Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Perfect 9

Perfect 9
Quick end of month catch up:-) . Sore knee tendon has restricted running a bit and Jan has been ok training wise but could have been better. How many of us say that tho ?

Highlights1#- I booked on the Conison -buttermere UTLD recce but when i got to the top of newlands pass one of the lads had stopped us all going down as someone had abandoned their car on the steep bit of the pass and one of our recce runners had slid into it while trying ot turn around. Yes it was a tad icy ! However a four of us managed a lovely run down newlands to buttermere and along to scarth gap pass and back.If i had forgotten how tough lakeland is i was soon reminded. I asked a question a while back if UTLD was a tough as UTMB and someoen said it's a difficult one as UTMB has all the climb plus the massive differential in temperatures you can get (from 30 plus ot minus 10) but lakeland is a relentless foot wrecker. The route makes you go thru bog that over endless rocky passes. In a lot of ways its would be much easier to go over the tops in my opinion. scath gap pas is by no means the worst of them (or best of them as i love the rocks ) but it makes the Lundava road on the whw look like tarmac !. Still lovely all the same .

scarth gap pass

Highlights2# was the whw weekend get together at the Oak tree in Balmaha and the race that follows. (Thanks Ian and sandy for thinking the whw weekend up ) . The weekend was a 30 mile run from Balmaha to Inversanid hotel and back. I enjoyed the route and was surprised I had forgotten so much and how lovely it is.

Loch lomand ( i didn't mean t get he bird and rainbow in - i just fired my mobile camera in that direction while running

TBh I was never feeling that grand in the run but ran it all the same and enjoyed the scenery and chat. I should have guess something was up when later on I struggled to eat the lovely burgers they do but never thought much about it and thought it had something to do with not drinking for three weeks then having several pints the night before a 30 miler. Well that’s what we do isn’t it! Mind , the weather was more than kind with being just a tad nippy and some light rain but compared to this 2009 pic of my first ever (and most glorious ) whw training run with George and karen it's was quite a differnece.

whw above beinglass somewhere.

Walk run up conic hill and the foothills of Ben Lomond the next day was also a lovely easy day before the planned Bein glass –Inversanid rock section the next day but unfortunately became nauseous on the evening in and then really bad during the night. By the morning I was feeling absolute shite , throwing up and worse so the run was knocked on the head . The 200 mile drive back wasn’t fun. Positive tho are I ran 30 miles of trails not feeling grand without too much of a problem so that’s good in my book.

Oh and i've lost 10 pounds. (not thru illness !) Doing about 2 pounds a week but i expect that to slow down a bit and the next 10 wil take longer than the 5-6 weeks of the first. Fact is you are very unlikely to lose more 1.5 -2 pound of Fat a week unless you are over 20 stone and any more just isn't fat.so i'm happy with that. Mind i'm still 10 pound more than pre-first foot break weight (Nov 2009)but its better than 20 more :-) Whether i get to my ideal 'fighting weight' by the time my first target come along on June Ist is debatable but i'll try my best.

so the Perfect 9 then,highlight #3 :-

I do love the 10 mile distance and a like and I may even give up Ultra’s for a year to concentrate on them and shorter distances one year So to top the 400 Mile round trip the previous weekend I thought I would go for a 700 mile trip to see my bro, niece and family for not a 10 miler but the Slaughterford 9 .

And so to the 3rd highlight of the month and to be honest this was just magic. The race is a mixture of boggy muddy trail, bit of country road and track but not too much, starting near Corsham and is organised by Chippingham Harriers. And what a fantastic job they did !

Very cold and misty we parked up at leafy lane playing fields and into the changing /rooms where Tea and coffee were on offer and after a quick talk everyone runs the half K to the start near Rudloe .The start is downhill on a country road. My bro decided to go for a Pee at the start so we started right at the back. We had chip times so I expected to go over a matt at the start but we didn’t but hell I was out for a nice run with my bro so I wasn’t bothered about time at all and didn’t look at my watch or put a stopwatch on.

The track road turned to track then a narrow woodland path of mud and bog thru Rudloe wood then Collets bottom wood almost continuous ups and downs slipping and sliding. You would think with all the aggressive soled fell shoes I have you would have had some decent footwear on but my choice of shoe had been based on what was in the car boot as I hadn’t thought to much about the race but this was one where I definitely needed grip and the NB trail didn’t have any ! Woods gave way to fields and muddy slippy grass. Tbh we could not see much in the thick cold mist but I kinda like that-gives the race an errie ghostly feel.

Erkwell wood, hussy hill wood, weaver wood followed and up to Slaughterford . Every turn was brilliantly marshalled, all smiling and encouraging. I really loving this race!

Endless misty country fields all with their little muddy hills followed on our way round to Colerne and then we turned back towards the start. Befoe I knew it there was muttering around me about the river crossing and a very step mudfest of steps down to the crossing appeared. Down the stream and the first little kick in the races tail ,instead of crossing you have to travel up the stream about 50 metres and about thigh deep freezing cold water ! magic !

the muddy 'slide ' down to the stream

I had been holding my mobile phone to take a few pics for the club report (which I’ll probably never get round to doing lol ) when a marshal shouted do you want one of you and took a quick pic. Again very well marshalled and all very friendly. Then the real kick, the finish is about a mile of very steep very grassy very muddy hill –just wonderful .

the last hill (you can't see the top )

Goody bag at the end with a T shirt (saying did you run the hill on the back – sorry to say I didn’t as I could hardly stand up ) and then back to the leafy lane playing fields for a cuppa and then the quarryman for a pint of lethal Black Rat-proper cider i'm told .

Proper cider !

So to round up , a truly almost perfect course , tougher than many a short fell I have run , chip timed , brilliantly marshalled in beautiful countryside with a decent T shirt in the goody bag all for ..wait for it £8-00 ! No doubt about it , if my bro isn’t out of area next year and maybe if he is I’ll be back to race this one properly .
Perfect 9 .


  1. Everytime I think I might not run really long again I read a blog like this. You are a b*st*rd, Flip.

    West Highland Way is back on my list :)

  2. Glad you're out and having fun but you can keep the thigh high icy water...that would be up to my neck :-)

  3. well done on the 10 pounds..you'll feel the difference

  4. Thanks for the great testimonial for the Chippenham Harriers 'Slaughterford 9' - Yes; we are rather proud of it. It certainly is as hard as many a fell race though to be fair we are a bit short of fells in our neck of the woods!


  5. I race quite a lot (when i'm not injured ). In fact i did 70 odd races in my first year of running. I do loads of fells and hills and a fair number of road races . Tell you what, Chippenham harriers could not have done a better job in my view. You are rightly pround of such a fantatic race. Well done to the organisers and especailly the marshals - i know a fair few would have given up racing it to help out.