Tag Archives: Running

Haglöfs Open5 Series 2014

One of the most memorable races I did last year was part of the Haglöfs Open5 Series. A 5 hour mini adventure race, where you had to visit as many points (controls) as you can to collect points. The series is back for winter 2013/14 kicking off in Ilkley in October, well worth a look.

Entries open on 1st August the prices will be as they were last year. Five hours of running and mountain biking with some great locations across the country. Kicks off on the 1st weekend in October. Amazing prizes from Haglöfs and the competition will be tight.

The series is put together and run by www.openadventure.com

The Lakeland 50, a race report

Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_0270Sweat is pouring from me. The air is thick and sticky… My shirt clings to my skin, soaked, unable to absorb any more moisture… I try to shut my mind to the heat, that is slowly cooking me as I struggle to maintain my pace climbing out of Fusedale Valley. It’s like running in to the center of the earth, the further I go, the hotter it seems to get… I long to be on the fell tops, where it must be cooler… It can’t be hotter than here..!

Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_4452 Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_4459Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_4460It had all been going so well, a short four mile loop around Dalemain had seen us spread out nicely and the pace had seemed easy, even it the heat… I settled in to a steady rhythm, and before a moment had passed, I was through the first checkpoint at Howtown, a fist full of fig rolls in my hand as I headed towards hell…

Behind and as well as in front, hundreds of runners are strung out over the mountainside, all of us are heading towards Coniston, 40 miles away. We won’t all make it… We struggle on this climb, the first major one of the day, and it’s slowly picking us off…

Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_0278Finally I stop climbing, the ground easies out, and I can breath again… I pick up speed and allow my legs to carry me forward… Haweswater eventually appears from behind High Kop, shimmering in the heat as I start to descend. The air thickens once again, sweat runs free from my brow… We run and then walk, before running again along the lake side… I flew this section when I reccied the course a few months back, today I struggle to maintain any pace, in the heat… I fill my bottle from streams, and drink hungrily, but the water isn’t satisfying, its warm, like that from a tap that just won’t run cold…  I try to eat a gel, forcing  it down, but it won’t go and I wash the stickiness from my fingers…

Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_0260I’ve been running less than 4 hours and the wheels have fallen well and truly off… I’m melting slowly in the sun. I can’t seem to eat, and yet I know I must… I haul myself up from the ground where I’ve been sitting and drink TORQ Energy from my platy-pus, it’s sweet and warm in this heat, but it seems to do the trick, providing me with the kick I need…

Finally, the checkpoint at Mardale Head appears, I drink flat coke, hot soup and scoff cheese and pickle sarnies. It’s an oasis in the desert, I fill my face with “free” food, before shouting my thanks as I head towards Gatesgarth Pass. It’s steep and hot again, I know for many Gatesgarth is a demon waiting in hell, but for me, it’s been a target for most of the morning. I know when I’m at the top, the hard part is behind me. I’ve been looking forward to the climb.  I relish the steepness, knowing its the fastest way to the top. I bump into a friend and we chat about races and adventures past and planned as we fly up the hill, over taking as we go…

Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_4462Reaching the top, I slow for a few moments to take in the view, looking down Longsleddale, before dropping like a stone down the rough concrete path which leads us to Sadgill and the next climb… It passes in a distant haze, as I fly above my body, like a helium ballon, looking down as the slow torture takes place…

Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_4463I wake up collapsed on the road outside the Kentmere Checkpoint. A Strawberry and Blueberrie smoothy is in my hand and it tastes amazing… It’s finished at record speed and I instantly want another, but daren’t risk too much fruit… As it previous Checkpoints, my water bottle is filled without asking, five star service befitting the best restaurants… But I’m not hanging around to enjoy it too long… my watch beeps and It’s time to start running again… Only another 23 miles now, almost there…

Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_4464 Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_4465The rain starts just as I approach Ambleside, I love running in the rain, and it increases the spring in my step, but I have to fight to keep it there. As I run through the streets, people stop and cheer, clapping and raising glasses in the beer gardens… I want to stop and absorb it all, but it pushes me forward, lifts my spirt as I search down the Checkpoint, a mug of hot soup awaits…

Time is flying now, the light is fading with the dark clouds as I run along Langdale. I stop only briefly at Chapel Stile, more soup to warm my gut and to stoke the fire. I resist the chimineas outside the gazebo and I run on, in to the evening glom. I find it very comforting and resist switching on my head torch straightaway. But as I climb up towards Blea Tarn, dusk finally turns to dark and the drizzle returns but I know the way…

The suffering of so long ago, is quickly forgotten as the rain washes away the pain. I eat a Rhubarb and Custard gel and remember the hard boiled sweets I used to love as child… they maybe explain the fillings in my mouth… The next checkpoint at Tilberthwaite is not far now, but it never seems to arrive… And then there in the distance I spy fairy lights… I arrive to find Christmas well underway. Presents under the tent consist of more flat coke, sweets and cookies… There’s a chair, but as the rain fills the roof with water it cascades down my back, forcing me back on my feet… We sing happy birthday for a runners who birthday it probably isn’t, then we sing it again for a runner, who’s birthday it is… I leave as We wish you a merry Christmas  fills the air…

