Tuesday, 4 December 2012

MCN Winter UB42

With a quick registration I treated myself to a beer and curry down the road then headed back to sort my gear out at the Outdoor centre. The room had an international feel to it, Peter from Denmark and Mark and Kevin, brothers from Ireland. We were all eager for the race start. Peter was doing his first Ultra after competing in some IronMans and amazingly Mark and Kevin were competing in their 11th Ultra this year. Their goal is to complete the 12th just before Christmas in their hometown. Good luck guys and great achievement.
Morning arrived too early. Why is it that everyone gets up way too soon? Relax. With the noise and the heat of the room it was pointless sleeping in so, I went down and had a bacon and sausage roll made by the superb onsite Chef and managed to 'borrow' a few rolls for myself so I could make some meat and cheese sandwiches. It was decision time on what to wear. It was cold and dark which made you want to put on all your layers but the day had promise so I went with shorts and just a thermal top. Kitted up took my overloaded heavy sack - one day I'll learn to take the right amount of food and water, one day.
The start was down by the canal at Talybont. Excitement was in the air, the full moon was showing and the day-light was creeping in as we all began The Ultra Brecon 42 Winter Edition by The Might Contain Nuts team up the gentle slope to Talybont reservoir.
As always the start had the usual hustle and bustle with people trying to find there space, luckily there were no styles for a couple of k's so the field had spread by the time we hurdled our first fence. Watching a runner lifting his gorgeous husky's over the fences made me think it was gonna be a tough day for him and chatting to him later in the race covered in mud, the dogs had been too quick for him on the downs and took him clean out on more than one occasion. Still, I heard he finished the race and all enjoyed it (can't wait to get a dog myself and do this).
As we horseshoed away and back to the reservoir the morning sunrise views were spectacular with valley inversion mist, glowing red skies all accumulating into a perfect winters morning out running with 150ish like minded enthusiasts.
It wouldn't all go my way though. After a glorious muddy descent where one unfortunate had gone over on his ankle and was being  helped down by a couple of gracious guys. We took on another hill and I decided to try and start offloading some of my food, in doing this I chipped another one of my teeth. I had broken one of my smaller front teeth only the day before and 'luckily' had booked a dentist appointment for monday (only 200quid to fix hmm that's a couple of races). This played on my mind for a while as I couldn't help thinking that all my teeth were about to fall out! I ate more tentatively from then on in and tried to stay away from all my sugary sweets. As misfortune would have it my mind was taken away from my teeth to my feet as a hot spot was being felt on my left heel. Something I am pleased to say is that I have hardly ever suffered from blisters so this was a little disconcerting. In hindsight wearing old crappy shoes that I'm sure were rubbing all week at work and old socks on the day were to blame. I stopped and applied a compeed whilst watching numerous runners overtake me.
Coming into CP3 by Pontsticill Resevoir (all amazing CPs btw and wonderful marshals) I felt another hot spot on my right heel but choose to ignore it as I kept saying I'd change my socks soon (I had brought 4 pairs along with me). Soon after leaving though I decided to plaster up my heel but left my wet socks on for one more CP. With body and mind fixed we climbed up into the wastelands where the wind picked up interspersed with a few light showers. But enough to put my waterproof and gloves on. The wind was bitter but the cold had its benefits in that the moorland was mostly frozen and not horrendously boggy as is the norm. My only incident here was mistaking a piece of ice for a rock and subsequently going knee deep into the bog.
At the next CP I knew the next section from the MCN adventure race and so knew it to be very boggy and decided to keep the wet socks on and could run the paths straight rather than scamper around the countless puddles and bogs. I was getting tired by this point and after finally changing my socks at the next CP it was all uphill to Pen Y Fan. A long tedious ascent where I started to doubt myself finishing. I felt that I had enough and didn't have the energy to cope with more hills. These I need to train on as I was slow and always felt like I was losing time as I trudged my way up these steep endless slopes. A nasty short steep up and down brought us near the top of Corn Du and veered off NW down what can only be described as one of the most exhilarating descents I have done. It not only cured my misery but is motivating me to head up here when I can, to do the hill training that's needed and to get the cherry on top descents.
Still buzzing from the last section I topped up my water at the CP and was told less than a half marathon and the easiest part to go. Here there was plenty of tracks and roads but still a fair amount of tough hills to challange any comments of this being the easy bit. Heading down a steep embankment I managed to tumble head over arse and my knee actually plugged into the mud. Managing to unplug myself I noticed a river, which had no natural crossing and so the only thing was to wade right through it, but, forgetting to wash the mud off whilst there. Heading back out the valley a hill, sorry mountain, starred down at me and my only thought was 'shit, not sure I can do this'. As luck and the kind gods would have it a little way up a marker traversed us around and on the steady contour to the final CP where I changed socks again for the final 6 mile leg.
Easier ground from here although the Irish brothers missed a marker and added 4miles to their ultra. As dusk was approaching we were treated to a stunning sunset and I was making good time and from not seeing another person for ages I managed to pass a few on a tricky slanting footpath which went for ages which  I'm sure has aggravated my ankle due to the angle and running hard on a tired body. We approached the canal and followed this down for a short section. It was hard to believe that we were running on this canal all those hours ago and had now circumnavigated the Brecons. The finish was also known to me from the adventure race and so with darkness falling fast I at least knew where the finish was and duly kicked on to finish in around 9hrs covering 42miles with circa 8000ft of ups and downs (came in 30th).
The finish felt good and after a clean up had some food and watched some other runners finishing. Then we headed to the pub for a few too many beers and good conversation about a great race and what next.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Longmynd 50 Mile Hike

