Guess My Time Hardmoors 50

My first ultra of 2019 is the Hardmoors 50 miles on Saturday 16th March. Initially I planned to run with Katrina but her knee is sore again and quite rightly she has decided to withdraw from the race so I’m on my own!

I have run the Hardmoors 55 five times between 2010 and 2018 as follows

Date Race Distance Time
20 March 2010 Hardmoors 55 55 miles 11:46:10
22 March 2014 Hardmoors 55 55 miles 10:10:24
21 March 2015 Hardmoors 55 55 miles 9:35:40
19 March 2016 Hardmoors 55 55 miles 10:44:33
17 March 2018 Hardmoors 55 (with Katrina) 43 miles (short) 11:09:01

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Cleveland Way and so the race have been asked to make this race part of the celebrations. The course has been changed very slightly but as far as I can work out it is a very similar distance.

I’m looking forward to doing the race again as it will give me a good idea of where my endurance fitness is as I build up to my main event of the year, the Berghaus Dragon’s Back in May.

The race starts at 8am on Saturday 16th March 2019

Once again my good friends at are offering prizes for all my ultras this year.

For this race they are offering the closest 3 guesses a prize ..


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Plus a limited edition ‘Guess My Time’ keyring

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To take part and have a chance to win these prizes all you have to do is send me your guess in hours, minutes and seconds of how long you think it will take me to complete the 50 miles.

As before there is only one guess per time so if your time is taken I’ll ask you to guess again.

To give you an idea here are my goals for the race.

  • Bronze – sub 11hrs 30mins
  • Silver – sub 11hrs
  • Gold – sub 10hrs 30mins

If you want to take part please send your guess by 5pm on Thursday 14th March 2019  by:-

  • leave a comment on this post
  • on my Facebook page
  • Twitter: @jkynaston
  • Text: 07905 218162
  • Instagram: jkynaston
  • Email:
  • in person
  • any other imaginative method
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Dragon’s Back Training Week 8

It was really good to have an easy week last week but I was ready to go for it this week.

Monday 25th February – Fartlek Session

  • 8.36 miles in 1:12:54
  • Ascent – 427ft

There was a good number of us running which is always good for making sure you work hard right through the session!

This week the session was 5 x [1min (30secs recovery), 2mins (1min), 3mins (90secs)].

Having had an easier week I felt I had a real spring to my step and was keen to push as hard as I could right through the session which is what I did.

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4.71 miles for the 30mins must be my highest mileage for a good few years so I do feel I have a bit of speed in my legs again. I really do enjoy these sessions though they are hard at the time! It is the only time of the week where I really do push the pace and get my heart rate right up there.

Tuesday 26th February – Cycle to and from work

  • 13.10 miles over 3 rides

I do try and cycle to and from work on the days that I don’t run but it all depends on whether I need the car for work once I’m there.

Wednesday 27th February – Long Drive!

I had planned to do an off road run around Pollok Park but my plans changed as we bought a VW Camper Van! We bought it from a garage in Bournemouth so I caught the 7am flight to Southampton, train to Christchurch and lift to the garage.

I then drove the 476 miles home arriving at 8.30pm. We are really pleased with it and can’t wait for our first night in it which will be at the Hardmoors 50 in a couple of weeks.

Thursday 28th February – Ben Lomond Run

  • 7.63 miles in 2:26:09
  • Ascent – 3245ft

I met Cammie at Rowendenan and we started running at 4.30pm. We like to go up the Ptarmigan Ridge and down the tourist path.

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It was very misty from about 500ft so we didn’t see anything but the views are a bonus as we’ve been up so many times.

We chatted the whole way and down and had a great evening. We had our head torches on for the final 30mins.

So this will be my bench mark for the year. It gives me something to aim for in the coming weeks!

Friday 1st March – Weigh in

  • 11st 6 3/8lbs

This must be my lowest weight for at least 4 years! Very happy with the downward line!

There are a lot of things I can’t control about the Dragon’s Back but I’m working hard on the things I can look after and keeping my weight down is one of them.

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Saturday 2nd March – Arrochar Alps Route

  • 14.29 miles in 4:58:22
  • Ascent – 5886ft

I picked up Cammie at 6am and we drive to Arrochar in time to start running at 7am. Our original plan was to do the full Arrochar Alps route which includes 4 Munros but we both needed to get home earlier so we decided to miss out Ben Vane.

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We ran most of the first few miles on the approach to Ben Vane then walked up the main path.

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Ben Vane ahead

The mist was low to start with but by the time we reached the top the clouds had parted a bit so we had some views.

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On the descent we chose slightly different routes but ended up back together as we climbed up Ben Ime. It was cold and windy on the top so I didn’t take any photos!

