(Quick link to my donations page, click here: Wonderful )
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Here I try and detail all my ultra adventures - don't always succeed, as I'm not the most disciplined bloke in the world - both for my own amusement, and for anyone who is interested. I do ultra marathons for two reasons - one because they're bloody good fun, and, more importantly, they are also a means of fundraising for charities which are dear to my heart, and benefit the animals.
I appreciate that times are hard - but
these are also difficult times for charities, as I'm sure you'll appreciate. Through my ultras, I'm fundraising for Viva!
who have been very active rescuing animals from Ukraine - and have an animal sanctuary in Poland. They also do sterling work exposing the horrors of animal abuse in farms and slaughterhouses. Here's a link for anyone who is in a position to donate, Wonderful
* (whose services are completely free). Many, many thanks for the awesome support my efforts are receiving! And the animals thank you, also.
*If you have any trouble with this link, please email me at paulwyoud(at)gmail.com
You can obtain these, and
other animal rights leaflets as well, from Everyday Activism. Check out their site, they're all free of charge.
I have several people to whom I look for inspiration - and I found most of these on Rich Roll's podcast. Rich Roll himself, of course, is one of my heroes, being a vegan ultra runner and ironman extraordinaire. Through his podcasts I've been introduced to a whole range of endurance athletes and positive thinkers. David Goggins and Fiona Oakes, stand out - two of the most inspirational athletes around today.
4th Feb 2023
And it's 47k again this week - which included hill reps and stair climbing reps. Quite pleased with my speed today - I was going at over 6kph on a couple of stretches. Met a lovely family - dad and two kids - he was a runner and told me his MIL was a vegan and also a runner. Earlier in the week I met a group of traffic wardens and community police who were very receptive to my message. Probably shifted about 20 leaflets through the week, to dog walkers, parents with young children, people standing around - anyone I feel I can strike up a conversation with. As I offer a leaflet, after we've exchanged a couple of pleasantries, I'll often say something like, "I give these out to anyone I come across with a nice smile - and you've got a lovely smile!" Always goes down well.
27th Jan 2023
No walk for me this morning, had to hang around whilst we had a couple of workmen over. But when my grandson went to bed this evening, his dad and I went out for a brisk 5k. Gives me 47k for the week, with possibly a few more tomorrow.
26th Jan 2023
11.8k this morning - overcast, but not so cold at 4-5C. Met a guy, Ed, who told me he had been diagnosed with diabetes type 1 - and also that he'd had Covid recently and was finding it difficult to shake it off. I gave him a leaflet, and told him about the film What the Health, to help with the diabetes, and about Dr Dean Ornish's recent assertion that the effects of Covid - and long-covid - can be substantially mitigated by the adoption of some simple lifestyle changes [link to come]. I also shared my story with a lovely couple by the canal who showed me the enormous bag of litter they had picked up that morning! 43k so far this week - and with my son coming down for the weekend, I've no doubt I'll add a few more!
25th Jan 2023
Just the 7k today - had a few chores to do before I could get out. Met 3 lovely young guys from the local arts college. Later I came across two broadband fitters, Bertie and ??, who were installing fibre optic cable - told me that we could expect them in our area in a month or so.
24th Jan 2023
Once again a bright sunny day - just perfect for walking - so I got 14.2k in, mostly along the local canal. Met two walking groups, in one of which, the WI walking group , I came across Carole Smith, an old friend - another I knew through my old mentor, Stuart Gunn. I also met a postie, Jen, who was very keen to give veganism another shot. So I pointed out the challenge22.com
part of my leaflet, which she was very pleased about. I must have handed out about 15 or more leaflets altogether - including to several dog walkers and a bird watcher who pointed out a kingfisher to me.
23rd Jan 2023
I meet some lovely people, handing out my leaflets on my training walks. And this morning was no exception - 2 friendly scaffolders and a mum and dad with a young child on his training bike. 7k in bright sunshine - perfect weather for a brisk walk. 125k so far this year - aiming for 40-50k a week with still 3 months to go.
17th Jan 2023
I'm now officially in training for the IOW Challenge - even though there are still 3.5 months to go, I need something to motivate me to get out. So this is it. I did 31k the first week of the NY, and 44k the second, and I've done 16k so far this week, so my total is 81k. I don't have any set training programme - I'll carry on getting out there as often as possible - and just get the miles in!
1st January 2023
I’d been looking for a Virtual Challenge, to give myself the motivation to keep moving, and also to keep to my goal of 3 actual ultras, and 3 virtual ultras a year. So I signed up for the Actioon Challenge Winter Walk to Lapland. There were various distances on offer - I chose the 250k route from Russia to Lapland. Much to my delight, the distance I had travelled from the 14th November which had been uploaded to Strava, were acknowledged - so I was already 74 kilometres into my challenge. By Christmas Eve I had covered 167k and my son and I decided to go for a walk over the Quantocks - aiming for up to 50k on the day. In the event, because of a few niggles, we called it a day at 40k. We were happy with that. This leaves 43k with 4/5 days left, since we’re seeing family over this period, It’s going to be a bit tight.
