Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Grand Tour of Skiddaw 2014 by Dave Sloan

Grand Tour of Skiddaw 2014 - race Review.

Firstly, I'd like to thank Gary Stevens for putting the thought of this silly challenge into my head, but otherwise it was all my own doing. After the agony that Malc and I endured and the hands of Scafell Marathon I felt like I was pure folly to this mammoth task. For those not in the know, GTS (as it will now affectionately be known by my typing fingers) is a 44-mile ultra marathon which takes in the glory of both peaks of High Pike and Mount Skiddaw on mostly trails climbing around 7,000ft!

First bonus of the weekend, hot showers on-site; second bonus, fellow club (soon-to-be) members in Brendan and Tracey were there to share in my adventure, which relieved the stress greatly just to see some familiar faces.

So, after an evening of re-packing my kit and listening to singing children until midnight against my will, I got a quick warm-up done in the car by whacking the fans up to full and enjoying breakfast indoors and the race begun at 8am.

The weather soon picked up and it would stay that way for the most perfect running conditions you could hope for, nice.

The course was as expected, traily in most parts, hilly throughout and mountainous in the middle. My main concern was finishing as it was my first attempt at something of this nature, especially with the map reading skills required. I settled in for the long-haul early and enjoyed the adventure, stopping to fuel often and rest even more so. Between mile 8 & 38 I had only lost 1 position and as I lost 35-mins on the fells taking a wrong turn, I was happy with that. But I n the last 8-miles I made up 17 places, finishing in 11:08 (yes 11 hours and 8 minutes), so my strategy of conservation paid off in the end. Brendan finished strong with a great run in just over 12 hours.

I would like to say how well organised this event is ( and what a great experience for all involved, competitors and loved ones alike. I am already making plans to break 10hrs next year!!

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