In September 2008 I ran my first ultra-marathon, the High Peak 40 Mile Challenge. I finished in a time slightly better than I'd hoped for, and more importantly really enjoyed the experience. Before that race, I had experienced a few long off-road runs - I'd finished a couple of marathons in the Alps, and had even managed to win some prizes in the A and B courses of the Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon in Scotland. In 2003 my dad ran the St Cuthberts Way in a day to celebrate his 60th birthday, and I joined him for more than half of the route.
In 2005 my dad finished the West Highland Way race in about 23 hours and at the time I thought there was no way I could even comprehend doing something like that. Now, with three ultras under my belt, and having finished the most recent one feeling like I had more left in the tank after 55 miles, I'm thinking it's time to find out whether I could finish the West Highland Way race. So this evening I sent off my entry for the 2011 race - now I just need to wait to see if I get one of the 175 starting places.
Over the last couple of years I have found that there is a huge amount of valuable information and tips on running ultras on the internet, mostly within the blogs of the ultrarunners themselves. One of my favourite things about ultras is the camaraderie and sense of community amongst the runners, and it seems a part of that community spirit comes from the number of runners who share their thoughts and experiences online. So this will hopefully be my contribution to that community, though we'll have to wait and see how valuable it is.
If nothing else, it will hopefully encourage me to do some training so that I'll having something to write about.