A lack of recent training, mild jet lag, a stinking cold and massive apprehension before race day. All bring doubt on whether you can complete a 50 mile race. This was my first race at this distance, I had been training and looking forward to this all summer. Getting a cold the day before really does put a dampener on the excitement, instead disappointment on thoughts of not even being at the start line.
I got up on race day, took a load of drugs and set off at 7am on a 3+hour journey to Shrewsbury. Feeling somewhat nauseous I arrived in glorious weather and parked and went about the formalities of registering and getting my kit checked by the marshalls. My bag felt heavy but I couldn't discard anything. Apart from drinks and a few sweets etc nothing would be provided. So all food and gear had to be carried (there was no drop bags either). So what did I have : Waterproofs top and bottom, 2 thermal tops, spare socks, gloves, 3 buffs, torch , spare batteries, comprehensive first aid kit, lots of food inc. 5 ham and cheese rolls, 3 packs of biscuits, 5 brekkie bars, jaffa cakes, sweets, 5 caffeine gels, phone, 2 litres of water and what i had on for running.
1pm came and it began. 100's ran, 100's walked. I got in mid pack and was happy with the pace especially as the start included 2 of the toughest hills,  a 750ft ascent of Caer Caradoc closely followed by a 550ft steep ascent of The Lawley.
 This spread out the field a little but I was happy just to keep sticking to groups and following so that I didn't have to rely on my map skills. Plenty of undulating terrain followed which I stuck to my plan of walking up the hills and running the flats and downs.  more tough long hills down and the CPs were ticking off nicely and the hills of The Longmynd, The Stipperstones and Earls Hill, all painstakingly conquered. The day was perfect the views stunning. Sun out but cool, the only problem was the mud. Every turn brought more squelching unavoidable mud turning your footwear into a wet sodden mess.
After an eternal road walk we got to the Shelve CP as it got dark, so roughly 27miles and 6 hours in. Here we had to change into night wear. I put on some leggings, changed my top for a long sleeve thermal and best of all put on my fresh pair of socks. Felt real good. As well as a change we had to group up. I had for a lot of the race been leapfrogging a couple of guys, Andy and Craig so we decided to join forces with 2 others. And set of into the night.
Within minutes I had plunged myself into ankle deep bogs and so had ruined my dry socks. Still, there was more on my mind. We had to get up the next big hill of Corndon Hill. Painful and at the top you could feel the temperature drop and wind pick up so we made sure we got a move on to keep on. This was a little too pacey for the other 2 so they decided to let us go ahead at the next CP. I haven't particularly done any night running but the was very enjoyable especially with the others around. The night running brings pluses and minuses, the good side is that you cannot see how big the hills are you have to climb but, in the dark you have to be a lot more clued up on the navigation. And following a footpath through woodlands soon showed us how easy it is to get disorientated and unsure of your surroundings, only through pushing on and finally hearing the sound of the occasional car brought us out onto the road. From here it's mandatory sections to take us up the next peak of Black Rhadley.

