Friday, 16 July 2010

10 mile run in boots & 35lb bergen

Today was going to be the day.
 No matter what the weather might be doing, I was going to run 10 miles in army boots and 35lb bergen. (2 ½ stone of dead weight to be carried around the local moors for 10 whole miles).
Two cups of tea, one coffee and a bowl of porridge and it was time to head for Grinton moor in the Yorkshire Dales.
After reaching the starting point it was just a matter of swapping footwear, making sure everything in the bergen was secure, downing one SIS power bar and half a bottle of Lucozade sport and then I was off, heading west and straight into a climb that lasted for the first half of the run with only a few short down hill sections to recover from the constant climbing.
Once out on the top of the moor I was met with very high head winds, with occasional gusts and the odd shower.
At around 3.5 miles the trail started to swing south and then east at just over 4 miles so that the wind was in now my favour and oh boy, was that a relief. The trail itself levelled out and now it was possible to make up some time but trying not to overdo it. The last thing I wanted was to run out of steam with a couple of miles still to go.
This was the route I ran three weeks ago when I had my fall so I was rather cautious when approaching a certain area. Nothing happened, but during the course of the run I did happen to trip a couple of times and even had a couple of wobbly ankle situations but managed to stay on my feet on all occasions. (This time).
Now I was heading towards Dents Houses at just over 6.5 miles and now I had to use all my will power to get past here without stopping for a break.
I would just like to say that I have walked this section many times and always, and I mean always stopped here for refreshments. Sitting by the stream in the shadow of these old houses, listening to the stream ambling by and the sound of the birds and the local sheep bleating is music to anyone's ears. You can't come along this section of the trail without stopping, but today was different. Today I was being timed and to pass Dents Houses was like passing a loved one in the street and not even saying hello. (That is not 100 percent. That is 110 percent commitment).
That's enough of the sentiment, now it's back to the run.
At Dents Houses there are two choices. I can turn left and head back to the car but that might not get my full 10 miles in, or I can carry on forward, hit the main tarmac road, head up another hill and
find the car again just before Grinton.
Digging deep, I now push on along the longer route with the soles of my feet now starting to get hot
and a bergen that keeps wanting to find a lower position on my back. (I think this is due to too much weight and the retaining straps can't cope with it). I have a couple of proper army bergens and may try one of these next time as they have wider straps that are more padded.
The next land mark is the tarmac road at just under 8 miles and this is a relief as I could now turn north and one last push up the hill and a run down the other side will see me back at the car.
On the way down I was keeping an eye on Garmin because I wanted to know when I had got to 10 miles so that I could check the time. “Great news”. I had covered 10 miles in 2hrs 33min. Paras 10 has a cut off time of 3hrs and from what I am lead to believe, the Paras course is less demanding than this one.
Another ¼ mile and it was all over. It was good to know that I could do the distance with that weight, and well within the given time.
Paras 10 in September should not be as daunting as I once thought and now that I have a time , I may be able to improve on that in the weeks leading up to the event.

Follow this this to see the full details of the run.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Paras 10

After completing The Great Shunner Challenge I am now in training for Paras 10.
This is a challenge set up by the Parachute Regiment and is run on the 10 mile P company cross country route at Catterick.
The challenge is to run the distance within 3 hours wearing army boots and 35lb bergen. (Para candidates only get 1hr 50 min to complete the same distance or fail the test). This weight excludes the food and water that I will be carrying. The bergen will be weighed before and after the race by race officials.
I went out yesterday wearing boots and full bergen and did some hill training covering 3.55 miles in 50 minutes. I found that the best way to tackle this challenge is to walk up the hills and jog on the flat and down the hill sections. I may be able to run a little faster by the 12th of September when this event takes place but I think running too fast down hill with this much weight could turn into a disaster.
I managed to find a pair of Sidas 3D insoles for my boots. (Not cheap). These have a gel heel pad and built up arch area for extra support. They work well when running and the support is excellent on rough terrain.
All I have to do now is get as much hill training in between now and September, hopefully putting longer mileages in at the weekends out on the local moors.

Watch this blog for more updates on my training regime.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

The Great Shunner Challenge

Looking up Swinner Gill towards the old lead mines.

I know this blog is about running but this walk was arranged before I started running seriously and anyway, I like to slow the pace down now and again and get my breath back.

The Great Shunner Challenge is a walk of 29 miles with over 4500ft of ascent which myself and some friends from work decided to do to try and make some money for Help 4 Heroes
To find out more about our challenge and the people that took part please visit our Just Giving website.
You can also see how much has been promised in donation up to now.

