Challenge Events Archives

Coventry WayIt was quite a shock to realise that I last completed this event 11 years ago! Where does the time go… I nearly didn’t do it Sunday as I had succumbed to yet another cold, this time accompanied by a bad cough, and had been feeling really poorly right up until Friday.

It’s frustrating- I seem to have picked up one thing after another recently- colds, tummy bugs, the lot! I am usually such a healthy bod so this is really quite worrying. I am due to have some blood tests taken next week (mainly to shut Mum up!) so we will see if there’s anything untoward going on or if it is just work stress and the result of constantly pushing myself when I am not feeling great…

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Back to Back Walks and Faster Runs…

020After the non- event that was the Millennium Ultra, what’s been happening since?

It’s not all doom and gloom. Helen and I have been doing some training as a preparation for our four day charity walk in May, which involved a couple of back to back walks the weekend before last of around 16 miles each day. We loaded up our packs in a bid to strengthen those muscles as we will be carrying everything we need with us along the South West Coast Path.

On Saturday we completed the short route of the Charnwood Forest Marathon, which involved quite a few climbs- Broombriggs Farm, Beacon Hill, Windmill Hill and the Old John at Bradgate, whilst Sunday we walked from Helen’s house to Calke Abbey, where we walked through a tunnel from the old lime workings. It is amazing how much carrying a heavy pack makes you ache when you are not used to it! I’m sure we will be carrying a lot more gear in May too…

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DNSWhat’s the only thing worse than a DNF? Yep- that’s right… the good old DNS. At least if you DNF you have battled, you have struggled, you have pitted your body against some of the toughest, muddiest and wettest terrain out there, and, although it beat you this time it still leaves you head and shoulders above those who chose to stay in their warm, comfortable beds…

But, alas, I DNS the Millennium Way Ultra… I succumbed to a particularly nasty cold a couple of days before and was barely capable of running a bath let alone 41 miles.

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A Training Update

IMAG2764So- it’s February already!! Is it me or is 2016 zipping along like an express train already?!?

I am convinced the years are actually getting shorter… and while I am having a moan I just want to mention the weather (I am British after all). I mean, what’s with all this wet stuff falling from the sky? It feels like it’s rained nearly every day since last October and every where is just so wet and muddy.

If we don’t get a bit of dry weather soon those fields on the Millennium Way Ultra are going to be one wet morass… they are bad enough at the best of times- one poor soul apparently lost a shoe last year, never to be retrieved, and had to limp back to Stafford Railway Station to catch a train to the finish!

On the advice of race organisers Beyond Marathon I have bought my first ever pair of proper trail shoes- they haven’t actually arrived yet, but they are bright red and I an expecting great things!

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Event Report- The Spires & Steeples Challenge

spires and steeplesAlthough I have walked the 26 mile Spires and Steeples Challenge many times before, this time it was different. I had brought a friend with me. Helen had decided to join me for a little jaunt through the Lincolnshire countryside.

The Spires and Steeples Challenge is a different kind of challenge walk as it is a linear route- we were taken by bus to Lincoln and let loose to walk the 26 miles back to the car at Sleaford through fields and villages. It is not the most spectacular of routes, but thanks to the Autumn colours it can look quite charming when the sun’s out. Unfortunately it stayed dull and overcast all day.

Arriving in Lincoln, Helen and I set off to locate the public loos, where we were treated to an unfortunate and ill-timed conversation between two lady walkers already in situ, discussing that they had brought the Vaseline and how it reduces friction… at least I hope they were walkers!

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Hadrian's Wall ChallengeA friend suggested that we sign up for this challenge in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society as we see the effects of this horrid disease first hand, and we had been embarking on a few training walks over the past few months in preparation as she hadn‘t done any long distance walking for years. As you know, I am always up for a long walk in a different area and as seeing Hadrian’s Wall was on my bucket list (yes I have a pretty strange bucket list!) I was eagerly submitted my entry.

As this challenge was a ‘mere’ 23 miles, I felt confident in my abilities to complete it, especially as I had completed the Dovedale Dipper the week before… nothing is guaranteed however! A few days before the event, we found out it was actually 26 miles…ok a full marathon then…

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Event Report- The Dovedale Dipper

dovedale dipperIt was a cool, cloudy morning as around three hundred walkers and runners set off from Hartington Village Hall for the 13th annual 26 mile Dovedale Dipper challenge walk. This is a justly popular event right in the heart of the White Peak, and it passes through some spectacular classic Peak scenery.

Of course, being the Peak District there is also plenty of climbing, the first ascent faced as we left Hartington and climbed the slopes of Carder Low, heading for the High Peak cycle trail and the first checkpoint at Sparklow.

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The Grindleford Gallop Revisited

grindleford gallopA few weeks ago my friend and I embarked on our second training walk for the Alzheimer’s Society Hadrian’s Wall Trek in August. As I have acquired quite a collection of challenge walk route descriptions, we decided on the 21 mile Grindleford Gallop and so we found ourselves emerging from the car into drizzle on Grindleford’s main street.

Luckily it soon cleared up, and once we had made our way through woods to Froggatt the sun was making a welcome appearance. Rain threatened several times during the day but we seemed to manage to skirt around it.

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Manchester to Blackpool Cycle RideI was so nervous about the Manchester to Blackpool Cycle Ride… not being a regular cyclist and a fairly nervous one at that, this was something completely out of my comfort zone and I wasn’t too sure I’d be up to cycling 60 miles in one day. The event is organised to raise funds for The Christie, an NHS cancer treatment trust plus charities of peoples‘ choice. We decided that the rest of our sponsorship will go to St Bernadette’s, the school where my sister works.

My brother-in-law kindly drove us and the bikes to Manchester, through a haze of drizzle and I watched the spray from the vehicles on the wet roads in some alarm. By the time we met up with the others in our team- St Bernadette’s Hot Wheels- near the start at the Old Trafford football ground, the rain had stopped but the skies were still an ominous grey and there were huge puddles on the slick roads.

Trying to find the loos turned out to be a challenge, as we followed a couple of girls on a complete circuit round the football grounds before finding the ladies right where we had started- oh well it was a good warm-up for the legs…

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On Yer Bike!!

Cycles ruleYes- I have done it again… signed up for another mad challenge which I am now panicking about!

This one? It’s the Manchester to Blackpool cycle ride… just 60 miles… and I am not a regular bike rider- until a few weeks ago I didn’t have a bike!!

It just seemed a good idea when my sister said that she was thinking of getting a team together to do it in aid of the school where she works- St Bernadettes in Blackpool. The trouble is- she and my brother-in-law are ultra keen and ultra fit cyclists who think nothing of going out and bashing out 40- 60 miles on the hilly roads of the Forest of Bowland every weekend. It will be just like a little training ride for her!

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