Archive for the ‘Ultra marathon’ Category

Tough, tough race

October 20, 2009

I will post a full report later.

Brief report:

Suffered diarrhoea from first hour onwards.  Then came the vomiting.  Still roughly on schedule.  Peed for the first time at hr 12 – it was very dark brown.  Damage done.  Eventually ended up in tent for several hours.  Got up and jogged a few laps to finish.  Result? Just under 92 miles – some 50 miles short of what I wanted.

I guess you can’t run far with no calories and no liquid inside you.

More to come.


Why am I doing this?

October 15, 2009
Because I like to run a long way

Because I like to run a long way



Because I want to raise a lot of money for these people....

Because I want to raise a lot of money for these people....



.... and because Im one of these.  A big one.

.... and because I'm one of these. A big one.

3 days and counting…

October 14, 2009

Well there are now just 3 days until the race.

I have confirmed my pace chart which, although ambitious, is I hope realistic.  I have also done some work on a quick checklist for my support crew to keep tabs on what I’ve eaten, drunk and how fast/slow I’m running.

Running this week has been short and sharp, my legs have felt ready to rock and I’ve been feeling frustrated that I can’t go and blast out a fast 15 miler.  I’ll probably only run about 15 miles this week prior to the race.

All that remains is to do a bit more mental preparation, to remain well hydrated over the coming days and to eat a slightly higher proportion of carbs than usual.  (There won’t be any massive pasta binges!)

The Sri Chinmoy website is promising some “live” or “nearly live” updates, it can be found

This is what the Tooting track looks like (viewed from the start of the back straight, where the support crews are camped).

Id better get used to seeing this track

I'd better get used to seeing this track

In other news, Chris Carver…..
…. has published his report on the Commonwealth 24hr Championships.  It makes very good reading – you can find it

Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 24hr race

October 8, 2009

How are the preparations going?


My mileage has dropped from an average of 100 miles per week to around 80 – 85 for the past month.  This has been mainly due to external pressures… you know… things other than running (!).  I’m not worried about this at all – it should mean that arrive on the starting line fresh and “slightly under-cooked” as opposed to “a bit burnt”.

I’m into my taper now,  this means that mileage will drop considerably for the remaining 10 days before the race.  I won’t be running it slowly though – the aim is to increase the tempo a bit, so that the pace I’m aiming for at Tooting will seem ridiculously slow.  For example, this morning I ran a nice little 4 mile tempo at close to 6:00 pace, this afternoon I may attempt a sub-6 pace. 

In between these tempo sessions I will be jogging a few miles very slowly.  I will probably try to run every day until the race as I find that my legs complain when I’m not running – they tend to “turn off”.

I’ve just recieved the list of competitors from the lovely Shankara (Race Director).  I must admit that I’m a bit daunted by the depth of the field and amazed by the international flavour.  There will be runners from Sweden, Norway, Australia, Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium amongst others.  A total of 45 have entered.

There is lots remaining for me to organise.  I still need to get on-line and order my gels, Nuun and protein bars.  I need to check tentage and camping stove arrangements with Nick and get my blasted iPod Shuffle replaced for the nth time! 

I have been working on my pace chart for a few weeks now – and I’m finally fairly confident that I’ve got it right.  My crew, and I, will know (to the second) what pace I need to run each lap in.  I have broken the race into 4 x 6hr sections with a pace and distance goal for each section.  This takes into account a controlled slowing and walking breaks.

Most of my training from now until race day will be mental.  By that, I mean that it will be psychological – I don’t mean that I will be running crazy mileage!

I will copy a post I made on RunningAhead about mental preparation in another post.

