Ben Davies 15

Latest posts by Ben Davies 15

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Leicester Marathon 2014

Posted: 20/10/2014 at 22:40

This will be my fourth time running this event. 

First 100 miler

Posted: 19/10/2014 at 13:02

It comes down to this Peronel. 

A 100 miler is a lot more than twice as hard as a 50, and this has to be reflected in both your preparations, and willingness to endure mental adversity in order to finish.  Your typical UK 50 miler has an attrition rate of 10%, while a 100 can easily be 40%.  Finishing a 100 miler is the art of not being one of the 40% who DNFs.  It is not a question of whether you will face a serious psychological challenge, it is only a question of when.  If you are a person who withdraws from a race when they are outside their comfort zone, then this distance is not for you. 

I don’t know anybody who will sell you a gun, and I know better than to ask what you want it for. 

First 100 miler

Posted: 19/10/2014 at 10:53

Nobody should feel like a fraud here. 

100 mile runners are not supermen, and bullets don’t bounce off them.  These races are done by a coalition of the willing, and most of the participants are essentially ordinary runners.  Anybody can have a bad day and DNF a 100 miler.  A few people her have had a disaster in their first 100, and have later gone on to be very successful over the distance.  A DNF has to be treated as part of the learning curve. 

I think that a lot of people who DNF their first 100, essentially bring the 50 mile mindset to the race, which is a bit like bringing a knife to a gun fight.  A 100 is a very different animal, and has to be treated as such. 

First 100 miler

Posted: 01/10/2014 at 18:42


In my first 100, I got practically everything wrong that it was possible to get wrong.

I think that you are already much better prepared than I was.

What counts as a running obsession?

Posted: 27/09/2014 at 20:10

Compared to some people I know, your other half has got off pretty lightly!

Some people have partners in the 100 marathon club!

First 100 miler

Posted: 27/09/2014 at 11:00


Yes having a job where you spend eight hours a day on your feet will definitely help.  I managed to maintain a pretty active schedule when I worked at Sweatshop.  You can slingshot each race off the last one up to a point.  People with jobs that place heavy demands on their time are never really going to get an ideal training camp in.  People do prepare successfully for 100 milers on 30 mile weeks.  It is not an ideal situation, but it has been done far too many times to say that it cant be done. 

Expecting to finish

Posted: 26/09/2014 at 21:55

I have laid out strict rules for myself, regarding when and why a DNF is acceptable. 

This has proved to be a very effective strategy for limiting DNFs. 

In the long term it usually hurts more to quit than it does to carry on, so it is worth being mean to yourself sometimes.   

Expecting to finish

Posted: 25/09/2014 at 20:57

I tell other people to recce events, but never get round to doing it myself. 

Marshalling ultra distance events

Posted: 22/09/2014 at 23:46

Most people here help out at a few events, as well as participating in them.  While anybody who is willing can be a useful asset to an event, the people who do it more often have a few extra layers to their game.  This is a thread to swap tips for race staff and prospective race staff.  

Motivating runners

Working at a checkpoint you want to give the runners the best chance of finishing that you can, and this means that you have to be a bit of a psychologist sometimes.  In most cases it is enough just to be positive, but if somebody wants to quit prematurely then you have to be creative.  Checkpoint staff who are not runners can almost talk somebody into quitting, or facilitate them quitting, out of concern for their welfare.  A runner will usually appreciate that quitting is going to hurt them more in the long term, and will do nothing to move them in the direction of taking this action.  Sometimes you might have to undo the well meaning but misguided work of another volunteer who has acted as a facilitator for them quitting.  The best thing to do is to say something like, “OK, have a cup of tea and then see if you still want to quit”.  This might in itself be enough to make them rethink their decision, and if it does not it will buy you more time.  After the cup of tea has gone down, focus the runners mind on a positive, like that they are still on course to finish, or the sun is going to come up in a couple of hours.  Take a slightly assumptive tone with them i.e. “what I will do for you is X” and “what you need to do now is X”. 

Dealing with medical emergencies

It is in the nature of ultra distance events that medical emergencies can happen, and you might be the person on the scene when they do.  The conditions that are potentially dangerous to the runner, which you are most likely to encounter are hypothermia and dehydration.  Both can happen at any time of year in an ultra, and you need to be alert to the symptoms.  I always keep a spare belay jacket and a sleeping bag with me when I work a checkpoint or finish line.  If somebody comes down with an attack of the shivers you can put them in the jacket, and the sleeping bag as well if necessary.  This will often allow you to deal with the problem on site, and avoid the need to involve the emergency services.  If the problem has already progressed beyond the stage where you can del with it on site, it will stabilise their core temperature and buy you time until the paramedics arrive.  Sometimes the runner is able to continue, but they are suffering from the cold, and their clothing is not up to the task.  If this is the case, you can wrap a space blanket around them, and put their jacket on over the top.  

Dealing with injuries and kit malfunctions 

People can break, and kit can break.  A roll of duct tape can be used to repair both.  It is waterproof, sticks to skin, and can be torn with your bare fingers.  I keep a roll on my person for checkpoint duties, and sweeping duties. 

Expecting to finish

Posted: 22/09/2014 at 21:55

One thing that I will say, is that you can get pretty consistent in races with a 40-50% dropout rate.  Once you have learned why people typically fail to finish, and what survival strategies can be used to prevent it,  you can general make sure that you are not in the 40 or 50% that don’t finish. 

1 to 10 of 2,213

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