Ultra Plans for 2020

I like to plan out my races at the beginning of the year so I know what I’m aiming for. These days you also need to book ahead as a lot of events do fill up quickly.

As I plan out my races there are a few priorities or key things that help me decide.

  • A mixture of races I have done before and new races
  • I prefer hilly races to flatter ones
  • The route is key. I love the journey of the race so for me loops or laps don’t really appeal
  • Multi-day events are very attractive as I love the extra planning and challenge of running day after day

So here is my plan for 2020 so far

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#1 Saturday 28th March – Hardmoors 55

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This will be the 7th time I have run this race which shows how much I enjoy it. There are a few reasons why it appeals to me including the route, the organisers and the time of year.

The last two years we have had tough weather so I’m hoping that 2020 will be kinder to us but if not I will put my head down and battle it out with everyone else!

#2 Friday 8th to Sunday 10th May – Great Lakeland 3 Day Event

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I took part in this event last year and enjoyed it so much I was keen to come back in 2020. Last year I did it in preparation for the Dragon’s Back. This year it will fit in really well in my build up to the West Highland Way Race in June.

I love the fact that each year they move the location of the start/finish and the overnight camp which means that the routes for each day changes as well. This year they have announced it will be in the Central Fells with the exact location announced later in the year.

#3 Saturday 20th June – West Highland Way Race

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I have ran West Highland Way Race six times and it is the race that got me into ultra running in the first place so it will always be my favourite race. I would like to achieve 10 races eventually so I felt it was time to get back on the route and aim for number 7.

The last time I completed the race was 2013 but in 2017 I started the race and had my only dnf (did not finish) in an ultra so I feel it is time I went back and sorted that out!

I am very involved with the race as a member of the organising committee with responsibility for the website and host of the podcasts but I’m looking forward to being back on the start line and running the race.

For the second half of the year I am still waiting to hear whether my initial choice is going ahead or not. If the Deadwater is happening I would like to do this 6 day event but if not then I have a place in the Cumbria Way Ultra. Richard Weirmuik, organiser of the Deadwater, is going to make a decision at the end of January

#4 Friday 21st – Wednesday 26th August – Deadwater 6 day ultra

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A few friends did this race in 2018 and really enjoyed it so I decided to have a go. I enjoy the multi-day aspect of the event and the route looks a real journey from Scotland, through England to finish in Wales.

As I write this post there are only 21 entries and they need at least 25 to go ahead. I really hope it does happen as it looks like an epic event.

If it is cancelled then I have a place in the following event. It is only 4 weeks after the Deadwater so I don’t think it would be a good idea to do both!

#4 Saturday 19th to Sunday 20th September Cumbria Way Ultra (73 miles)

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This event is organised by my good friend Gaynor Prior and is one I have wanted to do for a few years since it was started.

I love the Lake District and this route goes right through the Lakes on the established Cumbria Way.  If the Dead water goes ahead I will definitely have a go in 2021!

#5 Saturday 19th December Tour de Helvellyn

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I really enjoyed doing this in 2019 so I would like to go back in 2020. Katrina has also expressed an interest in doing it as well so we may well run it together.

Entries aren’t open yet but hopefully I will be able to get a place when they do.

So that is my ultra plan for 2020. I might add another one in October or November but for now this is my plan.

The other event I’m looking forward to is being on the event team for the 8 day Cape Wrath Ultra in May 2020. It will be good to give something back and also means I will be guaranteed a place in 2021.

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