Have had contact with a few others who will be running in Tooting – Lee Chamberlain (who has just broken the World Record for 7 days on a treadmill – you need to get out more Lee), Anth Courtney and a few others.  I also recognise many other names: Ken Fancett (of course), Robin Gardner (who was just behind me at Crawley), Reima Hartikainen (Swedish international who performed well at the World Championships), Stefan Lindvall (another Swede who consistently performs well), Smiler Sid, Geoff Oliver (multiple world record holder at aged 76!!!), Richard Quennell (won the Draycote 35 and was 2nd at Faversham), Carl Sommer (33 min 10k man with 3 24hr races under his belt).

The competition will be tough.

But I will achieve my goals.

Happy running to you all.

The Commonwealth Ultra Marathon Championships

September 21, 2009

The Commonwealth Ultra and Mountain Running Championships in Keswick have now concluded.  There were some absolutely superb performances by the English boys and girls.  My interest was centered around the 24hr and the 100km races.

Mens’ 24hr race results:

Rank Performance Surname First Name DOB Country
1 159.959 Fryer Martin 10/09/1961 AUS
2 155.691 Blake Jo 02/08/1965 AUS
3 152.736 Pares John 27/01/1966 WAL
4 148.089 Mason Steve 21/10/1967 SCO
5 144.691 Carver Chris 26/02/1964 ENG
6 142.634 Rogers Jim 14/06/1964 ENG
7 140.491 Pearson John 24/01/1972 AUS
8 136.114 Gilbert Guy 26/01/1962 CAN
9 135.206 Scott Ben 23/05/1972 IOM
10 134.886 Robbins Pat 12/03/1972 ENG
11 133.754 Sichel William 01/10/1953 SCO
12 130.206 Finill Chris 13/12/1958 ENG
13 129.214 Fancett Ken 13/08/1949 ENG
14 127.216 Lovric Michael 29/12/1967 AUS
15 118.691 Biondic George 14/08/1952 CAN
16 118.125 Barteaux Bruce 21/06/1955 CAN
17 106.210 Cunningham Ritchie 11/07/1969 SCO
18 103.268 Francis Mick 18/09/1958 AUS
19 91.522 Bhardwaj Arun Kumar 24/02/1969 IND
20 59.075 Orchard Scott 08/10/1972 AUS
21 10.684 McKenzie Alexander 19/11/1960 NZL

Team results:  Australia, England, Scotland I think…

Absolutely incredible performance from John Pares, Steve Mason and Chris Carver.  I suspect that Chris may be a little disappointed not to have got an individual medal – but he should be very proud indeed of this performance. Martin Fryer of Australia won with a very creditable mileage indeed.

This must bode well for a GB Team in the World Champs in Brive next year.  I wonder what the selection standard will be….. hmmmmm tough I bet.

Womens’ 24hr results:

Rank   Performance Surname First Name DOB Country
1 226.489 141.556 Gayter Sharon 30/10/1963 ENG
2 212.683 132.927 Skelton Vicky 04/11/1967 ENG
3 206.979 129.362 Harvey Jamieson Susannah 14/02/1973 AUS
4 201.631 126.019 Doke Marie 15/10/1974 ENG
5 201.431 125.894 Muskett Valerie 29/06/1954 NZL
6 200.692 125.433 Quinlan Meredith 16/04/1972` AUS
7 200.183 125.114 Walker Pauline 04/08/1962 SCO
8 195.252 122.033 Scholz Sharon 31/07/1976 AUS
9 191.708 119.818 Cheng Vivian 22/07/1978 NZL
10 190.432 119.020 Vasarhelyi Charlotte 07/02/1976 CAN
11 190.259 118.912 Kuz Lynne 14/07/1961 SCO
12 187.625 117.266 Lilley Allison 30/12/1972` AUS
13 187.119 116.949 Brown Sandra 01/04/1949 ENG
14 184.013 115.008 Nobbs Deanne 08/05/1968 AUS
15 177.475 110.922 Armstrong Sue 27/07/1960 CAN
16 176.315 110.197 Clague Bethany 04/11/1971 IOM
17 172.820 108.013 Rennie Fiona 04/08/1962 SCO
18 167.228 104.518 Boisvert Sylvie 06/12/1962` CAN
19 161.712 101.070 Tamati Lisa 24/09/1968 NZL
20 124.267 77.667 Jacob Manon 11/11/1963 CAN
21 121.670 76.044 Bremner Kerrie 02/12/1965 AUS
22 110.609 69.131 Thevenet-Smith Ramona 20/12/1959 ENG

Sharon Gayter bounces from triumph to triumph at the moment.  A stunning effort girls – well done!