With 2 other groups following us we crossed some heath land we took a sheep track and went a little out the way. Lucky through good judgement from Andy he took us over the heath to the CP. So only 10+minutes lost plus extra wet feet from jumping poorly over a pond. Tip - don't follow unless you are certain of the way.
By this point we were over 40miles down and the mind is in a good state as the finish seems so close we were passing people/groups at regular intervals which is always a little pleasing (at mile 20 I was told I was in 75th place). The body though is in a different state. We all have problems, cramps, pains, soreness. My thighs were solid hurt but I felt ok to keep moving. The worst was the underside of my left foot, I expect I had trench foot. There was just searing pain on each foot strike (later looking at it there were 2 massive groves that had been made and just extremely sensitive to the touch, still are).
With the finish in sight there was just a few more obstacles to overcome. The first being a thigh bashing 700ft descent into Minton which pretty much finished us off. I was actually thinking at the top that I was still enjoying this, this proved short lived. Soon after the descent pretty much came my one and only lowpoint. These are hard to shake off, but chatting to the guys, eating, drinking, more ibuprofen and things became bearable again. Only Ragleth Hill to crawl up and then descend into town and then run, jog, shuffle to the finish.

Through all the doubts at the start to actually finish and finish well. Well I cannot say just how happy I was. The body racked with tiredness and pain all I could do for the next hour before going to bed was to have a beaming smile. A great run and 2 great running companions in Andy and Craig. Plus all the other good natured runners along route, who all had time for a quick chat etc.

Finally, the organisation. What can you say about the support, truly amazing, we just do the race these guys are out from start to finish helping, cheering, motivating, looking after us for all hours in all conditions and just making us all feel better. Thanks to each and everyone of you.

Stats:  51 miles, circa 9,500 ft of ascent and descent in just over 12 hours (placed 42nd).

Note : Finished with too much food 1 roll, 4 gels, jaffas, a few biscuits and bars and the bag feeling just as heavy as the start.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

MCNUTS Black Mountains Adventure Race

Warm up

Travelled up to Shropshire on the friday to scope out a few miles for the long race I am doing next month. A few things came to light in that there are a lot of tough hills and navigation will be hard especially as I lost my way a couple of times in the daylight and I will be covering this ground at night. Still a good recce and hill miles in the legs.
14 miles 2hrs 45mins.
After this I headed south to the Black Mountains for the next round in the Might Contain Nuts 12 hour Adventure Race series. 
The morning of the race arrived and the team gathered, Jake, Melissa and myself and made tactics. Not particularly looking at the big picture we decided to go for the  big points on the first stage.
T1 Run 15 miles 1000m elevation 4 hrs

What an introduction to the Black Mountains, some serious hills taken in, stunning scenery and fun induced cross country which didn't suit all but I was loving the differcult decents. An annoying 20+mins looking for CP didn't help our cause. Although we got the points we had seriously underestimated the terrain and how long it would take us over the high ground as we crossed over a reservoir and 'sprinted' to the transition missing out on a point CP due to not having a spare 10minutes. The additional hour it took us to complete this stage meant we were now playing catch up for the rest of the race.
T2 Bike 25miles 1000m 3hrs
Chasing time for the kayak cutoff we decided on the best direct route available, more roads than desired and less points to go for, this still encompassed 25 brutal miles of hills. One a near 600m of ascent over a few miles. Gruellingly hard. But a justified reward with the best descent of the day over tough steep technical ground marred only by missing a cp and having to crawl back up 100ft to tag in.

Then Jake's bike caught a branch which broke his chain, luckily just on the link so was quickly fixable. Some luck at last. At the transition we agreed with RD Matt to bike the remaining 3miles to the kayak so that we were not late and so could enjoy the 3rd discipline (40miles 2000m 7hrs).
T3 Kayak 5.5miles 1hr

All 3 of us boarded a canadian canoe. Jake steering/relaxing whilst Melissa and me put all the dogwork in. A good paddle down a beautful stretch of the Wye. Jake even managing to pull a 360 in one of the mini rapids. Tranquility and rest was soon aborted when trying to get out the river where 20 other people were lingering with boats etc strewn everywhere. Soon out and painstakingly working the legs to a sombre run through Hay on Wye to the bike transition (45.5miles 8hrs (1mile run 20mins)).

