Challenge 11: Grantham Ultra

For my 11th Challenge I chose to enter the Grantham Ultra. This is a two day event organised by It consists of two 29.3 mile runs which in the main follow the Grantham Canal Towpath.

True to my recent form I didn't invest any time researching the course, I didn't look at the weather forecast, or anything pertinent (aside from where it started & ended each day). As a consequence I arrived with a mis- match of kit in my pack. Capable of coping with extreme cold, & wet but without any consideration for warmth & even sunshine. 

Registration was quick & easy & after an informal briefing we were off. The initial few kms were on road/ pavement until we joined the canal. Naively I assumed running alongside a canal would be flat. The first couple of hours passed by easily. Despite carrying precise nutrition for the run I elected to skip my first three hours worth of snacks. I knew this was stupid at the time, I knew I would pay the price for it but something in me decided that not consuming these would be manageable & would assist with Challenge 10! Shortly after 3 1/2hrs boom. It was pay back time for those poor decisions. Everything began to unravel & the pace slowed from sedate to pedestrian. I spent the next 90minutes bringing myself back from this self- inflicted abyss. At the 5hr mark (when I had anticipated finishing) most things were back to normal, albeit I was dehydrated. In the absence of any remaining water stops I attempted to preserve what I had left but it ran out. Another poor decision trading water for a saving of a few grammes of weight in my pack.

Ultimately the finish line arrived. A short jog later I was at my friends reflecting on the basic errors made.

Day 2 arrived all too soon & we were off. The first few kms seemed suprisingly comfortable. My legs were tired but not particularly sore. Given the mistakes of yesterday I reasoned I could run Day 2 quicker than Day 1. This didn't prove the case but I did end the day with a red head thanks to the sun coming out & more importantly was disciplined with my nutrition & hydration. Result no dark moments, no dizzy spells, no moments of double vision & no fingers swelling. A much happier day on the trail.

This was a friendly, well run event. No time pressures, no egos. Just a group of people who like to run & run long ;)

Normally this is where I try to link my report back to Alfie & Arthur's situation & the impact muscular dystrophy will have on their lives. However, on this occassion I shall let you reflect on what you were able to achieve this weekend thanks to your muscles doing what you asked of them. I imagine many of you will have been out enjoying your sport, others may have been catching up on DIY or similar. I doubt many of you will be fitting calipers to your legs before you go to bed as part of your daily routine.

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