The SNOD ultra runnig thread

The Idle Banter non specific race ultra thread

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02/10/2014 at 14:48

My march was briefly stopped as I stopped to chat to an old man taking photo’s who seemed to know a lot about the area. He pointed out a massive grey raincloud that had quickly built up and would soon hit us, how close the last tide was to breaching the headland, how to get to the very end of the point and what was there (beyond where the road ends) and told me how I’d just missed a huge ‘off-road’ military vehicle carrying a touring party grounding trying to get from this sand section back onto the track on its way to the end of the point – a tractor had been needed to get them going again.

I’d barely cleared the sandy section back onto a slightly raised bank with sand-covered hardtrack, when the dark cloud loomed large – it seemed to have approached really quickly – and I was getting the waterproof jacket on. I’d been lucky enough not to have the waterproofs out all week, but now the weather was evening things up. In fact the rain came down so hard and fast I decided I would take advantage of one of the little shelter boxes, put there in case you cut cut-off by a tide. I could have persisted onwards and my smock would have kept me reasonably dry. But the pace I was able to walk meant I would have been cold and I didn’t think I was in that much of a hurry.

In my strange, wood-built hut – like a fully enclosed bus shelter, but barely wider than a phone box, I saw off the worst of the downpour whilst munching on a big sausage roll Clare had bought me as a treat for today. By big I don’t mean long, this was one of those cross-sections of a larger roll, so about 4” diameter of sausage meat with pastry cover. There was so much filling I couldn’t eat it all. I got back underway with hood pulled tight and only my legs exposed and made a good march onwards. With the occasional short stretch of ‘sslog’ (my slog now degraded to slower than most peoples brisk-walk, but still advantageous in speed over my stiff walk).

I passed the lighthouses – which from the start looked near to the end of the spit – but still had a good distance to go. The rain receeded a short while, but the smock stayed on as the wind was cold. As I approached the end I found the small community of the point. Which consists of station and of housing for a ‘full-time’ RNLI lifeboat crew – only crew of this type in the UK, an ABP Humber Vessel traffic service building and housing for its staff. I ran through the remote village, which as well as having current housing had ruins of old buildings dotted around. These also looked to be at the end, but in fact there was still about another half mile.

Onwards and my path was blocked by overgrown vegetation and dunes so it was onto the beach to find the rough end of the point. As another fast moving dark cloud loomed to the west I turned back and realised it had taken me significantly longer to get here than I thought. And I would have to get on with it on the way back. Clare wouldn’t mind if I was slightly late, but if I was very late I ran the risk of getting cut-off by the tide.

So as the sky turned dark grey and the rain came down again I pulled my hood tight and tried to get a forward momentum and rhythm going to sslog the last few miles of my big adventure. I only really stopped to take a few pictures to capture the stunning surrounds and unusual cloud formations in the ‘big sky’. I covered the ground back to the barrier in  just over an hour and five minutes at probably the fastest pace I could maintain beyond a walk, which equated to just over 3mph and was barely enough to keep me warm. Clare pulled up just before I hit the barrier and my adventure was complete. The final shortened day measuring 6.7m and taking me 2hrs30 minutes (2.7mph).

Edited: 02/10/2014 at 14:53
02/10/2014 at 15:16

Going further or faster today would have been a severe challenge and at what cost to my own health and ability to live a normal life for the next week I don’t know. My ‘real life’ meant helping to look after my son and returning to work on the Tuesday following this Saturday (I was glad of the bank holiday Monday). As it was my whole body was pretty battered from pain in back of neck, to stiff shoulders, back, legs, swollen ankles and feet, blisters and two blackened big toenails – one of which now lifted off the toe by a blood blister beneath. That toe also hurt a lot just to walk on and would for over a week – despite a visit to doctors the day after my last run who diagnosed infection and gave me a two week antibiotics course. The blister drained and toe stopped hurting, but the toenail has subsequently left me.

A pleasant surprise at the end of the run beyond Clare and my son Isaac to greet me was that my dad and brother had also journeyed out. I’ll forgive them the pub meal they had whilst I was running as they took me to a nearby caf for a hot drink and lovely homemade cake!

Aftermath -

Aches recede, wound heal, but perhaps the unexpected effect is the mental one this run has had on me. It was a great experiance, real highs at times. It was also a challenging experience. More so as the days passed I had moments I felt I could call it quits. But I would remind myself of the privilege of being able to do this and that many in the world would not have the option (including those I was raising money for) and that would keep me going till the feeling passed. Life goes on since this challenge, but it feels like I’m now missing something. And, being honest I think having done this it has impacted my motivations for some of lifes more mundane tasks at times since. I question whether perhaps this makes me a selfish person having exercised this fantasy lifestyle for a few days and then missing it so since that I have days when life just lacks an edge.

Maybe so, but this is me, I don’t claim to be perfect, and I know for my selfish desires I also try to do good when I can and particularly for those who are most important to me. I read a post recently where a runner described the Spartathlon event as their ‘crack cocaine’ – this is something I can completely understand. So as I finish this year with my final three long monthly challenges – as I’ve subsequent to this one run the High Peak 40 in September, none of which will be as big as this one, I know there will be another big challenge not far away. Partly because I want it to be, partly because I’d be incomplete without the promise of it.

Edited: 02/10/2014 at 15:42
02/10/2014 at 21:21

Good on ya DEot. I've not been to Spurn Point but had an interest in birdwatching many years ago & thought of it. You've really put yourself throught the mill with this challenge. I can only imagine how thrilled your mum would be.

im sure life won't be empty as you have your young son to help make it full, but as you say motivation for the mundane may well be affected. Good Luck to you. 

