A Journey of a 1000 miles starts with a single step

Ridgeway Challenge - 2005 Ridgeway Challenge - 2005

The Ridgeway Challenge seemed to be a natural progression from the 30 milers I had done

This is organised by the Trail Runners Association. For 2005 it took place over the August bank holiday weekend, starting at 10am on the 27th and with a cut off time of 4pm on 28th. I expected to finish this in 20 hours, but I had forgotten to take into account the 10-15 min at each of the 8 check points and the 1 hour at the halfway point for the provided meal and to reorganise for running the night time section.

At the start
I like to think that although I probably ran down the first hill at an unsustainable pace I fairly soon settled into a pace that if I continued at the same speed would see me finishing about 9am the following morning.

Down the hill from the start
I now know that if I had done some training runs to familiarise myself with where the route went in the first half it would have paid dividends. I thought as I knew the last half OK that the first half would be alright as it would be done in daylight and it is a waymarked route. I must have missed some signs because I did go 'exploring' several times, and on several occasions did meet other runners coming towards me from a different direction the one I was following. I did always regain the route without too much of a problem once I realised that I had gone wrong, but all these explorations probably added 30 min to an hour to my time over the first half.

Running one of the good tracks, not lost!

The other mistake I made was to not take my head torch from my support team, Janet, at the check point before half way and not thinking to phone her when it started to get dark to arrange to pick it up.
The result of this was that I ended up running in the dark as I neared Streetly and twisted my knee when I fell, I had to walk the last 3 miles into the halfway check point

Retired at half way
If this had been only 10 miles or something to the end I would have carried on, albeit slowly. As I was only at half way and the next 40 miles would be in the dark I thought it was wise to retire.
Oh well, there is always next year, or a 100 mile challenge if the TRA have one of these.