for their own causes.

I originally aimed for a sub 1:45 today - a 15 minute PB, as the training tempo runs over 8-10 miles were showing that I could comfortably hold a 7:45-8:00 minute mile pace. However I would be happy with a sub 1:50 if things didn't turn out as expected. Just before I found a position in the middle of the crowd I realised my Polar Footpod was dead. Suddenly I was filled with doubt about how to measure my pace. I took the pod off and zipped it into my shorts pocket and instead I would have to feel how fast I was going. Note for next time "always check battery before race".

The gun went off, and the runners started to fill the streets. As we hit the 3 mile mark where the first water stations are I grabbed a bottle of water and I looked down at my clock time and it read 23 minutes. Right on schedule with a 7:40 minute mile pace. The sun then decided to come out and I knew that things were about to get tougher but I would hold this pace for as long as I could.

I hit mile 6 in 47:45, right on track but started to feel the sun bearing down on my all black running gear and with the hills ahead I knew that I was going to suffer if I tried to hold this pace. The support from the local communities at this race is always amazing, cheering on all the runners that pass through. I hit the 8 mile mark in 1:05:21 showing that my pace had dropped to around 8:10 minute miles.

The next 3 miles seemed to drag and I knew that I was tiring as the hills had taken their toll on the legs and as I hit the 11 mile mark in 1:31:27 I knew that I wasn't going to hit the 1:45 but I still could make sub 1:50. However at the 11 mile water station a marshall told me to take off my earphones stating it was against the rules. I was not happy about this but grudgingly agreed (to be discussed in a future post).

I powered up the last remaining hills towards the finish line with every fibre buring in the quads I kicked to the finish with a gun time of 1:51:20. I checked the official results later on and was very pleased to see that I had clocked 1:49:34.

All the family was at the finish line to meet me and and it was a great feeling to have bagged a new PB. It will be short lived I hope as there is another opportunity in 3 weeks time if I choose run the Paddock Wood Half marathon. Then I will be totally focused on the Ultras coming up over the Summer. Sometimes it's good fun just to go fast!


Amazing phone call.

Hi everyone,

Well it is 10:40pm on Sunday and I was just thinking about going to bed when I thought that I just had to briefly mention a conversation I had during this past week with a very inspirational person. That person is Alex Flynn.

Now you may not have heard about Alex but he is an amazing endurance athlete! He has done half-marathons, marathons, ultra marathons such as the Ridgeway 85 challenge (one I would like to do this year), he is shortly about to embark on competing in one of the toughest footraces on earth "The Marathon Des Sables - 7 day 250km Sahara race" and looking to take part in the "London Marathon", "Grand Union Canal race" (145 miles) and Spartathlon (152 miles in 35hrs) and that's just this year!

He also has Parkinson's disease.

I first heard of Alex through another endurance athlete on Twitter (Johnny Hall). I emailed Alex my contact number through his website www.alexflynn.co.uk after exchanging tweets and fortunately for me he made time in his busy schedule to talk to me for 30 minutes early last week.

During that phone call I must say he was the most down to earth, motivating and inspirational person I have spoken to in a long time. He was just as interested in my experiences/challenges as he was talking about his own. His philosophy on life is exactly what I aspire too, "Make every day count". I was so appreciative that Alex called me and I hope that I have the pleasure of talking to him again and hopefully meet up for a race/challenge or two!

If you want to know more about Alex and the charity www.cureparkinsons.org.uk he is raising awareness and much needed money for please visit his website www.alexflynn.co.uk

Good night folks!