T4 Bike 5miles 1hr 40
Not over yet. With tiring bodies and sore backsides it was back on the bikes for a strength sapping 500m steep ascent the only saving grace was that it was on minor roads, although they went on and on and on.
(51.5miles 10hrs 2600m)
T5 Run 5miles 1.5hrs 200m
With light fading and bodies failing it was just an 'easy' jog home. Running below the stunning peak and superbly named Lord Herefords Knob. Jake was too enamelled with the glorious views of sunset and so missed another CP. This was one strike too many and so he was dismissed from map duties as I faultlessly took us home. The ground was tough in failing light and broken ground from the countless cattle that had somehow passed through these narrow tracks and left there mark. Once through the farmlands it was just a matter of 3km downhill road run back to camp and the excilleration of the finish line.

56miles 11.5hrs 2800m
A tough race but as the Race Directors explained these aren't for the faint-hearted and looking back I'm glad it was hard, you get more from pushing yourself than from keeping things easy. There seems to be too many ARs now that are 'easy' in that the course is completable for the best and so route finding and decision making is redundant. The top athelte scored only 2/3rds of points available a monumental effort from my perspective but good in being an AR for both elites and for regular outdoor folk like myself who can both enjoy the course/area but take part in a race.
So a big thanks to Might Contain Nuts team. I hope these races pick up in popularity (only a little though) so that they remain on the calender. I wont say any more on the Black mountains as this should remain a secret.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Solo Wild camp

After a few drinks on the friday night. The idea of 'wasting' away this glorious weather was dispelled and a plan hatched. The misses understood. It's guaranteed there would be plenty of wet weekends to come.
We drove down to the New Forest and after a lovely lunch went for a walk and checked out some spots for me to stay. One was perfect. So after heading back to the car and picking up my gear, saying goodbyes, I headed back to my campspot.
After clearing my site up and collecting firewood, it soon became apparent that I was neighbours to a few billion midges. Now I wont be able to escape these totally but maybe there was a better, dryer place to camp. So I walked around for an hour or so, I did have a load of time to kill and after an exhaustive failed search I went to check out one last outcrop of forest which fortunately had an idle setting. So I went and collected my things for a second time and set up my second camp. Cleared the site and collected firewood again. All this was timed perfectly as it then gave me a little time to watch the glorious sun set.
Once this was down I then had a fair amount of time to myself. So I got the fire going and chilled out. It wasn't long before the peace and solitude was broken up by a far away party with the DJ screaming COME ON COME ON to the revellers to the tunes of Niki Menaj and Rhianna.
At this point I decided to test out my new torch and go for a 20min run in the dark. I love the torch (Petzel Nao) and would of run further but didn't want to get into bed too sweaty. With a few fresh logs burning on the fire I settled down to bed and star gazed for the second time in a week to a stunning Milky Way et al.
Although I didn't really get spooked over night it was a strange feeling being on your own in the middle of no where. I did though get startled in the morning with a couple of deer wondering into my camp. Who was more scared? Looking around the view was astounding with an early morning mist surrounding the countyside interspersed with the grunting/warning call from the deer. I soon nodded off for an hour but, awoke with the sun burning off the morning dew and as I slowly cleared camp I was joined by half a dozen wild ponies whom seemed set on sticking around and joining me for breakfast.
With the camp cleared and a full belly I set off on my way home. The main theme being getting lost but, this only added to the adventure. After navigating my way out of Bramshaw woods I was a lot further north and so looped back to Canada common and over several 'quaking bogs'. For some inexplicable reason I took a southward direction over Half moon common and ended up in Newbridge, way off course. Then decided instead of taking the looped tracked back on course I went off route and made my way cross country through farmers fields and over rivers. Just when I was thinking I was completely lost I could hear the screams of children far off. This was Paultons theme park and after a few more corn fields I was running through the golf course and back on the map. I took a deserved break in the local petrol station here and treated myself to a cold coke and chocolate bar.
After crossing the dual carriage way and somehow losing my sunglasses in the grass verge I got myself lost again in the small corpse. By now I think I was getting good at getting myself out of these situations and duly found a road to take me down to the Test Way. Following this path until it veered south after a bridge I starred agonisingly at the refreshing river with all access points signed 'Private No Entry. Sod that, I needed a dip. It was the hottest day of the year, over 30'C. So I snuck in below the bridge and jumped in to cool down.
Back on my way I negotiated a couple of minor roads to get me to Romsey Golf course and the path taking me through Nightingale wood and onto familiar territory. No more getting lost for the day as I ran known routes back home feeling surprisingly good.
Another cracking wild camp and run home and by myself. This was a nice test to see the night out on my own as if I end up doing some longer runs then these will entail overnighters and with my new torch I cant wait to hit my local trails at night.

