Sunday, 15 November 2009
Autumn afternoons on the riverbank
As I set off this afternoon at 2 conditions were perfect.The wild weather from the previous couple of days had been replaced by beautiful autumn conditions-bright,sunny,mild and still.Todays route would be about 12\13 miles,from Spilsby at work H.Q,back to the carabanger at Skegness.
The route is abit haphazard ,gleaned from the desire to run home from work without running on roads.Consulting the Ordinance Survey map for the area I was able to cobble together a route on the country paths,which allowed only about 2 miles on the road.Starting at Spilsby,the run headed for Halton Holgate,before going offroad behind the church.Over a few fields you are soon on the riverbank,which heads through Wainfleet on its way out into the Wash.
The riverbank is always deserted,save from a few cows or sheep.It is always a mystery to me why the countryside is not used by more people.People are quick to judge this whole area,but the way I see it we are blessed.From my base at the carabanger I have to travel about a mile to endless beaches,or a couple of hundred yards to country paths,which link together to form routes of several hundred miles,with very limited road use.Perfect!
The route heads along the bank for about 3 miles,until the route deviates under a railway bridge.This is a magical place-sheltered,remote,rural.I have joked that if I failed to find a home for the carabanger in the off season,I would have lved under that bridge.It would be a beautiful place to winter.
At this time of year the paths are in choas.As many paths cross farmed fields,many have recently been ploughed and the deep plough can be trying.Off the riverbank at Firsby,the route meanders through to Burgh,over the fields,and then down to Skegness.Nice run.
This weekend saw the 6th consecutive weekend of racing-mainly cross country races over about 6 miles.The club system in the U.K blesses us with the chance to compete in local leagues,with very minimal cost-keeping running cheap.Saturday was a North Midlands League race,where I scrapped into the top 100,placing 100th.Although these distances do not bear great relevance to ultra racing,they do provide the chance to intersperse long miles with a little speed.Ron Hill,the great english runner,advocates running long miles with very regular racing.Reading his autobiography 'The long hard road' it was not unusual for Ron to race every weekend-indeed on Bank Holiday weekends he was known for racing 3 times over 3 consecutive days.
My aims for the next year continue to be vague.I would like to try a big 100 miler,like the Lakeland 100 or a 24 hour race.March sees the Copper Canyon Ultra Marathon in Mexicos deep Copper Canyons.Although I will be prepared for this 50 mile race,the whole trip will be a great exchange of cultures and knowledge.The race forms part of a sevaral day programme of treks and festivities,with ultra runners from all over the world and the legendary Tarahumara indians,famed for their endurance feats.The whole event has recently gained worldwide attention by the publication of the book'Born to Run'by Christopher McDougall-a best seller.The man behind the event is Micah True a.k.a. Caballo Blanco.Micah,a self confessed trail running bum,first went to the Copper Canyons in the mid 90's,after meeting several Tarahumara at the 1994 Leadville trail race and has remained there ever since.On the outside Micah has very little-no wealth and a small home,self built from rocks deep in the canyons,surviving on "Korima'-a circle of sharing favoured by the tarahumara,but by organising the race provides the tarahumara with corn and much needed monetary funds.By shunning traditional western materialism and living to run,the man has become an inspiration to many-myself included.I look forward to meeting him.
Training steps up tomorrow.Running to work and back-a round trip of 25 miles,from Monday to Thursday.This is proper running-using running as transport-getting from A to B.I look forward to it