Six Peaks Challenge
Posted on 3rd July 2023 at 17:51
six peaks, 51 miles, 5561 Metres ascent, lets ave it!!!
It’s a sad fact that behind many Ultra runners is a long suffering partner, many hours that should by rights belong to families are given up on a weekend for extra milage or to cram a hill training session in, many long suffering wife’s sit alone wishing they had normal husbands who spent time on their phones looking at porn instead of which Ultra Run to enter next, many children having to make do with Dad because Mum has chosen to suffer mile after mile of pain inducing effort all weekend rather than listen to them ask questions such as “would you rather die in your sleep or by a big explosion?”.
So, it was whilst settling down with a glass of fine wine ready to watch an evening’s entertainment of American detective dramas my wife asked if for my next challenge, I might consider something normal.
“Like what?” I asked.
“I don’t know, like maybe just a marathon”.
“Boring, do them all the time in training”
“Ok how about the three peaks? You haven’t done those yet”.
“You mean the national ones or the Yorkshire three peaks”.
“or how about I do all 6 of them, in one go”
“Great idea Mel, yes, I’ll attempt all six in one weekend”.
And that my dear reader, is part of the script submission for my gritty Northern Middle-class drama about a family torn apart by a man’s desire to run miles upon miles a few weekends a year (episode two features a particularly hard-hitting scene involving an avocado which is still too hard to mash).
In reality my friend Paul Spence, who set up the charity Paul for brain, text me to ask if I’d like to do the six peaks with him in July, to which I responded, sure.
Truth is I’ve always wanted to do the three peaks, both the national and the Yorkshire, but among my other events I’ve just never made the time.
So it is that myself, the incredible Paul Spence, the super athlete Lee Thompson, and two amazing drivers Darren and josh who've volounteered to drive 1200 miles, will be spending this upcoming weekend attempting to ascend 5,561 Metres of six peaks, running, walking and crawling fifty one miles, and all (hopefully!!!) within thirty six hours.
You can sponsor me by clicking here, go on, you know you want to.
I’m probably not in the best shape.
Since the Lakeland 100 in July 2022, I’ve let myself go a little, I’ve lost a little spark in my training and apart from a Marathon I ran earlier this year I’ve struggled with motivation, not just with running but with everything, however that’s a different article for a different day.
The point is I have massively reduced my milage, to something like 10 to 20 miles a week, and had two stints where I couldn’t train much, first because of a shoulder injury, obtained running down a hill in Brantingham whilst warning my friend to mind his footing because it was slippy, moments before I fell and hurt my shoulder, because it really was slippy, putting me out of action with any upper body work for two months.
Then earlier this year I suffered with a back injury, not sure how I did this one, but it was ongoing for weeks, I could barely walk, or stand up, or sit down, or sleep, I was just a constant ball of hurt, and at one point I was in so much pain I desperately rang around several physiotherapist trying to get an appointment for that very moment.
Through gradual and careful rehab and a phased return to exercise I’ve managed to get on it again, but in the meantime I’ve put on a few kg, actually quite a few, my six pack photoshoot weight is about 80kg, my ultra-running event weight is a few kgs above this, around 83 to 85kg, for the last six months I’ve been around 90kg, and it doesn’t seem to be coming off as quickly as it used to, possibly down to my age, but also possibly because I still eat and drink too much and hate counting calories.
With constant effort and working through the daily frustration of weighing myself, swearing that my ability to change absolutely nothing in my diet has resulted in zero weight loss, I’ve somehow managed to eventually make a few small changes and the weight is coming down.
But not so much that I didn’t suffer when I ran the Yorkshire three peaks as a “training run” a couple of weeks ago. It was a tough challenge, and I was really struggling although in all fairness I was still the third fittest person taking part, the problem was only three of us were running, and Paul and Lee where skipping and frolicking ahead taking time to admire the views and occasionally add scores of pages to their memoires whilst waiting for me to come puffing and panting behind them five to ten minutes later.
Needless to say this was a wakeup call, I vowed to be in much better shape for the big day and have since been pushing myself hard each day to at least not be a hindrance when we attempt this challenge.
I’m determined that fitness won’t be an issue, however there is one other potential problem.
