25 days to go until my biggest craziest challenge so far — Hardmoors 60. I can’t believe how quickly this has come around!
After deciding to run a marathon for my big birthday last year, I started to think what could I do for this years birthday challenge and there it was, the Hardmoors 60; advertised as a 60 mile trail race, it’s actually 62 and probably more on the day. It seemed a great idea at the time but now it’s getting so close, I’ve realised how far it’s taking me from my comfort zone and giving me a whole range of brand new things to think about and prepare for.
I know some of my running friends could complete this without giving it a second thought, but this is a lot more “time on feet” than I have ever done before. So far, my biggest event is last years Race to the Stones, which was the same distance.. but over two days with a nice massage, evening meal and sleep in between!
The Hardmoors 60 looks like a beautiful run along a coastal path in North Yorkshire, but after going up and doing several recce runs and covering the second half of the course, I was shocked by how hilly it is and how many steps there are. The length of time I’ll be competing is going to be a major shock (Race to the Stones was 6 hours each day and this is twice the distance) and last years winning time was just over 9 hours. I have no idea how long I will be out there for…
The terrain is going to be tough and the weather in September could be sunny and boiling, wet and freezing or anywhere in between. There are a lot of un-runnable hills, stiles, steps and other hazards, so I have been advised (by a woman Debbie met at Endure 24) to spend sessions up at the gym doing long stints on the step machine… This is the least fun part of my training over last month or so.
The final element in my preparation is the one I thought I would enjoy experimenting with the most, but it has actually been causing me the most problems — fuelling. How do you get enough food in to be running for over such a long time? Do you eat on the run or is it best to stop and have a picnic every few hours? I’m still working on this and have a feeling I’ll be coming up with new ideas right up to the event and learn a lot from the race too.
Despite all the challenges that the day will bring, I’m really looking forward to testing myself and to see how I cope. As I’m putting myself through this madness, I thought it would be amusing to run a sweepstake to raise some money for the MS Trust. For £3 a go, you can play along by guessing my finishing time (or DNF in 10 mile blocks) with £20 to the person with the closest guess. Wish me luck!