Friday, 3 January 2014

12 Great runs in 2014

At the end of every year or the start of a new one we all think about what we want to achieve in the next year. And with a world of running out there and a young family to consider this means for me to find a way of satisfying my need for long distance challenges, whilst devoting plenty of time to Clare and Isaac still…. A time machine would be handy! With this in mind a few months ago I came up with a plan to fit in a variety of challenges, whilst not upping the training or spending many hours, days away from family.  

12 challenges in a year, one per month meaning an almost ideal amount of time for recovery and muscle repair between each event to leave me primed for the next - without a need for very long training runs in the weeks between. This might not work in reality, but I'm going to try it.

12 challenges also satisfies my other personal requirement this year, which is to provide a big overall challenge that I can hopefully raise some money for charity doing. The loss of my mother in 2013 leaves me wanting to do something in her memory. She devoted a lot of time to volunteering, especially to assist the visually impaired. And took on all kinds of challenges you might not think a visually impaired person would - to name a few sailing, climbing, archery, drama and her favourite in recent years, yoga. So I hope people will find my challenge worthy of a donation for HERIB (Hull & East Riding Institute for the Blind) so activities such as the yoga group for the visually impaired can continue long into the future.  

So a bit more on the Challenge, a few simple ground rules:
  • Each challenge will be over marathon distance in length (26.2 miles +)
  • Each will be completed on foot (you have my word on this and those who know me wouldn't doubt this anyway).
  • 1 challenge per Calendar month (at least, more than one is optional).
The Wolds, near Wetwang
My year of challenges will start with a Hull to Bridlington run at the end of January. I've picked out a route avoiding roads where possible; starting on the Hornsea rail trail before leaving this before the Mere and following mostly footpaths, or field paths and tracks until I hit the coast for a final few miles into Brid. It’s about 27 miles, or a bit longer, and is one way as a fairly gentle challenge to break in the legs.

February sees a step up to a route I’ve often thought about, but only recently mapped out – Round Hull Run. I’ve tried to make the route true to its name and keep outside built-up areas (on farmland paths and tracks mostly). However, to keep the length down I’m going to cut through West Hull suburb villages and towns – not strictly Hull so I think that’s fair enough. I’ll also need to use the path alongside A63 and those around Victoria/Alexandra docks and the cycle/footpath that runs parallel north of Hedon road (old railway line), as the only alternative to go around south of Hull is to swim. I was quite surprised that this route came to at least 43 miles long.
Wolds valleys

In March and April I’m going to run in established events. So I’ll benefit from food and drink provided on route (my January and February challenges will be self-supported so I’ll only eat/drink what I can carry or buy on route). But I won’t be taking it easy as I step up the distance again. In March, the Hardmoors 5555 miles over the North York moors, with many hills and often a lot of weather. And April, The Woldsman50 miles of East Yorkshire Wolds hills and valleys.

May will see a return to self-supported challenges and a big distance step up too. The Centenary Way is a marked long distance footpath running from York to Filey, via the Howardian Hills – an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – and the East Yorkshire Wolds. So it should be a real treat…. All 83 miles of it I hope.

Mardale Head, Lake District

After that a route of less than 30 miles in June should be easy you’d think? Well maybe, except these miles will be part of the organised 10 Peaks: The Lakes event. Which is no picnic as these 10 peaks are in the central Lake District area and vary from 2470 ft tall to 3210 ft tall (Scaffel Pike) – to give a total ascent of 10500 ft (and I should think a similar amount of descent). And this is the shortest route of the three on offer!

Back to flatter tracks in July, but this will also be my distance peak of the year. It’s another self-supported venture. I’ve not planned the route yet, but a clue about the distance is in the name – East Yorkshire Grand Tour. So I think it will have to include the coast, some riverside paths and my favourite running grounds in the Wolds. I should think to hit all of the “best bits” may take me a few days and three figure mileage.

I’ve not settled on challenges for August to December yet, but will in due course as there are no shortage of options.

I’ve called the non-event challenges above, self-supported. But, I won’t turn down any company for part or even all of these challenges… so if you fancy a good leg stretch!
Haweswater in the Lake district

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