This seems as good a place to start as any – what does 2017 hold as far as goals and races go?
I’ve been running now – with any actual discipline or consistency – for just over a year. I’ve moved up to the middle of the midpack in races, which is an improvement from just hanging on the heels of the midpack. I run for the love and stoke of it. At 35 years, podium finishes aren’t really a thing for me anyway, so no stress there.
Still, I have a few goals that I’d like to aim for this year. Running is a funny thing: both immensely personal but also attractive because of the community it gathers. There’s something special about the shared experience of a race and competition alongside the very personal nature of most running goals.
So the goals for 2017 are modest, but here they are:
- Run a sub-22min 5k at my local parkrun. Currently sitting at 22:08
- Complete 50 parkruns in 2017.
- Finish all the races I enter!
Here are the races that I’ve signed up for / signing up for. In 2016, the longest run I did was the brilliant Antonine Trail Race (a half-marathon) so this is all uncharted territory. I’m not to aiming for particular times, just to push as hard as I can and finish. Set a benchmark and think about improving later.
The big ones:
The Great Tartan Skidaddle
My first long distance race will be an ultra. As ultras go, it’s on the shorter end of the category, but still feels pretty daunting as I haven’t even run a ‘normal’ marathon. But I love the trails and doing the whole of the Great Trossachs Path in one go sounded great. I’ll be running this one for charity. More on that soon.
More out of curiosity than anything else, I’d like to try a proper road marathon. The Strathearn route is pretty hilly, so it’s unlikely to be the quickest course, but I love Perthshire and prefer the vibe of a smaller events to the massive ones. It’s a lovely part of the world and I’ve driven the course, so I’d like to see it on foot. Everything looks different/better on foot, right?
The Salomon ‘Ring of Steall’ Skyrace
Since did a solo run up Beinn Dorain, I’ve been really keen on the idea of a proper mountain race for myself. The Skyrunning circuit is something I follow as a fan of the sport. It combines so many things: amazing landscapes, athleticism, and competition. The Ring of Steall is shorter than the full Glen Coe Skyline Race (which I wouldn’t be prepared for at this stage anyway, let alone getting through the vetting process!). Even though it’s not the headline race, it’s something that I’m stoked to be part of, rather than just a spectator. And honestly , 29k with 2,500m of ascent is nothing to be scoffed at, right? Looking forward to the challenge.
Brilliant wee races:
The Cort-ma Law Hill Race
This is a proper fell race, or because we’re in Scotland, hill race. But it definitely has that aesthetic (listen to this brilliant Trailrunner Nation episode with Nicky Spinks to see what I mean). I don’t why Tough Mudders need to exist when there are races like this. It’s a wonderful slog through the Campsies in all their boggy glory. Here’s a line from the actual race description: “The highlight of this race is the section of man-eating emerald green bog between Cort-ma Law and Lecket Hill.”
I did this one last year and I loved it — even though it was a disaster. I rode my bike to the start, but forgot my entry cash so I had to cycle home and then get the car for lack of time. I got to the start line with moments to spare, already knackered from the cycle. Preparation was terrible. It’s the hardest race I’ve done and the most physically spent I’ve felt after a race, despite the race “only” being 10k.
The Kippen Trail Race
This is a perfect community race. £1 to enter and a fun route, nice family friendly vibe. With the short distance and a very runnable route, it’s one where I felt that I could just go all out from the start. I’m hoping to bring the kids next time for the children’s race that takes place before the main event.
Antonine Trail Races: 10k / Half-marathon
Both of these fantastic trail races take place in Croy. I didn’t know much about the place, but this series of races have introduced me to some great trails. I used to only know Cory as that place where I changed trains to get over to Edinburgh. The RD of these races is the inspiring James Stewart (the winner of Rocky Racoon 100 in 2017, among other feats — there was a brilliant interview with James on Ian Corless’ Talk Ultra). These races are competitive, fun, and tough. A great introduction to trail racing.
The Trossachs Night Trail Series
A series of 3 cracking night races; RD is fell running legend Angela Mudge. These are whole lot of fun with a low-key vibe. There’s was a feature on the races in the winter 2016 issue of Trail Runner Magazine, I think. Soup from the Forth Inn in Aberfoyle is a great way to finish the night. Give me soup over a medal any day.
There’s the race calendar, looking forward to the year, where the training runs take me, and being as proactive as possible to stay injury free. The Great Tartan Skidaddle is only a month away now…