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Showing posts from 2015

J'habite a La Combe

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Woohoo! We live in the alps now. Last Friday, Lorna, Acer and I arrived in the tiny hamlet of La Combe, between Moutiers and the ski resort of St Martin de Belleville. We're in the "Trois Vallees" area, the biggest ski area in the world. I've dreamed of living in the Alps for a long time, and it's amazing to actually be here.

A quick introduction to (and plug for) our chalet... Lorna and I are the new managers of Chalet Chardon Bleu. Between us and the other two staff, Josh and Amber, we look after the chalet and up to 25 guests on behalf of Peak Pursuits. Lorna is the chef, Josh and Amber help in the kitchen, clean and tidy the chalet, and help me ferry guests to and from the slopes. I'm in charge of things like looking after the Hot Tub, checking the vehicles, fixing chalet and vehicle stuff, and driving. The chalet is a beautiful old building, but I think the maintenance will keep me busy!


It's been a busy week since we arrived with the chalet to prepa…

The "I" word

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I started running in about 2003, when I first came to Sheffield and discovered the Peak District. At first it was an occasional distraction from a concentrated lifestyle of drinking, wasting taxpayers money, and not really doing any work. Over time I started to run a little more, drink a little less, and perhaps work a little harder. Then, through friends at the University orienteering and fell running club I started a bit of racing, which turned into more racing and longer races. Over the next few years the running addiction seriously took hold. Fast forwards to 2015 and I have great support from Accelerate and Scott, a coach and a training schedule. Running is now very different. However, there's one thing I've always dreaded and up to now managed to avoid... Injury.

Not any more. Let's not get too overexcited, it's not serious and all my limbs remain attached, but after a persistent ache in the inner upper part of my right leg (can you tell I didn't study anatom…

Very lucky.

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I went out running last night. Normally on a Friday I do a strength and conditioning session at Accelerate, then 30 minutes or so of drills later, but yesterday I decided to drive out to Edale and run a loop to Blackden trig on the edge of Kinder, Win Hill, down through Hope and Castleton, then over Mam Tor and back to the car. This is a small part of a bigger route I'd like to do soon so a good chance for a recce.
All went well from the car park at Barber Booth to Edale then up Ringing Roger and to the Blackden trig, which I found pretty easily. I ran round to Win Hill in the fading light and turned my torch on at the summit. It was a lovely evening but I was short of time so checked the map for a shortcut. There wasn't one, so off I went, down through Twitchill Farm and into Hope, then along the road to Castleton. From there my route up Mam Tor would be up the road to Blue John caverns, then up the steep but short grassy climb to the summit.
I wasn't breaking any record…

Blog awards nomination

Just a very quick post to say I'm chuffed to have been nominated in the RunUltra blog awards! Thanks guys.I'm in illustrious company: Anna Frost, Tim Olson, Emelie Forsberg and Accelerate's own Marcus Scotney are also on the list, as well as loads of other great blogs. It's an honour to be on the list! Have a look here -
http://www.runultra.co.uk/News/October-2015/BEST-RUNNING-BLOGS-WORLDWIDE

More than a race... The Isle of Man Ultra

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If you've not been to the Isle of Man, you should go. It's a fantastic place with great people, brilliant running, and a range of terrain and scenery I've never experienced in 30 miles anywhere else!



It's a few years since I've run the end-to-end race (which was then called the Manx Mountain Marathon) but this year I was back to run the "Isle of Man Ultra". I entered the race a long time ago, and soon realised that the end of my summer was going to be busy! After the Matterhorn Ultraks I was doing my Paris-Nantes ride, then working in France, then back home for a bit, then to Florence for more work and a conference, then back from there last Thursday, and off to the island on Friday... A fantastic exciting month or so, but slightly chaotic! So, here we go...

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Friday. I arrived back from Florence last night, quickly unpacked, washed my Scott kit and packed again (albeit a smaller bag). I was going to get the early afternoon ferry from Heysham, which me…

Un petit velo... Paris to Nantes

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As part of my research work I am required to attend and present at academic conferences, which is a great perk of the academic life and often leads to travel to interesting places. Sometimes it is possible to extend the trip a little and do some exploring or racing... Last year I attended a conference in Tokyo and was able to add on a few extra days in Japan in order to run the Mt Fuji race, this year the European part of the same conference took place in Nantes, not quite as far but still an opportunity for a good trip! I didn't find any interesting races at the right time, so decided on a bike trip from Paris.

