Are we having fun yet?

There was a suggestion box at the Fellsman this year. I spotted it as I staggered towards the showers about an hour after finishing, took a little piece of paper from the pile and wrote "I BLOODY LOVE THE FELLSMAN!".
When the organisers open the box they may well think this was written by a drunken child with a pencil loosely taped to its broken fingers, but it was actually written by a very happy person who just rediscovered what he loves about racing.
It's been a while since I properly enjoyed a race, but there were numerous occasions during this race when I stuck my arms out and for a moment just ran for the love of it. There were also moments when my legs hurt, I felt sick, I didn't know where I was going, I didn't want there to be 5 hours of running left, but the overall level of enjoyment was high on Saturday.
Anyway, the race: The Fellsman is more accurately described as a very long fell race (an AVL?) than an ultra, because it allows route choice for …

Tried a Winter Bob Graham...

So, my winter BG plan didn't quite come off as I'd hoped... but it tested my feelings about running and I can confirm I'm still in love.

I've been keen to have a go at a winter BG for a long time, and this season seems to have been popular for attempts, possibly inspired by Jim Mann's completion of all three rounds last winter. This deservedly won him the FRA Long Distance award - congratulations Jim. Among others this winter has seen Kim Collison complete a fast round in 20:36, and Ally Beavan attempting (and getting so close to completing!) a solo unsupported round a few weeks ago.

It is this solo unsupported on-your-own approach that appeals to me. One of the things I like about long-distance running is the feeling of being out somewhere on your own, possibly in the dark, probably with some weather, and almost certainly lost (if you're me) but remaining in control. In a world of constant interaction with other people I like that rare moment of "It's…

Lucho Dillitos

Right then, a food review... This blog is branching out! Well, slightly... the food in question is a new running / cycling snack called a "Lucho Dillitos".

Lucho whatcha?
First things first, I'll save you the Google translation. Lucho Dillitos is Spanish for "I fight little boys" (try it!) This is surely a strong start.

As you are no doubt aware, energy food has changed over the last few years. Gloopy gels assembled in a laboratory from 57 unpronouncable ingredients have their place, but the discerning runist or cycler now looks for the shortest ingredients list and the most natural products. Here the little boy fighter scores well again. He contains only two things: 85% fruit and 15% sugar.

Guava rating: 5/5

But, with all that health in him, how much energy will he give you? The Lucho contains 88kcal and 22.5g carbs. For comparison, a Nature Valley bar I found in the cupboard contains 143kcal but only 12.9g carbs (and a heck of a lot more ing…

One year on: Peakrunner Dark Peak 30

Last year, the Peakrunner Dark Peak 30 was my first UK race after returning from the Alps. It went well; I won in 4:41. You can read all about it here, but here's the ending...

"a fantastic event - the organisers were fantastic, the marshals were really friendly and the course marking (apart from the places it had unfortunately been moved) really good. As David says, the route is a bit of a classic!
I had a great day, it felt really good to be back racing again"
This year was likely to be a bit different... I hadn't really felt much like racing since the Snowdonia Trail Marathon, but when Dave offered me a place I thought it sounded like a nice low key re-introduction to racing. That is until it transpired that a certain Mr. Scotney would be racing too!

With Marcus running, as well as Matty Brennen, it was going to be a tough race! In the weeks before the race there was a lot of discussion about whether Marcus or I would win... I found this a bit scary - we weren'…

Mostly eating Pizza in beautiful places

It's almost the end of September. The days are getting noticably shorter, temperatures have dropped a little, and if like me you live in a University city, the pavements have suddenly got busy again. Although I don't formally teach, working at a University means that summer is the easiest time to take holidays, and also the time when conferences and events tend to be organised. This means that August and September can be busy months!

In the last couple of weeks I've been on two notable trips, the first a work trip to Cork and the second a holiday to the Ardeche region of France. I won't bore you with all the details, but I wanted to talk quickly about the major summits of each trip... Carrauntoohil and Mont Ventoux.

Carrauntoohil is the biggest hill in Ireland. At 1038m it's higher than Scafell Pike, not quite as tall as Snowdon, and 300m or so shorter than Ben Nevis. It is bigger than the two remaining high points in the British Isles (Slieve Donard i…