Roadtrip! After knocking a few ideas and plans back and forth we decided that the Global Odyssey 100 Gobi expedition should start with an eight-hundred-kilometre, two day road trip from Ulaanbaatar to the capital of the Gobi Dalanzhadgad, with an overnight stop at Mandalgovi – middle Gobi. Time to sit back, relax and get into the zone. What can I say: it was epic.
Plan: let’s stop over in Frankfurt en-route to Ulaanbaatar for the Global Odyssey Gobi 100k. We don’t have to worry about tight connections; we can rest up before the long haul flight and we can explore a new city.
I would never have imagined that the Scottish Highlands would have been the location for heat conditioning for the Gobi Desert or that the Great Glen Ultra would be my last long run for my Global Odyssey Gobi 100k challenge. Surreal as it seems that is how things roll sometimes.
When someone mentions an A-Z of Glasgow I am immediately transported back to when I first came to the city well over thirty years ago and armed myself with the trusty A-Z of Glasgow map book. That’s what you did back in the days before internet, mobile phones and google maps.
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?
Car crash alert! You would have thought it would get easier with each year that passes, but no, the path to getting the Loch Katrine Running Festival over the start line this year has been littered with caltrops waiting to trip me up.
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.
To quote Jack Nicolson ‘What if this is as good as it gets?’
I have accepted the noticeable deterioration in the elasticity of my skin and the little wrinkles and lines forming, the drift south.
You know it has been a bad year when.....
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.
My recent participation in the Devil ‘O the Highlands footrace had an almighty sting in the tail: shin splints!
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.
Code red, we have a code red! We are on plan Z! What do you do when you reach plan Z? Plan AA?
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.