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Showing posts from 2012

Tour of Helvellyn

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Yesterday was the Tour of Helvellyn, a fantastic "low-key" ultra organised by Joe Faulkner and Nav4 events... I did this race last year and despite a disappointing run it was a really nice way to end the year! So I was looking forward to doing it again, though the weather was not quite as nice and Alpine - more torrential rain and windy.

I stayed overnight in the van in Askham village hall car park, the rain got steadily heavier during the night but by 8am it was at least daylight! It was good to catch up with Jim Mann and others at the start, and four of us (myself, Jim, Fraser and Chris) decided to set off together. When we did so there was only one man left in the hall. As you might expect, it was a certain Mr. Collison, lurking ominously and looking in no hurry to set off. The twittersphere had been flickering away the previous night, with Kim and Tom Gibbs highlighted as favourites.

The route was basically a lollipop - Askham to Howtown, to Patterdale, up and over Stick…

A busy week!

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Last week was a great, with a few changes which could have a big impact on my running life...

I have been accepted onto the University of Sheffield Elite Sport Performance Scheme again, which means I have the continued support of the University and access to the gym etc. The awards night on Wednesday was great, we were presented with our certificates by Sheffield Olympians Dave Wetheral and Kieran O'Malley, and the special "Jessica Ennis Scholarship" was awarded to Jazmin Sawyers (who I have just discovered shares my birthday! As does Mark Cavendish), by none other than Tony Minichiello. It was an inspirational evening, though as ever I was crap at 'networking' and stood by myself a lot...

The next big thing to happen this week was the acquisition of a Dark Peak Fell Runners hoodie, with the ESPS one that's two this week - sorted for winter!


Fast forward to Saturday and I now have a coach, we've identified my major weaknesses and a plan to solve them. But…

Jessica Ennis & The Pain Barrier

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It's only Saturday night, but it has been a busy weekend already!

On Friday evening I did a second recce of a Peak District route I am hoping to have a go at this winter... I parked the van near the Strines Inn and planned to use my daily commuter BMX to take me back five miles or so to the crossing of the A57... Unfortunately within about half a mile the chain snapped, so with the bike chained to a fence I set off on foot earlier than predicted... Anyway, from the A57 I had a good run up to Rod Moor, across to the Emlin trig point, then as it started to get dark on a direct line from there to Back Tor. The sunset over Back Tor was spectacular. From there a quick descent took me back to the Strines and off home. Last night I was very lucky to be invited by the University Elite Sport Performance Scheme to "An Evening with Jessica Ennis" at Sheffield City Hall. The event was for the benefit of three charities - TASTE (who do some fantastic work, similar to Water for Kids w…

Karen, Si and Mark, we salute you!

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I have also just heard that the end of year party will be the end of Runfurther as we know it... Karen, Si and Mark will not be arranging or running (in the organisational sense rather than the foot propulsion sense) the series any more next year. I don't know who will but I hope and am sure they will do as good a job as these guys have. It's clearly a lot of work and the three of them have been very good to us over the years.

I would personally like to say a massive thank you to each of you for your work behind the scenes! Since I first ran one race in the series in 2007 I have learnt a lot about ultras, but have yet to have an easy one. Sharing these experiences with others through the series is great and makes the whole lot even more enjoyable.



Karen seems to be at every single race I do, from ultras to Open 5s... And always with a massive smile, and usually more points than me if there is a map involved! Si has given me so much quiet encouragement over the last few years and…

Reflections on Runfurther

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So, the 2012 Runfurther series has come to an end...

It was an exciting finish - before the final race at Round Rotherham both Duncan Harris and Ian Symington had won three races. However, since Ian had completed four races to Duncan's 3, he was in the lead and Duncan had not qualified for a series finish. I was second in the series before Round Rotherham, but we all knew what was probably going to happen! And it did, Duncan won Rotherham in 6:29, Ian was second in 6:53. It was a risky strategy but it certainly worked for Duncan. Resulting in this...


So, congratulations to Duncan, Helen, Nick for his 3rd Grand Slam, and everyone else on your achievements! I am very pleased with 3rd in the series, a few years ago I could not have imagined a season where I won a race and finished in the top three overall! It's been a great year and I've had some fantastic experiences. There is going to be a proper end-of-season party again this year, which I hope I can go to, so I'm look…

A grand day out!

