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?
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.
Our adventure started on a wet January morning as we flew from Glasgow to Frankfurt where we hooked up with David Scott (Sandbaggers) the organiser and the rest of the group before the overnight flight to Windhoek the capital of Namibia.
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.
And therein lies a story. When I caught sight of a new ultra-marathon signing up was a 'no brainer', and so I entered the inaugural Dunoon 50k a good few months ago. Note the zero after the five there and the ‘good few months ago’.
There was weather. There is always weather in Scotland, but this weather was biblical. I was wetter than a wet thing that is very wet for nine hours.