Wednesday, 11 November 2009

The Best Laid Plans.

This time of year is usually when I start getting ideas of what to do with myself next year. It must be the arrival of the last fellrunner magazine or maybe due to the evenings getting dark and me training on more tarmac that makes me look forward to getting out in the hills again.

Mark did really well in the Blackwater Marathon the other week, I didn't mention this before the race for obvious reasons but I was a little worried for him; having to cover 27 miles when he hadn't even run half as far before. I felt quite proud of him to be honest as he plodded up the lane towards the village hall around dusk and even slightly guilty for having talked him into doing the event in the first place. I really enjoyed that day, I didn't think an 'outdoors' event could get any more laid back than some of the fell races I have done but this one did, mainly due to it not being a race. It was the first ldwa event I have done and it got me thinking.

Some of the runners I spoke to were into ultras and use these events as training runs and I could see the appeal, for around 5 quid you get manned checkpoints with cakes, biscuits and juice then hot food and as much tea/coffee as you like at the finish. On the longer ones you can even get hot food at checkpoints. It wasn't a bad route either for the most part though there were a few bits that seemed to drag on such as the 4+ miles of grassy sea wall, ok you don't get the peaks and valleys of a fell race but it was still a good run through some nice countryside.

I almost got talked into doing another the week after, this one in Bedfordshire and I think if I hadn't already got an entry for a local 10 mile (road!) race that day I may have gone. Some of the events have shorter versions of the route which is probably what I would have done. The next one near me is a 50K in Surrey at the end of this month so I am considering going to that, then there is a 26.5 mile one near us just before Christmas. I am having a break from training at the moment though, my knees have been complaining a bit which always seems to happen this time of year with running more on tarmac but I want to keep up the long runs over winter ready for next year.

The past few years I have had the Lakeland Classics as my main priority. I did these this year, apart from Duddon and Langdale so I got some points but for next year I wouldn't mind trying an ultra. I still want to do Ennerdale and Wasdale since they are such epic races but the one event I currently have my eye on is The Highland Fling .

The West Highland Way race is one I would ultimately like to have a go at but it would need plenty preparation so before thinking about that I am considering doing either (or both) of the races that cover half of the route. The Highland Fling covers the southern half with The Devil of the Highlands covering the other. I was surprised to see that the Devil was already full even though it is on the first weekend in August 2010! This is the half I would prefer to try first but we will see, lots to think about. Plus I would need some support (... Mark :).

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