03/10/2014 at 15:45

Thanks jim. I love having a young family, but I think the routine of work, etc... has just seemed a little less motivating. Think I just need to keep balancing out the reality stuff with some fantasy running

03/10/2014 at 16:43

Great report DEot. 


04/10/2014 at 19:34

Humm just realised I should do the montane trail26 events next year as The Spine and UTLD are both Montane sponsored I should do the trail marathons to get the full house in their UK events next year.


Edited: 04/10/2014 at 19:36
06/10/2014 at 14:02

I didn't read that properly at first and was going to say, what about the arctic/Yukon races?" (I'd forgive anyone for not wanting to do a race with 'arctic' in its name). Not that I think the spine sounds easy - I'm yet to succumb to the charms of that one as not heard enough evidence that this would contain enough pleasure/sense of achievement to balance out the pain and suffering(thinking snow, rain storms, deep snow/mud/water).

I've never done the trail26 races, locations for sound interesting though. I probably would have done some, but for fact hardmoors trail marathon series appeared about the same time and is a bit closer to me.

I'm yet to settle on a single event for next year. I'm waiting for the right challenging event to "find me". Not even sure what my November, December events are going to be this year Maybe Hardmoors 26.2 events from Goathland (27m), Roseberry topping (28.5m). Maybe new Frostbite 30 route (nidderdale) but not on event day and also considering the Tour de Helvellyn (after wanting to do for a few years).

Edited: 06/10/2014 at 14:10
13/10/2014 at 17:29

First 26.2m in my road shoes for a year-and-a-half yesterday. Yorkshire marathon. Reasonably big (3000+) entry marathon starting and finishing in York. But with wide enough roads early so you can get straight into your running. In its 2nd year, but well organised and really well supported. Its tough running that far on a road at a pace that's a minute/mile under any marathon+ off-roader I've done. But unlike in the remote trail runs where you feast in the serenity and quiet of your surroundings I found the support, cheering, music, comedy banners all helped to push me along. Also happy to have run a good race, speeding up each ten miles and having a real kick in my last 6 where I was running almost like a 10k-race.

As much fun as that was though, my two remaining running challenges this year will be back off-piste

26/10/2014 at 19:49
Hows it all going. My injury.nightmare seems to br over. White Rose ultra next week.
26/10/2014 at 20:22

Good news Spen, still crocked from my last one and no end in sight unfortunately. White Rose is 30 isn't it?

26/10/2014 at 20:35

How long are you out for GKD?  I read the race report so know it's a long injury.


im doing the 60.

26/10/2014 at 20:42

Probably another two months realistically, kinda hoped the doctors were wrong and I'd heal quickly but it seems to be the opposite. 

 60 looks good, beautiful area to be running if the weather plays ball

27/10/2014 at 07:31

Does that scupper anything for next year GKD, or will you be able to get up to speed in time - providing re-hab goes according to plan?

27/10/2014 at 10:57
Hopefully not, it would have killed my Spine plans but I've been given a crown court date I can't get out of anyway so I'll have to wait until 2016 to return.
First race isn't until May so loads of time to get back into things
24/11/2014 at 14:39

Hi all. Fingers crossed everybody moving along well?

Good to hear your beyond the injury woes now Spen, hope the white rose went well?

Fingers crossed for you GKD, hope your on target to meet that recovery time still.

Just two more marathon+ planned for me now. On Friday hope to complete a self-devised 'Woldsmonster 50' route - my homage to the Woldsman 50, just with lots more hills. Early start in dark, finish in dark. Then most probably the Hardmoors Roseberry topping marathon in December.

24/12/2014 at 12:22

Hope all's well? Guess maybe a queit time of year for the long trail races unless you are signed up to the spine - good luck those who are! Hope to finish my year off with one more LSR early next week. I'm off work so figure I can comfortably fit a 40 or so undulator in there and have a route planned out in Wolds using a fair few paths I've not tried before around east/north Yorks boundary. All powered by a few days off over-eating and drinking

Merry Christmas and happy new year all

24/12/2014 at 13:52

Sounds great DEOT Merry Xmas and new year etc...

baby Spine for me, the next two weeks are dedicated to over indulging and some long walks with a little bit of running.


25/12/2014 at 20:27

Have got myself a place in the Thames Ring as a Christmas present to myself!  


06/01/2015 at 15:14

Nice one Ben, I was trying to persuade my OH to buy me a race entry, but obviously didn't pick up on that hint. although got other nice stuff so can't complain

Booktrunk and cragchick, good luck out there. However you do your seriously brave for taking it on in my book. Bit too long in the cold for my liking  


To illustrate my point about me and the cold, I had a lovely run on 30th just over 40 hilly/undulating miles in the wolds. Clear, sunny, freezing (literally). Lovely seeing one side of a dale grassy and slightly bronzed in low sunlight whilst other side unseen be sun for a month and covered in frost and sometimes snow. Enjoyed it, but at a 5mph pace meaning mostly running so generating good heat. Still barely unzipped top of two technical layers all day and had some form of glove or headwear on all day. That's about as cold as is enjoyable for me. I've done colder/longer/slower runs with more layers, but I wouldn't fancy a lot of trekking required with a multi-day like spine. Also like to travel light and I haven't looked but guess the spine kit req means lots of gear?

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