My plan was always to treat this year as two halves. I booked up a number of races for the first six months, culminating in the Norfolk 100 last month. Following this I planned to take the summer off from racing and if I felt up for it, enter a few additional races in the Autumn.
Well within weeks of completing the Norfolk 100 I was chomping at the bit and eager to get something in the calendar to focus on. I have a real love for the mountains and quite an extensive mountaineering background, before getting into multi-sport and endurance running. As such I have been keen to have a crack at an ultra marathon in a mountain environment, ideally The English Lake District, which for a number of years was like a second home for us both.
The Cumbria Way UltraA number of races caught my attention but The Cumbria Way Ultra was top of the list for a number of reasons:
- Timing wise it worked well, as it came mid to late September and didn’t clash with my other race choice – more on that shortly.
- It would be another step up in mileage from Norfolk 100, this time to 73 miles and 10,000ft of ascent, with the route traversing the entire National Park, all be it by a lowish level route, from Ulverston in the south to Carlisle Castle in the north.
- Two of my racing companions from The Norfolk 100 – John Reynolds and Simon Merrick – were also keen to run and it would be a great opportunity for us to run a cracking route together again.
- It offered 3 UTMB points if successfully completed, which more than made up for the 2 I missed out on by not being able to start the North Downs 50 earlier this year.
Late night chats with John and Simon saw travel and accommodation plans quickly hatched and before we knew it we were booked and ready to go!
Kings Forest 50kmThe other race I had my eye on was The Kings Forest 50km in October. Another local race by the team from Positive Steps PT and while not originally on my radar, a successful completion would see me complete their Grand Slam of races in 2015. On that basis it seemed rude not to include this in my plans.
Coming a month after The Cumbria Way Ultra, I should be able to sufficiently recover and get around the course in a “reasonable” time. Being local it also offers another opportunity for the family to come and join me if they wish.
So there we have it. Two more ultras for the year and time to get back into training. I’m really looking forward to both races for different reasons and can’t wait to toe the start line in the Lake District with John and Simon in September.
As always, wish me luck! I will be sure to keep you updated on my training, preparations and the races themselves here on the website.