Tackling The Wall Ultrarun
Martin Bell is the Manager of our Aviemore store and took up running a few years ago. Today he enjoys pushing himself to run faster and further and he entered 'The Wall' to raise funds to fight Parkinson's. In this blog he gives his personal account of how he approached the gruelling 69 mile race:
The Wall race starts at Carlisle Castle and finishes at the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle/Gateshead; the route goes across country following Hadrian’s Wall.
Training had gone relatively well, but I hadn't managed too many long training runs (longest 19 miles) as I'd taken a couple of weeks off after running the London Marathon. I'd chosen to concentrate on hills for my training and managed 5,000 metres of assent during May, building on the strength that would be needed during the race.
The race started at 7am and you had a 24hr time limit to complete the distance of approx 69 miles (I’m not sure of the exact distance as both my Garmins ran out of battery, but they are supposed to be for shorter races than this!) My aim was 1st to complete, 2nd to not come away with an injury and 3rd if I could finish this side of midnight I’d be happy.
I started with a friend who due to working offshore had not managed to get the training in, but he’s pretty determined so we knew he’d complete it. After a couple of hours he was started to feel it, so we kept a slow pace knowing we had a long way to go. After another couple of hours I was itching to put my foot down a bit as I felt the pace was too slow, but we decided to stick together until the ½ way point. This helped me hugely as the race developed as I’d managed to save my energy, unlike most of the people I passed in the second half who had obviously gone off a little too quick.
I’d chosen to run in my trail shoes, though with the amount of road running I was tempted to change to my road shoes at ½ way, but with a change of socks and a fresh pair of Sidas footbeds in, I stuck with my trail shoes and I’m glad I did, as my feet still felt good at the end and totally blister-free!
I stopped at the half way point for 45 minutes to feed/change top/socks/refill Salomon hydration pack etc.
On the second half I set off alone, kept a slow pace and walked the hills. Most folk were starting to tire, but thankfully due to my slow start I felt fine and proceeded to pass everyone I met, this continued right to the finish where I sped up for the last couple of miles into more of a run and managed to finish at 9:40 - a couple of hrs quicker than I had hoped for!
My best tip for a run like this is to start off slow and then go a bit slower! Save that energy and you’ll reap the rewards later in the race.
The Wall Nutrition
Half Way Stop