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Lorna and I have been in the Dales this weekend - luckily one of our friends' family owns a bunkbarn at Chapel-le-Dale, near Ingleton. We have just got back from a weekend of food, drinking, walking, and (for me) a nice long run on Saturday. It was one of the best training runs I've had for a while...

The plan was to recce part of a longer route I'm hoping to have a crack at next summer. I did the recce bit on the way out, then looped back round to head home. I ended up with 9 tops and 58km in about 7 and a half hours. Here's where I went...


From the bunkbarn I ran up the road for a hundred yards or so, then up Ingleborough. As you will notice on the map above, I've made a mistake and drawn the first three hills in the wrong order, but you get the idea. The climb was fantastic, it was cold an frosty with a lot of frozen patches, but the sun was warm and it was a beautiful morning on the summit. It took about 30 mins from leaving to the trig. From there I cut back t…

100% Me

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I have just registered with the 100% me scheme, if you are also totally against drugs and doping in sport you can read about it and do the same on the UKA website.


"100% me is about being a true athlete. It's about being able to say my performance is 100% me. There is no secret to my success - just hard work, determination and talent."

Red Bull Steeplechase

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Last Sunday I ran the inaugural Red Bull Steeplechase, a fell race with a difference! It was a knockout race, so of the 125 blokes who started from Castleton, 90 would make it through the first checkpoint at Bamford (8 miles), 55 through the second at Hope (12 miles), and 30 through Edale (18 miles) to race to the finish back in Castleton (21 miles).

After racing quite a lot recently I was feeling pretty knackered after a bit of running during the week since the Hardmoors. By Sunday morning I did feel OK though and was looking forward to the race. Lorna and Dolly came with me to the start and my brother Ed biked out to see me at a couple of points, which was really cool.

The race was spectacularly well organised - there were loads of toilets, the course was well marked, water was provided, and there were loads of marshals (this side of things was sorted by Open Adventure). We left Castleton straight uphill, and it was apparent that this was not just a fell race, there were some faces …

Finally.

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Woohoo, finally! Yesterday Ian Symington and I crossed the line at the same time at the Hardmoors 60, my first win in an ultra.

The race is a sixty mile race along the second half of the Cleveland Way, from Guisborough to Filey. We stayed at Mum and Dad's the night before, and they came out on the day with Lorna and Dolly the dog - it was great to have some support along the course! Mum and Dad also took loads of photos, so I'll keep this short and include plenty of them...

 The start was delayed from 8 until half past (as most competitors were still in the toilet queue at 8 o'clock), but we were soon underway on the first section, from the Sea Cadets up into Guisborough Woods, then along through the woods to Slapewath then Skelton, and finally to Saltburn where we joined the coast, which we would follow for the rest of the day. The weather was perfect, not too hot but bright and sunny. I was running in about third place, behind two guys who I didn't know, but I knew t…

What's in a name...

As regular visitors (do I have any?!) might notice, things are changing around here... I've started updating my Big Alps Run website and blog to become a general website for all my future challenges!

I couldn't quite bear to buy my name as a website, so I've gone for "Challenge Stu". This blog, my JustGiving page and my website have all now changed over to this, and I'm working through the site to bring it up to date. Let me know what you think of the changes!

www.challengestu.com
www.challengestu.blogspot.co.uk
www.justgiving.com/challengestu
www.twitter.com/mrstuartwalker

Sheffield 101010 10k

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OK, first of all let's clarify - it's called the 101010 because the first race was on 10th October 2010. The race was such a success it's been carried on and is now in it's third year, taking place this year on 23rd September 2012.

On Friday night we had a few friends round for sausages and a few beers (which became a whiskey tasting session). During the course of the evening some of them talked about a 10k they were doing on Sunday, and with no races this weekend I wondered about an entry on the day. I didn't decide till after my run on Saturday so there wasn't much tapering involved, but come Sunday morning I was on the startline in Endcliffe Park...

I started in the "sub 40" pen, which happened to be the front one. I wasn't sure of the other guys there so waited just behind the front. We started and I immediately regretted the whole idea, we were climbing a gentle-ish grass bank, the two leaders shot off... I hung with them for a minute then re…

This is what Bank Holidays are for!

