Author Topic: London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge  (Read 1266 times)

straydogstrut

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London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« on: 01 Sep 2015, 00:39 »
Hi everyone,

As the title suggests, i've just completed the London to Cambridge Ultra Challenge this weekend. I walked the 100km (62 miles) in 31hrs 53mins and 22 excruciating seconds :-D

I was raising money for The Kaos Organisation: a small charity that runs the Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf & Hearing Children. They regularly hold workshops in schools and performed at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. You can read more about them on my fundraising page [shameless plug] which is still active at http://www.everyclick.com/thekaosorganisation [/shameless plug]

The walk itself was tough going, especially after 50km which was the night stages. A lot of it was off road across fields and through forests. It was beautiful countryside but the gullies, mud and tree routes were especially treacherous. I made it to the finish line eventually, finishing 413th out of 415 participants who finished the 100km walk (559 started overall). I had to phone my mum for a chat during the last 10km as I was literally falling asleep standing up :-\

I completed it relatively unscathed, managing to keep my feet healthy, with only two blisters. The heels of my feet were in agony for the last 16km though and the Deep Heat cream only kept the pain in my legs and back at bay temporarily. Needless to say it was a relief to finally finish but i'm so glad that I did. This was my first time attempting anything like this so I was really pleased with how well I fared mentally and physically overall. I'll definitely do another - just as soon as my replacement legs arrive ;)

I took some pictures as I went which are on Flickr here

Has anyone else attempted any challenges like this? Got any war stories to tell?:-D
« Last Edit: 02 Sep 2015, 22:20 by straydogstrut »

m0ds

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Re: London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« Reply #1 on: 01 Sep 2015, 01:18 »
Very well done! Helluva feat. Especially for your feet. I have only walked 10+ miles twice in my life, once on a scout walk on the south coast, the other when I missed a bus in Oxford city and had to walk home to town ;) Both were gnarly, so can only imagine what you went through - I'll definitely add to your fundraising pot tomorrow :)

straydogstrut

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London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« Reply #2 on: 01 Sep 2015, 08:33 »
Thanks Mark, really appreciate that!

You'd be surprised. For my training these last three months I've been walking home from work 2-3 times a week and that's just over ten miles.

There were blisters at first but I invested in a pair of really good, albeit expensive, walking shoes and can now do it regularly with no issues.

On the 100km I made sure to change my socks at every rest stop and dusted my feet and inside shoes with powder. It's the combination of friction and sweat that causes the blisters. Considering the number of blisters I had from the London Paddington Bear Hunt (did it in Converse - so not a good idea!) I must've looked after my feet well to get away with only two blisters.

One isn't an issue at all as the Compeed plaster sorted it right out, but I didn't treat the other early enough so the skin came off and well.. yeah[emoji16]

CaptainD

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Re: London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« Reply #3 on: 01 Sep 2015, 11:32 »
Well done mate, that's an exceptional achievement.  I know we've chatted about sponsored walks before but didn't realise you were going for something this big!

straydogstrut

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Re: London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« Reply #4 on: 01 Sep 2015, 13:21 »
Thanks Dave. Yeah, I did sign up for the London Bridges Walk you mentioned as a practice before this one but I was so disorganised I left the house without my participant number and ended up missing the start.

I bit the bullet and signed up for this one back in Jan but it took months to work out the kinks with the charity/fundraising page etc[emoji3]

Snarky

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Re: London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« Reply #5 on: 01 Sep 2015, 15:46 »
Very cool, and the (semi?)rural English landscape is beautiful. Nice going! :P

Haven't done anything remotely like it; I have a vague plan to bike around Lake Zürich, but that's only about 6-8 hours.

straydogstrut

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Re: London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« Reply #6 on: 01 Sep 2015, 21:01 »
Thanks, yeah the landscape was lovely. The route followed the river Lee out of London with lots of narrowboats and canal moorings. That then gave way to lots of fields and forested areas and pretty little villages. It was pretty rural although clearly lots of farm use. As we neared Cambridge the roads reappeared until finally it was right through the town centre to finish the other side of town at a sports ground[emoji4]

Snarky

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Re: London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« Reply #7 on: 01 Sep 2015, 22:13 »
I'm curious about the logistics of something like this. I suppose anyone could just decide to walk from London to Cambridge, but how is the challenge run and structured? Was it just non-stop walking, or did you stop e.g. for meals and stuff? And did you all walk together (at the beginning, anyway), and along the same path? How was it marked, did you have a map, or what? Were there checkpoints?

Wait, I can just read about it on the web site: http://www.london2cambridgechallenge.com/

straydogstrut

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London2Cambridge 100km Ultra Challenge
« Reply #8 on: 02 Sep 2015, 06:53 »
Haha you can but to answer your questions:

There were major rest stops at 24km, 50km and 71km with marquees set up where you could sit down, get first aid, use portaloos, top up water/energy drinks/tea/coffee and help yourself to a large selection of cereal bars, fruits, nuts, chocolate etc. Massage was also available at some of them.

At 24km you could bring your own lunch or buy from some vendors. At 50km, 71km and the finish they gave you a meal voucher to get a meal from the selection being served. It was very good food. I had barbecue chicken, dauphinoise potatoes, olives, feta cheese, couscous and sundried tomatoes at the half way point. At the next one I had sausage and black pudding rolls for breakfast.

There were smaller midpoint stops between the above with toilets, drinks and snacks etc. They were ideal for a quick pit stop. Overall I think I counted nine rest stops.

The course was marked very clearly with pink arrows surrounded by yellow reflective tape. There were also yellow glow sticks at night. The arrows were about every hundred metres and very easy to follow. We also had a little booklet with map.

Hazards were identified with a pink square with black circle. Everything from a low hanging branch to a bridge or road crossing.

Kilometre markers were shown in black text on a pink square and very frequent.

Everyone who registers is given a start time (Mine was 07:30am) and after a group warmup everyone with your time slot is set off together.

You don't have to stay as a group though. I regularly overtook and was overtaken by people. I chatted to people walking near me and at rest stops but mostly I walked alone (my choice)

At night, they only let you leave the rest stops in groups and make sure you have a head torch and glow sticks. The groups left every 15mins so you could choose when to go.

They had Trekmasters also walking the route who would buddy up with you as needed and kept an eye on the night walkers.

You had a lanyard round your neck which was scanned in at every rest stop, either by someone with a paddle or by walking across a plate to record your timings. You could connect it all to Facebook for live updates.

I was *very* impressed with how well organised it was.

Hope that helps!
« Last Edit: 02 Sep 2015, 06:56 by straydogstrut »