I have never done any cycle touring before, but over the months read up a bit and the the help of eBay set up my bike with front and rear panniers and bags. I also had to carry a padded bike bag (for the way back), so this meant the last-minute addition of a rucksack.

Day 0: Paris – St Savouir des Bois (50km)

I left Sheffield, got the train to St Pancreas, then the Eurostar …

3 minutes is nowt!

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Thanks to Scott, last weekend I was back in Zermatt for the Matterhorn Ultraks race. I ran this race last year and described it as an "incredible race and a brilliant experience in a spectacular setting". I also ran one of the best races I ever have, moving through the field from around 50th to finish 18th. So, this year I was chuffed to be going back, but a little bit worried whether I could do better in 2015.


Training over the last few months has gone quite well, but I wondered if I was a bit lacking in hill training. Last year I had the advantage of the Mount Fuji race about 4 weeks before the Matterhorn, this year I had Snowdon... Still, on Friday morning I was on my way to the Alps! After a 4am start, automobiles, planes and trains with incredible views, by the evening my little tent was set up next to Lee Walker's and it was time for some food. We met Chris and Paula Shelton and headed out for Pizza. Lee was also running the 46k, and Chris the 30k.


Race day...
The 4…

Nicky's Bob Graham Round record - the video!

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As I mentioned at the time, Slackjaw Films were present to witness Nicky's record-breaking Bob Graham Round in April. The film has been released today, and is available on the British Mountaineering Council's "BMC TV" website here...

Congratulations again to Nicky on an amazing run, and thanks for involving me in a great day.


The Matterhorn is coming...

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It's now only 3 days till I set off to Zermatt to take part in the Matterhorn Ultraks race for the second time. One year ago I ran probably the best race of my life: I prepared well, rested well, didn't set off too fast or go too hard up the first climb, and gradually got faster over the 46km distance. Let's not get carried away, I wasn't at the front, I ran 5:40 to the winners 4:45, but at the first checkpoint I was in 41st position, and after a great race down the last descent with Eirik Haugsnes (and Emilie Forsberg for a while) I finished 21st, or 18th male, or 5th MU30. The only other race I think I've ran as intelligently was the Fuji Mountain race a month before, when I also finished 21st.

So, it is with a great deal of excitement but also a little nervousness that I look forward to this Saturday. I can't wait for the race, the location is amazing and the course truly incredible, but I honestly have no idea whether what to expect from myself. Before the …

Accelerate invades Wales!

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Though there are quite a few of us in Team Accelerate-Scott, it's not often that we're all at the same race. However, this weekend the Accelerate crew descended on Llanberis in substantial numbers: From Accelerate-Scott were Julian, Chris S, Dot and I, from the performance centre Stu H, Col and Chris, and coached runner Lee Walker, all ably supported by Debs, Ben, Chris's wife, Dot's husband and Lorna (and Acer the dog).

Those of us running had the choice of two events, the inaugural full or half Snowdonia Trail Marathon. Chris, Lee and I were signed up for the full distance, and everyone else the half. Neither looked easy as both involved climbing to 993m, just below the summit of Snowdon. The marathon did this pretty much at the end, whereas the half-ers would still have another little climb afterwards!
After a sunny Saturday we all met up and pitched tents at a campsite rammed with school holiday families. The midges attacked so we all agreed an early night would d…

Three Peaks Yacht Race. But first...

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I've just got back from competing as part of team Wight Rose in the 3 Peaks Yacht Race. It was another great race, but before we get into that there are a few things I need to catch up on - I've been a bit slack with the blogging recently!

So here we go, massive achievements in bullet point form:
Chris Webb ran up and down Alphin Pike near Saddleworth 25 times in 24 hours to raise money for Stroke associationPaul Elliot became the first person to ride the Trans Pennine Trail in under 24 hours to raise money for Sheffield Children's HospitalAfter waiting a long time for the right weather, Jez Bragg broke the long-standing Ramsey Round record by 11 minutes with a blistering 18:12Adam Perry had a second attempt at a 78 peak 24 hour Lake Distrcit round, aiming to complete possibly the ultimate fell running challenge in the UK. Once again he was very close!Jim Mann and Jasmin Paris finished 1st and 2nd (and 1st male and female) at the Dragons Back race, after 5 long hard days ac…