Cammie once again descended far quicker than me and then I spent the ascent of Ben Narnain trying to catch him.

We decided to retrace our steps and head down the valley path rather than the race route.

All was going well until I tripped, stumbled and fell onto a large rock. It really winded me and I lay down for a minute or two until I got my breathe back. My should and side were pretty sore but thankfully no permanent damage.

I ran down very gingerly as my side was quite sore. It stiffened up a bit on the journey home but a hot shower some deep heat and a pain killer helped.

In the afternoon Katrina and I went to the Cycle and Running show at the SECC. It was really good and we bought a few things including some runderwear. The girl who served us, Tanya, is part of the marshalling team at the Dragon’s Back!

Sunday 3rd March – Recovery Run

  • 6.49 miles in 1:01:11
  • Ascent – 344ft

I was keen to see how my side felt.It was still a bit sore so I took it very easy. It eased off as the run went on so good to report it all seems fine. It was very windy though.

Summary of the week

I did miss my planned Wednesday run but I ran 4 times with lots of ascent

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Screenshot 2019-03-02 at 21.59.24



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Review of February 2019

Another solid month in my build up to the Dragon’s Back in May. In February I ran 174.34 miles with a total ascent of 29,715ft which is the equivalent of climbing Everest!

Diary of my runs

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Types of runs this year so far

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I’m ahead of target for my 2019 miles in 2019

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Dragon’s Back Training Week 7

My plan for this week was going to be an easy week after 6 harder weeks. I decided I wanted to do the Club Session on Monday and a parkrun on Saturday with an easy road run on Wednesday.

Monday 18th February – Club Fartlek Session

  • 7.69 miles in 1:06:32
  • Ascent – 402ft

As are there some path widening on the parkrun route behind the On-X centre we decided to run on the cycle track which basically means we run out and back.

The session was 15 x 2mins with 1min recovery. As it was my easier week I decided to take it steady for the first 8 x 2min and see how I felt and then push a bit harder on the second half of the session.

My stats show that I achieved my goal with the last 7 faster than the first 8.

Fartlek 18 Feb

Wednesday 20th February – Lunchtime road run

  • 5.90 miles in 49:55
  • Ascent – 400ft

I ran at lunchtime from work and did a loop around Pollok Park but stayed on the road. I felt quite comfortable and enjoyed it.

Friday 22nd February – weigh in

  • 11st 8 5/8lbs – very happy to dip under 11st 9lbs

Saturday 23rd February – Inverness parkrun

  • Warm up and cool down – 2.21 miles
  • park run 2.82 miles in 19:21 (9th place)

We are in Inverness for the weekend to visit family so I was keen to do a parkrun. I find they give me an idea of where my fitness is.

I have done this parkrun once before in March 2016. It took me 20:37. It is all on grass and is a three lap course.

This time they had to alter the course a bit due to some ground work on the park so they weren’t sure if it would be the full distance. According to my Suunto it was 2.82 miles so about a third of a mile short.

Inverness parkrun map

I was keen to run as fast as I could but under control so I started fairly near the front of the 225 runners. At the first left hand turn I counted about 30 runners ahead of me.

Over the three laps I slowly went past a good number of runners and no one went past me! I was really encouraged that I felt strong right through the race and had something left to finish well.

I was catching the back markers from half way round my second lap. I was really impressed with the number of children, some really young, who were running all the way.

I finished in 9th place in a time of 19:16


I always like to see how I got on in the age graded results. My % is higher than it would be if the course was 5k (3.1 miles) but it is the same for everyone!

age graded results

Katrina also had a good run despite saying that she was going to take it easy!

Jo, our daughter, came down to watch with Seth and Lyla. It was fun to see them on each round.

Inverness parkrun

With Lyla at the finish

Summary of the week

week 7 photo

So an easy week as planned. I’m planning to step it up again over the next two weeks before having a taper week before the Hardmoors 55 on Saturday 16th March.

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Dragon’s Back Training Week 6

I decided to have an easy week after this week as this was my 6th week of, for me, harder weeks.  If I took my week from Sunday to Saturday then I’ve run 95 miles in 7 days!

Monday 11th Feb – Dragon’s Back Day 5 Recce Part 2

  • 21.7 miles in 7:03:53
  • Ascent – 4,121ft

As it was our half term this week I was able to complete Day 5. Katrina dropped me off near her Dad’s house and I headed back up Fan Bycheiniog to re-join the course.

Screenshot 2019-02-17 at 09.35.51

The snow had melted on the lower slopes but was still very thick on the summit. I put on my Khatoolas which helped. It was also very windy so I didn’t hang around much.

