12 days

Posted on: 10 May 2016

Its down to days rather than weeks now.

I knew that it would suddenly be upon me like this, for so long its felt so distant and now it feels too near.

I still have a fair bit of the preparations to complete. The weather is changeable, hail just 10 days ago and 25 degrees yesterday, the unpredictability concerns me. I have to be prepared for everything so have packed a brand new Berghaus hydraloft leightweight down jacked and plenty of sun cream. I’m making my own high calorie trail mix and bagging it up into individual day bags with a bit extra in the 40+ mile day bags. Now we are at the business end of things the inevitable demons rear their menacing heads raising doubts and prompting insecurity. I know that this is normal before embarking on a challenge, the closer that you get  the more likely you are to examine it and yourself in fine detail. I cannot underestimate the scale of this challenge yet conversely I can’t let its scale overpower me mentally before I even begin.

What truly excites me about running the Cape Wrath Ultra is the sense of adventure and the feeling of stepping temporarily out of the everyday into the unknown. Unless you are a seasoned mountain runner who is used to multi stage running through remote areas this  event will feel like a form of running exploration with each day offering new experiences and vistas. I really embrace the notion of pushing further North through the hauntingly beautiful West Highland regions of  Knoydart, Assynt, Torridon and Sutherland. These places have remained almost unchanged for centuries, true wilderness.. The run is a progression through this land, no out and back, no loop just steady progression North until the rugged land meets the wild Atlantic. The prospect of making this journey by self propulsion, one foot in front of the other, day after day is what will be the greatest reward and the motivation to keep moving Northwards. I’m hoping that the landscape gives me something back each day, I want to feel nourished each day by the beauty of it all and I hope that this will help me stay engaged and optimistic when it gets tough ( which it will ).

I received the Realbuzz baton in the post last week. Hollywood Dave sent it along with a list of those who have carried it before during their own challenges, he also sent a very touching and inspiring letter. After my own challenge I will try and drill out the centre of the baton and put the rolled list inside. I’ll hopefully be adding my own name to the list of legends before handing it backt o HD for him to pass on to the next person who needs it, he or she can then add their name to the  scroll within this very special piece of English oak.


I’m running a marathon tomorrow with 401 Ben, it will be my second with him this year and my last run before the big one. I’m not really that sure what a taper should be like before an ultra but I guess its more or less the same as if it were a marathon, keep the legs ticking over with some shorter distances and stay injury free.

I got the email through yesterday confirming my race number for Cape Wrath ( hard to believe it’s a race ! ) I’m number 60in a field that’s gradually reduced from 146 to only 98 starters. Perhaps injury and ill fortune have played a part in reducing entries over the winter months. Look out for number 77 ( Marcus Scotney –Team GB 100k runner and prolific ultra trail runner ) and Number 66 Pavel Paloncy  ( Czech runner who competes successfully all over the world in endurance races ) I fully expect these two to be amongst the leaders. You can track the race on a live tracker day by day from 22nd May on the Cape wrath Ultra site - http://www.capewrathultra.com/

Im not expecting you all to sit glued to your screens Manchester or London marathon style but the option is there to see my number 60 blob move Northwards if you fancy it.

I intend to treat this as the run of a lifetime, I’m accountable to all that have commented and supported me since I started the 50 week countdown last June, your words have been fuel and I thank all of you who in this community for being consistently solid and inspiring. I can say with certainty that I wouldn’t be about to embark on this challenge If I hadn’t tentatively signed up on the Realbuzz site in 2013, RB has helped me realise that I’m capable of things that I thought I wasn’t capable of or hadn’t even considered! Who knows what Cape Wrath will throw at me, , there are so many variables, so many uncontrollables. there’s no guarantee that I’ll complete it.

Whatever happens though, it will be an adventure and that’s kind of the most important part: I’m about to step way outside my comfort zone and into an exciting and challenging situation and I don’t do that often enough. I'll try and blog once more before I set of for Fort William next Friday and I’ll end this one with a quote that cropped up recently and seemed to fit  perfectly:

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” — T.S Eliot

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