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Showing posts from 2013

Sydney to Hobart update

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The Sydney to Hobart race I mentioned in my last post is now pretty much over... The winners have finished, and the "battle of Bishop's Lydeard" is also over. With Paul Jackson skippering Helsal 3, and Helen Cook aboard Team Garmin, I'm sure the atmosphere in the Bird in Hand* has been tense.

It would appear that after some problems Helsal 3 had to divert to repair damage, meaning that they lost their lead over Garmin sometime yesterday. However, Garmin seemed to take a wide route out to sea in an attempt to find stronger winds, but this did not pay off and Helsal sneaked past to take line honours by 11 minutes! Pretty close after more than four days of racing.

I'm sure we will hear the full story over the next days and weeks via the Wild Spirit website and Facebook, but for now there are some fantastic photos from the race on the Sydney to Hobart site, here's a quick selection...

* - A fine drinking establishment in the village






Happy Christmas (and a new dot to follow)!

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2013 has been a heck of a year! I know there's a little bit of time between Christmas and New Year, but it seems a good time to reflect. I've done some decent running and had a great time in all the races and events I've attended. I'd like to thank everyone who has helped me do these things, particularly family and friends, and Accelerate for their continued support.

For those of you who enjoyed watching our "dot" on the AWRC tracker, here's a new one for you to follow... Paul Jackson of Wild Spirit sailing is about to start the epic Sydney to Hobart yacht race aboard Helsal 3. The tracking will be live once the race starts on boxing day - here.
You can also find out more about the race and sailing with Paul on the Wild Spirit website, and on Facebook you can enter a competition to win some free sailing!

Adventure Racing World Championships - Costa Rica 2013

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So, here we go... the big one! Last week I returned from the 2013 Adventure Racing World Championships (ARWC). The race was a multi day expedition race for teams of four. Our team comprised Tom and Sabrina, Dave who I had raced with previously, and me. I joined the team quite late when the original fourth member dropped out, which left us a relatively short time to actually train together. However, we were all fit and ready, and arriving in San Jose I felt very excited. The best teams in the world were all there, including last year's champions Seagate, and former winners like Thule and the UK's Adidas Terrex.
The three days prior to the start were occupied with preparation of kit and food for the race, planning as much as possible (we were given the leg lengths and disciplines a few days before the start, but the maps would be waiting for us at the start line). A few days before the start we were summoned to a race briefing, this was the first time we had all been assembled …

Final preparations...

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One week from now I will be in Costa Rica! It's very exciting but also a little scary.

I've now pretty much stopped training now in order to make sure I'm properly tapered and ready for the race, and I have spend this weekend trying to get everything I'll need into 55kgs worth of luggage allowance. I thought I'd quickly write about my final preparations and some information if you want to follow our race.

As an end to my running year, it was great to have a weekend with the other Accelerate supported Athletes at Castleton YHA last weekend. We celebrated achievements, planned more success for next year and even did some training!

Onto Costa Rica planning... First, my bike is back to AR mode - plenty of extra capacity for carrying water, kit and food, and a tow on the back. My team mates have also decided I'm the packhorse of the team, so I'll be using my big Alps rucksack for the first time since that expedition

So, not long to go, Team Great Langdale Bunkho…

Chasing a ghost...

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The 15 trigs is a Dark Peak classic... 55 miles or so with around 8500ft climb, taking in all the trig points found on the KIMM map from 1984. The route was first run in 1985 and Andy Harmer set a record of 10:04 in 1987, which stood until 2009 (!) when Simon Bourne of Calder Valley Fell Runners became the first person to run the route in sub-10 hours, lowering the standard to 9:58.
Attempting the record in November was always going to be ambitious, and probably foolish. I’d love to say that I waited on purpose, but in reality the reason was purely a lack of time. Either way I would need all the available daylight, so at 7am on Saturday morning I left the Sportsman pub and set off down the road, over the remains of the bonfire at the Three Merry Lads and onto the edge path...

I had written Simon's split times on a post-it note in my pocket, and at Rod Moor I was already a couple of minutes behind: It was going to be a tough day! From here the route takes you on a well-trodden “tresp…

Costa Rica here we come!

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It's now less than a month until I fly to Costa Rica to meet my team-mates Tom, Dave and Sabrina, and take part in what will probably be the hardest event of our lives... The Adventure Racing World Championships in Costa Rica.
Last weekend was our final training and planning weekend together. We spent Saturday kayaking on a wet (from above as well as below!) and very choppy Windermere, before a planning session and a few hours watching videos of similar races like Borneo Eco Challenge... Useful, if a bit scary. I shall simply say: Leeches. Lots and lots of leeches. Leeches where you reeeeally don't want them.
After a good pub dinner at Stiklebarn I headed home, planning to stop on the way for a quick run. I got to Glossop at about 3am, unfortunately without a map, but having spent a while studying the 15 trigs route I thought I'd try to find the Cock Hill trig... After an hour and a definitely sub-optimal route I was pleased (and quite surprised) to find the trig. The vie…

"...and then we ran out of food, again, but we were used to that..."