The navigation was pretty straight forward though there were a few times I did wander off line in the mist but I was able to get back on track pretty quickly.

It was really good to have a look at a couple of route choices especially between CP5 and CP6. I had Marcus’ gps line on my watch which I followed rather than the ‘recommended route which stayed on the ridge.

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Some of the underfoot conditions were tough as the course made its way over clumpy boggy ground.

I put together a video of the two days but here a few photos to give you a sense of my day.

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CP5 Carreg Yr Ogof

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Lots of this sort of ground!

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CP9 Tair Carn Isaf


The route goes round Carreg Cennen Castle

It was a really good day out and another day covered. I have now reccied 4 out of the 5 days. I plan to recce Day 4 in April with Andy Cole so I will have covered the whole course. I know there will be others who will cover the ground more than once but others who won’t step on the course at all.

Wednesday 13th Feb – Lunchtime Run around Pollok Park

  • 6.47 miles in 58:42
  • Ascent – 535ft

I decided not to do a Conic Hill run this week as I’ve just had a bigger weekend and I have a 35 mile run planned for Saturday.

So I ran my off road run around Pollok Park. I have bought a new pair of Altra Lone Peak 4 so this was a perfect chance to try them out. They are very similar to the Lone Peak 3 so that’s good news. I plan to continue to run in the Lone Peak 3 and keep the Lone Peak 4 for my final Day 4 recce run and then the race itself.

Thursday 14th Feb – Run with Katrina after work

  • 5.31 miles in 47:12
  • Ascent – 207ft

What better way to spend some of Valentine’s Day with your wife than going for a run together! We haven’t had a run for a few weeks so it was good to get out together. Katrina always makes me laugh as she will often (every time?) say ‘I will be slow’ and then proceeds to set the pace and is not slow!

Friday 15th Feb – Weigh-in

  • 11st 11lbs (put on 1lbs 5/8)

A fellow Dragon’s Back runner, Oliver, left a comment on my Strava run saying ‘I notice you lose weight easily! What’s your secret?’

I’m not sure I find it easy but here is what helps me if it’s any use.

  • I don’t snack at all and don’t drink alcohol
  • Breakfast – Porridge with banana, blueberries, seed mix and honey
  • Lunch – ham, cheese, beetroot wrap plus youghat and apple
  • Evening meal – Katrina is a great cook so we have lots of healthy food with plenty of vegetables
  • I try and keep to sensible portions for my evening meal. I find it easy to have a second plateful if I’m not careful
  • Supper – Hot Chocolate before bed is my treat!
  • Mon to Fri – no puddings
  • Weekends – I will be a bit more relaxed but try not to go overboard!

I find there is a balance of eating enough to fuel the amount of running I’m doing but not eating too much that I put on weight. I have found that since I turned 50 almost 10 years ago that I do have to be more careful with what I eat.

I try and drink water throughout the day but I know I should be drinking more.

So in conclusion I don’t diet as such but I try and eat a variety of all food types in moderation. I do think I need to be disciplined to make it work.

Saturday 16th Feb – Long Run on the whw

  • 36.07 miles in 9:14:06
  • Ascent – 5774

I wanted to do a longer run in preparation for the Hardmoors 50 in 4 weeks’ time on similar terrain. I drove up to Bridge of Orchy and caught the 8.36am bus to Fort William. I then ran the 36 miles back to the car on the West Highland Way.

I set off from Fort William bus stop at 9.50am and went on the Devil’s route from the Leisure Centre. As I climbed up the fire road there were signs to say the path was closed due to logging but I decided to push on hoping that they wouldn’t be working on a Saturday which they weren’t so I was okay! It does look a lot different though with all the trees felled.


I was looking forward to seeing Ian & Julia Minty who were running the opposite way and sure enough we crossed after an hour or so. They had left Kinlochleven at 8am and were moving well.


I was running as much as I could and happy with my progress but I did think back to my best whw in 2009 when it took me 3hrs 20mins from Kinlochleven to Fort William. Today it took me 3hrs 35mins and I hadn’t run 80 mile first!

As I descended to Kinlochleven Rachel Campbell was running up the hill looking very smooth. Not long after I saw Donnie and we stopped to have a chat. Donnie is an excellent ultra runner who wins a lot of big races so it was great to have a chat even if it meant he had to work even harder to catch his wife!


It was long climb out of Kinlochleven so lots more ascent feet to add to my weekly total! As I approached Altnafeadh I switch on my phone as Max & Stacey Holloway had planned to join me at Glencoe and run with me for a bit.

I was interested to see what the new Kingshouse Hotel is looking like now it has been rebuilt.



