Category Archives: Ultra

Buttermere Beat Us

Breca Buttermere Swimrun

by Fiona Towell Every athlete has ONE event every year and this one was mine for 2018 : https://www.brecaswimrun.com/breca-buttermere-route-card/ image1.jpeg Sadly my new super-dooper trail vivobarefoot shoes (been running in them for 3 months) resulted in a collapsed arch in my right foot on the Wednesday night club run on the 8th August so feeling very tearful and unable to walk on Thursday I continued to RICE and texted an SOS to Carmel at The Sports Therapy Room where I proceeded to cry before, during and after treatment – only the post treatment tears were ones of joy at the truly biblical miracle (or was it a spell?) that her healing hands cast removing the worst of the sting from the upper bridge of my foot above my toes. I gingerly walked to the passenger seat of the car … Luckily I’m not a ‘performance’ athlete so all I have to do is keep moving to make the cut off times 🤞 and at that point I had 40 hours to prepare. In normal circumstances I would have pulled out, but one has a buddy on SwimRun and one doesn’t let one’s buddy down unless one is crawling .. So, to the event: The sun shone for the Saturday evening briefing of course ahead of the forecast rain ☔️ for Sunday. We were all bussed out to the blustery start at 7:30am. Our bus and the one ahead went the wrong way and the drivers had to do three point turns on Lake District lanes much to our confusion and amusement. It started with a hill: Alex and I were at the back from the start. And that’s pretty much where we stayed trading last and second last place with a couple of blokes throughout … image2.jpeg The swims are just beautiful. The swell was high for the first couple but despite the weather forecast the sun came out and the lakes stilled for our next 5 .. image3.jpeg With 11 swims and 12 runs at Buttermere it takes a while to get into a rhythm but we did – until we hit the first hill. We dug in. We were expecting some clambering over rocks but not to that extent! We knew the downhills would be tough and neither of us are mountain goats but we weren’t expecting to travel kilometres on our bums. The views however were spectacular! image4.jpeg The boys overtook us on the downhills and drifted off (literally) in the swims where we managed to judge the currents and sight better. 25 minutes ahead of cut off time at Checkpoint 4 before the Buttermere 14k section we figured we might make it. That gave us 3 hours and 20 minutes to get over and into the next valley. A glance at the sheer climb in front of us as we stuffed new potatoes and Jaffa cakes into our mouths and the rock face above it didn’t deter us but it should have! It took us 3 hours and 50 minutes to reach the final check point on the other side. We are NOT and never will be ‘fell runners’ During that trek the soles of the old trainers I had to wear came off (both feet) and I had to strap them on with my shoe-laces. They still caught on the rocks and filled up even more with gravel. Our nice (and nimble) marshal tail walker ripped the duck tape from the markers to fashion a better seal but two stream crossings later they were off! Thankfully the streams allow water bottle replenishing up there but it’s still a mission to clamber in and bend down that far in to the race. Another lovely ‘lady of the fells’ filled my water bottle up from the stream. Big thumbs up 👍 to all of the marshals at this event. image5.jpeg When the lads overtook us on the downhills leaving the tail walker with us they were generally bickering. I had the best buddy ever in Alex – we encouraged each other throughout. It was marvellous to see my hubby at several lake crossings – and he tackled the back half of Buttermere to bring us lucozade just when we needed it and accompanied us down lifting our spirits when we knew we weren’t going to make it. Buttermere well and truly beat us. But it was a whole six minutes before the boys appeared out of the fern and joined us for the lift back to HQ where I threw my trainers in the bin and refused the proffered tee-shirt ‘cos it had ‘finisher’ written on it 🤣 Brilliant event and I WILL tackle it again – one day … Commiseration Drinks on Wednesday. 9.5 brutal hours (all the post race Pain and no medal) I’ll be damned if I’m running beforehand.😉 image6.jpeg

Chiltern Challenge 50km

Chiltern Challenge 50km – well I was looking for a challenge!

by Jo Sharples

Why would you ever want to? Followed with, are you mad? Seem to be common reactions to me running the Chiltern Challenge 50KM ultra. Mad, in my opinion, no but lost maybe. So lets start at the beginning.

Berlin Airport 2017.

I had just run the 2017 BMW Berlin Marathon, and was queuing to check in at the airport. It seemed most other Brits had also chosen this flight home. Berlin had been a mixed bag for me; I was overall pleased with my time, but couldn’t quite stop the disappointment I was feeling. I had experienced very difficult family issues in the final part of my training, and had been struggling to work let alone have the motivation and determination to train. This alongside an attempted burglary the day before the marathon in our hotel room had me mentally on the next flight home. There were too many problems and worries I could not solve here and I needed to escape. What was I to do? My race pack was collected, I had even already pinned my number to my LBAC vest. I could not honestly tell you what MY decision would have been if Sam had not been there. His stern, fair, and supportive talk was 100% the reason I made it to the start line. So I should have been happy with 2min shy of a PB- but that had not been the goal at Berlin. read more

Liverpool to Manchester – 50 Miles Ultra!

