Club Secretary Sue Walker has been clocking up the miles, and events, as she prepares for her second West Highland Way Race in June 2022. Ever one to seek out something different, in April she took part in The Woldsman – a 50-mile Challenge in the Yorkshire Wolds, starting and finishing at Driffield. In May, it was the turn of the inaugural Formantine and Buchan Railway 12 hour ultramarathon, which took place along a disused railway line at Maud, near Peterhead.
Two very different events, providing miles in the bank and a range of terrain similar to that encountered along the 95 miles of the WHW.
Instead of the normal race report, Sue has provided a comparison of the two events, well worth a read and containing the sort of information you need when considering entering this type of event.
Thanks and well done Sue.
|What||The Woldsman||Formantine and Buchan Railway 12 hour ultramarathon|
|When?||April 2022||May 2022|
|How Far?||51.1 miles||54.47 miles|
|How long?||12 hours 11 minutes||11 hours 59 minutes|
|Elevation?||Lots of short and sharp ascents and descents into and out of dales. 4,500ft over the 51 miles)||c100 ft per 8.6 mile out and back, (nearly 900 ft over the 12 hours) so fairly flat|
|Who?||LDWA Challenge Events||TandandRam events|
|Running surface?||Some tarmac, paths cutting across fields, grass, and limestone trails
Trail shoes advisable, especially if wet
|Old railway line with grit covering (like around Preston Island) Road shoes would be fine|
|Checkpoints and support crew requirements?||7 checkpoints all supplying food and drink. Breakfast (tea and toast) at the start, lunch and a hot meal afterwards (caters more for walkers than runners) No need to carry your own supplies
No need for support crews
|Two check points at either end of the out and back route. Hot water for tea/coffee available at one end, cold water available at both.
Space available on old railway platforms to set out own supplies.
No need for support crew
|Toilets/facilities?||Some checkpoints were in village halls so toilets were available at a couple of points
Festival style shower unit was hired so runners and walkers had the opportunity to have a hot shower at the end
|Toilets available at each end of the out and back course|
|Parking?||Plenty of parking available free of charge in Driffield show ground||Plenty of parking available free of charge in Maud. Might be an issue if race field increase but street parking would be an option|
|Accommodation?||Camping/campervans welcomed in the showground||B&B and campsite available within 5 miles of the start|
|Runnable?||Yes, though hands on knees for a couple of the steeper climbs||Yes. Height change isn’t really a hill – more like the incline from Oakley to Dunfermline on the cycle path – but noticeable as your legs tire|
|Navigation needed?||9 pages of detailed route description sent out in advance in addition to a GPX file. If relying on the route description, remember reading glasses if needed.
More options to go wrong with navigation if you don’t pay attention, but still not too challenging. Although I had OS maps, I didn’t need to consult them during the race. The route description and GPX info was sufficient
|Simple out and back course with small loops around Maud railway station in the final hour or two.|
|Scenery?||Lovely countryside, quiet picturesque villages, derelict chapels||Attractive area – but out and back – so lost a bit of novelty after a while|
|Prizes/goodies?||Certificate with your finish time and a cloth badge for all finishers||Race T shirt, beer, banana and mars bar for all. Bespoke prizes made from old railway rails and whisky barrels to 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the open event and in each age category|
|Worth travelling for?||Yes. LDWA events (not races though finishing order results with times are published) are good value events, allowing you to run light, and giving you the opportunity to try out a wide variety of foods at checkpoints.
Check before entering as a few events are for walkers only, not runners.
|Great event. Small field for this first event and very well organised. Never too far from a checkpoint.
A good way to experiment with time on feet and ultra-running without concerns over meeting checkpoint deadlines