Max & Stacey ran down from the car park and joined me just before the main road. It was great to have company for the next hour or so before they headed back. Thanks so much for making the effort to come and join me.

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Thanks to Stacey Holloway for the photo



I had a final 7 miles or so and I kept running as much as I could. I put my head torch on as I climbed up ‘Jelly Baby Hill’.

I finished just after 7pm. I had a quick change then drove home. Another good day out.

Sunday 17th February – Final Payment sent

I sent off my final payment for the race so there is no going back now!!

Summary of the week

This has been my biggest week of the year so both in terms of distance and ascent.

week 6 photo

I normally try and work on a pattern of 3 harder weeks and then an easy week but this time I’ve had 6 harder weeks before an easy week.

Here is a summary of the first 6 weeks of my training plan for the 2019 Berghaus Dragon’s Back.

1-6 week summary

Photo of the week

I could have chosen any one of a number but have gone for this one from yesterday on the Lairgmor


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Dragon’s Back Day 5 Video

I made a short video of my two run run covering Day 5 of the Dragon’s Back course

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Dragon’s Back Training Week 5

I decided to run 4 times this week as I had another big weekend coming up.

Monday 4th Feb – Club Fartlek Session

  • 8.41 miles in 1:12:18
  • Ascent – 322ft

A really good turn out this week with 18 runners in our group. Another interesting session of 3 x (1min, 2min, 3min, 4min) with half recoveries.

Once again I was keen to make sure the final set was not the slowest. Here are my stats ..

Screenshot 2019-02-05 at 07.21.23

I was very happy with my average pace for the whole session. The final 1min was not as quick as the first one but all the others were quicker so I’ll take that.

Tuesday 5th February – Entered Silva Great Lakeland 3 Day event

I received an email from the organisers of the Dragon’s Back last week and at the bottom was details of another race they organise in the Lakes 2 weeks before the Dragon’s Back over the May Bank Holiday (4th-6th May).

I had planned to do a final big weekend anyway so I decided to enter. Katrina has been accepted as a volunteer helping with the hospitality team so we be heading down together.

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Plus I have a few friends who are also taking part so it will be great to catch up with them and even run with one or two of them!

Wednesday – Hill Reps on Gleniffer Braes

  • 6.81 miles in 1:01:43
  • Ascent – 866ft

I was busy over lunchtime at work so I decided to head back to the Gleniffer Braes and repeat my hill reps from 3 weeks ago.

I ran very similar times over the session …

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Each one was slightly quicker than the one before so that was encouraging.

Thursday 7th February – Conic Hill 

  • 9.60 miles in 2:06:54
  • Ascent – 1,919ft

I was on my own tonight as Cammie ran yesterday. I decided to park at Garadhban Forest and run over Conic Hill and then down the other side until I reached the gate leading into the forest before Balmaha.

That way I would climb Conic twice which would give me some more ascent!

Screenshot 2019-02-08 at 07.05.26

All the snow has gone from Conic but I could see it snow on the top of Ben Lomond. So another good run. I’ll be heading to Ben Lomond soon for my mid week hill runs.

Friday 8th February – Weigh in

  • 11st 9 3/8lbs
  • Really happy to lose another 3lbs this week. Definitely going in the right direction

Sunday 10th February – Dragon’s Back Day Recce Part 1

  • 27.27 miles in 7:55:11
  • Ascent – 5,269ft

It is our half term next week and Katrina was keen to visit her Dad in South Wales so I thought it would rude not to recce Day of the Dragon’s Back Race over 2 days. This means that I will just have Day 4 to recce in April with Andy Cole.

Katrina dropped me off at the start of day 5 and I ran to CP 4 Summit of Fan Bycheiniog and then I ran the hill to Katrina’s Dad’s house where she picked me up.

Here is the route …


Profile …


The weather was mixed with rain and wind to start, then dry and even sunny in the middle when I was lower down through Llandovery and then snow and very strong winds on the top of Fan Bycheiniog.

I made a bit of a mess of my navigation early on but I’d rather make those mistakes on a recce than the race.


I spent part of the run thinking about how I might feel on day 5 of the race. I really hope I’m still it in! I am feeling more and more confident that I can do this. I’m getting lots of ascent done and feeling stronger.

The other thing that is encouraging me is how good my feet are feeling. I’ve not had any blisters or issues. I was surprised today as my feet were wet right through the run.

Here are some photos of the day …




View from CP 2


Quick stop at Llandovery


Fan Brycheiniog in the distance


I’m looking forward to part 2 of my Dragon’s Back Day 5 recce tomorrow! The weather forecast is better as well!

Summary of the week

weekly summary

Photo of the week



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