Tuesday, 17 March 2015

High Terrain Events - Ultra Trail Running Weekend

March the 6th - 8th saw another addition of the High Terrain Events trail camps. I have been to a couple now and I can defiantly say they get better each time. High Terrain Events are a well established organisation what organises sporting events from trail runs to triathlons and duathlons across the Lake District and beyond, but they have turned that experience and passion into creating trail running camps of the highest level!


This weekends trail running camp was based on ultra running. On first evening the runners started to arrive at the Derwentwater Independent Hostel based in Keswick before kicking off the weekend with an easy lakeside introduction trail run to get to know each other and the High Terrain Events team. Everyone was greeted by the Lake District weather of strong winds but thankfully the rain held off till we had finished our run. On returning from an easy 7km run the group all got together at the hostel where I took every one through a presentation on equipment & kit selection for ultra running. It was great to start the weekend off with a topic that everyone can relate to and all take an interest in. After a group discussion and questions it was time to head for our evening meal. For anyone wanting somewhere to stay in close proximity of Keswick with amazing food the Derwentwater Independent Hostel is the perfect place. The food and portions they serve is among some of the best I've experienced.
Some amazing trails around the Lake District. 

The evening was finished off with a great presentation from the current World Trail Running Champion Ricky Lightfoot. I have know Ricky for many years now but his talks and discussions forever amaze me on how he manages to train and stay fit amongst his normal living life with his family and work. The evening was filled full of great questions from the group all wanting to learn how to train and gain the most out of the stretched time they have each day. It's a real opportunity for the runners who come on these camps to learn some brilliant hints and tips from some of the worlds best.
Everyone learning from Ricky Lightfoot. 

After a good nights sleep Saturday started of with a brief discussion on the events of the day and the introduction of 9Bar Athlete Vicci Mousley. We soon headed off down the trails right out of the back door of the hostel. We headed towards the far end of the Derwentwater Lake shores before making our way up the right hand side of the Borrowdale Valley following the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon course. The weather was still extremely blustery and the mist was down covering all the tops, but this wasn't going to dampen the groups moral and attitude towards the day. The run gave the group a perfect insight of what it takes to race the Scafell Pike Trail Marathon with the terrain changing almost every km from single technical trails to bogs and undulating terrain. On reaching the highest points of our run (Seathwaite Tarn and StyHead) the clag was right down to just above ground level and the tarns looked like we had reached the sea coast! I have never seen them so wild, this made a great example at how the weather can be in the Lake District and explained why we carry specific kit for when we do these races in the mountains for our own safety. The Scafell Pike Trail Marathon then follows the corridor route up and over Scafell Pike but the weather today wasn't going to make this a safe passage of route for the group so we started to head back down towards Rosthwaite where again we would test the legs of the group as there was a challenging climb over before we descended into the Watendlath and along to Ashness Bridge before ended up back at the hostel. Overall a brilliant 32km run covering a good section of the marathon course and a range of underfoot terrain.
Descending down from Styhead.

On returning back to the hostel we was given time to get sorted and fuel back up before Vicci kindly took everyone through a core stability and stretching workout. What everyone really enjoyed as it was something what most don't do.. Including me, who found it extremely hard and would take the 32km run again over another session. (I will try practise Vicci...!) A short break and we moved onto nutrition and a presentation from Ian Mulvey on training programs and principles for ultra running. Yet again another great insight for the group to learn another part of running an ultra marathon.
Vicci putting us through our paces.

The evening run was a head torch 8km run up onto Walla Crag. Petzl had kindly supplied the weekend with the head torches to try out on the trail. Again another brilliant route right from the hostel door and a rewarding view over Keswick on the summit before descending back down. The winds were still extremely strong and the group kept moving so we all stayed warm and ultimately safe on the mountain side. Our evening was finished off with a nice evening meal and an informal discussion on anything running / ultra running.
Saturdays route profile and information.

Waking up on the Sunday morning meant unfortunately it was the final day of the weekends camp. But High Terrain Events still had plenty of tricks and trails left to share.. We headed back up on to Walla Crag before making our way over to the Bleaberry Fells and High Seat. This morning runs was all about leaning how to navigate in the mountains and many of the group took it in turns to navigate the group to different parts of the map, before I took the group through a session on how to run efficiently uphill and downhill in the mountains. I took the group through several exercises and drills to try and share hints and tips to keep moving efficiently throughout the trails when they come to racing an ultra marathon before descending down of the trails for the final time of the weekend.
Sarah navigating our next route.

Overall the weekend was a huge success and I'm looking forward to the next trail camp later on in the year in November. (Date still to be released by High Terrain Events, but I fully recommend keeping an eye out and get your selfs booked on before the places fill up!)
Me taking the group through a few things on how to run up hill efficiently. 

Thank you to everyone who made the weekend one to remember including High Terrain Events, Derwentwater Independent Hostel, 9Bar for fuelling everyone with bars for the weekend, Petzl and Salomon running who provided some test kit for the group and to Ricky and Vicci for giving their time to come down and educate us all.
Final decent of the weekend. 

For anyone looking for some great trail or ultra races, High Terrain Events offer something for everyone from beginners to experienced athletes looking for their next challenge :
  • 29th of March - Buttermere 10mile Trail Race
  • 26th of April - Kielder Ultra 50/80/100km (UTMB Qualifying Race 100k only) 
  • 7th of June - Borrowdale Trail Race 13/21km 
  • 7th of June - Scafell Pike Trail Marathon
  • 4th of October - 3 x 3000 Ultra Trail 80km (UTMB Qualifying Race) 
  • 18th of October - Ennerdale Trail Race 10/25/50km  
More info and details can be found on http://www.highterrainevents.co.uk or follow them on Facebook at 'High Terrain Events' and Twitter on @HiTerrainevents

Thanks for following as always! 
Paul x 
Everyone making light work of the climbs! 

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