365 Days of Hill Running Wisdom – March

Day 61: An insight into the High Peak Marathon: ‘The descent off Lose Hill was something to behold – a frantic, impossibly slippy, muddy, vertical drop. Most logical humans would take their time to pick a good footing and a safe line off such a death trap – not so fell runners.’ Day 62: The…

Why running is the ultimate adventure

It is 5am in the Scottish Highlands. The darkness is total; the temperature a few degrees above freezing. On this late-November morning, it will be three hours before dawn breaks. The silence is vast, only interrupted by the clacking of studded shoes on a single-track road. Suddenly, the clack is no more. The runner has…

Running. What’s the point? Strava, of course.

Iain Whiteside was running. What was Whiteside thinking about when he was running? Strava, of course. ‘I realised I had spent the previous 30 minutes thinking about what I was going to name this run,’ he admitted. Whiteside stopped running. He was on Braid Hill in Edinburgh. Inspiration came to him: ‘At a standstill on…

The unpredictable art of running blogging

I have been blogging for some years. I was a writer and journalist first. My original purpose was to support the publication of my first book, Heights of Madness, and my second and third books thereafter. Over time, heightsofmadness.com graduated into a running blog – a blog that last week pleasingly surpassed 50,000 visits. Writing…

Running in London: where are the hills?

The run from Keswick town centre to the summit of Skiddaw sees the runner gain around 900 metres in altitude. The only time I have set my watch to this run was during my Bob Graham Round in 2012; Skiddaw was hill number one and not the place – or the time (1am) – for…

The night before the night before running an ultramarathon

Tonight is the night before the night before running 66 miles on the Vanguard Way. What happens on the night before the night before running 66 miles? Not a lot, really. Eat. Rest. Prevaricate. Half-heartedly stretch. Devise excuses. Think, ooh, my ankle/foot/calf/knee/hip hurts. I have fielded a plethora of questions today. They have a common…

The madness of the ultra distance runner

‘Busy weekend?’ the Friday conversation goes. ‘I’m going to Jurassic Encounter Adventure Golf at New Malden on Saturday, then, on Sunday, I’ll run…’ ‘How far?’ Sharp intake of breath. ‘Forty…’ ‘Miles?’ ‘Yes.’ I’ve had this conversation many times over the years. Or certainly words to this effect, as this will be my first visit to Jurassic Encounter…

Ultrarunning: eliminating the ‘poison’ of doubt

Not a day has elapsed since June 3, 2012, when I haven’t reflected on the events of those 24 hours: a successful Bob Graham Round, all 42 peaks, 66 miles and some 27,000ft of it. I am continually inspired by what happened that day, imbuing a (so far) life-long sense of if-I-can-do-the-Bob-Graham, I can do…

I am the 1739th member of the Bob Graham Club

It is official. I am a member of the Bob Graham Club. Member number 1739, sandwiched between Martin Spooner (1738) and Andrew Kirkup (1740). This is a reward (one of many) for 19 hours and 33 minutes of toil on an endless June day when possibilities seemed limitless. Happily, the updated list, including those who successfully completed the Bob…

2013: so far, so underwhelming

I have been underwhelmed by 2013. Isn’t a new year meant to herald inspiration? Where’s mine? Blogs, Facebook and Twitter were bursting with positivity on New Year’s Day: people embarking on their first exercise of 2013, people announcing goals: marathons, ultra-marathons, Ironmans and the like. The peer pressure to do something, anything, was overwhelming. After…

What is Alan Hinkes up to at the moment? … and other questions

Traffic – is that the right way to describe people? – to this blog arrives via a plethora of web searches. Handily, WordPress lists these terms. Many are questions: some are perfectly logical, others make me question the sanity of the human race. However, according to the web search questions, people do not want much….