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…

Ultra running: the art of futility

On a particularly hot day in the summer of 2014, I ran between the summits of London’s 12 Inner London boroughs. Starting from Hammersmith and Fulham, moving clockwise to the Isle of Dogs, going as far east as Greenwich, and then west to Wimbledon Common, I travelled 41 miles, venturing no higher than 134 metres…

What is it about the Carnethy 5?

The field lies open and exposed, looking up to Scald Law and Carnethy, the highest points of the brown and grey Pentland Hills. Above a saturated bog is a hummock of low grass, decorated by clumps of scruffy gorse. Runners cower in the vegetation, squatting on ground littered with sheep droppings, pinning numbers on vests,…

The race should be on the fells, not the web

Entry for the Ben Nevis Race opened on Sunday. Runners were told they had three days, until midday on Wednesday, to add their name to a pre-selection ballot. Hundreds signed up, enticed by the increased hype around this year’s race, partly due to its selection as a British championship event. I was among them. I…

365 days of hill running – the first week

I am posting a daily quote in 2018, celebrating the brilliance, toughness and eccentricity of hill and fell running. The messages are posted each morning on Twitter at @MuirJonny. These are the quotes from the first week. Day 1: A rousing start to 2018 from @boffwhalley: ‘I found my feet again, tripping easily across loose…

Run Free

Think of it like this: imagine running starting again, every race beginning from scratch. How would we want the sport to be? Ian Campbell has a vision: ‘The revolution won’t have an online entry fee, plastic medal or pointless goodie bag.’ Lewis Breen has been running for 23-and-a-half hours. He would like to stop, but…

What to read when you read about hill running

WHAT TO READ WHEN YOU READ ABOUT HILL RUNNING Writing and running are activities connected by extended metaphor: while running is prose, hill (or fell) running is poetry. This sport, therefore, demands writing of the highest ilk. In the course of research for my own book on hill running, The Mountains Are Calling, I have…

The 100th Ramsay’s Round?

It has taken 39 years, but very soon the number of completions of Ramsay’s Round will reach 100. Successes 98 and 99 came last week, as Damian Hall and Charlie Sproson got round in the allotted 24 hours. Someone has to be number 100. It could be me. In the early hours of Saturday –…

Donnie Campbell: a record-breaking winter Ramsay’s Round

Donnie Campbell has been running for 20 hours. He is shrouded in the darkness of a Scottish night in December. He is climbing Aonach Beag, the seventh highest mountain in Britain. As he ascends, a wall of snow, glistening in the glow of a headtorch, rears above his head. The microspikes that might have eased…

Feeling the Burns

‘Yon wild mossy mountains sae lofty and wide,’ Robert Burns noted in 1786. Scotland’s national poet of Auld Lang Syne repute could have been contemplating the waves of brown bumps that characterise the landscape of the Scottish Borders. Burns was no runner. He probably would have scoffed at the idea. Burns found compulsion elsewhere. As…

The call of the mountains

It is 7am on Sunday. A furious wind tries to stop me opening the car door. The forecast is for 50mph gales. I have scheduled a four-hour run in the Pentlands, the green and brown hills that back on to Edinburgh’s southern fringe. From the car park, the ascent of my first hill – 478-metre…