Monthly Archives: February 2016

Wild Running Races: Haldon Forest 10km

WildRunning Haldon 10km

I have done other races in their series but I’ve never done this race before.  Being at the Haldon Forest there was plenty of carparking just by the race start as well as a good cafe that opened until late serving coffe, cake and hot food.  The venue was perfect for an introduction to trial night running as well as for the more experience to push themselves.

The Wild Running Team are a freindly bunch and although registrations can be a little hectic at times this one was very slick and in no time at all i was kitted up ready to go.

The course consisted of a figure of 8.  The middle of the 8 was were the 5km race broke off and made thier was to the finish where as the 10km’s had some more hills to do!

The start was a small walk (200m) from the registration point to reduce the number of road crossings o the route and started on a nice wide fire track heading down into the woods.  The Surface on a whole was Fire Track so mainly gravel so this made it a perfect way to get into night racing as there wa less risk of turning an ankle.

As the old saying what goes down MUST come up after a fast 1km down hill you hit the first hill, although tough there were tougher hills to come on the 10km but this helped spread the field.  Just after the top of the hill was a road crossing, this was well martialed and the road is extreamly quiet so i would have been surprised if anyone had to stop.

On the other side of the road we began to follow the ‘rapter trail’ which would itself down and around the forest on nice wide Fire Trails untill you came to the split.  As the 5 km’s split off t do the last 2km we headed down, down, DOWN on a trail that felt that it lasted for ages.  Knowing Haldon Forest is on the edge of a valley i knew we would have to head back up which was not a nice prospect!

Once you hit bottom you wound your way up and down on the trails to regain height finally hitting the sharpest hill of all which many had to walk. (Walking is ok in trail racing!) once you conquered this hill you joined back onto the Rapter taril and headed back to the split.  The final park which was covered by the 10 and 5 km routes weaved in and out of the forest on slighly smaller trails (1.5m wide) gaining the last bit of height you needed before hitting the forest road for the las 200m.  The last 200m were uphill and the finish line only came into sight with 50m to go.  Jut intime for a sprint finish (If you had it in you!).

WildRunning give out cool medals.  The medals are made from Birch Wood disks with the information/design being burnt on.  These are a nice change to the normal metal medals and wil definatly add to your collection.

Would i do it again? YES i have a time to beat!!


Wild Running: Wild Night Run 10 Mile Night Trail Race

This is my 3rd year of doing this race so you can guess this will be a good review!

Wild running Uk is a company who run training and races across the south west and the Wild Night Run is personally the jewel in their crown!

Starting at South Brent village hall on the edge of Dartmoor the atmosphere before the start is great with a real welcoming feel and with food and refreshments being served by Dartmoor Kitchen i couldn’t wait to finish to have the food!

Registration if efficient but relaxed however the parking is not so great.  Being a small village parking can be problematic so arriving early is a good idea!

Info is sent out a week before the race and due to it being a night race on uneaven/rough ground their is an expectation for a degree of self supportation so a manditory kit list is issued with spot checks.  The kit listed is nothing out of the norm and if you were do injure yourelf on the top of one of the Tors you would be glad of it!

There are 2 options on the night, A Mild Night (5 miles) A Wild Night (10 miles) i have now done both, the main difference (apart from distance!) is the terrain.  The Mild Night skirts the edge of dartmoor keeping more to woodland trails where are as the Wild Night heads up and over the local area of dartmoor.

Wth the race starting at 5pm in January it’s dark as you set off from the Village hall, the first section is uphill on a road heading out of South Brent.  Seeing the 140 runners bobbing along with their high viz and head torches must be an odd sight to anyone who comes across it but it’s not long before the precession hits the woodland track heading towards the dam.

After a few miles of up and downs, small stream crossings you hit a road where the Wild and Milds splts.  at this point we begin our climb up on a dartmoor track with the raging river running beside us.

The hill profile pretty much looks like a pyramid with the first 6 miles being pretty much up hill.  Roads turn to Tracks which then lead to trails and having a good head torch is a must to help you navigate the bogs, rocks and Ponies! The route is roughly marked by reflective ski poles, red flashing lights and barrier tape, the route you take between these markers is your choice and that is part of the fun picking the best route or sometimes finding it isn’t.

When you top out on the highest Tor on the race the view of village lights far and wide is amazing and a real highlight of the race.  As the field spread out you get a real feeling of being out there alone!

Now the last 4 miles are not all down hill there are a few little ‘spikes’ just to test your legs after the energy zapping muddy trails but you will find the down hills the hardest buy this point!

The last section runs along the river and up onto the rod by the village hall where you finsh.  Then it’s a case of picking up you birch wood medal, taking your shoes off and joining the rest of the Wild Runners for great food, stories and a warm welcome.

