Waking up at 6am and looking out the window to a flurry of snow falling from the sky you know that running 58 miles is going to be a challenge! Without thinking much more about it I donned my running shoes chucked on my back pack and headed into London to Marble Arch where I would start my little journey to run to Paris!
Sitting at home on a Thursday night Matt and I started to conjure up a plan to go and do a Microadventure. After a few ideas were thrown about we decided to go and attempt the Vanguard Way (VGW). This is a 66 mile long distance walking trail that goes from Croydon to Newhaven. The original plan was to do a bit of it on Friday night, wild camp and then carry on with the rest on Saturday.
The Haute Route is an alpine walking trail that runs from Chamonix to Zermatt, covers 180km and climbs 10,000m. It is usually takes 12 days to cover the route but we were going to see how far we could get in 5 days. Seven crazy fools had signed up to tackle this challenge all who had a varying levels of experience; Steven had cycled through Africa, Ross had completed the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc, Mountain Goat Maeve had just got back from running Scaffel Pike Marathon, Will is normally found smashing up the track with very fast 5000m races and Andrea and Tom AKA ‘The Heavies’ are Crossfit extraordinaires who were used to squatting mountains not climbing them. This was going to be a fun few days.
After playing what was essentially pin the tails on the donkey to decide where I was going to run this weekend I woke up at 06:30am on Saturday and got involved with a bit of multi-tasking. I made porridge, glugged down a cup of tea whilst trying not to give myself 3rd degree burns and packed my backpack for my weekends adventure. My well thought out plan was to head South East until I reached Eastbourne and stop off in East Grinstead to meet Jenny for tea and cake! Fool proof!
On Friday someone at worked asked what I was up to on the weekend and it suddenly dawned on me that I had absolutely no plans. I had wanted to go on a little microadventure for a while and what a perfect opportunity to go on one! My first idea was to run to Paris but as it was already midday and I hadn’t packed any running kit and wasn’t sure that I could get the afternoon off work, run 50 miles to Brighton and make the 11pm ferry…I carried on thinking. I kept looking at my map and was trying to decide what to do when the Isle of Wight jumped out at me. I did a quick search as to the distance around the island, 70 Miles, perfect I could easily do that over a weekend. I booked a ferry went home and packed my bag for the weekends adventure.
The Comrades Marathon is an ultra marathon of approximately 89 km which is run annually in between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in South Africa. It is the world’s largest and oldest ultra marathon race with 20,000 people entered into this years race. The direction of the race alternates each year between the ‘up’ run starting from Durban and the ‘down’ run starting from Pietermaritzburg. This year I would be towing the line and attempting the Down run!
Fancy darting through Sherwood Forest as fast as possible whilst trying to read a map, firing bow and arrows and climbing up castle turrets then this race is for you!
Read my full write up of this adrenaline pumped and Red Bull infused orienteering race on Hard as Trail
After a summer of running around and up and down mountains in the Alps I got home and decided to look for an autumn marathon to run. Chester marathon caught my eye as a lovely marathon that started in a pretty historic town and then wound it’s way through scenic country lanes. With 7 weeks to go I signed up and started training. I also moved house and found a new running club to run with – Windsor Slough Eton & Hounslow (WSE&H). Conrad Milton took me under his wing and helped me with a marathon-training programme that would provide a much needed shock to the system. I instantly loved the WSE&H training sessions as the training group I was put in. I had a lovely group of girls to train with which was a welcomed change especially to Sunday long runs.
I got off the train in Zermatt and the first thing I searched for was the Matterhorn unfortunately with the low cloud you couldn’t see a thing above the village. It would take me 3 days until I eventually got to see the Matterhorn in all its glory and the first sight of it was completely encapsulating, for a mountain it has a strange and mesmerising hold on you. I was in Zermatt to take part in The Matterhorn Ultraks 46km Skyrace. This would be my first Skyrace, first mountain race and first ultra marathon and what better place to do it than in picturesque Switzerland. I decided to head out to Zermatt a few days before the race to practice running in the mountains and recce as much of the course as I could. My experience of running in the mountains consists of 8 days spent in Chamonix last month where I incorporated the Tour of Mont Blanc so you could say it is somewhat limited so why on earth did I decided to do a 46km race with 3600m of climbing in the middle of the Alps? For the challenge of course!