A great day was had by all but sadly John couldn't make it due to an injured knee but he was good enough to take the rest of us to Askrigg and pick us up again after a couple of post event drinks in the Crown Hotel.
We got off to a wet and windy start and that weather set the theme for most of the day.
After leaving Askrigg at 7.30 am, we made our way on relatively flat terrain to Hardraw.
After leaving Hardraw, we climbed our way to the top of Great Shunner Fell passing a group of young Pennine Way walkers on the way. The summit was shrouded in cloud and the rain and wind made it too cold to hang around so we made our way down to Thwaite where we refreshed ourselves with drinks and food before starting a hard climb around Kisden and on to Kisden Force.
By this time the rain had made it's way into everything but spirits were still high and before long we were heading towards Swinner Gill. Swinner Gill was quite demanding with narrow footpaths which were wet and muddy and at one stage the path was no more than the width of our boots.
The top of Swinner Gill was a welcome sight and now it was a nice easy downhill walk past Gunnerside Gill, through Botcher Gill Gate and finally reaching Ivelet Bridge.
While here we all ate power bars or squeezed in a couple of power gels to help carry us to the summit of Oxnop Common. This was a hard climb which we all did at our own pace. Some of us just getting stuck in and trying to get it over with and others taking it easy and trying to look after aching limbs and blisters but in the end we all met at the beacon at the top of Oxnop Common and had an easy walk back towards Askrig.
The sting in the tail was a one mile walk down an approximately 1 in 4 hill  to Askrigg which played havoc with our knees.
10hrs and 27min later we were back in Askrigg and after a photo shoot in the village centre where we started we head off for a couple of well earned drinks while we waited for John to come back for us.

Check out our Garmin page to see the route we took. Take a look in satellite view to get a good idea of the terrain. 

If anyone still wants to donate there is still time and you can visit our just giving page at

Dave & Patrick following the Pennine Way at Kisden.
Kevin at Oxnop Beacon

Patrick & Matthew approaching the summit of Oxnop Common.
The village of Thwaite with Shunner Fell covered in cloud in the background.

Job done Guys. Now, where's the nearest boozer???


Sunday, 4 July 2010

First post

I know this blog is supposed to be about my running exploits, but at this moment in time I am recovering from an injury after a fall last Saturday while out running on the local moors.
This is how I recorded it on my Fetch Everyone blog!

As my longest run to date was 13.13 miles I thought yesterday would be the day to try and extend that.
So starting from a car park near Grinton Lodge, I made my way slowly upwards to John Mosse's Chair on Grinton moor and then on to High Harker Hill. Now on a well defined gravel track which was used by the lead miners many years ago I followed it across Whitaside moor and then headed towards Dents Houses. Somewhere around the Apedale Head area, I must have kicked a small stone of some sorts, stumbled and fell onto my right side and slid down the track. Plenty of gravel rash to leg, elbow and shoulder, but the worst thing to happen was that my elbow got tucked in under my ribs and knocked the wind out of me for a while.
Five minutes later after dusting myself down and getting my breath back I was off again but it soon became apparent that there was a problem with the ribs as running was a lot more uncomfortable than walking. Thinking about what to do was playing on my mind. Should I start walking back to the car or should I carry on and try and do what I set out to do. So putting up with the discomfort I decided to carry on.
Another mile saw me at Dents Houses and a short break for drinks and a re-think. Deciding to run on through the pain I then headed for Cobster Mill (an old lead mining area situated north east of Redmire quary) and the headed back over the moor towards Grinton. After loosing the trail for a while I had to make my way over rough ground including knee high heather which is a bit of a novelty when wearing shorts.
Eventually I came across a track that lead to Grinton Smelting Mill (another old lead mining area) and made my way to the main Reeth to Leyburn road. Now it was just a matter of running another ½ mile or so down hill and back to the car. On approaching Grinton Lodge, I don't know what happened but the next thing I new I was sliding down the road on the same side as my earlier fall. This was more embarrassing as there was a car following me down the road so I just got up again started running and waved at the occupants to let them know I was ok. (Accident prone or what).
The icing on the cake was that I managed 14.14 miles. A mile more than I had ever done before.
The rest of the day I was walking around in agony telling myself that I had probably just bruised my ribs. Then waking up this morning, I couldn't get out of bed and it took a good ½ hour to finally find a position where I was able to stand up.
A trip to Northallerton A&E and an x-ray later confirmed nothing wrong and that it was probably just bruising. As I write this blog I am still in agony when I try to stand up from the chair.

This story just goes to show how dangerous it can be while running in the wilderness as there was a lot of times when there was no phone signal and that fall could have been a lot worse had I broken a leg or even broke my ribs and not been able to get out of there.
Will I do it again on my own? Yes, of course I will. I love my own company too much and that's why I run the trails and not the streets.