It’s been a busy time at “All Hail the Trail” towers over the last few months and despite thinking I may never end up running the Oldham Way Ultra, I inadvertently ran it twice. I’ve also sold a house in Birmingham, purchased a house in Glossop and am currently awaiting an overdue baby, when of course it will suddenly become a whole lot more chaotic.
I had the pleasure of attending the Montane showroom near Kendal a few weeks ago to try out their new Via Trail range and went for a run and interview with Debbie Martin-Cosani. Whilst I’m still reviewing the kit which will follow in due course, here is an overview of the day on RunUltra along with an interview with Debbie (click the pic below).
So why did I run the 40 mile Oldham Way twice? The official race was on 18th March and those with good memories will remember that the UK had a somewhat unusually harsh storm – the Beast from the East. Despite valiant efforts to get there, my buddies and I were admittedly struggling in the snow and about halfway there the race was cancelled anyway.
With the baby due on the 25th April and the rescheduled race set for the 22nd I was dubious about me being able to do it. So on Easter weekend three of us set out to do the route as a social. Forty-two social miles, half of Chadderton parkrun and a little over ten hours later and we were finished – job done.
Oldham Way Ultra “recce”
Even before my legs stopped aching my brain was contemplating how fast (or slow) I could get round in potentially drier race conditions. After carefully planting the seed with my understanding wife she accepted that, if the baby hasn’t arrived, I could do it. On the strict conditions that I never utterred the words Oldham Way Ultra ever again.
Preparation was a bit strange, because I’d peaked then tapered for the 18th March, floundered for two weeks, ran the route as a social and then had three weeks thinking that I probably wouldn’t get the chance to run the race so just generally plodded a bit, bought baby things and spent time on the phone to mortgage providers and solicitors. It’s not the standard way to prepare for an ultra.
I’m not going to write a “full” report on the race this time. It ended up being quite a quiet affair with around 50 entrants as unfortunately about half of the original entrants couldn’t make the new date. This doesn’t stop the enthusiasm though and everything was looking well organised at Team OA race HQ. I ran most of the first half with a group of people but after the first 20 miles I stopped at some incredibly well timed toilets and after that I didn’t see anyone at all for the remaining 20 miles, and ended up crossing the line in 8:03. I’d made a few navigation errors and ended up doing an extra 2 miles overall so I think the sub-8 should have been achievable.
Real life obstacle course racing
Glossopdale Harriers ready for the off
Somewhere on the Oldham Way
I’m now full speed ahead reviewing the Montane gear and the rather smart Scarpa Neutron 2’s. Whilst there’s various races coming up on the Race List, the next biggie is the Lakeland 50. My biggest focus needs to be on efficient training, with an imminent baby I’m clearly not going to be able to train the way I used to so its all about training “smart”. We shall see……