Longmynd Hike 6/7th10/12

50 miles 8000 feet.
Longmynd hike home page
Traditionally, this age old event, was a long distance walking competition, where, the challenge is to complete the route within 24 hours. There are different prize categories so it seemed inevitable that at some point people would start running the event. Which they now do in droves.
I had no intention of doing this this year but had thought about doing it at some point in the future. However, I got caught up in the euphoria of people trying to get in and put my name down on the reserves list. To my surprise, I was offered a place.
It starts at 13:00, you then have to check in, in a particular order, to eighteen checkpoints scattered round Shropshire and Wales. There's a stringent kit list, which is checked, including med kit, survival sheet, spare jumper, map, compass, whistle, mug..........When it gets dark, you get grouped into minimums of three and have to stay with your group until the end, unless otherwise given permission to re group or you retire. Its quite important to get in the right group. You don't want to be held back and you definitely don't want to be the one holding your group back and desperately trying to hang on.
Check point tally and completion certificate.
 Photo after 15ish miles taken by Alistair of Fell Running Pictures
 I didn't really know how to run this as I'd never done anything this long before. I wanted to cover as much distance in daylight as I could to reduce the chance of getting lost at night, but I didn't want to be burnt out at the grouping stage and hold others back. Strategy? Urm, Start slowish and see how it goes? Try not to hang around too long at the check points and get plenty of food and water down on route. It seemed to be going ok. Initially running the downhill, jogging the flat and walking the uphill. A bit of a mental battle to go through, it's difficult to comprehend the distance of the race so I tried to break it down into smaller chunks to convince my brain I could do it. By the time it was getting dark I was finding it hard going. I got grouped with four others and we set off for the next check point. The pace for me and "Steve" at that stage was a little fast. At the next check there were two people, Mark and Tracy who had found the going too tough in their group so held back to try and re group. That suited Steve and I so we let the other three in our original group continue without us and we formed a group of four which seemed to work well for all concerned. Our pace then was "bimble" the down hills and speed walk the rest. It worked well for us and we plodded round the remainding15ish miles. 
It was a really well organised event with the friendliest of competitors and volunteers manning the checkpoints through the night. Hats off to them all. It was my first foray into "ultra" running and I'm not sure whether I really want to go down that route. I am pleased to have entered and supported this iconic local event though, and, when the swelling has gone down, I'll probably think I should do it again.

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