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Saturday...
So, this weekend was the inaugural “Big Running Weekend”. The event started on Saturday night (for me anyway , some people had been there setting up pretty much all week!) when I gave a talk about the Big Alps Run and then was part of a panel to answer some audience questions. I was in illustrious company, Nicky Spinks gave a great talk about all her achievements despite huge personal setbacks, and Darryl Watton talked about his brilliant 35th place finish on the Marathon des Sables.
The panel - photo borrowed from Accelerate Photography
All the talks seemed to go down pretty well, so thanks if you came along! For the panel we were also joined by Marcus Scotney (GB 100km Ultra runner), Julian Lings (English Duathlon champion), and Jason Ward (GB 10k runner) and answered some interesting questions from the floor. It was very interesting to hear a range of thoughts on things like training, kit and drugs testing from the elite to the make-it-up-as-you-go-along-ers (me).
Sunday…

Long Tour of Bradwell - Fail to prepare...

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...and prepare to fail!

Unfortunately that's what I did at the LTB on saturday. I had hoped to recce the course, but just didn't have time, though having run it twice before I should have known my way! Anyway, at the start I wasn't sure how fit I was, with fairly haphazard training since the Alps, but I was looking forward to it!

Bradwell is only about 20 mins from home so I had the full support crew (Lorna and Dolly) with me at this race which was really nice. After I'd registered we wandered down to the start and caught up with Karen McDonald, as well as Dan Shrimpton and Ian Symington, who I hoped I'd be running with once we got going...
We got cracking at 9ish in good weather, and I found myself at the front with Ian, Dan and a few others. It was nice to catch up with the guys and really good to be racing again! Off we went up out of the village, through the quarry (once we found the way through!) and out towards CP2 where we doubled back towards Castleton. Abo…

A busy few months!

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Well it's been a while since I last wrote anything! Since returning from the Alps I have been really busy with life in general... I've got married, been on honeymoon, begun a concerted effort on my PhD, been to the Olympics, and started writing a book...
This weekend though I'm back to running again, the Fellsman feels like a really long time ago so I'm looking forward to seeing what sort of shape I'm in at the Long Tour of Bradwell on Saturday. Not sure it will be the greatest due to a lack of consistent training over the last few weeks, but I've had a couple of really good runs this week so it will be good to be back to racing and training properly.

I have found the Olympics so inspirational! Every day you can turn on your TV or internet or whatever and see people giving absolutely everything (apart from Badminton cheats) and it's fantastic! We went to London and watched Beach Volleyball last week, the atmosphere was amazing, the only slight disappointmen…

Ski Club GB Article

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There's a great article just been published on Ski Club GB, thanks to everyone there for your support!
http://www.skiclub.co.uk/skiclub/news/story.aspx?storyID=8643

Donations are coming in steadily so thanks everyone! Remember it's the 2nd of July now, so if you got paid a few days ago why not give WfK a tenner, it will genuinely save the lives of children. Here's a before / after picture of the sort of work they do. Before the well was rebuilt not only was the water dirty and diseased, children risked drowning while trying to collect water.


Video time!

Just a quick one, forgot to put a link to the little video I've made on here, here it is...

http://youtu.be/24nDq7GC69k

I'll make a proper one when I have time, and if it's good enough you might even see it at ShAFF next year!

Sheffield Telegraph and BBC interview...

It was good fun today to go back to the Rony Robinson show on BBC Radio Sheffield, although he was jolly rude about it taking longer than I told him it would!

The interview is downloadable here, along with the original one from before I set off.

There's also a good article on the run in today's Sheffield Telegraph, and on their website here...
http://www.sheffieldtelegraph.co.uk/news/sheffield-s-stuart-s-on-a-high-after-running-across-the-alps-1-4667498

Thanks to both for your support!

Big Alps Run - a short (ish) summary!

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So, here it is... A short summary of a very long run! I have been back for a few days and have many photos, videos and diaries to work my way through. There's a lot more to say, so maybe one day there will be a longer write-up or a nice video medley, but here we go for now...


Big Alps Run – A month in tights...
As some of you may know, this summer I was taking on another challenge to raise money for Water for Kids, in order to help their brilliant work in securing clean water for the world's poorest communities to continue.
The challenge this time was to run  across the Alps, from Vienna in Austria in an easterly direction to Lake Geneva, then south to finish in Nice on the Mediterranean coast. It would be a journey of over 1000 miles, through six countries, running solo and carrying my tent and camping gear. I planned to run off road as much as possible, over cols, passes and mountain summits.

I flew to Vienna and on the morning of 12th May left the suburb of Perchtoldsdorf. I…