Stats: 23miles in a little under 4hrs.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

54321 Running, climbing and Wild camping

Before Ultra

With the weather being too good to rest. We decided last minute to head down swanage on the friday to do a little sport climbing in Hedbury quarry. A couple of good climbs later we settled down to camp for the night. This being a quarry and on a sea cliff, wood was in short supply so a search around on the nearby hills brought us a bounty of dry rotten wood.
We started a BBQ and made a firepit and a few beers later we were enjoying mint burgers, sausages and ribs washed down with some fine beers and wine. The night was a beautiful clear starry night and I tried in vain to get some good exposure shots of the Milky Way but, instead had to be content with shots of us messing around with firewood etc which came out surprisingly well.

Apart from the wind picking up strongly during the night I slept well and after a quick clear up we wondered over to the other side of the quarry to do a couple more climbs. These I found hard work, maybe a little too much wine last night. So instead of pushing on and doing more climbs we decided to call it a day and rest up before tomorrow.

Ultra Day

This would be my second ultra race. A 50Km run in and around Salisbury, superbly organised by the Fire Service with a 54321 theme. 5 Rivers, 4 Hills, 3 Country estates, 2 Castles, 1 Cathedral. After the usual flaffing before the race the 50k runners headed out at 9am approx 120 of us. The turnout was good for all the different events to day had to offer (5, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50k races). One issue I guess that most trail races with good turnouts have is at the start everyone has to go down the same paths and through the same gates. This made slow going for the first half hour. But I was in no hurry as my plan was to do this within 5.5hrs so there was plenty of time left in the day to stretch them legs.
Not long into the race we had a strong downpour most welcomed as it cooled us down on this hot and humid day. We all started to spread out so the barefoot (sandles) runner I was chatting to sprinted ahead but i decided to keep to an easy pace and just let the day unfold. A castle and a river passed I soon saw a unique sight in a camel grazing in a field. What things you see when out running. After running the outskirts of Old Sarum Fort we took to the outer limits of the town and onto the Claradon Way but soon peeled off and headed south to track down more rivers and hills.
Just about to pour down
The middle section of the run was a pretty pleasant experience. My body felt good and strong. I carried plenty of water and food plus we had the added bonus of aid stations pretty much every 5 or 6 clicks. Around halfway I chatted to a very inspiring and funny guy called Danny. Danny was over 70 and taking part in his 453rd marathon, Legend. The ultras had by then done the additional loop and were joining up with the other runners and walkers doing the other various races. It was good fun running with Danny although I have to admit he was a little pacey for me. But I was enjoying our chat and just couldn't slow myself down, nothing to do with my ego at all, honest. Danny did seem to know all the other runners and walkers there and so when he stopped to hug and greet a few of them I said my farewells and wished him good times on his trip to Australia to run the Sydney and Melbourne marathons.
A couple of tough hills later and passing through Great Yews woodland, a very spookily enchanting forest. I met up with the barefoot runner again. Struggling with the hard terrain underfoot. A lot of hard ground, road and rocks doesn't fair well with the natural runners. Still he was grinning and bearing it and felt confident of finishing. I pressed on and seeing another runner with a UTSW shirt on I felt obliged to have a chat. He was not only running this ultra from start to finish but then turning around and completing it finish to start!! I look forward to the day when I will be ready to do that. Not only had he already completed a few 100milers but was in training for the Spartathon, one of the toughest out there. Courageous and I wish him well there.
The last third of the race things were starting to falter a little. The heat (or humidity) was taking its toll and my legs were heavy (probably sprinting too many down hills) but worse was that my calf just felt on the brink of cramping up. So I was just ticking off the miles in my head. 10 to go, 9, 8..5..3. hey that's about half hour. I could beat 5hours if i make myself push on. So no more walking or thinking about cramping up. Just get a shuffle on. These tactics seem to work for me as although I am no fast runner by starting out slow and then trying to pick it up at the end it certainly feels better tracking people and overtaking  than having a blow out and everyone overtaking you.
The last mile approached and boy was it one long mile that stretched out seemingly forever. I glanced down at my watch a few times knowing that I had to push but my legs just didn't have anything. Staggering into the main part of Salisbury and past the cathedral was good. but when you are tired and trying to be in a hurry, having loads of people walking and shopping in your way doesn't go down well. And after it looked like I had lost my way and a feeling of dejection was going over me someone shouted and pointed the way to go. This bouyed me on and again someone helped me out at a car park to ensure I carried on running the right way and not stop and scratch my head. Crossing the final road and hearing the cheers and music and Stu, Jake and Melisa cheering me to hurry to the line for a 'sprint' finish and beating the 5 hour mark. Knackered but feeling satisfied.
A tough race, a good race. Nicely set up, great aid stations and support and well organised by the Fire service.

