“Any idiot can run a marathon but it takes a special idiot to run an ultra” were the words printed on the back of the training top on the athlete in front of me.
We were doing yet another uphill section on a 1 mile loop that made up part of the course for the ‘Long Good Friday Ultra’ 6 hour ultra running race and any remaining competitors were already 4.5 weary hours into the event.
Taking part in ultra races require very specific running equipment & nutritional needs and runners were able to re-fuel with drink & snacks every time they passed through a drinks station that was positioned at the start/finish line of the 1 mile loop.
It was my 2nd ultra in 4 months, the first being a brutal 12 hour race run in December 13 but this felt just as painful as its venue was a hilly, off road course at The Plantations in Wigan’s popular Haigh Hall venue.
The weather was kind to us all day remaining dry but neither too cold or too warm at any point. Gear needed for closed course, catered events can be minimal and I used the following:
Salomon Sense Mantra 2 running shoe
Salomon Trail Twinskin Short
The North Face GTD windproof vest with a short sleeve wicking baselayer underneath
Both races were organised by Team True Spirit, a triathlon based group that’s helps injured/amputee soldiers achieve sporting success after leaving the forces, with the proceeds from the events going to Help the Heroes charity.
I crossed the line at the 6 hour mark having completed 37 laps, finishing joint 4th. Whilst a good result is pleasing, the real joy is to be able to run with fellow athletes and gain enjoyment from a shared experience.
The event organiser Paul Atkinson, former squaddie/army triathlon team member now turned personnel trainer provided a friendly and low key yet professionally organised race and I would recommend future races to anybody looking for a challenge with the added benefit of helping out a nationally recognized charity.
See you at the next event?
Photocredits Orrel OMG Ultra Marathon’s Facebook page.