Bazar… I’m in the Lake District, it’s July, it’s pouring with rain, it’s dark… We are sing Christmas Songs…

I set off up the steepest of steep steps, and the take the lower path, down to Crook Beck… but it’s dark, and you can’t see much, and its the wrong way… I turn back and find the right path. I see frogs in the beam of my torch, it’s good weather for frogs…

2 miles to go…

I fall in with a L100 runner for a few minutes as we pick our way over the fell top. The path is faint, and our lights are the only ones in the dark… As we round a corner, I see path dropping off all the way to Coniston, to the warmth, to the dry…

I hit the boost button on my SEO5 Head torch and focus the beam. The rest is muscle memory as I take my brain and put it in my pocket. Its wet, its dark, its downhill, its a roller coaster ride…

I’m grinning from ear to ear, as I fly, passing other runners in the dark, bouncing from rock to rock, feet only glancing. I’ve been dreaming about the for months… Ahead I see Rob and Amanda, who I’ve run with at various points of the day… We chat briefly, but now my legs are no longer mine… and they head towards Coniston…

The streets are quiet at this early hour, until I pass the Black Bull, and the clapping comes from nowhere, I stare into the dark and see two figures, I pass the garage, and there are people there, sheltering from the rain, cheering… I’m chocked…

The final left turn, the final downhill… There’s the gate, more people… The finish arch, the medal… the lights, the t-shirt, it’s all over… Really it’s only just begun…

50 miles: 12 Hours 53 Minutes…

Reuben_Tabner_Lakeland50_0307Powered by TORQ, Carried by Mammut, Light by LEDLenser, Inspired by Life…

Alpine Adventures…

Reuben_Tabner_Aiguille_du_Midi.jpgI’m back in Chamonix for a few days, to spend some more time running on these amazing alpine trails, this time with my girlfriend. The weather has been amazing… The views breath taking…

Reuben_Tabner_185700.jpgIt’s largely a relaxing holiday, taking time out, to drink coffee, watch the clouds, and read as much as enjoying the trails. Whilst here, I’m also making final adjustments to my kit for the Lakeland 50, which is now only 10 days away and moving my thinking forward to the UTMB – TDS which is also getting increasingly closer.

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Salomon City Trail

2013 Salomon City Trail Newcastle July 13thThe Salomon City Trail visited Newcastle yesterday and I popped along to see what it was all about and to try a pair of the new Sense Mantra’s.

2013 Salomon City Trail Newcastle July 13th2013 Salomon City Trail Newcastle July 13thThe City Trail events are basically an opportunity to try out a selection of Salomon’s running shoes for free on either 2km or 5 km pre-marked trails. At the Newcastle event this choice was between the Speedcross 3 which I already use, the XR Crossmax 2’s or the Sense Mantra’s. Along with the opportunity to test run some shoes, Salomon staff, were on hand to chat Trail Running, fit, and technologies of their shoes and clothing.

2013 Salomon City Trail Newcastle July 13thI’ve wanted to try the Sense Mantra’s for a while. Designed as a lightweight high mileage training shoe for mid-foot strikers who want natural motion, protection and neutral cushioning, they tick plenty of boxes on paper. Pulling them on, and the fit was perfect, slightly roomer in the toe box than my Speedcross, but with the same foot wrapping fit of the forefoot.

2013 Salomon City Trail Newcastle July 13thI set off for a rather hot, 5 km loop of the Town Moor, which offers a mix of pavement and hard packed grass paths. It was hot… 27 degrees by all accounts… The shoes felt really good from the go. Noticeably light on the feet, but with enough cushioning to take the edge of the hard pavement surface. 20 minutes later I reluctantly handed back the shoes, knowing they fill a hole between my Salomon Speedcross 3’s and Mammut MTR 201’s.

2013 Salomon City Trail Newcastle July 13thI picked up a free pair of Salomon XA Sonic 2 Socks, which almost make turning up worth it in themselves, had a quick look at the brand new hyped up Salomon Fellraiser (the shoe I would really have liked to try) and headed home.2013 Salomon City Trail Newcastle July 13thThe Salomon City Trail is touring the UK this summer, with dates left in Leeds, Edinburgh and London.

UTMB – TDS 90 Day’s to Go

It’s just under three months until the UTMB race series gets underway in Chamonix, kicking off with the TDS – Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie. This race starts in the center of Courmayeur in Italy on Wednesday 28th August at 7:00am and runners have a maximum of 33 hours to complete the 119km to Chamonix.

“A race in open country along the ‘Grande Randonnée’ paths crossing though the Mont-Blanc, Beaufort, Tarentaise and Aosta valley countryside.”

Carte-TDS_coureurs-2013An estimated 1500 runners are expected to line up for the start and I will be amongst them.

