Worlds collide when an ultra runner meets the LDWA



I’d been looking forward to today for a while – The Bath Beat 26.5, my first LDWA event

The organisers, (the “Long Distance Walkers Association” – aka LDWA had sent me some route instructions which read something like this:

Having passed pylon, head for LMG in corner of FLD. X LMG & SO for 25 YDS to 2nd LMG. X LMG & walk to R of LH fence line to ST in hedge ahead.

LMG? Isn’t that short for “Light Machine Gun”? Fortunately I was told it means “Large Metal Gate” – phew 🙂 And – don’t even start me on how much KGT action I’ve had today – phooarr!

Well – I’ve got another couple of acronyms for you – WTF, and thank you for the GPS route 🙂 It was a bit of a cross-between a treasure hunt with a picnic and some running when you could be bothered! Unfortunately, the LDWA had a bit of a quiz section with ‘unmanned checkpoints’ where you had to answer a question like “what number is on the lamppost at mile 19.3” – how’s a Garmin going to answer that? I ran 1/2 mile past the first “quiz-point” before realising I’d missed it, helpfully pointed out by a couple of walkers who’d also missed it – they suggested I ran back to find the answer… So I did – the answer is 113 in case you do it next year…

The murky underworld of the LDWA seems rife with ultra-nutters! Most of the runners, (most were walkers) I met today also did the Compton 40 last weekend and had a lot of the same races on their calendar as me. It is a strange world – even by running standards, with hidden-away checkpoints – full of hot and cold food, (I have now discovered pizza as an ultra food – thanks to Dean Karnazes for the heads-up).

There were around 430 starters today! I find that amazing considering most of my recent ultras have had 40-50 starters, and it’s rare that I enter a race with that many entrants these days. Granted there were 4 or 5 distance options between 12.5-26.5 miles, but still – that’s a lot of people wandering around Bath, eating pizza and cake.

The Bath Beat is run by the same chap who does the Rhondda Rollercoaster in May – so I think I’ll have to do that one too. I advise anyone interested in good food, good company and good times to come and have a go with me!

So now, it must be time to taper for Fellsman? 26.5 miles today with 2,500′  of ascent – still feels a bit rubbish compared to where I’ll be in 2 weeks!

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