365 days of hill running wisdom: April

Day 91: ‘Every time you go for a run, take a stone from the top of Scald Law and put it on Carnethy. We only need 3 metres off one and 3 metres added to the other if that, taking into account glacial rebound and remeasurement by the OS. We can do it!’ New identity…

Back to the Fellsman

I have been back to Fellsman country: that April-time place of 61 miles of running, 13 hours of pain and pleasure, self-doubt and wonderment. I was on a bicycle this time. And rather than retracing every bump of the Fellsman horseshoe, I was simply slipping thorough the valleys and springing over the high road passes of the Yorkshire Dales….

Shedding demons courtesy of the Fellsman

Close to three weeks ago, I felt what I took to be my left Achilles tweak at an evening race at Beckenham. I thought little of it. Running the next night, the  Achilles became increasingly sore. It was one of those runs that, in hindsight, I simply shouldn’t have done. An inexplicable, wholly avoidable error of judgement. I took the…

Midweek racing at the Beckenham relays

There’s something about a midweek race. There’s a certain pleasure, I feel, to finishing a day of work, then heading off, not simply to run, but to race. On my way to the Beckenham 2.6-mile relays, I mulled over the midweek races I’d taken part in: the Bugatti 10k over a couple of years in…

Post-Fellsman: checking my legs still work

My legs still work. I’ve just checked: a 45-minute trot on muddy trails and around playing fields in the London drizzle. I even managed to wander up a few minor hills with relative ease. Everything – joyously – is intact. For all its hardness, the Fellsman did not destroy me. The pleasure from being uninjured and…

Surviving the Fellsman

The Fellsman has redefined what I understand about running. I have run ‘properly’ since I was a teenager, from the middle distance races I ran as a schoolboy and the road half-marathons and marathons of my 20s, to the gradual transition to fell, hill, mountain and trail, and now, ultras. Over the years, I’ve often…

The unfathomable miles of the Fellsman

I’ve been asked a few times recently whether I ran ‘the marathon’ or, prior to Sunday, whether I was running ‘the marathon’. ‘The marathon’ is, of course, the Virgin London Marathon. Because that’s the only marathon, isn’t it? When asked, I’ve said ‘no’. Not because I am now running scared of fast races on roads,…

The psychology of the long-distance run

I ran 33 miles on Monday. I have never walked or ran further on a single day before. The run was three miles longer than my Winter Tanners in January, but – taking 5 hours and 20 minutes – lasted an hour longer. My transition to ultra-running hasn’t been seamless; it has required a whole…