With the Lakeland 50 coming the month before at the end of July I have had little chance to think about the TDS, however my thoughts are starting to turn to this race and how I can best prepare for the altitude, the logistics and race day.

I’m heading out to France to run the CCC route in a couple of weeks with the TORQ Trail Running Team, which hopefully will give me some idea of the terrain and the geography of the area. Both the Lakeland 50 and the TDS are my A’ races for the year, so I will be speaking to the guys at TORQ Fitness to ensure that I can recover sufficiently  and maintain fitness between the races and head out to Italy best prepared.images

The Red Bull Steeplechase Returns…

RedBull Steeplechase 2013Last year I took part in the inaugural Red Bull Steeple Chase, a race that promised to be different, that promised to defeat the majority of those who stepped up to take part. It was proved right on both counts. It turned out to be the most fun race I have ever taken part in, it ripped me apart and spat me out the other side a broken man… I vowed to be back…

Start Line CastletonSo when an email popped into my inbox with the following, grabbing my attention, I was sold before I had even finished my morning coffee….

“RED BULL STEEPLECHASE IS BACK FOR 2013

Last year you were one of the brave few to take part in Red Bull’s great British Steeplechase. Well the time has come to dig deep once more and sign yourself up for another epic running adventure.”

Once again the race is sold promising to take us to new heights in our running and endeavour, over hills and dales, through streams and thickets. On a course designed to challenge the hardiest of runners. I have to admit it, I’m looking forward to the challenge… I can’t wait…!

You can read last years tail here… Red Bull Steeplechase 2012 and if you think you are up to the challenge enter the race yourself… Steeplechase 2013

Into Mordor

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3396What a difference a day makes… I slid the van door open this morning expecting to be greeted by more rain, but instead it was a bright clear day… Ok the tops were still hidden in a blanket of clouds, but apart form that… It was enough to make me jump out of bed and put the coffee on…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3397The clouds had rolled in by the time coffee and porridge were finished, but it was still warm enough for just a base layer as I worked my way up hill. The plan for today was flexible, but either a long run or an even longer run… but I didn’t know I was heading to Mordor…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3399I crossed fields and streams, through gates showing the test of time, and up a path laid by generations before for me. Carved from the hill side, with blood, sweat and tears, turning my own into mere insignificance…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3411Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3417As I reach a view point, I’m brought to a stand still by the view below me. The valley drops away, turquoise lakes shimmer in the sun, light patches play the opposite hill sides… what more could you wish for…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3423 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3448Yet higher I climb, through gates on to a track, winding its way through the landscape… I’m absorbed in one foot in front of the other, blocking out my surroundings… but when I look up, my feet stop moving once again… carved through the hillsides, my path goes onwards… to another world…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3439 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3434It’s a world created by man before us. Some may regard the slate quarries as a blemish on the landscape, but they are a stunning monument to what we have achieved. I follow the path through them in awe… and when I reach the road, I turn around and go back for more. Climbing a series of inclines and staircases, exploring tunnels into the mountain, climbing ever higher on ancient steps and paths laid by hand. I stop watching the clock, I stop paying attention to the distance covered and just run free in this dream landscape…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3452 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3457Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3473Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3468Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3471Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3466 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3462Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3455Eventually I climb clear of Mordor and I’m alone once again with the hills… I continue up, climbing in to the cloud, before tucking into a small stone shelter to eat some flapjack…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3478And then it’s down a ridge, jumping from rock to rock, uphill and down again, as the cloud lifts to reveal more views below. I hear the sounds of a distant helicopter, settling in to a hover, I hope it’s a practice, not someone fallen or worse… It’s hidden in the mist, as I race again one foot in front of the other… passing a man and his dog, the wind behind me, not a care in the world.

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3501 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3484Bam..! I fly through the air, hitting the ground hard… For the first time ever, I trip over in the hills… I was enjoying the moment too much, misjudged the height of a rock and caught it with my toe… Blood seeps from my finger where I’ve grazed it on a rock, but worse my new Skins are ripped… At least nothing, except pride is broken so I continue past a little lake and I’m faced with a rather steep climb…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3502I look for the path, but all I see is scree… It must be there somewhere. And yes, there are the faint tell tail signs, but it is barely a path… Snaking straight up, no let up… I pass a group of walkers, complete with stares… I assume it’s the beard… wild in the wind… As before me lies the finish…

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Well, not quite… I eat Scottish Tablet, feeling the sugar hitting my veins, before I set off back down the way I have just climbed, running with the scree where I can, trying to find the path when I can’t… back round the lake and then follow the little stream all the way to the valley floor… Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3508The sun is back out and it’s getting warm, I drink from the water running next to my feet, fresh from the hillside, nothing tastes better. One more stile, and thats it, the final stretch is along the road, a minor inconvenience after a mind bending day…

Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3520 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3518 Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3516Reuben_Tabner_Running_Wales_3511Shower, pub, Steak Pie! Thank you!

(Sorry for all the photos in this one… got a bit carried away…)