I’ll see you there next year!

Begining To Tri, Stop my life i want to TRAIN!

I’m not the only person in the world that training seems to be a huge mountain to climb.  Now the training itself is not the issue but finding the time is the issue.  Trying to juggle a busy teaching job my different volunteering roles and a family means that I rarely get quality time to do good sessions.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I have more time than some to train and need to get a bit more savvy with how, what and when and I should start to see the results I want to get.  Now that I have put it out there that I want to do my first ever Tri this year I need to re think what I’m doing training wise.

Luckily for me I have a gym membership at David Lloyds so I am able to mix Swimming, Bike and running regardless of the weather but sometimes knowing what to do when I get there is the issue.

Post Brighton Marathon I have been really frustrated because I seem to have lost my speed (feel free to read my blog on Marathon training effecting your speed)  I know that I need to start to find it again as I want to do my best in each discipline.  I also know I need to be more specific on what I’m doing in the pool and on the bike when I train but feel really lost!

Doing an internet search for training programs for Triathlon brings a thousand and one suggestions which then creates its own headache too!  As I’m still not 100% sure on the distance or race yet I guess this makes it even harder.  I have my eye on the Cotswold Triathlon in September but I’m still unsure.

The key factor also is many of the programs is that you need to train each day, possible with 2 sessions too.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who would struggle to do this.  I aim to get 4 quality sessions a week and then anything above this I see as a bonus.

So where do I start? What do I focus on? Should I join a club? I don’t know the answer to these questions and that’s before I start to think about new shiny kit!

David Lloyd in Exeter have their own Tri Club/sessions so I’m going to talk to Rob and his will be my start, but I also think I need to think of some other changes to allow my quality training to happen:

  • I need to do at least 1 Bike, Swim and Run session each week
  • I need to get up earlier and try and do my runs before work (This seems to be the Triathlon Norm)
  • As the weather improves I need to commute between work places by Bike more

So as half Term comes to an end Project ‘Begin To Tri’ is fully underway!  Now to surf wiggle for some new shiny kit! (That’s classed as part of Tri training right!)

Unilite PS-H10r Product Review

As an avid Unilite Head torch user already and having several Night Races coming up I was really keen to test the new offering, which packed a huge increase in light output.

I’m currently using an old Unilite PS-H8 (250 lumens) and finding it strong enough for most of my night runs/races even though the new version is even brighter at 350 lumens, getting hold of a 1100 lumen head torch for my 10 mile wildnightrun over Dartmoor seemed a great opportunity to put the PS-H10r through its paces.

Boasting over 1000 lumens for 3 hours at a price of £99 I couldn’t another main brand that could come near to that on price and light.  My only concern was over the size as I wondered if it would be heavier than what I had already.

When it arrive it was bigger than my current torch both at the front and the back (battery pack is on the rear)  Due to the light output the front needs to be bigger to give better cooling properties and a heavier weight battery means the rear also is a little bigger.

However with a 3 strap system, once you have it properly adjusted it does not bounce or move at all when running.  With the battery on the back it was well balanced and very comfortable to wear.  As predominantly a service/workman based company the ruggedness of the unit is great.  With it being in Hi-Viz yellow with reflective straps the look may not be to everyone’s taste but you will be seen!  As with the H8 it has a rear light which can be on/off or on flash.  The difference with the rear light on this unit is that the rear light is white not red as the H8 as the unit is used by train workers and they prefer the white light.  A clip over red filter would be a great addition to the pack as I would prefer a red rear light for running.

Now how bright is it? I compared the brightness with my current H8 and there was no comparison.  It was so bright, trying in in our rear lane it lit up the whole lane clearly, having both torches on at the same time you could not even see the beam of the H8.  I compared the H10’s beam to my car head lights and found it to be more focused and brighter!  The major downfall of this torch is I didn’t feel it safe or fair to use it in built up areas on full beam (I got flashed by several cars on its first outing!) luckily it has 3 output settings which were roughly 1100lm, 600lm and 200lm.  Dropping the output increases the battery life from 3hrs to 45hrs (according to date, not tested)

Being micro USB charged it was easy to charge on the go or at the home and a built in charge indicator allows you to see when its charged.

So, final thoughts……

If you run off the beaten track where seeing where you are running is a great need this is a great head torch.  The flexibility of light output is great and even though it is bigger than the H8 you don’t notice it when it’s on.  For trail runners this would be a great buy as it gave me great confidence in my route finding when navigating the moor in wet, boggy conditions as part of the WildNightRun.  I was able to keep speed on the downs as I could see clearly where I was putting my feet, this definitely contributed to a 5 minute PB!