Friday, 10 December 2010

Back to Edinburgh!

Next week, weather permitting, I will be running the route of the recently successful Rosewill Cottage Castle to Keep Challenge.

This time out, however, I will be starting in Newcastle early on Thursday morning and finishing the 107.1 mile route in Edinburgh on Saturday evening.

I was going to leave it until January before trying this particular route again but I feel that next week is an ideal opportunity to attempt the run as well as start my Christmas shopping in Edinburgh!

I think I would be foolish not to take advantage of the predicted break in snowy conditions. You never know what might happen in January and I want at least another dozen attempts at these kinds of distances before USA 2011.

I'll be looking to run this one slightly quicker than last time (33:16:50 in total). No pressure though! I'll also be looking for a greater showing of mental strength on day 2. That's the tough day when I'll be covering 39 miles from Otterburn to Melrose via Carter Bar and Jedburgh.

Unlike the last 107.1 mile effort back in November, I will be largely unsupported and will be running this one solo. Mrs Run Geordie Run and Run Geordie Run Jr will be joining me for a bite to eat in Otterburn on Thursday night and I'll see them again on Saturday afternoon as I approach Edinburgh. Other than that, I'm very much on my own. I'll be carrying one hydration backpack and I'll be giving lots of careful thought as to how much kit and supplies I should carry as well as the 2.5 litres of water every day.

All in all this one has the makings of a very tough challenge. The route from last month is still fresh in my mind so I know exactly what I'm up against.

I'm kind of looking forward to being self sufficient for the majority of the 3 days. There's no Team Run Geordie Run for this one. The 2 Hobbits (Ian and Mike) and support man Carlton and his banter will be a big miss. They were all smashing company to have back in November.

So day 1 will be 31.8 miles from Newcastle Keep, through Ponteland, Belsay and up to Otterburn. There will be 1700ft of climb and 1300ft of descent. I hope to reach the B&B at about 7pm and have enough time to get a quick shower before the aforementioned bite to eat with the family.

Day 2 will require an earlier than usual start from Otterburn. The A68 will take me up to Carter Bar, Jedburgh, Newtown St Boswells and on to Melrose. It's 39 miles in total. Unsurprisingly, there will be 2300ft of climb and 2500ft of descent. This was a 12 hour day last time out. I must look to get this down to 11 hours on the day. The only chance to replenish my stocks during this day will be in Jedburgh. Unless, of course, the burger van is parked up at Carter Bar!

Day 3 will be a slightly later start from Melrose where there are plenty of shops in which to stock up with provisions. It's a steep start to the day but I hope to be in Stow in time for lunch. There's a cracking little cafe there. In fact, the bowl of soup I had during my last visit was, alone, worth running 107.1 miles for. It will then be on to Edinburgh up the A7. The 36.3 miles during this day and 2100ft of climb and descent will take me right up to Edinburgh Castle. I hope to have Roadside support for the final few hours and if I have enough energy left after the finish then a bit of slap up nosh could be the order of the day.

Never mind the running though, the real hard work will begin on Sunday when I attempt to start my Christmas Shopping. If anyone knows where the best place to buy a lump of coal is, in Edinburgh, please get in touch.