I melt in the sun
This is a picture of my mother
My father has dark hair, and as a result I’m somewhat of a daywalker, I can go in the sun for a short period without factor 200 unlike my auburn contemporaries, however I can only mix with the normies for so long before my red headed genealogy begins to play havoc in high temperatures.
This happened on the Hardmoors 200 Last year, on day two, somewhere between Whitby and Saltburn I began to disintegrate like the vampires of that region upon exposure to sunlight, several gallons of water and a long lie down and I felt ok to continue, but on the Yorkshire three peaks Paul and Lee selfishly felt like they had already waited long enough for my overweight rusty figure to catch up without me having a twenty minute nap to delay them further.
It would help if the sun cream I put on didn’t run into my eye when I began sweating and cause near blindness.
But at least I’m not the only one who makes cock ups on these things.
Cock ups so far (more to come)
Every single time I run an ultra I make a mistake that cost me dearly, last year on the Lakeland 100 the wrong choice in clothing for the wet weather resulted in a blood curdling scream that could be heard for miles around Coniston as I attempted a post run shower, my friction burned body and raw genitalia didn’t get on so well with the mint shower gel I had thought would be a good idea.
On the Wolds I ran a few hundred metres through a patch of nettles after taking a wrong turn on a route I’ve ran dozens of times before.
On the Cleveland way I ran to the top of a steep hill I really didn’t need to go up having got misled by my GPX watch, best of all I stumbled down that hill and broke my brand-new walking poles.
Other mistakes include wearing the wrong trainers causing massive blisters, not applying sun cream regularly enough to my China doll skin resulting in near heat stroke, eating a huge meal halfway through a long run and then setting off to quick causing me to walk slowly for ten miles whilst holding off from vomiting. But at least I’m not alone in making errors.
Whilst running the Yorkshire three peaks we were Two peaks in as we skipped merrily downhill from Pen-Y-Ghent past a famer on a John Deer tractor peeling an orange and smiling at us as we carried on down the steep hill. After three quarters of a mile, it became apparent we were off track, and to get back on route, we had to climb up the hill we had come down and back to the farmer, who by now was near pissing himself with laughter as we moved past his tractor which was blocking the turn off we missed. Paul was really sorry for this mistake on navigation, but we forgave him, so long as there were no other mistakes.
Then about 20 miles into running the Yorkshire peaks Paul had a sudden realisation, he tapped his running pack, checked all the pockets, then his shorts pockets, stopped, got every single item out and checked them again, and then announced “erm sorry lads, I think I’ve lost my van keys”.
So followed some frantic phone calls and a spare key was tracked, and a friend agreed to drive down to meet us where we parked up to give us the key. At this point we had just one peak left, and the person coming to meet us would be at least two and a half hours, so we decided to crack on and complete the challenge.
We took a brief walk through Ribblesdale where I had hoped to encounter a shop surrounded by heavenly angels handing out frozen calypsos and waving fans at overheated and tired half ginger day walkers, but instead it turns out there are no shops, however a kindly old lady who was gardening gave us all a top up of water and even offered us sandwiches and cake, to which I was sorely tempted, were it not for the sour looks her husband was giving me as I eyed up their lunch.
Upon leaving Ribblehead I have to say I was very disappointed not to meet their famous ladies this sign promised.
Finally, we completed the last peak at Ingleborough, and made our way down to the van were by luck, Paul found his keys! Cue a phone call to his mate who by this point was only forty minutes away and could go home.
Judging by the route that day, there is just one more problem I suppose I’ll have to contend with, the scenery is boring, bland and ugly, nothing nice to look at all, if you’re looking to complete a challenge then I really wouldn’t bother with any of these if I were you.
If any of you would be kind enough to support me on this challenge it would be much appreciated, if you don’t know about Pauls charity and his story check out his website, it’s a really inspirational story of how Paul turned his life around after brain trauma and how he now helps other people with brain injuries, providing fitness classes, days out, nutritional advice, workshops, 121 support for victims and their familes and much more.
He regularly gives presentations to Schools, Universities, Businesses and community groups, and continues to inspire and help support people thanks to the generous donations made from the public.
If you could sponsor me it would be massively appreciated, my donation page is here.
I'll be writing up this challenge in the weeks to come, thanks for taking the time to read this, and thanks if you've sponsored me.
I'll try and send out live links when I'm taking part in this event.
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