Over the last 12 months I’ve been thinking more and more about going back to my roots and therefore I have started to focus on trail and ultra racing again and for the last six months I have started to run a little more on the trails and I’ve entered a couple of races which I have done pretty well in . In 2012 I started walking in the Peak District with my two boxer dogs and completed a few walking challenges like the Lyke Wake Walk and the National 3 Peaks. It was while doing these challenges I came across the Lakeland 100 which coincided with my father in law getting diagnosed the cancer. I was instantly hooked on this event and I really wanted to challenge myself and see how far I could push myself which led me to think it would be a great idea to enter this race and try to raise some money for Cancer Research UK along the way. In 2013 I completed my first ultra race which was The Fellsman which is a high level traverse covering more than 60 miles over very hard rugged moorland. The event climbs over 11,000 feet in its path from Ingleton to Threshfield in the Yorkshire Dales. Followed by the Lakeland 100 ‘Ultra Tour of the Lake District’ which is one of the most spectacular long distance trail race which has ever taken place within the UK. The circular route encompasses the whole of the Lakeland Fells and includes in the region of 6300m of ascent. I managed to raise over £3,000 for Cancer Research UK.I never saw myself as a road runner and didn’t particular like running on the road. I went seeing a running coach to assist me with my ultra training but he thought I had a good running style that would be suited to racing on the roads. He believed with the correct training I would be able to run a sub 2hr 45 min road marathon on my first attempt which came as a real shock. I never thought I would be able to run this kind of time and was the deciding factor in me deciding to run on the road. I wanted to see what sort of times I would be able to run on the road and everyone I spoke too told me I had plenty of time to return to ultra running as you get better with age. I have spent the last two years solely focusing on marathon training which has led to me running times I never thought I would be capable of. My PB’s on the road currently stand at, 5k – 16:16, 10k – 33:24, 10mi – 55:46, 1/2 Marathon – 73:34, Marathon – 2:42:27. Looking back on the last couple of years I think I got slightly obsessed with chasing PB’s and didn’t head out in to the mountains during this period as I would only train on the flat to see how fast I could run each training session. This led to me turning down opportunities to run in the mountains and different ultra races I wanted to do but I always said that I would do them one day.
A few weeks ago we lost my father in law which still came as a real shock even though we were expecting the worst. This has really made me start to question a lot things in my life and more importantly made me think you have to do what you enjoy doing while you can as you never know what is around the corner. I was asked by a friend if I would swap completing the Lakeland 100 for a quicker marathon time? I quickly answered “not a chance but I would swap all my road PB’s for a quicker times on The Fellsman and Lakeland 100, current time on The Fellsman 12hrs 36min and The Lakeland 100, 36hrs 50min. This is another reason I have decided to go back to ultra and trail racing and focus on my passion, which is running in the mountains.
I have set my target races out as The Fellsman and the Lakeland 50 next year. I will start blogging about all of my training which will focus on improving my endurance and get used to spending time in the mountains to get my mountain legs back. I also have a kit list as long as my arm of gear I need to purchase to help me become an ultra runner again, so there will be one or two gear reviews along the way.
Hope you enjoy reading and following my journey.