L2M – 50miles Ultra

by David Killick

So anyone goes back through the annuls of time you will see reports from me for 10km, East Anglian League, Being a lonely Thrower so for good measure I decided I needed to write a new report so entered the Liverpool to Manchester 50 miler. Not the full truth but hey makes me look like the strangest athlete in the world. Why Liverpool to Manchester (L2M).  After the Wendover 50 failure I had serious beef with this distance.  My first foray into the longer mind messing world of 50 milers went completely wrong.  So what better than to choose a flattish course with likely to be perfect spring weather and a tail wind on your back.  Richard Steely sold it to me as a perfect race, So Mrs K and I thought why not. Unfortunately someone forgot to tell the weather gods that I don’t do torrential rain, snow, blizzards, snow, 20mph headwinds, more rain, cold, even colder. Knew it was not going to be nice but when you pull back the curtains at your hotel at 5am in the morning and see flooded paths only 300m away from the start line you know its gonna be a long day. And that it was.  Predicted time went out the window as finishing became the objective. First part of the course was ok until 19km where I stupidly got lost for 27mins and 5km.  Unfortunately this is where I lost Richard who had gone for a pee and never caught me up (he was deluded enough to think I was beating him).  I say ok if you like a blizzard to run in either side of heavy rain.  soon after that you hit the pure trails and with it the puddles that splattered the Pennine Way and there was no avoiding running through them as the path was basically a flood., so a good 50km of very wet feet. Check points came and went, gladly people and supporters on hand to open backpacks as hands were frozen and the mind stop coordinating with the body. By 60km checkpoint I was being given a man up talking to by some guy who gave me detailed instructions that the worse was to come (cheers mate) but I just had to dig deep.  I would have said thanks but I had my mouth full of cola bottles (my new friend),  And off I trudged talking to myself. The next 10km was the longest 10km ever in my life.  I am sure it was longer, time passed by as did more distance.  so 10km left, stocking up on more food (oh how I love Ultras just for the food).  And off I went in 50th place.  Unfortunately got taken about 2kms from the end to finish in 51st in 9hrs 27m.  By then the rain had stopped, I had sweated to death inside my rain jacket and my club vest didn’t see any cameras on route. Sorry I cant remember much about the route as I spent a lot of time looking down at my feet as I ran through puddle after puddle.  I just know it was for me an emotional rollercoaster, banished the disappointment of Wendover, and pretty much proved that if you dig deep enough you can do anything. So after I finished the heavens decided to give those left on the course a much needed wash (and me as I walked to the hotel to get the car).  I know Mrs K was going to appreciate the cooling rain as she must have been boiling hot. So back to the finish area to see Mrs K come into the finish area to do a lap (swimming by this stage) of the rugby pitch.  Finishing in 12hrs 44, to take the womans 50m club record and 188th place Richard finished in 8hrs 31, down 50 mins on the previous year but an indication of how bad the weather was. We also qualified for the team rankings as we had a team of 3 and came 7th out of 11 teams.  I can’t think if LBAC have ever had a an ULTRA team before so happy to be the inaugural team members. So will I do another. hmmmmm…………..

All For A Tattoo

Ironman Copenhagen 2017

by Fiona Towell

All for a Tattoo

Ironman Copenhagen was my first (and last I hasten to add) Ironman.

10+ years ago when I joined the club I heard about Ironman from Joe Hurley and Tom May, the only two at the time that ‘did them.’

I remember vividly thinking ‘Really? – you swim for two and a half miles, cycle 112 and then run a WHOLE marathon? Why would anyone want to do that? What on earth is the point? And even if it IS physically possible it can’t be good for you, surely?’ read more

Chiltern Challenge – 50km of Fun

Chiltern Challenge

by Alex Killick

Many people have said to me that they couldn’t do it and early last year I would have agreed with them. I mean I could hardly run 5K at the beginning of 2016 let alone 50K. Mr K did his first 50K towards the end of last year and that got me thinking. I like the idea of smaller more relaxed events and so when I found out about the Chiltern Challenge I thought maybe I would give it a go, then it appeared on the list for the club off-road series and I knew I had to do it!

So training wise I had no plan – I just started running more, going out for hours and getting lost, stressing about everything and anything and taking too many photo stops. read more

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