2016: the plan

2016 is going (hopefully...) to be a year of multi-day single stage races, which seem to be my ‘thing’. I entered the races at different points during last Summer, rather than sitting down and planning the year, but they’re well spaced out and will need similar training, so hopefully they’ll fit together OK.

1. Viking Way, April
This is probably the hardest race I’ve ever entered, in terms of probability of me finishing at least. 147 miles across Lincolnshire and Rutland doesn’t sound too hard. But add muddy trails and a 40 hour time cut-off (only 2.5 hours longer than I took to do the pancake flat GUCR) and it’s seriously challenging. I entered it just after finishing the Thames Ring 250. Partly because finishing not far behind 3 time VW finisher Andy Horsley at the TR made me think I might just be able to finish the VW. And partly because my name might not appear too out of place on the entry list any more, now it can have ‘Thames Ring’ and ‘Spine’ after it.

This is going to be hard, really hard. Realistically I’ll only ever be able to finish it if
i) I’m in really good shape,
ii) I have a good day
iii) the weather/conditions under foot aren’t too bad.
Things aren’t looking great at the moment in terms of i) or iii). Three months out I’m starting run training from scratch and, after months of rain, the ground is really, really wet. But I’m not giving up yet. The plan (legs permitting) is to ramp up the training fairly rapidly, with the goal of receing the first 80 miles over 2 days, 4 weeks out. And then all I can do is give it my best shot.

2. Northern Traverse, May/June
Wainwrights Coast to Coast route, 190 miles from St. Bees to Robin Hoods Bay, crossing the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors, with a 5 day cut-off. Like the Spine Race, but shorter and in Summer, so less kit to carry. Well ‘up my street’ so I entered as soon as it opened last June (which was good, since it meant I couldn’t then be tempted into trying to take a fortnight off during exam season for the 600 mile Monarch’s Way...).

I reced the 2nd half, from Kirby Stephen to Robin Hood’s bay over the 2015 late Spring bank holiday weekend, and (apart from the tedious field crossings of the Vale of York) had great fun. I’m planning to check out the 1st half at the beginning of May. And, if I manage to get through the Lake District without trashing my legs so badly I can’t run, I’m hoping finishing in around 4 days should be doable.

3. Tran Scania, August
246km unsupported trail race across the South of Sweden with a 60 hour cut-off. I’d toyed with entering this in 2015, but the Leeds Liverpool Canal race fitted in better with the OH’s work travel plans. When entries for 2016 opened in October the small number of places started filling up quickly and without thinking too much (which is very unlike me...) I entered. Combining two of my favourite things, run-walking a long way and spending time in Sweden, should be fun. And the format of this race (unsupported apart from a single drop bag which can be accessed twice) makes it a hybrid of the Thames Ring and T184 and an interesting new challenge.