When thinking of adventure, particularly endurance type adventures, most people imagine weeks spent trekking an epically long trail in some distant land, probably along some unpronounceable mountain chain. Yes, this would certainly qualify as an adventure, but many of us just don’t have the time for these epic expeditions, much as we would love to do them. We have families, full-time jobs, cats…

This realisation can cause much frustration and you would be forgiven for assuming that you can’t live that adventurous life of your dreams, because you simply have too many commitments to just disappear.

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The Spires and Steeples- an Event Report

It was time for another Spires and Steeples rematch and to my delight Helen decided to join me again- makes it so much more fun when there‘s someone to walk with. The Spires and Steeples is a 26.6 mile walk from Lincoln to Sleaford, and as the bus leaves Sleaford for Lincoln at 7am this involved a very early start, driving half asleep through dark country lanes and trying to force down an instant porridge pot in the car park (Helen rather unwisely entrusted me with her not quite empty pot which inevitably ended up upside down under my seat on the coach)

We were expecting warm weather according to the forecast so had both donned shorts for the occasion along with many other people, but the sun didn’t make an appearance until about 3pm- it stayed rather cloudy with rain in the air a couple of times although it wasn‘t cold.

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Event Report- The Baslow Boot Bash

Phew that was a scorcher! Considering that the last time I did this event (2015) it poured all of the night before and most of the day, it couldn’t have been more different.

I had the pleasure of introducing Helen and Sue to each other and we also kept leap frogging Steve, who walked with Sue and I two years ago, and his friend Linda.

The start of the Baslow Boot Bash is just near the field which serves as a car park, but we needed to walk to the village hall to register- I think queuing to get through the cage- style gate into the grounds of Chatsworth took longer than the walk!

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Bowland 100k- Event Report

I think it was when my foot disappeared up to my knee in peaty water for the third time within five minutes that I first accepted that this challenge wasn’t going to be achievable. I stopped and surveyed the scene- peat bogs and slippery mud as far as I could see. A hundred yards away Sue was having her own struggles, forging a path through tangled heather roots in an attempt to avoid the worst of it. It started raining again- heavy, persistent rain, and I began to wonder if we would ever make it off the fell let alone to the end…

In hindsight, it was always going to be ambitious- 100k (62 miles) over the fells of the Forest of Bowland in March. Persuaded by Sue to enter, I was slightly apprehensive as I have walked on these fells and know how boggy they can be.

I had arranged to stay with my sister and brother-in-law, who live fairly near to the start at Slaidburn, and they kindly drove me there. Prior to the event we had received very little information from the organisers, Pure Challenge, regarding the route, checkpoints etc. In response to several Facebook queries they had supplied a list of checkpoints with some rough distances between and assurances that there would be hot food at the ‘half way’ point at Dunsop Bridge. We were not given a map or route description but were assured that the route would be marked.

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Event Report- The Millennium Way Ultra

There was no doubt about it- I was completely lost. Approaching checkpoint three my route description had finally succumbed to the relentless showers and had disintegrated into a soggy illegible pulp, and now I had taken the wrong exit out of the field.

Instead of arriving at the checkpoint marquee on the playing field at Yoxall I was faced with unfamiliar roads and had absolutely no idea how to get back on track. I looked at my watch- 5:03pm. I knew that the checkpoint closing time was 5:05pm and I had no way of finding it in time. It was looking horribly like my race was over… panicking I forced my tired body into a shambling jog- but I wasn’t even sure I was running in the right direction…

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Getting closer…

I cannot believe we are more than halfway through February already… is anyone else convinced that the years are actually getting shorter?

Of course, every day that passes brings me closer to the challenges I have booked- starting with the Millennium Ultra on 4th March- less than two weeks!

Now I first attempted this event a couple of years ago. All of the other entrants appeared to be serious ultra runner types who left me for dust in a matter of seconds. I trotted along at the back, eventually catching up with a couple in Stafford just after the first checkpoint. We walked/ ran for a little while but the chap had hurt his knee when he twisted it in the mud and was finding it increasingly painful so they decided to retire at checkpoint two.

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Swimathon Challenge

Spurred on by swimming 80 lengths last week I have been persuaded to enter this Swimathon Challenge in aid of Marie Curie on 7th April.

You book a time slot at one of the participating venues, choose your distance and then swim…

Helen and I have decided on a team effort- swimming 5k between us… a mere 100 lengths each! Ah well good training for the Half Outlaw!

Event Report- the Wilmot Wander

A couple of weeks ago saw me taking on my first challenge of 2017- the 32 mile Wilmot Wander. Run by the Chaddesden Scout Group, the walk starts from Chaddesden in Derby and takes in a circuit around the city.

They have this slightly odd system where walkers and runners are sent off in batches every two minutes, and as my start time was earlier than Sue and Elaine, my walking companions‘, I hovered outside in the dark trying to keep my balance on the icy pavement.

Reunited, we set off through Chaddesden Park- one drawback of not having a mass start is that there was nobody in front to follow. We had some rather poorly printed maps and a route description that was sparse at best so had to ask a local lady for directions on leaving the park.

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2017- Ready or not, here we come!!

I know I keep saying this but I can’t believe it’s 2017 already… 2016 seemed to fly by- it seems no time at all that I was writing my New Year’s post for last year.

There’s something about the start of a brand shiny new year that gets people thinking about making a fresh start, becoming a new person etc etc etc… which is great but all too often people make a whole list of resolutions (I’m going to go to the gym every day, get up an hour early each day, give up smoking, stop drinking, swim to work…) and of course it’s not realistic or sustainable and so they give up and feel like a failure.

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Event Report- the Three Shires Challenge

009Well, I entered this one with high ambitions of finally smashing out the 29 mile route this year… but as usual I had had fantasies about getting much fitter than I actually have done…

I met Sue at the start, in the village hall at Swythamley, one of those Peak District villages that manages to be rather difficult to find and, as I have heard described, in the ‘arse end of nowhere’.

As we set off, it was quite clear that the overwhelming theme of today’s walk was going to be mud. I haven’t seen such a variety of mud in a long while… sticky mud, slippery mud, glutinous mud…

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