Ridgeway 85

I'm really keen to set myself a big challenge in 2009 and wondered how realistic this event would be - i've run 6 marathons over thepast couple of years (a couple off road and 3 or 4 road) and a lot of half's etc and a marathon at 14000 feet.  Is this something you can train for over the next 7 months or so? I'm running about 20-30 miles per week currently and does anyone know whether there is much need for map reading skills etc.

If this isn't reaistic (I had originally hoped to do Comrades this year but wife is expecting so can't justify the cost !) does anyone know of any other 50 mile mile runs that are a good startinmg place.



  • No need for map reading - the Ridgeway national trail is generally well way-marked. There are a few turns to keep an eye out for, where the RW turns but there is a track carrying on ahead. If you're going for a time (ie racing) best to recce stages in advance.

    There are a number of 40 & 50ml events in the LDWA calendar  - www.ldwa.org.uk - go to the Challenge Events diary. If you delete the date in the 'To' field and refresh, you'll get the calendar for the whole of 2009. The deadline for the next (April) issue of our mag is at the end of January so I expect to be adding more events over the next month. These will mostly be for the summer and autumn; the programme to April/ May is pretty complete. 

  • Jogstar: Ive done the Ridgeway its very doable, generally speaking its quite well marked though when your tired at 0300!! You can certainly get ready for this in 8 months.


  • Thanks very much for the replies and also for the LDWA link MOSTLY. Seems they have some really interesting events that i'll hope to enter.

    I'm terrible with a map though so have tended to stick to large road runs but much prefer running offroad and want to run further (as I'm not getting quicker!).  I'll need to stick to events with fairly simple directions to start with as I can get lost running along the canal!.

    Are the people at LDWA events runner friendly? Mind you I may not be going any quicker than the walkers anyway so they may not even notice!

  • There are very few events in the LDWA calendar that don't allow runners, and on most events runners are a very significant minority. I'm organising the Winter Tanners (20 or 30 ml from Leatherhead) next weekend (11th) and the advance entries are aboout 40% runners. Some of those won't finish faster than the faster walkers, but they identify as runners rather than walkers.

     Over the very long distances, even the top runners do some walking (or so they say) so it is important to include some walking in your training, so that you can walk at a decent pace and not let your average pace drop too much.

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    I'm intending to do this event this year.  My longest race so far has been The Highland Fling, the first 53 miles of the West Highland Way held towards the end of April, a race I can't recommend enough, and will be doing it again his year.  Useful preparation.

    I've read all the old threads for this and it sounds very interesting.  The hardest thing looks to be the transport logistics.

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭

    id advise it to anyone. awesome event, even if i only got as far as 45miles last year! I will be back, just not sure if it will be this year though.... got off to a particularly unlucky start to the 2008 event, i should of realised at the start that my luck was out!!

    was lucky enough to get a lift to the start, and then a pick up from the finish. tried the hotel/train option but it wasnt going to happen!

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    So maybe I am considering this one..... image
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    Go on, go on ...

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    yep, IM in Rex. just pray that the night section is dry this year and not as wet as last year!!!
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    Tall order for a BH weekend!  I'd better get entering.  And training.
  • Hi guys,

     Been lurking for a while, but have entered this as well. I have done 2 IM events and was wondering how the preperation/training compares? This will be my first ultra and I am currently training for Stratford Marathon (hoping sub 3.30). My current plan is just to up the milage after the marathon with back to back days of long runs every other weekend. Does this sound sensible?


  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭

    Rhodders, Im no expert on training for ultras! I always just use marathon training as a base, but throw in some much longer runs/walks with a back pack too. Sadly I dont really have the time or energy to do multiple juge training sessions. I guess the other way of going about it is to enter a few smaller ultras before Ridgeway?

    IM curretly on a combination of a 3.20 and a 3.30 Smartcoach training programme before Draycote at the end of Feb. Following on from that Im doing Ashby 20 in March and then a 40m ultra in April. Im hoping to find something around the 40m distance then in June/july.

    This is a seriously hard event, but remember its quite do-able! One thing ive taken away form the ultras ive done so far is that you have to prepare yourself for good sections and bad. There have been times where i would have done anytning to just stop, but then if you keep going 3-4m later you might be flying along feeling fine again! Its all about riding though the bits where you feel like $hit and gritting your teeth!!!!

    Last year I had to pull out at 40m having gone over on my ankle. I continued on it for 4-5 m but it was getting worse. If it had been a 50m ultra then id have finshed it, but with another 40ish miles left then there was no chance, especially off road in the dark. In contrast my mate who i entered with managed to complete it in 26hrs, and that was on the bases of short 6m training runs!

