Saturday 24th June
Overwhelmed by the weather through the night after a hard day in poor conditions to finish in 24:10. Despite the obvious disappointment I am pleased to have been able to get round - I know I am fit enough and that with reasonable weather I can get under 24 hours.
Running and Roadside Support teams were just fantastic and I can't thank them enough.
Will I try it again? I have been speaking to one or two who helped out and, perhaps, Albert Sunter's reaction typifies their commitement and ethusiasm.
"I've just heard. You are going to do it again?" - "yes"
"This year" - "Probably, yes"
More details of this weekend's adventure will follow, although probably not until we get back from a week's peak-bagging in Eire.
Thanks everyone for your help, support and enthusiasm.
Friday 23rd June
Just over 24 hours to go and with only 8 miles run this week I am as fully rested as I am likely to be. Am feeling fairly calm, at this stage, and pleased the weather forecasts seem to be improving for Saturday.
There is almost nothing left to say. Logistics are handled, Support Teams are in place - full of enthusiasm and confidence. Weather forecasts seem to be improving and I am looking forward to it.
There is a Clayton anti-clockwise attempt leaving the Moot Hall at 09:00 on Saturday so 'good luck' to them.
Thanks for all your interest and good wishes
Saturday 17th June - BGR Leg 1 (Support)
22:00 and we are off from the Moot Hall through the ginnel and out to Fitz Park. Nerves begin to relax for the first time for a week for Mark Davies as we set off with Steve Jackson for Skiddaw. I am not going to steal Mark's thunder by publishing an account of his first leg. Suffice it to say that we were a little down on schedule arriving at Threlkeld but without major incident and Mark was going well when we last saw him heading off into the darkness towards Clough Head.
Mark finished in 22:36 having made up time on every subsequent leg.
Last Week (updated)
Miles: 64.4 Feet: 18370
A couple of short, slow runs just to get last night run out of my legs and then - nothing more until Saturday morning.
Friday 16th June - Ennerdale
53 today and by recent tradition my birthday should be 'celebrated' with something slightly out of the ordinary (last year it was my first LAMM, my first mountain marathon) and a few years before that Pauline & I did our first LDWA walk, our first night walk, over Skiddaw & Blencathra. Today, well tonight, I am going back to Skiddaw & Blencathra on a slightly different route and, hopefully, at a faster pace as a support runner for Mark Davies on his clockwise BGR.
Ennerdale was hot and apart from a struggle between just before and after Iron Crag I am pleased with my run, 38 minutes faster than last year, third counting runner for V50 team that enables us to retain first place in the Championship and my first points in the club fell championship. No matter how hard it is Ennerdale really is worth the effort - a classic long fell race in wonderful, beautiful countryside and I am really looking forward to my Leg 2 when some of will be revisited.
On Sunday Pauline and I went to the Ulpha Fells for a fairly gentle 16 miles and 4000 feet to visit 14 Wainwright Outlyers - I know this is the start of my taper but the weather was too good not use. The rest of the week was pretty quiet - 12 miles and not enough feet to mention.
Miles: 51 Feet :13600 (tonight's run to be added to these)
Injuries continue to force changes. Paul Murray pulled a calf muscle trying to recover from a previous pull and is now pessimistic about his chances. Brendan has stepped in to navigate Leg 4 and Suzanne is hopeful (and probably hopelessly optimistic) about her ankle recovering sufficiently. It would be great shame if she is unable to make it because from the very beginning she has been very supportive and hugely enthusiastic about the whole thing. Chris Heys is making a 'Rooney like' recovery and running well in the Horwich Tour so he looks good for Leg 5.
Friday 9th June
Leg 2 Recce went well, almost perfectly, on a hot sunny afternoon. We were in Wasdale about 45 minutes ahead of schedule and although the pace wasn't distressing (for one leg on the day after a rest day) I don't think it would be sustainable for the whole route. Still have trouble eating and drinking enough although it is getting easier, now that the drinks are not so cold. The only problem last Saturday was during the descent from Yewbarrow when Suzanne went over on an ankle, same one as in February coming off Great Calva, but much worse this time. With over two hours running and climbing over Beck Head left to do to get back to Honister it was a pretty painful end to the day, for Suzanne.
Pauline & I managed a fairly gentle 10 miles or so over Winter Hill on Sunday but my legs were still tired. Planning for two days rest before Ennerdale and the start of a 'slow taper' thereafter means all my hard training is now at an end and it feels pretty strange.
72 miles 12250 feet (in 5 days)
Ennerdale on Saturday and on Sunday Pauline & I plan to do a 14 mile route over 14 of Wainwright's Outlyers between Eskdale & Dunnerdale - a quiet area we haven't visited before. The rest of the week will involve helping at a couple of races in the Horwich & Rivington Tour and perhaps another 30 miles without any significant climbing.
Apart from a few niggles, most of which have gone, my training has gone better than I could have hoped. I think I am fit enough, my support teams are strong and experienced enough, a few details about road crossings are still to be finalised but things seem to be coming together and I am looking forward to it.
Friday 2nd June
A weekend in Northumberland, marshalling on the LDWA 100, brought back some painfull memories as our checkpoint was the following my own nadir - it did allow us to see Ian Hill (first finished in 22 hours 20 minutes) looking pretty good as be set out to tackle the final 17 miles - what a performance!
My new Mudclaws performed admirably last weekend and while 'short distance thoroughbreds' might find them a little 'clumpy' they seem to offer more protection to toes and feet than the lighter, original version.
A reasonable mileage over the weekend plus pre-porridge runs brought 100 miles within reach by Thursday and so I missed the hill session (Up and around the Two Lads, perhaps - I think I recognised some familiar faces as I slogged up to the Trig Point) to get some extra miles to reach 102 for the week.
102 miles 10360 feet
A run round Leg 2, Honister to Wasdale, on Saturday with most the Leg 2 Team and something more local on Sunday with Pauline who, after her Manchester 10K success is looking for something more substantial and, at this stage, the Great Langdale Marathon is emerging as favourite. Next week will be easier than this not least because of Ennerdale at the end of it.
Essentially finalised, subject to injuries and the recovery from - as usual
Leg 1: Steve Jackson, Colin Rigby, Darren Kay, Alastair Murray
Leg 2: Rob Green, Suzanne Budgett, Steve Keynon, Brian Walton, Tony Hesketh
Leg 3: Colin Jones, Albert Sunter, Tony Varley, Stephen Barlow
Leg 4; Paul Murray, Brendan Bolland, Mary White, Mark Davies (to confirm)
Leg 5: John Swift, Ed Swift, Doug Fleming, Chris Heys (subject to ankle injury)
Big teams, I know, but last minute problems can and do occur and, for everyone else at least, it is a very enjoyable day on the fells and I am glad to be able to provide an excuse for that.
Roadside support is almost finalised and I should be able to complete the details next week.
Thanks to you all for your support and eccouragement and for your kind words about this blog - I don't think I ever expected anyone to read it but the comments confirm a far flung readership, including Brendan in Melbourne. Good on ya' mate.