I have written this post in the form of a letter to my followers, read on to find out why.
I am afraid that I have pulled out of the Ocean Floor Race. I have no doubt about my ability to complete the race, but I am somewhat intimidated by the political situation over there at the minute. The Foreign Office have been advising not to go for quite some time and I have decided to withdraw my entry. The riots and terrorist threats were a large part of my decision, but they were not the sole reason for pulling out. I cannot go into much more detail but I hope it is enough to say that this decision was not taken lightly and I hope to race in a multi-stage desert race at some point in the future. A part of the decision involved polling my followers to see what you all thought and it was a unanimous “Don’t go!”
Thanks to everyone that offered support and sponsorship, your offers were very generous and most welcome. I have also been using and reviewing a number of products in my build up to the race and I will publish reviews of these items in the near future. I am genuinely sorry that the trip simply is not to be, but for now I am moving straight on to my next goals and do not intend to slow down in the slightest. For next year I have already entered races in an attempt to qualify for two of the most iconic ultra marathons in America and Europe. I wont be seeking sponsorship for these races, but I have put some more info below as I think they are both fascinating, and hopefully you will too. If you continue to follow me I will continue to report on my progress, things that I learn, products that I use and then on the races themselves.
The first race is the Western States 100 mile run in California which started as a horse race many years ago, until a fellow called Gordy Ansleigh’s horse went lame and he decided to run it instead. This was in the mid 70’s and he even managed to beat some of the horses. Ultra marathon racing was born! It has limited places and in March 2014 I will be attempting to run 55 miles across the north Yorkshire Moors in under 12 hours to even qualify for the ballot. There are only 4 qualifying races held in the UK. Once qualified I then have a 1 in 10 chance of actually getting a spot, so I may have to try for a few years. www.wser.org. Oh, and I will only be going if I think that I can run the 100 mile race with 18,000 feet of climbing and 23,000 feet of descent in under 24 hours so that I can get their most prestigious finishers award, the silver cougar belt buckle! I wont be near the front though as the winners manage it in around 15 hours and the final cutoff is 30 hours.
The second race that I will be trying to qualify for is the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc which takes a bit more effort to qualify for. The race in North Yorkshire, mentioned above, will get me two points towards qualifying, then later in the year I will be competing in “The Oner” which is a 78 mile run along the south coast from Charmouth to somewhere past Swanage. That gets me a further 3 points if I can do it in less than 24 hours, and then I will be looking for a third race later in the year to get another two points. Once qualified I then have to enter another ballot. If I get in then I will be racing in the UTMB which features 105 miles, 9600m of climbing, starts at Chamonix and goes through France, Switzerland and Italy. Runners have 46 hours to finish it.
Next year my plan is to get the qualifications sorted. If that goes well then I will enter the ballots and cross my fingers for 2015.
Anyway, enough about my bonkers hobby. I’d better go and do some work.
Keep on getting out there and doing the sports that you love. Stay healthy, keep fit and make the most of your life!