In the event, with the help of 30k on the day before NYE, and 9k on NYD, I finally managed it. Phew! So I've now done 8 ultras - with three more next year, I only need 1 more Virtual to be up to date with my 100 ultras by my 100th birthday.
My programme for next year is fairly set, I think - I’ve signed up to the IoW 107k challenge, over 2 days, at the end of April; the SWC50 again (mainly because it’s on my doorstep); and the Chiltern50, deferred since last year.
Sunday 10th September 2022
Yesterday, my son and I attempted the Thames Path Challenge 100k - continuous.
The conditions were great, and we were both feeling good. We did the first 50k in under 10 hours - including pit stops, where we've learned not to sit down - getting going again is so much harder when you've been relaxing in a chair. We figured if we could keep up 4k per hour for the next 50, we'd do the whole distance in under 24hrs. That was our mistake - we pushed on too fast in the dark - and at 58k I tripped over a malignant tree root and banged my head on the path. I got up feeling not too bad - but then I felt faint for a few seconds, so we decided to quit. We managed to get to the next rest stop at 61k - so that remains my one day distance record - up from the 58k on the Jurassic Coast Challenge. One day I'll manage the 100k continuous, but not this year, or even next, but maybe 2024, when we're thinking of attempting the TPC again - figuring that if we take a lot more care after dark, we could do it.
Our next challenge is the IoW 107k over 2 days in April. After that, I've entered the SCW50 again, in August and the Chiltern50 at the end of September.
Sunday 7th August 2022
Yesterday, I and my new friend, Tom Pickering - who took the place of my son Ben, who couldn't make it because of childcare duties - completed the 50k South West Coast Challenge in 14 hours and 40 minutes (including about an hour and a half at the rest stops). It was a complete blast, but I'll have to tell the story about this in the morning - I'm shattered, ATM!
Saturday 6th August 2022
The South West Coast 50 Challenge:
A loop from Dunster along the coast to Porlock, up over Dunkery Beacon, then back down to Dunster again.
Tom had come into the picture when he advertised on Facebook for older Vegan Runners - naturally I put my name forward. Tom is a film maker who is producing a film ‘I Could Never Go Vegan’, exposing and rebutting all the myths surrounding Veganism. He had interviewed me in Taunton for the film, and wanted to see me in action. When my son had to pull out, Tom took his place - and a worthy companion he proved to be!
We set off at 7.30, along with about 1200 others, along the road to Minehead, past Butlins, then joined the SW coastal path past Bossington, to Porlock Weir where we swung inland.
This is where the climbing began in earnest. I’d naively thought that after the climb from Minehead up Dunkery in July last the climb round the back of Dunkery would be easier. Well, it may not have been as steep, but it was steep - steep and long. The climb seemed to go on for ever. Some other ultra marathoners maintained that this was tougher than the first half of the Jurassic Coast Challenge, but I couldn’t agree with that.
Every so often, Tom would point his camera at me and ask how I was feeling. Thankfully I was always able to say, “Doing fine, thanks, Tom.” And every pit stop - which were roughly every 12-13k, I would do 25 press ups - just to show what a vegan can do - and Tom caught a couple of these sets on camera.
14th May 2022
Well we did it - we now have the Jurassic Coast Challenge under our belts - albeit a truncated one (explanation to come).
I'd like to welcome all the wonderful friends I made yesterday on the challenge to my blog. I handed out about 50 leaflets all told - about 15 or so to people I met on the journey, and had a conversation with; and the rest whilst waiting for the taxi scheduled to arrive at 1.45am. I just took all my remaining leaflets (which I had intended to hand out during the course of the 2nd day) and gave one to everyone sitting eating their meals - either on completion of their challenge - or fuelling up to carry them through the 2nd half.
Everyone who took a leaflet was interested in my story - it was lovely to have that brief contact with you all, but I just wish I had had time to get to know you all and listen to your stories. Maybe on another challenge!
Here's how I got started on my Ultra journey. It's a pretty long blog, but the gist of it is in the first few paragraphs. I told many of you that my arthritis disappeared after I adopted plant-based nutrition - here is a blog post I wrote about it.
I've got more - much more - to write about, concerning the JCC, but that'll have to wait until tomorrow - I'm just a bit shattered ATM!
14th May 2022
What. A. Day!
The day, long anticipated (and will live long in the memory!), had finally arrived - and it got off to a very good start. The taxi driver who took my son and I from Wareham to Corfe Castle took £4 off the bill to give us £2 each for our chosen charities. Lovely woman!
I'm not a worrier, but it's fair to say I'm always more concerned about the logistics of the event, rather than the event itself [talk about getting your priorities wrong, as it turned out! :)] So I'm always relieved when all the formalities are over and we've been checked in.
