Clarendon Marathon to Sovev Emek, Israel 100km to Patagonia, Argentina 50km
Clarendon marathon was planned to be my last event in 2014, but after the celebration of Steve’s 100th marathon in October and the inspiration this gave, I thought I would end the year with two very different ultra-challenges.
Sovev Emek, Israel 100km (23rd/24th October 2014)
Chicken soup was the novelty of this 3 lap 100km race in northern Israel, served hot with noodles at the highest point of each lap. I love running in Israel as my friends and family come out and support me – finishing an ultra without a hug is tough! The challenge was running over dry desert terrain, through the night and finishing before the mid-morning hot sun gets you. My modest aim was 12 hours.
The start at 9pm included fire-works. I started slow and almost immediately began eating my supplies of pasta, salami, fried fish, parmesan cheese, grapes and salty crisps – most of the Israelis passing me shouted encouragement, I think out of pity, as it looked as I was already eating “comfort food”- but I knew I would be meeting many of them again in a few hours! In fact, many runners gave up at the end of lap 2 – the temptation to stop the pain being so great – luckily for me the possibility of stopping with a lap to go never crossed my mind and is not an option!
I finished in 12hr 11min, each lap taking almost exactly the same time - I blame the chicken soup for adding a few minutes per lap. 19th from 73 finishes; 1st 50 Vet.
North Face Ultra Challenge, Patagonia Argentina 50km (23rd November 2014)
The title of the first runner from the northern hemisphere is unfortunately under-rated and seldom celebrated – basically all I had to do was finish the race. I’d already travelled through Peru and Chile with work and decided to get the overnight 22 hour train across Southern Argentina to Bariloche in Patagonia – near the start of the race. Bariloche is in the Andes and is famous for chocolate, steaks and Nazis (supposedly they moved to Bariloche after WW11 as it resembled the Alps).
At race registration they insisted on a note from my doctor to certify I was OK to run – eventually a doctor runner came to my rescue, looked inside my mouth and signed the declaration!
I thought about swapping to the 80km race but was glad not to have changed - as the course was tough – up a few mountains covered in thick snow and we had a horrendous heavy snow storm near one of the peaks. Down in the valley it was sunny and hot – we wadded across fast flowing rivers and up and down through thick forests along narrow muddy paths above a huge blue lake. Suddenly the wind picked up again and it started to rain; I didn’t notice as I was focused on trying to catch up with the runner in front – just in case he/she was born in the northern hemisphere. Finished in 8 hr 36 min; 2nd 50 Vet and 65th from 348 finishes.
For more photos click here.