The Ultramarathon Diaries: Week 1

The Ultramarathon Diaries: Week 1

Hi, I’m Millie and I’m going to try to run an ultramarathon. The Ultramarathon Diaries follow my journey from a sometimes runner to an ultra-athlete (jk, or something near) over a year and a bit – join me won’t you?

In the last blog post I talked about my relationship between running and body confidence which has been a big barrier for me. In this post I start my training diaries. I’m not sure what format this will take and I imagine it’ll change each week based on what I’m focusing on or having problems with.

Which Ultramarathon To Choose

This week I’ve been deciding which Ultramarathon I actually want to run and a quick scroll through google has returned hundreds of races. My first criteria is that it has to be in an awesome location, either in the Lake District, Peaks or Snowdonia because they’re the easiest for me to get to. It has to be no more than 50k, I’m not sure if my body will take much more. And it has to be reasonably priced for entry; I don’t know what the average cost is but I’m on a budget for the time being, especially because it might not be for me.

After checking out a few different challenges and support I’ve decided to do the Peak District Challenge in September 2020. I’m going to do the Bronze Challenge which is 50km across the Dark Peak and Derbyshire Dales.

Because the route can be run or walked the cut off point is 12 hours with everyone back in Hathersage by 8.30pm. I feel like a late cut off might work in my favour and help me enjoy the run a lot more, I’m not overly motivated by competitive pressure and just feel stressed so this way I can take my time.

The route has a total ascent of 1200m and it’s highest point reaches 464m. The route treks up the Hope Valley and joins the Limestone Way past Peveril to Hay Dale. It travels through the White Peak towards Middleton Moor and climbs up to Baslow, Curbar and Froggatt Edges before ending again in Hathersage. 

I grew up walking these routes and trails so I feel confident about navigating the route but the best thing is that I’ll have a support crew! Home turf means my family will be nearby so I hope they’ll be on the sidelines with snacks and water and potentially a change of clothes if there’s a downpour!

The Dark Peak

Kit Lists and Timings

I’m a bit unsure about the Compulsory Kit List because I don’t have anything on it. I’ve currently just got my running clothes and my old trainers which are just about to give up the ghost. I think I’m going to have to improve my kit and buy a running bag to carry everything in. At this stage I’m also a little unsure what constitutes a ‘self-navigating team’, I’m not too worried about having to self-navigate but a small part of me now wants to do this in a team, although I’ve never run with other people before.

The event has been running since 2013 and there are event reports on the website since 2015 which make for pretty interesting reading. For the 2018 bronze it looks like runners are in the minority and the shortest times were 7 hrs 18 minutes … which I think works out around 14.6 minutes per mile, although I could be way out with my math there or be reading the tables wrong.

There are also lots of charities linked to the event , at the moment I’m unsure if I’m running for charity. There are a lot that I’d like to support but the event also supports S.A.L.V.E International. 

Has anyone run this event before? I’d really like to hear about anyone’s experiences doing it, or can you recommend another ultra in the Peaks?

Training In Week 1 

It’s the middle of July which means that I’ve got 60 weeks to go until the event in 2020 if it’s on the same dates as previous years. This week I’ve been for 4 runs: 3 early morning 3 milers and one after work which was 4. So my total miles this week is 13.

I also went for a 10 mile hike with friends around Edale, Mam Tor and The Great Edge at the weekend.

My trainers (faithful Karrimors from 2012) have got new holes in on my left little toe, they’re so comfy and I don’t want to part with them but I feel like they’re going to fall apart sometime soon. I think I’m going to have to invest in more if I’m going to up my training.

Check out the next blog to see what I got up to in week 2 of my training. 

You can follow my progress on instagram to @millie.ferns