It was a cool damp day with the odd spots of rain at different intervals and with a 12 noon start even the fastest runners were sure to have to run at least some of the course in darkness.
To summarise the run, Tony was struggling over the rough ground at Stiperstones and had a niggling knee afterwards that only got worse. We got slower and slower and got grouped at nightfall well before half way with a guy named Kevin who'd had 11 previous starts and walked them all. This time he had run parts of it but had no intention of running any more. That was fine by us, at least we had someone who knew the way.
At Stiperstones car park, mile 38, Tony's knee had swollen and after sitting for 5 minutes couldn't get back up again so was off in the body bus back to Church Stretton. Kevin and myself got put with another group consisting of an ex para, his daughter and her friend who'd knees had also gone and had to walk downhills sideways.
The para had an affinity to headtorches and made everyone in the group switch all lights off as it messed with his night vision and casts a shadow when walking behind someone. Luckily it was a clear moonlit night. He also refused to stop at any checkpoints except for clipping the tallies which turned out to be a good idea.
We eventually hobbled home in around 14hours 50.
While I was glad to get round. At no point did I feel tired and always felt I wanted to run a bit more so I am hoping to knock a couple of hours off the time.
This was the first race where it struck me that people carry way too much kit. While I can understand the walkers carrying large 20-30 litre rucsacs full I don't think its necessary for someone intending to run. Andy Rankin, the eventual winner was only carrying a OMM 6 litre waist pack and all the walkers looked on in amazement as he sailed through the kit check. Last year I used an Osprey talon 11 litre rucsac which was o.k. but did feel cumbersome so this time I am going to try the lightweight approach and also go with the OMM waist pack
but first I needed to check everything in the rules fits in with room to spare for food.
Here is the kit list from the rules of the hike with my selections next to each item
Each hiker must carry the minimum equipment of:
Complete OS maps - no photocopies allowed. Either:
1:50,000 Landranger Series, sheets 126 and 137.
1:25,000 Explorer Series, sheets 216, 217 and 241.
OS Select may be used with the four corners being:
NW: SJ300070 NE: SJ500070
SW: SO300870 SE: SO500870
I have cut out the 4 corners stated from original OS maps. The rule is ambiguous as it states full maps to be used but if you use a OS select you only need the 4corners. Anyway, select maps are not as waterproof as proper OS maps so I should be o.k.
Compass and whistle. Silva Field 7
Torch with spare batteries and bulbs to last 12 hours (LEDs acceptable). Petzl MYO belt
Wind and waterproof coat and trousers. Haglofs LIM ultimate + inov8 mistlite
Warm hat and gloves. Hilly hat & Helly liner gloves
Spare sweater and socks. North Face base layer & 1000mile trail
Mug. Swedish army folding mug off Ebay
Sufficient food for the duration of the Hike. Sandwiches, coffee beans, clif bars
Nourishing food (to be used only in an emergency). as above
Approved survival bag or space blanket, large enough to enclose the whole body. Heatsheets bivvy
Two 230mm (9") squares of white or fluorescent material, or, two pieces of high vision reflective material (50mm x 100mm minimum) as required for Rule 8. cut some off a hiviz jacket
First Aid Kit containing (minimum): One triangular bandage and one 7.5cm crepe bandage and Elastoplast dressing strip and Gauze dressings and Elastoplast/Micropore tape and scissors.
'Adventure medical kits' er kit
FOOTWEAR. Because of the rough nature of the terrain you are required to wear either hiking boots, specialist/fell-running footwear or multi-terrain footwear - they must have a good non-slip tread. Kit and footwear will be checked before the start and may be checked at any time during the Hike. Inov8 X-Talons (what else!)
SHORTS. Shorts may be worn during daylight hours only. Legs must be covered during darkness and when grouped. No denims allowed. Rogelli banks tight from Pete blands
|All required kit except mug & food|
as can be seen in the next picture there is room for sandwiches, chocolate covered espresso beans and maybe a couple of clif bars. I will carry a 500ml of flat coke in the pack and use the handheld throughout with nuun tablets at every fill up although I don't envisage sweating too much in October but i will take them anyway.
If I recall the spare sweater can be worn and looking at the weather forecast the Haglofs LIM ultimate waterproof top will be on most of the day anyway so theres the 2 biggest items out.
I will wear some cheap rogelli tights and roll them up to the knee in the day, then roll them down at nightfall. A good tip from the FRA forum.
I'll see how it goes. Might be a good idea or it might be too much weight around the waist and be better spread out in a rucsack.
I will report back with the findings