We were even more dominant in the 100km races:

Mens results:

Position Number Name Club Age Group Time
1 38 Jez Bragg ENG M 07:04:01
2 39 Matt Giles ENG M 07:05:28
3 40 Matthew Lynas ENG M 07:09:52
4 27 Terence  Bell AUS M 07:16:56
5 25 Tim Cochrane AUS M 07:20:49
6 36 Grant Jeans SCO M 07:24:05
7 24 Martin Lukes NZL M 07:28:02
8 41 Allen Smalls ENG M 07:28:19
9 28 Brendan Davies AUS M 07:31:15
10 30 Darren Froese CAN M 07:32:33
11 43 Iain Ridgeway WAL M 07:40:50
12 35 Andrew Rankin SCO M 07:49:06
13 37 Dominic Croft ENG M 07:49:15
14 26 Michael Baldock AUS M 07:51:07
15 29 Darin Bentley CAN M 07:57:03
16 31 Hassan Lotfi-Pour CAN M 08:03:05
17 34 Paul Hart SCO M 08:04:45
18 32 Thierry Asselin CAN M 08:16:28
19 23 Graeme Butcher NZL M 08:51:50
    TEAM RESULT      
1 ENG 1,2,3     21:19:21
2 AUS 4.,5,9     22:09:00
3 SCO 6,12,17     23:17:56
4 CAN 10,15,16     23:32:41

Can’t ask for more than that boys! Stunning.

Womens’ results:





Age Group




Jackie Fairweather






Emma Gooderham






Lucy Colquhoun






Angie Sadler






Heather Foundling-Hawker






Lisa Leskien






Gail Murdoch






Caroline Pivetta






Isobel Knox






Laurie McGrath






Sandra Bowers






Lise Gagne























Mountain running?  England won team gold in EVERY event.  Won’t list results here, but you can see them on the website:

John Pares on his way to Commonwealth Bronze

John Pares on his way to Commonwealth Bronze

Achilles update…

August 25, 2009

It is still niggling.

However, it’s not stopping me running or slowing me down.  I do think I can feel some very slight improvement, but nothing dramatic.

Last few weeks mileage has been:

101, 101, 101, 46 (taper for aborted 6hr), 104, 114.5, 114.5, 106

So 7 out of last 8 weeks at 100mpw +.  

Average for last weeks is something like 98.5 – I’ll take it.

Leadville 100

August 25, 2009

Amongst many others… my favourite  US ultra runner, Anton Krupicka, dropped out after leading for most of the race at sub record pace.

In his blog Krupicka tells a very, very good story of how tough it was out there. I recommend that you read it – it is an inspiring story of failure. He writes almost as well as he runs.

His blog is here:

Just before Fish Hatchery, where he was to DNF

Just before Fish Hatchery, where he was to DNF

A few excerpts: “On a good day, running 100 miles is fucking hard. Period. On a bad day, it’s borderline impossible.” [note to self: remember this.]

“I roughly stuck to my pre-race plan of tritely Going Big Or Going Home and I came down on the rather more tarnished, grimy side of that coin-flip gamble.”

Hagerman Pass Road, mile 16

Hagerman Pass Road, mile 16

“The quads began cramping regularly. Which sounds so simple and almost trivial written in an English sentence like that, but in the felt reality of life it was devastating on a physical, emotional, molecular level. The sun beat down. Life was more than a little desperate.”

