My love for running is taking me to places around the world that I have dreamed of visiting. I love the challenge the races provides and the opportunity to visit somewhere new and beautiful, it is so rewarding and inspiring. While I do these challenges I also want to support The Gracias Foundation as a charity close to my heart, please feel free to support their many projects by donating on the link below.

Friday, 30 August 2013


Starting UTMB this year was going to be hard.  Just a week before the start I was off work with a stinking cold.  I tried to do everything to recover but I did not quite do it and it resulted in me DNFing at Courmayeur. 

On Friday of the race I was in 2 minds whether to start as I was still blowing my nose and had the occasional cough, plus I didn’t feel 100%.  If there is one thing that I have learned from starting UTMB, you need to be 100% fit if you are going to finish.  With my my cold I wasn't fully focused and forgot a number of things, I also didn't come to Chamonix early enough so was rushing to sort myself out and I prefer the calmness to get myself ready.  These were signs that I neglected and in hindsight were indicators it wasn’t going to be my race this year.
Looking back now, even though the cold had not fully disappeared,  I am glad I did start.  It gave me the experience of what UTMB will be like and how hard the full race will be and that it should not be considered lightly.  I want to come back with full focus on this race and finish. Crossing my fingers I get in for 2015!

As help for others and to remind me for next year here is what I took on the race with me:
·         Salomon S-Lab Advanced Skin 12 litre backpack
·         Water bottle : one raid light with feed tube and one soft flask from Salomon
·         Black Diamond ultra distance trekking poles.  They are super light and fold up nicely so can be tucked away, although I think I would use them for most of the race as they help both on the up and down especially when the quads are finished with the steep downhills.  
·         Lights Petzl TIKKA XP²- used the first night.  I had forgotten to change the batteries from the West Highland Way race and they quickly died, so ending up changing batteries on top of Col de Siege. Not the best idea and another indicator I wasn’t myself. I used this headlamp the whole night and with the new batteries it was sufficient.  The first night you are still fairly close to all other competitors so you have shared light. 
·         Lights Petzl Nao - I was planning to used my Nao  for the 2nd night when I thought I would be more tired and would need more light to guide me, but didn’t get to test this.  I might ensure that I have a second rechargeable battery so I can ensure continued bright light                 
·         Hoka stinson
·         Socks: drymax
·         Forgot the vaseline
·         Salomon 3/4 lengths tights....decided to wear these for the whole race.  But it was hot and I think I would have been too hot to wear these during the day.  They were perfect at night (around 7c)but if the weather is fairly warm 24c during the day I would opt for shorts as you can put on the longs for night as you have to carry them anyhow!!! 
·         Started in long sleeved pink Laufuma top thinking it would be easier for night.  If nice conditions are expected I would start with a short sleeved top.
·         Raidlight long sleeve top
·         Mountain Hardwear dryQ waterproof
·         Mountain Hardwear ghost whisper :  I wore it but it got quickly cold so I but on my waterproof
·         Waterproof trousers :  Marmot
·         Mountain Hardwear warm hat
·         Mountain Harwear stretch gloves.  They got wet a little and I was very cold so I just covered them with my Raidlight waterproof gloves.  These are amazing...lightweight thin at 40g.  I haven't tested in wet conditions, they are so light that I think in wet conditions they might not be so effect.  They are however great lightweight gloves when the weather is good. 
·         I wore a buff and carried a second
·         Carried a spare pare of socks which I did not use.  If dry conditions are expected I would not take these again. at least not for the 1st half.  Maybe I might take them in the second half.  If it is wet I would certainly carry a spare as I experience in WHW, blisters come easy in wet conditions.

What did I eat
I had a bounce ball, nakd bar, energy gel x2, baby fruit packet, cliff jot jelly strawberry x 2, GU energy drink.  At every drink stop I had soup at the aid stations, coke and some bread and salami.  I had a great cuppa tea after Col de Siege which was great.  I had no stomach issues but was only out for 16 hours so early days

What I took to Courmayeur
And would bring again :
·         Tube of chocolate desert from the super U...amazing treat and makes you smile
·         Fresh Nectarine

I should have had but didn't pack :
·         Electrolytes
·         Salt tablets
·         spare clothes - a definite if the weather is unsettled , both long and short
·         change of shoes

 What I would want from Crews at Vallorcine or Trient
·         Some fruit - pineapple, Melon, tinned peaches
·         More choccie desert