Ah. 2020. The end of a decade. 10 years is a long time. Just under a third of my life lived In that period. A different person for sure. In every way. I ended the decade as a runner, and so I start the next one as a runner. After reflecting on the success of the year just gone, its time to pick up where I left off and continue with more of the same. Here’s my thoughts on the immediate year ahead…
Initially I intended to not run races. To go out and explore. I had a plan of adventures forming in my mind. Then I was tempted when a group of friends signed up to the Tarawera in NZ. As I looked to sign up, the finishers medal of the 100 miler caught my attention. A Maori pounamu (greenstone) necklace. I was sold. As I looked what was going over on that side of the world, I came across the Maverick Collab event in Borneo. I’ve always been fascinated by monkeys and seeing the orangutans and so the opportunity to run in Borneo and spend time with the orangutans was too much. I was sold on that too and the Borneo Ultra trail 100km at the end. Booked. Booked and booked. From no events two ultras in NZ and Borneo. Yep! Stuck to my plan there and it was still only mid 2019!
This caused a slight issue though. The events were three weeks apart. I bought a one way ticket. My work contract would have expired by then so I was ‘work free’. 6 weeks of running, I began to plan. Only barely a month into my new job the contract was extended and shit was hitting the fan. I had to speak to the boss and it was immediately an issue due to project delays which would now coincide with my absence. I’m not indispensable by any means, but it would be problematic for sure. We discussed working out ‘there’. I was hopeful of a place in the Tokyo marathon which was the week before Borneo. That would have been ideal. I’d work from the Tokyo office. Didn’t happen. No such luck in the ballot. Aahhh ballots… I failed for the tenth attempt at the London ballot too (after I’d already failed to get a good for age place despite having the qualifying time). I did however get a guaranteed good for age spot in Boston in April. Chicago is also a guaranteed option so I took that. Sod it, whilst signing up for road marathons I also signed up to the Edinburgh marathon in May. I stuck in for the Eiger101 ballot (new lottery for the first time!) and the Western States for the second year. Secretly I was hoping it wouldn’t come off. The prospect of three trips to the US doesn’t appeal to me at this point. I got in to neither of those two either.
The biggest ballot of them all – UTMB. I was in it. Once again I don’t know if I wanted it or not. I knew I’d be annoyed if I got it and annoyed if I didn’t. I’d like to get it. Three in a row – CCC, TDS, UTMB. Then I don’t have to go back anymore to the festival anymore. I’m not really a fan of it all! Turns out I failed in the ballot for them all. No Eiger. No Western States and no UTMB. Naturally disappointed but also a little relieved.
I also signed up to the Hardmoors 55 with some friends at the end of March, The Maverick Snowdon ultra in May and set in motion planning for the Norwegian Stranda Fjord 100 km in August (have a group of 10 of us heading out for this one). Cappadocia (Turkey) in October was then quickly locked in – no ballot and one I’d been keen for a while and so I signed up to that immediately.
Following the UTMB draw the ol’ Whatsapp groups were buzzing. Some lucky, some not so. Everyone suddenly planning or re-planning adventures. Somehow within hours of the rejection I’m signed up and booked onto an alternative race in Bulgaria. I fought the temptations to go for the 100 miler or alternative UTMB branded events… for now.
That’s it then. Ten main events booked in and hopefully I can focus on more local, UK based events around them. I’ve taken an excessive amount of holidays in 2020 and the year has only just begun. Runners life eh!
There will be plenty more social running. Escapes. Weekend adventures. I keep saying it , I’ve never been to the Lake District or the Peak District. What kind of runner am I?! I definitely need to explore more of the UK and maybe this is the opportunity to fill the rest of the year with some local trails and ultras…. Watch this space whilst the addiction continues…
My 2020 race calendar
- January – Maverick Sussex
- February – Tarawera 100 miles
- March – Borneo 100km
- March – Hardmoors 55 miles
- April – Boston Marathon
- May – Maverick Snowdon Ultra
- May – Edinbugh Marathon
- August – Stranda Fjord Norway 100km
- August – Wild Boar (Bulgaria)
- October – Chicago
- October – Cappadocia
As the year begins, so far it isn’t quite going to plan. The first race is just a few weeks away and I’ve not laced up the trainers all year. 2019 ended with a few difficulties and my response was to go balls deep in the running. Hasn’t quite worked out with no doubt the load too much too soon and my leg has suffered the brunt of it. Still, there’s that pounamu to drive my focus…
In other news, I’ve been fortunate enough to partner with XMiles and Squirrels Nut Butter for 2020. Can’t wait to share the experiences and the support network from this team of athletes!