Sumitting Hope Pass the first time

Sumitting Hope Pass the first time

 For what it’s worth… my analysis of Anton’s problems is that he didn’t replace enough electrolytes. He only mentions Nuun once. He drank mainly water. Given the unexpected high temps I would have been aiming for 75% Nuun and 25% water. This may explain his cramping.

Al Andalus Ultra Trail

July 31, 2009

I am giving serious consideration to entering the Al Andalus Ultra Trail,  July 12 – 16 2010.  It is a 5 day stage race covering about 250km, so the distance isn’t enormous.  It will be hot, probably around 40 – 45 degrees and very, very hilly.  I kind of like the sound of this.

The itinerary will be something like this:

Stage 1 : Loja to Alhama de Granada, 56km.

Stage 2 : Alhama de Granada to Jatar, 47km.

Stage 3 : Jatar to Jayena, 48km

Stage 4 : Jayena to Santa Cruz del Comercio, 50km.

Stage 5 : Santa Cruz del Comercio to Loja, 37km

Faversham disappointment

July 27, 2009


Well Saturday was very disappointing.  I was feeling very strong and very fit.  The hill was steeper than I was expecting, but it was short and sharp.  This actually suited me fine as I have the strength to power up short hills with no bother.  Some of the bean pole marathoners were struggling with it from the outset.

The first couple of hours saw me knocking out 7:45 miles, a bit quicker than planned but very comfortable indeed.  I slowly moved up through the field from 7th to 4th and was looking forward to achieving 45 miles plus.


However, from about 16 miles onwards it became apparent that the hill was starting to hurt my achilles.  The pain eased off during the remainder of each lap, but came back again with every hill climb.  I started to think about how I was going to recover quickly enough to train properly and realised that I only have 12 weeks left until the 24hr race – of which 3 should be taper weeks.


I decided to retire at the 3hr mark, having run just over 23 miles.  It was the hardest decision I have had to make in my running history.  But it was the right decision.

The winner ran an excellent 50 miles or so.  Had I continued I would have placed in the top 3, maybe 2nd.

The disappointment is weighing very heavily on my mind at the moment.  I need to banish the demons, and banish them quickly.

To that end, I will be a) rehabilitating my achilles as best I can and b) running some miles.

On the plus side… I will be very surprised if there are any hills on the track at Tooting in October.

Faversham 6hr race – preview

July 22, 2009

The Faversham 6hr race takes place around a 1044m circuit of rolling parkland.  The course record is 39 miles.  I think the record is a little on the low side due to the slight hill on each loop – a “slight hill” which will become a mountain after it has been climbed 60 times.

My goals are:

  • > 42 miles
  • place in top 3
  • beat existing course record

I don’t think I can win this as the list of competitors has a 2:20 marathoner who has run in a GB vest competing.  I’m not sure he has run an ultra yet – but that sort of pedigree will be hard to beat.  (Reckon I could have him over 12 – 24 hours though! 😉 )

In order to achieve this I am going to aim for 8 min miles with no walking breaks.  If this were another 12hr race, or longer, I would of course take walking breaks.  However, I’m going to take this as a bit of a test to see if I can hold 8:00 pace for 6hrs with no breaks.  If I can’t…. nothing has been lost.  I don’t need to win this.  It will just be treated as a great long run in the bank.

My fantastic brother, Nick, will be coming along to support and as a volunteer lap counter.  His presence will hopefully help me as much as it did in my last two ultras.

In order to maintain 8:00 pace I reckon I need to run each lap in about 5:13.

(8 min miles = 5 min km.  5 x 1.044 = 5.22.  60 secs x 0.22 = 13.2 seconds.)

In reality I expect my lap times to vary between about 5:05 to 5:30 – but hopefully the average will give me 8:00 pace overall.

And yes… I realise that 8 min miles will give me more than 42 miles.  In fact, if I maintain it… it will give me 45 miles which would be amazing.

60/8 x 6hrs = 45.