I’ve found a running niche. I am a 66-mile specialist. My training program is geared to running this exact distance, not a mile more, not a mile less. Apart from parkruns, cross countries, 10ks, half-marathons, marathons and ultra distances, I will only entertain 66-mile runs. The Bob Graham Round – all 66 miles of it – is so 2012; time for something a little calmer, but, naturally, 66 miles in length. Meet the Vanguard Way. Little known, I appreciate, but worthy nonetheless. Linking Newhaven to Croydon via the South Downs, Ashdown Forest and North Downs, the Vanguard Way is a secretive (and at the moment extremely muddy) route that rarely forages into civilisation.
I will attempt to the run the route in one go in mid-June. The thing is, I’m pretty confident I can run the whole thing, so the aim is to see how fast I can run the whole thing. There are a couple of ultras that have used the existing route. A two-day stage race covering the entire distance was held last year; the other is the Vanguard Way Ultra, covering 44 miles. Because of the anomalies of these two races and the fact that seemingly no-one has bothered, there isn’t a ‘best time’ for the route. I will set one (if I complete) and, all being well, it will be a respectable ‘best time’. Ten hours is the thought swirling around my head. Six to seven miles per hour for 10 hours. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?