Here we go again! Tomorrow is the Ultra Challenge Cotswolds Way 100km. I first attempted this race last year and it was my first ever attempt at an ultra marathon. The weather was boiling hot, I wasn’t sufficiently prepared and I dropped out at 94km.
Not this time! I’ve run 24 ultra marathons since then, have plenty of experience of hot weather running (tomorrow is promising to be another scorcher) and I’m much fitter than last year.
I’m dialling down the kit I’m carrying this year. Having never run an ultra marathon before, I turned up at start with a pack stuffed with anything and everything. I now know what I need, what works for me and what’s just unnecessary weight.
I am however carrying poles with me for the first time tomorrow. I’ve not used them in a race before but the course has over 2,500 metres of climb and it will be a good opportunity to test them out in advance of the very hilly Centurion North Downs Way 100 Miles at the beginning of August.
It’s finally here! My first gear review. I’ve worn the Forerunner 645 for over a year now, from 5ks to 100ks so I’ve had plenty of time to put it through its paces. Click the link here or select it from the drop down menu under “Gear Reviews” above to read my thoughts.
My new Forerunner 945 is arriving today, which promises greater battery life, advanced running metrics and on board, full colour maps. I’ll post a review of that once I’ve had the chance to test it thoroughly.
As in the “About me” section, I ran Brighton Marathon in 2014 with absolutely no training. “Run” is probably generous, as it was more of a stagger, hating every single step so much that afterwards I threw my running shoes away and didn’t run a single time for the next three and bit years.
In 2014 I was the largest I’d ever been and my mental health was all over the place. So one weekend in 2017 I bought a pair of running shoes, went out for a run and collapsed in a heap. Then signed myself up for a number of races to make sure that I kept on going out.
The first photo is from one of those early races in 2017. I’d already lost a lot of weight by then and in my head I was at the top of my game, fit and slim (which relatively speaking, I was). Two years later, I know how wrong I was.
When I ran that half marathon in 2017 I don’t think I’d ever even heard of an ultra marathon. I certainly had never contemplated one and would have thought the idea of ever doing so was absurd.
Over the past 12 months I’ve run 24 of them (soon to finish my 26 ultras in 52 weeks), including 10 on 10 consecutive days. Goes to show there’s always something more to aim for.
Running is great for my physical health but essential for my mental wellbeing. I’m incredibly lucky that I found it and that I have those who relentlessly support me in it.
So this is a fairly big one even for me, even if the ultras are “baby” ultras. Thursday, Friday, Saturday morning, Saturday evening and Sunday 🏃
Saturday will be the hardest to judge. Get around the morning ultra as fast as I can to give myself a longer rest before the afternoon one, or treat it like one long ultra with an enforced lunch break? 🤔
Not entirely sure I even have this in me at the moment if I’m honest but I’ll give it everything. Run until I drop and then start crawling 🙌 after this it’s three weeks race free to recover before the Cotswolds Way 100km.
As ever, I’ll post a combined race report of the five-in-four after they’re run.