Monday, 21 May 2012

100 Mile Challenge

The 100 Mile Challenge
It is now about a year since I last announced a challenge. For those who are not aware I undertook a challenge that for me was completely beyond anything I had ever attempted before. I decided that I was going to run a marathon and I wanted to raise money for a charity. I decided I was going to try and raise money for St Wilfrids Hospice in Eastbourne. Having made this decision I thought about it a little bit more and decided that I wanted this event to stand out a little more than "just" a marathon. Now don't get me wrong a marathon is an epic achievement by anybody's standards. I simply felt that lots of people raise money by undertaking a marathon and I wanted to grabbed some attention. Equally I could be considered stupid and liked the idea of doing something a little more extreme. It's this attitude hat has ultimately led to me being an Ultra-Runner.
The challenge was to run one half marathon and three marathons in the space of four weeks. This was then to be followed up by an Ultra-Marathon in the Brecon Beacons a 45 mile run on a 23 mile loop (yes it ended up being 46 miles for all you mathematicians) The Ultra-Marathon was only four weeks after the last marathon. This was a challenge that I loved every minute of. In a strange way the hardest event was the half marathon. I have come to realise that I significantly prefer the longer distances. It is such a different type of race with a different perspective.
Friends and family responded to the challenge brilliantly and my Justgiving page accrued some £663. This was excluding Gift Aid and I believe the final total was closer to around £800. I can't explain what a difference donations like this makes to a charity like St Wilfrids. I urge everyone to donate to charity. Even if it is not to my page them donate to someone. It keeps these brilliant charities alive for a minimal sacrifice from us.
This challenge was completed and I have to say I enjoyed every minute.
Following on from the Brecon Beacons I realised that this was the format of running that I loved and had been considering the next challenge that I wanted to undertake. Of course the challenge needed to be bigger and better than the previous challenge. I am fortunate that my best friend, Sam Robson, is of the same mindset and about two years further down the road of training than I. As such, I was already aware of the existence of 100 mile runs. With relatively little hesitation I signed up to the NORTH DOWNS WAY 100. This will take place on the 11th of August 2012. Stretching from Farnham to Wye this run will take approximately 24 to 30 hours. Runner's who manage to get under 24 hours will receive a special medal noting "100 Miles One Day" For those of you who know me will therefore know that I am instantly drawn to trying to achieve sub 24 hours. The cut off for the run is 30 hours and runners will need to be at the half way mark within 15 hours. The winner will likely achieve a time of between 15 and 17 hours.
Training is going well and with just under three months to go the real training now starts. It is the training that is hardest. Trying to find the time to get long runs in as well as the shorter regular runs is not always easy. It is also essential to get in some strength training. The pressure of all of this is what can prevent anyone from reaching the start line, let alone the finish line.
Training so far has gone ok. It has not been without the odd hiccup or week where I simply have not trained but as a general rule thus far it has been about a 6/10 and for the next three months it needs to be a 9/10. This means bye bye to any lie ins for the next few months. It is certainly achievable and will be worth it for that feeling of crossing the finish line in Wye.
In addition to the 100 mile race I will be revisiting the Beachy Head Marathon. This is far from any ordinary marathon and most runners are advised to add between 45 minutes and 60 minutes to their normal marathon time. I am aiming to beat my time of 5hrs45min (ish). There are a few points where I am determined to run and not walk. Sub 5 hours is here target this year.
Once I have done the Beachy Head Marathon then my year is concluded with another brilliant run in the Brecon Beacons. This run is hosted by Martin and Sue Like. It is a brilliant atmosphere with a real sense of Social Community everybody is encouraged and all achievements recognised. I shall be aiming to beat 11hrs 29 minutes, but most importantly I want to have as much fun as i did last time. Over the course of 11/12 hours you tend to enter into some great banta and conversations with other runners.
Between the North Downs Way 100, The Beachy Head Marathon and the Brecon Beacons Ultra I would go as far as to say I have picked just about the most beautiful trio in the UK. I shall take plenty of photos and let you all decide what you think.
I shall blog more specifically about my training and each race as the build up continues.
My Justgiving page is still up and running and if you wish to donate to St Wilfrids Hospice then please got www.justgiving.com any donationhowever big or small goes a long way to making the difference in someone's life.
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