  • I'm in.  Looking forward to it.

     Anyone else got any tips?

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    dont worry about packing much food, there was tonnes at each checkpoint last year. The best of which was weetabix cake...... seriously i packed lots of choccie bars, nuts and other bits but I really didnt need it.
  • Got my 'thanks for your entry' email today. What have I done?

     Thanks for the advice Mr F. I am going to get through the marathon first and then re-evaluate my training. I'm sure I will be after more advice as the event draws nearer!!!

  • Guys - I did this last year off essentially mara training  -except I tried to get my long slow runs up to 24 miles, off road+hilly - and split them up as 3 x 8mile with a 5 min rest in between - on the day, that's essentially what you do with checkpoints / feeding stations every 8 to 10 miles. 

    I'ld never done any race longer than a mara before, and still came second - so to reiterate Mr F - its do able, and a fantastic event, truly memorable.

    My mara race pace is 6.30ish mpm, I started last year's race at 8.30mpm, slowing to 9.30mpm by Goring - after a baked potato there I was jogging the flat and down hills, and walking/swimming up them. By the last two hills it was mostly sliding.

     Do it!! 

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    Michael, my 10k pace is 6.30m/m, your clearly a lot speedier than me over 26.2!!! I recall the front runner passing me at around 19m i think last year? and of cuorse he would have started an hour later than I did. He flew past in his shorts and vest, he clearly had a support crew of some kind.
  • MrF - although I came second, 1st place was only ever in sight for the first 800m! (apparently told everyone at the end that he was 'just off to the pub' -different class)...despite him also being a coffin dodger.
  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    i ran with a chap who called in for a pint at a pub we passed just before the midway point!
  • just thinking about what kit I would need for the event. will my ordinary running traininers be ok for the terrain? As it is August I am assuming that the ground will be nice and hard, but if it does rain what should I use?

     I am planning on running the 1st half with just a 1.5L camelbak, a few energy gels and bars. It looks like there are plenty of checkpoints to top up with fluid and food on the way. If the weather is nice, it will just be shorts and vest, with the aim of getting to half way before dark, where I will pick up some warmer clothes (jacket, tights, maybe a change of shoes) and a head torch, ready for the night. What jacket would be best. I already have a windstopper, which, if it doesn't rain should be fine, or will a technical jumper be ok? (I have never run at night, so that will be a new experience for me!)

  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭

    All good questions.  I'll be new to this sort of escapade as well.  I think I'll take a headtorch from the outset just in case the first half takes longer than expected ...

    Haven't actually entered yet. Hope it hasn't filled up.

  • Rhodders / Trex- IMO - the most important aspects of shoes is that they have to be comfortable, and fit well - a major factor in people not completing is (huge) blisters - so if its been dry and forecast to remain so I'ld go with well cushioned road running shoes, and 'built for purpose' socks. If its been wet, or likely to be so, then its find the most comfortable trail shoes you can. Most of the Ridgeway is overlying chalk which does drain well and gets dry / hard quickly, - but the soil that does exist is often clayey, and does get v. slippery when wet. Changing shoes at Goring is an excellent idea. Take 'blister' protection, i.e. the anti-blister sticks, and the membrane patches - Compeed from Boots work for me.

    Running at night didn't present many problems - the track is well way marked. If you have a chance to do some reccying the post Goring bits then it does cut down the number of times you need to stop 'just to make sure'. Also the getting to the very top of Barbury Hill checkpoint presented some navigational difficulties for some of us last year (but then it wa chucking down and blowing a gale + v. black). Head torch is a must, and as they're lite, carrying one for the first half just in case you don't get to Goring in the light doesn't cost you too much.

    Of course, what you need to wear will depend on the weather - last year was v. wet/windy over night, so warmth + water tight was a must  -the year before was in the middle of a heat wave, and presented v. different challenges.

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    So who's still considering this one then?? any other takers?
  • Yep image.

    After 140M this week without any issues this seems very doable , will probably hold off entry for a while though.

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭

    140m this week?? running? gee, your gonna be ahead of me at the ridgeway! whats your marathon pb??

  • Hopefully sub 3 by the time Ridgeway comes round.
  • T RexT Rex ✭✭✭
    I'm telling people I'm doing this so I'd better enter I suppose!!
  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
  • 140mpw?!

     Are you trying to win it?!

     I wouldn't have thought that 140 is necessary to go under 3 - but it is clearly a personal thing.  The mileage you are doing is great - but just remember that the most important thing is getting to the start line without injury!.

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭

    Im doin 130m on a GOOD MONTH!!!

Sign In or Register to comment.