It has been a while since I wrote. There should have been an entry for the Global Odyssey trip to North America and for the Ben Vorlich Ultra. Why the silence? Well, life has thrown a massive curve ball that has totally knocked the wind out of my sails and all my motivation with it.
I must be honest and say that this blog entry is tinged with disappointment and frustration at my second failure to complete the African stage of the Global Odyssey, but I am entirely comfortable with my decision to abandon forty-five kilometres into the 100k Ultra Mirage el Djerid event.
High Terrain Events and I have ‘previous’, in fact the Glentress Trail Marathon and I have previous. I came last in the previous two High Terrain Events that I did in 2017: Kielder 80km and the Tweed Valley 65k. When I ran in the first edition of the Glentress Trail Marathon I was a DNF at the halfway point, just not having the motivation to tackle the mud again.
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.
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.
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.
At the recent Glen Ogle 33 I had my first experience of sweeping. For the uninitiated a sweeper is positioned at the rear of the race behind the last competitor: and as the name suggest sweeps along the route ensuring that the runner stays on course and letting the check points know that there is no left on the course: simple, but there are a number of rules. I was sweeping with Ada, a seasoned sweeper and great person to learn the tricks of the trade from.