And there we were, surrounded by hundreds of eager, smiling faces, just waiting for the off. Bit of zumba type warm up exercise, a speech from Mike the MC (he of the purple suit) welcoming us to the event and telling us to enjoy ourselves - and we were off, at around 6.45.
The terrain to the first pitstop at 11k and the second at 25k was relatively uneventful - couple of fairly easy climbs between each, but we were all fresh and keen to get the miles in. Danish pastries and hot drinks were on offer at the first pitstop - as a vegan we're told to ask for stuff, as it's put by for us. Huge plates of biscuits were also on offer - I grabbed a few bourbons, knowing they were vegan - not sure about the rest. We were very disciplined - we'd planned on only spending 20 minutes at each of the minor stops - we were on our way again after only 15. At the second stop, some form of vegan sausage rolls were available, which weren't great, since they left a film of grease on the palate. I had a couple of Greggs sausage rolls with me, so I had one of those. Not so disciplined this time, since we spent about 45 minutes at this rest stop.
It was on the next leg - the 17k to Lulworth Cove, that we really began to be challenged. Each steep ascent and descent was swiftly followed by another. l'll let these pics tell the story:
Some of these hills, I have to say, were brutal! The walking poles were an absolute necessity for me on the steepest ascents - my technique was to put both poles a few inches in front of me, take two paces through the 'gate' they formed, then reposition the poles a little in front of me. It was slow going, but I found it the only way. Ben and I had intended to do the full 100k continuous, but, on the last leg towards the halfway point, Ben told me he didn't want to carry on after Weymouth - the halfway stage at 58k. He'd begun to feel unwell - but he'd done brilliantly since he'd only come off antibiotics the day before. So we were content with that 58k, achieved in 18 hours, with about 2 hours rest. As it turned out, it was a very wise (fortunate?) decision, since the weather turned nasty an hour or so afterwards, and the other contestants had to complete in pouring rain.
So that's our 4th ultra done and dusted - next one is the South West Coast 50k at the beginning of August.
6th May 2022
Been out every day this week, clocking up an average of 20k each time - with a 30k day earlier. In the absence of decent hills, I'm doing lots of stair climbing in preparation for the fearsome hills on the JCC we've been warned about - my record is a stint of 36 times up the stairs and down the ramp. Carrying at least 3kg in the rucksack - which is about the weight I'll be carrying on the ultra.
With only 8 days to go, most of our preparations are in place, and I think I'm as ready as I'm going to be - next week I'll probably just do about 10k a day, ticking over, as it were.
My programme this year also includes two 50k events - the SWC2C in August, and the Chiltern 50 in September. As I've opted for the full charity fundraiser, I need to raise £600 for the 100k event and £400 each for the two 50k events - so £1400 for the year. As I write, I've already raised over £1100, with 5 months to go, so my donors are doing me proud.
28th March 2022
My story so far: After the wonderful weekend my son and I had on the South West Coast 2 Coast ultra marathon in July 2021, we've both become addicted, and cannot wait to repeat the experience. We followed this up with a 50k Virtual Trek to Kilimanjaro - actually a days hike over the Chilterns. Finally, for several weeks before Christmas we completed a 200k Virtual Trek to the North Pole. I've now set myself the goal of completing 100 ultra marathons by my 100th birthday. I'm 84 ATM, so that means 6 ultras - I'm thinking 3 real ultras and 3 virtual ones - every year, for the next 14 years.
I'm extremely fortunate in that my son is keen to join me in this
endeavour, and our intention is to do the bulk of these together. We've already done 3 as I said - here's
the story of the SWC2C and here's
the Virtual Trek to Kilimanjaro story - and we've both signed up for the 102km Jurassic Coast Challenge in May.
Unfortunately for my plans, at the end of December, I suffered a broken leg, so that's put my training on the back burner for the next couple of months. My leg has been placed in a fairly fragile cast to begin with, and I mustn't put any weight on it, which makes moving around on crutches quite tricky. I should get a more permanent cast next week sometime.
Since we don't have a downstairs toilet, and it's hard work going up and down - and I get tired pretty quickly - I'm staying upstairs most of the time. I have to go up the stairs, backwards, sitting down, which is a tad undignified, I have to say😀. (But it does give me an extra workout!) Going downstairs is a lot easier, since we have two handrails, and I've found if I grip these, I can hop down okay.
The cast finally came off on Feb 10th, and I've been walking daily since then. Beginning with an average of 5k a day, I'm now (28th March) doing over 10k a day. I'm also back to doing my press ups, and, since I haven't been doing them for 3 months, I need to catch up, so I'm doing 500 every evening.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.ReplyDelete
OMG! You are so brave and you have a wonderful life Paul! Respect! Hope you a better life! Keep up the ultra adventures! I am going to do my own ultra adventures as well! Let me think, starting with exercise every day!ReplyDelete
You are so brave;)ReplyDelete