The second Purbeck Marathon was yesterday; as with last year, I couldn’t really wriggle out of this event as it passes my front door in Corfe Castle. Last year I did a lame three weeks’ of training beforehand, this year I did none at all; the reason was partly that I needed to recover from the big run three weeks ago, partly that I’m bone idle. I was assuming a fairly painful experience, hampered by whatever aches and pains were leftover from that event.
Surprisingly, I felt reasonably fine and ache-free and the miles flowed past. For the first time ever in a marathon, I found that I had something left in the tank towards the end, and was able to run the last couple of miles; well, not shuffle anyway. I came in a minute faster than last year…the course map and figures in the bottom picture are from last year, I’m too lazy to upload this again.
What an incredible event! You can hardly go far wrong with a course that takes in some of the finest scenery in Britain, but add in the great organisation, zillions of enthusiastic helpers and tub of local ice cream waiting at the end, and you have something really special. Many thanks to all involved.
I knew it was cold, because my drink valve kept on freezing up. However, setting out before dawn on this grey icy morning meant that I had already run ten miles of hill, cliff and beach before I even saw another living soul; a handful of runners and a couple of horse riders on windswept Studland Beach were the only folk out and about. I reached the signpost denoting the start/ end of the South West Coast Path and turned back; all that remained was a few miles of heathland alongside Poole Harbour, and then a winding (for ‘winding’, read: slightly lost) run through Rempstone Forest back to home at Corfe Castle. Only the final mile was on tarmac, my legs didn’t enjoy this much.
This morning was a wonderful but rather tough experience. I re-started my running just two weeks ago; obviously I’ve skipped the golden rule that says you should increase your mileage by only c10% a week when training. So far I seem to be getting away with it (fingers crossed), although I am certainly pretty slow so far. I have just two weeks before the big event, I have no idea whether I can complete that (simple logic dictates, ‘no’) but I’ll give it a go. Firstly, I’ll see if I can manage a marathon distance next weekend. Nothing can go wrong.
PS Please forgive my self-indulgence on the final photo. It’s nothing to do with today’s run, it’s just my beautiful girl enjoying her first ever snow with her Daddy…yesterday, 900 feet above sea level on Bulbarrow Hill in North Dorset.
I set out at 6 am today for Dartmoor, hoping to squeeze in a very full day of whitewater paddling. Unfortunately, I was turned back halfway by extreme flooding in west Dorset (third time this year I’ve failed to reach the rivers) and headed back to home.
When I reached our village, I found that the main road was flooded; this isn’t unheard of, but the water level had reached the highest we’ve seen it in 12 years of living here, blocking off all the side roads. For a few hours until the waters eased off slightly, the Isle of Purbeck really was an island.
I hitched a lift through the floods in a fire engine. A few hours later, I took a walk with Heather and Ellen to see the floods; the river had dropped enough to open the main road, at least.
Should have listened to those Mayans…
Paddled along the Purbeck coast last night between 9 pm and midnight, in brilliant moonlight. The cliffs were lit up extraordinarily brightly, allowing us to experience a very familiar place in a totally unfamiliar way. Away from the full moon in the shadows and caves, phosphorescence sparkled.
All I took was this photo on the way home, sorry.
The image shows the normally tiny stream which trickles through the village of Corfe Castle, transformed into raging torrent by extremely heavy rainfall, on the back of many concurrent weeks of wetness. Half an hour later, it had risen high enough to flood across and close the main road through the village.
I’d just returned from a failed paddling trip; I’d headed early this morning to Dartmoor with a friend to paddle some of the steeper rivers, but no paddling took place. We hit monsoon-like rains in West Dorset and East Devon, and encountered numerous flooded roads. Various rivers in the SW hit their highest recorded flows this morning, and we blundered right into the midde of it. Most impressive was a steep uphill road which had rocks flushing down it…I don’t recall that in the Highway Code! The Police turned us around eventually, saying that all roads heading west were out of action. The drive back was a nightmare, as of course the roads we’d passed were now more flooded. I made it back home after a five hour trip starting and finishing at my front door…
Heading home after a great late evening ride…
A few images of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations around the village of Corfe Castle this weekend. The image above of the beacon being lit on the hill was taken handheld from our bedroom window after dark, at a distance of 600 m … so apologies for the quality.
Tonight I ran home from work in warm sunshine, wearing shorts and a t-shirt; spring has sprung. When I reached my village however, I found that the castle was holding back a bank of thick fog. ‘Corfe Castle’ is so-named as a ‘corfe’ is a gap in hills. The castle is perched on a hillock in the gap, between higher hills on either side. The last few hundred metres of my run were through chilly pea-soup…
Some day soon I’ll take a photo with an actual camera, not a phone. Maybe it’ll even be of some kayaking.
Evening light over two Corfe Castles.
Photo taken just now, courtesy of my mobile phone, whilst strolling the Enchanted Gardens after dinner at Corfe Castle Model Village‘s cafe. This is undoubtedly the Isle of Purbeck’s friendliest eatery and (happening to be not very many yards from our house) is effectively our second dining room.
This was the very welcome view that greeted me in the last mile of this mornings’ very gruelling run. Home was at last in sight!
I’d started out under starlight with the intention of running a full 26.2 mile marathon distance around the Purbeck hills, but the going was really heavy after last night’s heavy rain (I even found myself crawling on hands and knees along a streambed at one point) and my legs were telling me that they hadn’t fully recovered from last Sunday’s long run.
I decided to listen to my body (i.e. bottle out) and cut the run short (at c19 miles). Lots of rest needed I think, before I face the real thing in two weeks…
Now, it’s time for late brekkie.
The photos are all in horrible colours because my camera phone’s white balance was accidentally set to, ‘fluorescent’.
This morning I left the house at dawn and ran 10.5 miles; up onto the ridge in the photo above, down and across the valley and then up onto and back along the ridge you see behind (top right in the pic). There was about 1500 feet of ascent to huff and puff through, but I loved every moment. It was a glorious frosty morning, the scenery was stunning and the sea was blue.
I’ve just entered an offroad coastal ultramarathon (34 miles and lots of hills), taking place in South Devon in February. I tried a half-marathon version of one of these events a couple of weeks back. Despite no training I somehow survived … based on this, I decided to enter the ultramarathon in two months’ time. I’m a bit overweight (too much sofa time!) and indeed there is no way I can do the kind of proper extended training that such an event properly demands, but basically I’ll just ‘give it a go’ (in true amateurist fashion). Nothing can go wrong.
I’m trying to raise some funds for the DSRT Ashburton, who were among the volunteer rescue groups who came to the aid of my good friend Chris Wheeler and carried him out of the Dart valley on the night of 21st November 2009.
Many of you generously donated when I ran my first marathon for this great cause, last year – I was blown away by peoples’ support.
Please consider supporting the DRST Ashburton, using the link below. In return, I promise that I will suffer considerably for your amusement/ satisfaction!
Any support for the DRST Ashburton welcomed and appreciated.
A glorious Purbeck morning, riding my favourite local singletrack. This runs through a golf course overlooking Poole Harbour and is known as Frank’s Tank, on account of a large rusty watertank at one end of the route.
It was great to be out again riding with my friend Claire, my usual MTB sparring partner; she’s had a little time out to have a baby, but is now back in the saddle and as always, riding much better than I am.
Late last night, I rode by moonlight up the highest hill in the area, Swyre Head (dodging a few low-flying owls) and spent a while watching the lighthouses blinking far away over Portland Bill in Dorset, and St Catherine’s Point and The Needles on the Isle of Wight.