For the second year in a row I went over to Northern Ireland to run last one standing, the race with no end.
The first time I entered this race I was sure I would hate it but I loved it and it got hold of me big time. I was really looking forward to trying to improve on my 29 laps and 120 miles from the previous year and believed from everything I had learnt the first time round this was well within my capabilities.
Unfortunately things did not go to plan and I only managed 14 laps on the horrendous bog fest of a course, I just could not get in the zone and in an event such as last one standing getting in the zone is everything.
The concept is so simple all you have to do is keep moving forward at a pace of 4.167 miles per hour, every hour on the hour until only one competitor remains and this is why I love it so much, its just running and movement in its purest form.
The next few paragraphs are adapted from a post by the inspirational runner, who does an awesome podcast!
You can learn a lot about yourself in these events as they expose every weakness you have physically and mentally, poor preparation and planning will guarantee you any early exit.
You need to learn how to be in tune with your body, problem solving and decision making also needs to be spot on or you will not go the distance, there is very little time to pull back a mistake.
Most people stop well before what they could have achieved as their inner voice is able to justify why it is a good idea not to finish a loop or start another. In a standard 24 hour event you can be in a very dark place but you are able to push on as even if you want to quit you might have to go along way before you can, in the backyard you can end it with great ease whenever you want and this is what makes it so hard.
Eion Keith, one of the best ultra runners on the planet, has stated last one standing races are some of the hardest there are and this is why they appeal to me, I just love the challenge.
Straight off the back of my disappointment at Castleward I was planning my next backyard ultra and as luck would have it Challenge running are putting one on in Suffolk on 6th June and I cant wait.
If you are intrigued please ask me any questions you might have as it would be great to have a good strider turn out at Suffolk and it would be fantastic to see some of you get the buzz I do from these unique events.
Whats the worst that could happen?
How hard can 4.167 miles per hour be ?