Race stats : 50km, 31miles in 4hrs59mins.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Micro adventure (#3)

Climbing in Swanage
The friday evening Stu and myself sped down to swanage to get in a little deserved climbing. From being a little downbeat beforehand, a couple of climbs in, one involving traversing into a cave and climbing up the back of it and traversing the ceiling to exit via a blowhole, my spirits were back up again. You have to question why you put off things you love doing. Don't. We finished climbing as the sun set and headed off contented and for a couple of well earned beers.

Stu on 1st Corner
The usual morning chaos of piling stuff up and then deciding what to take on our micro adventure arrived. This was a  meet up with fellow adventurers then a hike to a discrete spot to wild camp the night under the stars then run home the next day. So my dilemma, as usual, was what could I not take so that weight was minimal. The 3 litres of wine was a must, so was the 5 litres of water, camping stuff, extra cloths (although summer its fairly cold at night at the mo) and food. Hmm, but how much food did I really need for my run (I ditched a load and again I still had a bit when I got home the next day, so more can be dumped next time).

Arriving at Overton, I met the rest of the gang. Rob, Greg, Steve, Duncan and Mike, whose 40th it was and was suitable attired with a large fluffy hat with dildos (or candles) hanging of it. We made our way into the countryside not before first getting lost just out of the car park! We hiked a loop for a couple of hours passing some buffalo meaning we were nearing Laverstock farm. Stopping for refreshments tasting the delicious local hops and buying some local produce we reluctantly staggered away to find a home for the night.
mmmMMM Buffalo Steaks
An hour later and having hiked 11ish miles we arrived at our destination. A friend of Rob's, Graham, was allowing us to camp up in a corner of one of his fields. We settled down and gathered wood for the fire pit. Once the embers were charred enough we threw some potatoes in and opened up the wine and relaxed. Life feels good in these situations, so how can it get better? By staking the buffalo steaks into the fire and dinner is served. Amazing all round. The night was nicely rounded off with Graham and his family joining us with some fine bottles of wine (one a '73 for Mikes Birthday), which neatly sent him packing to his sleeping pit. A shame I didn't pass out as quick as all too soon we heard the rumbles and snorts not from an escaped buffalo but by Rob and Steve (named and shamed).
Morning headaches
We awoke gingerly in the morning and slowly tidied up as Steve fired up the burners to cook us a fry up. This beautiful setting highlighted with a couple of young deer wondering in very close to camp. We soon said farewell to Graham and to his stunning home and grounds and not long after I was wishing all the others well as I started my run as they hiked back to the station.

The run started slow. 'Hangover' aside, my rucksack took an age to get right, then I had to retrieve my mp3, not long after I wanted some food. Still there was no rush and this was all about enjoying getting home and the whole body needed a slow wind up. Just getting into my stride and realised that there seemed to be no easy way over/under the motorway so ended up running along some roads and the heavens opened up which truly drenched me to the bone. Lucky that the day was going to be interspersed with blue skies and heavy downpours, so things soon dried up once I was soaked.
No rain?
Back on track and on the Wayfarers Trail which takes on some breathtaking scenery, although the overgrown hedgerows, hills, wind and rain did there best to put me down just as the heavy spells of thunder rumbled on. Heading down into winchester I joined the Itchen Way or 3 castles Path? or St Swithuns Way? or was it the Kings Way?. This area is blessed with amazing footpaths to explore. Through Winchester I took my usual run home, highlighted by a fox popping out in front of me before scurrying away. Then passing St Cathrine's Hill which I choose not to do my regular sprint up. The river atmosphere was in stark contrast to a few days early which I ran in strong heat and hundreds of people sun bathing and swimming along the banks where today there was no-one to be seen. Moving away from the river I finished the last 2 miles with a little pace in trying to get under 5 hours for the trip. No one can stop being a little competitive in any situation.
A great weekend. Another entertaining and successful micro adventure. These really are good and recommend any one to try it.
Stats: 11mile hike on the saturday followed by a 29mile run on sunday.
The route 29miles in 4hrs59