Part 5 – My first ultra marathon – the V3K – Welsh 3000s in one day.

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Preparation

I arrived embarrassingly under prepared. I was about to take part in my first ever ultra marathon (this is just a footrace that is longer than a marathon) and by the time I swung my sandaled feet out of my car, it was late enough for the near solstice sun to have dipped behind the dark green ridge of the mountains. There were excited and very fast looking runners everywhere, all of which were sorting through impossibly lightweight racing bags and flexing lean calf muscles.  As I jealously looked through the windows of the converted vans and estate cars, I could see tomorrow’s competitors had already pinned on race numbers to vests, shovelled pasta into their mouths and were starting to settle down to sleep.  I wasn’t sure if I was too late to sign on and collect my number (teachers cannot just ‘take the afternoon off’), didn’t have a fancy VW Transporter to sleep in and only had a solitary scabby apple to eat for dinner and nothing at all for the following morning. Worst of all was the fact that I bloody hate running. Continue reading “Part 5 – My first ultra marathon – the V3K – Welsh 3000s in one day.”

The Garrigil Round – Taking in 5 Hewitts – Burnhope Seat, Dead Stones, Flinty Fell, Round Hill, Viewing Hill

A quick weekend up in the North Pennines. It’s a beautiful place, wild, lonely and yellow. We set out on a run taking in 5 Hewitts – Burnhope Seat, Dead Stones, Flinty Fell, Round Hill, Viewing Hill. Starting as the sun came up, pretty close to the shortest day of the year, the ground was frozen. It was a cold day, but not too cold. We enjoyed an Ainsley Harriott couscous and Mugshot stop at the Garrigill village hall where there are toilets and taps open 24 hours a day. Worth knowing! By the time we finished it was getting cold, red skies, refrozen ground and irritated lungs that are the telltale sign of a great winter’s day running.

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Here is a link to a Google Maps trace of the GPX 

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From being lost in the clouds to my first ultramarathon – the Welsh 3,000s and the V3K

It’s been about a year since my last post on here. Since then I’ve ridden 1,500 miles from Nottingham to Norway; ran a few ultramarathons; hiked in the Italian and French Alps; learned how to rock climb and been on a climbing trip to Mallorca; ridden to Brugges and back on a fixed gear bike (again); been to a golf dinner with my grandmother; slept out on Hadrian’s Wall and all sorts of things that I’m dying to share with you.

As much as I can’t wait to write about getting so hungry in Sweden that I squeezed a three day old tube of the saltiest fish paste imaginable straight into my mouth, there is something about my Welsh trips that embodies what I’m trying to achieve with the whole thingswhatihavedone thing. All the other places I’ve been to, even the most spectacular, have had only a fleeting hold on me, but Wales has me by the balls.

This post is the introduction to a collection of five shorter posts about my relationship with a particular feature of Wales. There is a list of mountains in Snowdonia, all of which are 3,000 feet above sea level. The number of mountains in this list is the golden part – there are 15. Enough for a challenge, but few enough to really get to know them as individuals. They are known collectively as the Welsh 3,000’s and I have a feeling that the majority of people reading this entry will have already ticked at least one off the list – Snowdon itself.

The articles are a a mixture of nostalgia, advice, kit lists and just general self indulgent tripe spanning over eleven years. Read from the beginning or just pick the part that could help you on your next adventure.

Part 1 – Snowdon 2005: The first mountain.
Part 2 – Welsh 3,000’s Aug 2011: The first time being lost and scared. 
Part 3 – Snowdonia in Winter Feb 2014: The first time I’d ever seen an ice axe.
Part 4 – Welsh 3,000’s: The first time it feels like I know what I’m doing.
Part 5 – V3k: The first ultramarathon

You can go alone but its a good idea to have someone with you to open the gates. Then, when they are about to get in, you can do that thing where you pretend to drive off.

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