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Chris Bonington (Apologies, SIR Chris Bonington) is a true British mountaineering legend... His list of first ascents spans at least four decades and includes numerous big Alpine routes, Himalayan peaks of over 7000m, and even the Old Man of Hoy in 1966.


 Myself, Lorna, my brother Ed and Mum and Dad all attended a talk by Sir Chris on Friday night, at the Sheffield Uni Octagon centre. It was a great talk, with photos and videos covering his whole life, from growing up in London, climbing at Harrison rocks, then working as an Outward Bound instructor before (after a short stint working at Unilever!) starting a career in expedition journalism, followed finally by becoming a professional mountaineer.


However, for me the best bit was after the talk. I had brought an old book called "Quest for Adventure", written by Chris Bonington and published in 1982. It belonged to my parents and I remember this book being on the shelves in my room growing up, though I don't think I first…

A new challenge!

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...well not exactly new, but I haven't done much marshalling. However, I decided it was time to contribute a bit to a race rather than just running them all the time, so I volunteered to marshal at Sunday's re-arranged Edale Skyline fell race.

I was positioned just after the Brown Knoll summit checkpoint, which if you know the course is about 3/4 of the way round. It was a great point to watch the race from, and after I'd set up my tent and placed a few flags (to guide the runners down from the summit to my stile) I awaited the leaders...

 They arrived after about two hours of running, Simon Bailey and Morgan Donnelly at the front, followed two minutes later by Stu Bond, Rob Hope, Rhys and Lloyd Taggart. By the end things had changed though, with Simon winning by a minute from Rob Hope, and Rhys a few seconds behind. Lloyd was 5th and Stu B 6th, easily winning the team prize for Dark Peak.
The rest of the runners arrived at various speeds over the next two hours or so, but…

I'm Simon Walkden!

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You join me in a quandry... It's Sunday evening and I have a little spare time to start a blog about yesterday's High Peak 40 while I watch Sebastian Vettel win the Singapore Grand Prix (thanks BBC for telling us the result before showing the race! Hmm...). However, there are as yet no official HP40 results or, crucially, photos. We all know blogs without photos are pretty boring, so what to do??

With an 8am start time, the High Peak 40 requires an early alarm. I left home by 6 and arrived at registration in Buxton school sports hall - unfortunately the organisers appeared to have no record of my entry, my number apparently belonged to a man called Simon Walkden. I was reassured by the lady that Bill would sort it out, which he of course did and before I knew it I was standing in the park ready for the off.

On the startline I was surrounded by talented runners, Duncan Harris was favourite for the race, Charlie Sharpe (I think) who has recently had some fantastic results, and g…

The end of summer?

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I've just realised it's been a month since I wrote a blog, so it seemed a good time to have a think about what I've been doing...

The weekdays seem to have been taken up with work (shock horror!) and the weekends with weddings, so it's been a month of squeezing training in around other things. One of the weddings happened to be that of Stu and Debs from Accelerate, it was a great day in the Peak with plenty of games, dancing, food and beer! Unsurprisingly there were many runners in attendance, such as a certain England mountain runner spotted here trying a new sport...


Training-wise we've been trying to get some speed into my legs. I'm not sure how well it's worked, but there have been a few tough sessions so I hope it has at least helped! It's been all training though as I have not raced since Bradwell, so I'm looking forward to some competitive running on 21st September.

I have also spent some time on preparations for the Adventure Racing World Ch…

Fourth time lucky?? The Long Tour of Bradwell 2013

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As I mentioned in my last post, yesterday was the Long Tour of Bradwell. After a disastrous Wuthering Hike and an enjoyable Fellsman this would be my third counter in the UK ultra champs this year.

It's a fantastic route around an area I run through regularly, but it's a race in which I have had mixed results before - actually not really mixed, mainly just bad!

- 2010: The first year I ran the race and right at the beginning of my running, I was amazed at the speed at which Jon Morgan shot off. He knew the route a lot better than anyone else and ran on to a clear win. I finished 14th in 6:02.

- 2011: The following year my stomach caused me problems - I felt really sick and struggled to run much from Cavedale to Aston, but after some nifty hunchback running I did beat my previous time and finished 6th in 5:47.

- 2012: Last year I went out fast for the first few checkpoints, then failed spectacularly to find the Druid Stone checkpoint and lost a lot of time, eventually finishing…