Challenge Events Archives

Baslow Boot Bash- Event Report

Baslow Boot BashI had only done the Baslow Boot Bash once before as I have managed to be on holiday ever since. The Boot Bash is an event where there is no route description; just a list of check points which must be visited in order and so a map is needed.

I was in two minds whether to turn up as I got up at 6am, as, after a warm and sunny week, Saturday saw Britain lashed by torrential rain! It had started raining the night before and poured all night, meaning that it was going to be lovely and slippery underfoot.

But as this was potentially my first challenge event this year (shocking!) I thought I had better make the effort, and so drove through sheets of rain to the sodden field in the Chatsworth estate that was being used as a car park and waded my way to register at Baslow village hall.

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The Spires and Steeples; Event Report

Spires and SteeplesAs I am writing this, the day after the 2014 Spires and Steeples, it has been throwing it down all day. It is really wild, wet and windy out- a proper autumn day- and I have had the luxury of observing it from a nice, warm (maybe too warm) office.

It’s not too often us endurance nutters can feel smug about the weather, but as yesterday was one of the most glorious days we have had for a while, and certainly the best day of the week, I can admit to feeling rather smug!

Although foggy, I could see the stars as I drove to Sleaford to catch the coach, which boded well for a clear day and certainly a contrast to last year’s event! Parking up, I walked to the National Centre for Craft and Design to locate a toilet, meeting up with Sue, who I finished the White Peak Walk with in 2013. Sue was walking the Spires and Steeples with her mum, a fit 72 year old, who was a little apprehensive as she had not completed a walk of this length for some time. I was really pleased to later learn that she completed it, which was a fantastic achievement.

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Event Report- The White Peak Walk

White Peak WalkI like the White Peak Walk for a number of reasons- great scenery, lovely food at the end and nice friendly people- but one of its main attractions is the civilised starting time of 10am. This means I don’t have to prise myself out of bed when it’s still dark after a few snatched hours sleep, but can actually enjoy a leisurely breakfast and set off in daylight. Heck, I even had time to stop for petrol.

The WPW is unique in that there is no set route description, just a number of checkpoints which must be visited in order. Although routes are suggested these can be open to interpretation.

After grabbing a coffee and lathering myself in sunscreen I saw Ross, and we walked together for the day. The suggested route to the first checkpoint goes through fields, and as things can become pretty congested at the stiles we decided to take the road round by Taddington to the first checkpoint at the Waterloo Hotel. Judging by the amount of people coming in to the checkpoint from the ‘suggested’ route, ours may have been a little shorter… still, we made up for that later on…

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Event Report- The Leaden Boot

Leaden BootThe sweat crusted on my face as my lungs heaved and I tried to force my feet to lug my body ever upwards. The heat was relentless and I had been walking for hours now. Every part of my body demanded that this was madness and I should just stop right now…

This madness was the 26.2 mile Leaden Boot challenge walk, which I had first completed two years ago and remembered steep climbs and oppressive heat. Over 5,000 feet worth often steep ascent to be exact, much of it really steep. As I drove to the start in the tiny stone Peak village of Alstonefield the sun was already high in the sky, promising another very hot day.

The Leaden Boot has a charming and unique tradition called the Blessing of the Boots. A short service is conducted in the Old School Gardens opposite the village hall by local Vicar Rev Anne Ballard. At the end all walkers file out singing a heart rendition of Jerusalem, and as they leave the Gardens, she sprinkles water over boots and shoes to ‘bless soles’ and keep feet blister free.

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The Charnwood Marathon- Event Report

Charnwood MarathonThe Charnwood Marathon is a fairly local challenge event for me, and as it runs through some of the most scenic areas of the Charnwood Hills area in Leicestershire and I missed it last year I thought I’d pay it a wee visit. I have done this event a few times before but- whew- it kicked my ass a bit today…

The Charnwood Marathon used to start and finish at Quorn Village Hall, but for the past couple of years it has moved to Rawlins School just up the road. It was good to see Ross and his canine walking companion, Kyla, and we walked together- I usually end up doing these events on my own so it does make a difference having someone to chat to.

It was a lovely sunny spring day, and after being started by the bell ringing town crier we headed out over the fields to the villages of Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eves. I was expecting it to be muddy but thankfully it seemed to have dried out a little.

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Just about recovered…

I think I am just about recovered from my failed attempt at the Millennium Ultra. I think I picked up some kind of a virus last week as I felt headachey, achey and really really tired, unless it was just the after effects of the event and my general unfitness and rubbishness.

Ah well. Onwards and upwards as they say… Been getting back on the horse this week with a little running, a walk in the lovely evening sunshine tonight and a gym session planned for tomorrow.

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Event Report- The Millennium Way Ultra

Millennium UltraI have been delaying my write up of the Millennium Way Ultra. This has been because I don’t really know what to say or how I feel about it.

Don’t get me wrong- it was a great event, with the great organisation and friendliness that is typical of a Beyond Marathon event. It’s just that I… well I… kind of… erm…

Oh ok. I DNF’d. Yep- I didn’t finish. I dropped out.

DNF. Those three letters every endurance athlete dreads but which all must face, probably several times, over the course of their running and walking careers. And I faced them today.

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The Millennium Way Ultramarathon

On Sunday I am undertaking the longest event I have done for ages- the 38 mile Millennium Ultra Marathon following the route of the Millennium Way. The Millennium Way is a long distance trail created by Staffordshire County Council and crosses one side of the county to the other.

Beyond Marathon conceived the idea of doing the whole thing in one day- 11 hours to be precise. Although the route is predominantly flat, and along canal paths and disused railway line, there are stretches across fields which are unsurprisingly wet and muddy.

I won’t be able to get away with walking it so will need to use my shambling jog as much as I can. I am aiming to finish within the time limit, and enjoy the experience of crossing a county in a day!

Here’s To 2014!!

2014The chocolates are finished, the cards are in the recycling bin and the tree has been unceremoniously shoved back into the under stairs cupboard for another year… and so now is the time to turn our thoughts towards 2014 and the adventures that the year has in store…

I do love this time of year. It is a perfect period for pausing and taking stock of the year that has passed, and making plans for the year to come.

So without further ado here are my plans for the coming shiny New Year;

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My Review of 2013

Cares GorgeSo as we approach that quiet period between Christmas and the New Year (or the ‘arse-end of the year as one friend likes to call it) I love taking some time out to reflect on and review 2013…

In January I didn’t actually complete any events but did travel to the Adventure Travel show in Olympia where I saw James Cracknell and Ben Fogle speak, and got some great inspiration for future adventures- all I need now is lots of money.


During March I tackled the famously muddy Belvoir Challenge, a popular old favourite which takes place around the rolling countryside of the Vale of Belvoir.

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