So here I am still trying to call myself an ultra runner, and reflecting on how far my experiences have taken me, not only in ultra marathon races but also through fell races, trail races and lots and lots of long, tough training days on various 'hardcore' race routes, which I would never be able to complete in a race.
In the past year and a half my own training has taken a backward step and my priority has been that of around 30 runners, that call themselves the 'Yellow Army' a running group I started in sept 2016 along with the help and experience from my dad, David or as he is now better known as, 'Daddy Dave.'
It is honestly so overwhelming to see how the group has progressed from 5 runners on a Sunday morning to now a turn out of around 20 people, all ranging in various fitness levels, running experience and running goals, and watching the members each inspiring, encouraging, helping and supporting each other, like a real army would.
We have certainly come along way since this picture taken on the Howarth Hobble Race
(32 miles ) in 2015
lets head back a few steps:
in July 2015 I completed my challenge of my first ever ultra marathon after only starting running to train for the event in sept 2014 (see my previous blog for how I got on) at the lakeland 50 event. The running club we run for, the Newbrugh Nomads look after the checkpoint on the 100 route, we are checkpoint 7, Dockray.
That year a dear friend of ours, Mike helped on the checkpoint and found himself with a place to run the year after, during the weekend Mike was struggling with a bad chest. The day after the 50 event he went to the hospital and later was diagnosed with lung cancer and a very vicious type that sadly took him from us in the Sept 2015. Mike was so excited by the thought of running the lakeland 50 and loved being apart of the event.
Cathy, Mikes, non running sister, the year after found herself marshalling to experience the love her brother had of being part of the running community and the outdoors. Like Mike, Cathy found herself a free place, but what to do? 'I'm not doing this, its just bonkers, look at how much pain their in...'
By the Wednesday Cathy had confirmed her place and she too was doing to challenge, push her body and mind to the limit, run 50 miles, for her and Mike. As dad always says "running is a retrospective sport!"
Lakeland 50 2017:
Cathy completed the lakeland 50 after not being a 'runner' and only ever really running a few 10k races as she would say 'at a steady pace.'
Through training days in the lakes with myself and Daddy Dave and following a list of suitable training events and also solo days out learning the route, it paid off, with lots of guts and determination and a proud brother watching over her, she did it, completing 50 miles in under 22 hours.
Members of the run club followed Cathy in her journey to complete the lakeland 50, some even coming to support and cheer at the finish.
In august 2017 we held our first tea party and presentation, I made a video of Cathys 50 journey along with some new friends we made along the way.
My videos must have been inspiring!!
1ST SEPT: LAKELAND 50 RACE ENTERIES OPEN @9AM....
What a morning hundreds of people trying to enter and sold out within first 15 mins! The group whats app was going crazy, at least 18 members Run club members signed up to complete the lakeland 50...
why?????? why had 18 members decided that they also wanted to run 50 miles, with 10.000ft of ascent, running maybe 24 hours, on tough terrain, putting their bodies let alone their feet through that torture??? why???
MEET THE YELLOW ARMY...
lets not forget what I said at the start... we are a running group of all ages, abilities and experience... up until joining the group a lot of the members, like myself and Cathy never ran half a Marathon let alone an Ultra Marathon! and suddenly now myself and Daddy Dave along with the help of a great friend known as 'fatty' helps run the Sunday morning sessions along with our 'epic adventure' days in the hills training for the 50, we also have members not training for the 50 who push themselves, coming on epic adventures suitable to push their love of fitness and provide new experiences, signing up to do trail Marathons and beginner runners entering local tough fell races, they might come last, but they really don't mind they turn up, they run their very best that they can do, they smile and the proudness they feel (and us) after is so infectious.
Now the big one is not why? but HOW?, HOW? TO TRAIN NOT ONE BUT AT LEAST 18 PEOPLE OF ALL ABILITIES, STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES TO COMPLETE...
*RUNNING THROUGH THE NIGHT
*RUNNING ON ROUGH TERRAIN....
TO BE CONTINUED....