20 Weeks till the Great Escape!

Posted on: 11 Jul 2017

Now the dust has settled after Hadrian's Wall (my right thigh still hasn't forgiven me!) I have had a couple of weeks of almost no running, a bit of swimming, a couple of parkruns, that's it. But looking at my diary I see I have a 20 week countdown to my next big challenge which is Escape from Meriden in November. It's been hard to focus on this as I have a little matter of getting married between now and then! Still, I have made plans...

For those of you who haven't seen Jim and Hobs' blogs on their Meriden experiences (which inspired me to give it a go) the idea is beautiful in its simplicity; start at the centre of England (Meriden, just west of Coventry) at midnight, you have 24 hours to run as far away from that point as you can in any direction. Last November when Jenny and I were blob following the race we noticed one blob made it all the way to Manchester, and I thought then "I could run home!" So that's the idea, run home, roughly 90 miles, in 24 hours.

Planning has begun, I drafted a friend of mine, Stewart, over a bottle of wine, to come along for the ride, Jenny and Stewart's wife Ali will form the support crew. I've drawn up a route that takes in many miles of canal heading North and have worked out pit stops along the way. We intend to recce the whole route between now and the big day.

So this Sunday was our first recce; we decided to go easy on ourselves and start with the final section that will become the last 14 miles to home from Macclesfield. So we got the train to Macclesfield and planned to run back. It was a very hot day but we were in no hurry, we'd take it easy. I had my full kit; backpack with water pouch full, nibbles etc, I was surprised to see Stewart just had a 50cl bottle of water. Anyway off we went and within 5 minutes we hit a problem, we ran out of footpath and had the prospect of running in the road on a busy (even on a Sunday) national speed limit stretch of road. This isn't what we ordered! Stewart flatly refused to run it. I had thought it likely to come across a bit of this at some point but not here. It was a good lesson learnt; we took stock and found an alternative route. Luckily we then had path, of varying degrees of quality, all the way home apart from about 200 yards, which is not bad in 14 miles! It's fascinating plotting this run as you have to think like an exhausted person who has run 80 miles, everything MUST be staightforward or else, come November, we will fail, we won't be thinking straight and won't be able to rely on nice little arrows to show us the way!

For the record, the run was fairly uneventful, but I felt I was learning all the time, storing up knowledge for the future. It also felt like I was already running the race, this is all part of it, just like all those training runs for a marathon, it's all linked. That's what makes it so exciting...

Happy training everyone!

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