Showing posts from July, 2014

The 67th Fuji Mountain Race

Last Friday I ran the Fuji mountain race in Japan. There are a few races around Mt. Fuji, so for clarity, this one is not the Ultra tour of Fuji or any of the other races "on" Fuji... it's the one that starts at the bottom and finishes at the top, with 21km of distance and 3000m of ascent between the two. The runner's fair at registration on Thursday, with Fuji-san in the background It's renowned as a bit of a brutal race, and the cutoff times are notoriously tight, with a lot of dissapointed racers each year! The race accepts about 3000 entries, but only 50 of these are open to foreigners, so when I realised that I would actually be in Japan for the week following the race for an academic conference, my initial excitement at being able to enter the race faded a bit as I realised I would need some luck to even get an entry. I entered and crossed my fingers... Fast forward to last Friday and the dream had come true, I was standing on the startlin

Fuji here I come!

As I write this I am sitting in the departures area of Manchester Airport. In an hour or so I'll be flying to Dubai, then a few hours later on to Tokyo. All being well, sometime tomorrow I will arrive in the town of Fujiyoshida at the foot of Mt. Fuji (Fuji-san as I think it's called by the locals!). I'm really excited and looking forward to the race, but first I just can't wait to get to Japan and experience the culture and the country. I'm staying in a traditional Ryokan in Fujiyoshida, so hopefully I'll have a proper taste of Japanese life. Training for the race has gone well, I think the last month or so has probably been the most intensive period of hill training I've ever done, but quite rightly, as Fuji-san is a massive hill. The race stats are 21km with something like 3500m ascent... A bit more than Win and Lose Hill where I've done lots of my training. I did my final two Win Hill reps yesterday, and this morning I caught the train from

Back in a kayak...

I admit it, I haven't been in a kayak since ARWC Costa Rica... I did more kayaking in that race than in my entire life up to that point, and it was certainly the part of the race I found the hardest. Those long nights paddling up endless lakes and in and out of mangrove lagoons will stay with me for a long time, and have not left me in any great rush to get back into kayaking... However, a month of so ago a message appeared on the Dark Peak Fell Runners facebook page advertising the first running of a race called the "Wet Fox Trot". A slightly unusual name, but the race sounded interesting: 4km run, 2km paddle, 4km run. Two kilometres of paddling sounded manageable, so I decided I'd go and do the race if I could. The event took place at the Peak Pursuits centre at Underbank Lodge near Stocksbridge. I arrived just in time and there was luckily a space in the first of three waves. I paid up, signed my life away and off we went! I set off pretty fast and soon fo

"Going long" for the first time...

Ahead of the Accelerate Going Long event on Tuesday, I've been asked to write a bit about the first time I ran over the marathon distance. I can't remember if my Hadrian's Wall run is technically the right answer, but it was a very memorable day so I thought I'd try to write a bit about it.... It was 2007, and I'm not sure I was really a runner. I was at University in Sheffield (for the first time), I ran probably a couple of times a week and was just starting to get into a few little fell races in the Peak District. I had a poster of the Bob Graham round on my wall and was in awe of people like Mark Hartell and Stephen Pyke - the long distance bug had bitten, I just wasn't quite fit enough for it! 17th June 2007 The Hadrian's Wall Path is an 84 mile path from one side of England to the other. It starts at Bowness-on-Solway and finishes at a place called Wallsend (top name). I think there's now a race which follows the route, but in 2007 it ha

The Tour comes to Yorkshire!

It still sounds mad to say it, but last weekend the Tour de France started in Yorkshire. The 2014 "Grand Depart" saw riders start in Leeds on Saturday for a stage taking them through the Yorkshire Dales to finish in Harrogate, then on Sunday the second stage started in York and looped around through West Yorkshire to finish in Sheffield. I was lucky enough to watch both stages, the first as a spectator on the Cote de Grinton climb, and the second as a Tour Maker volunteer. It was an incredible weekend - the weather was good, the crowds were massive and our county looked amazing! Here are a few photos... On saturday we had a great view as Jens Voigt came up the climb in a solo breakaway: "He's coming!!" Amazing crowds on the Cote de Grinton Some people (and animals) had really made an effort... We listened to the end of the stage as we walked back across the hills to our campsite and were sad to hear about Cav's crash, but it had been