The Namibian Odyssey 100k was certainly an adventure and a journey of discovery; just not the one I had expected. How wrong did it go? Spectacularly wrong. They say, that if you are going to fail; fail with style, get eaten by a leopard or something of that ilk. Failing because you are bit pooped simply lacks panache. I can give Cyrano de Bergerac a run for his money when it comes to panache.
‘If you're seeing things running through your head Who you gonna call?’ Sandbaggers!
There I was dreaming about those remote, extreme, beautiful, exquisitely painful 100ks that you have set yourself the challenge of doing for the Global Odyssey 100. Antarctica, no problem: done. Europe, no problem: done. Africa; wait a minute, there are not that many one-day 100k events on the African continent and the ones I found just did not seem to whet my appetite. There was something missing, a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’. Do I settle?
Raid Des Bogomiles: Do I get the prize for the most amusing race name? You have to admit that coming from a country where the word ‘boggin’ is common parlance and where you frequently run through miles of bog it has a certain amusement value.
Did the Grand Raid Des Bogomiles, (one of three races held within the Grand Raid Des Cathars), provide miles of bog? No, but there was an ascent up vertical mud slide which left me fairly boggin.
A not so cautious return from injury.
It’s an age old story.You get injured. It’s a bad one, crutches are involved. Painkillers are involved. Picture a running diva lolling with a ‘blanky’ and a pile of cushions. There are weeks (four) of enforced inactivity. Picture diva impersonating a cat on a hot tin roof. Finally, you get the all clear to ease back into training, but there is a small problem. It is only seven weeks until your next race, a huge kick-ass 100k with ascent equal to climbing Ben Nevis five times.
Plan Z: I had a blast. Best day out since the Namibian and Genghis Khan marathons in January.
For the first time ever, I was smiling in every photo taken during a race: unheard of. There is a lot to be said for just rocking up, not pushing it, hanging at the back of the party, chilling and taking it easy.
Or any other run in Scotland for that matter.
It is oft said in the pre-race briefing to expect ‘weather’. Now, your canny Scot knows exactly what that means. The country that can so often give us four seasons in one day means that we have to plan for said four seasons.
So here is a quick guide to ensure success and avoid the packing procrastination trap.
Well, I had to really. Just couldn’t resist it.
The inaugural Tyne Trail Ultra followed the new Tyne Trail from source to sea. The trail has been established by the Daft as a Brush charity which provides cancer patient care services by provided staffed transportation to and from hospital for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Kielder 80k ultra: I came last and first.
Bunk beds and school dinners were the order of the day at the Hawkhirst Scout camp which is where the Kielder, 50k, 80k and 100k races start and finish and where we were staying the night before the event. I was one on a small Scottish raiding party making a foray into racing south of the border. Speaking to our dorm neighbours we discovered a small Danish raiding party too.
From Namibia (see previous blog post) back to Frankfurt, then on to Beijing (the coldest and most unfriendly airport I have ever set foot in) and a final short hop to Ulaanbataar: departing Namibia on Sunday night and arriving in Ulaanbataar on Tuesday, yes, Tuesday afternoon, losing 7 hours on the way.