100km + 6,420m of ascent

Ultra Tour Monte Rosa

My fourth and biggest ultra yet! I applied to the Mont Blanc Ultra (UTMB) but didn't get a place so looked around for an alternative and decided on this. Lizzy Hawker was inspired to create the race after using the area for training for the UTMB. The website describes it as 'a serious challenge – brutal, beautiful and brilliant'. It's a bit longer than last year's run but more than twice as much ascent - this is going to be a real test!

14 Jan
Gear I've bought
Petzl Nao headtorch

One of the things I learned from doing LIAD last year was that you need a decent headtorch for running off-road at night - so this was on my birthday list for today! Great piece of kit - highly recommended.

Petzl Nao headtorch
21 Jan
Training update
Turbo training

The turbo is a great way of staying in my heart-rate zone for training. I picked up the cheapest one from Halfords for £60 and it's perfect.

Turbo training
31 Jan
Training update
Maffetone isn't killing me!

I've been following Maffetone for over a year now - basically it's low intensity training combined with low-carbs, which means I burn fat for fuel. To make sure this isn't doing me any longer-term harm, I took a full-on blood test which tested 50 different measures. The results are in and I'm perfectly healthy - excellent cholesterol profile, good liver/kidney function and low heart disease risk plus loads of other good stuff.

20 Feb
Training update
Peak District training

18 miles of proper running in the Hope and Edale Valleys up on to Kinder Scout in some seriously bleak weather. Just what I needed to blow off the cobwebs.

Peak District training
25 Mar
Event I'm doing
Ripon Duathlon

A quick season opener and first competitive ride out on my new carbon Trek road bike! Hope the snow's cleared by then!

Ripon Duathlon
06 May
Event I'm doing
Tour de Yorkshire

Thought signing up for the long route would be a good idea for training but didn't look at the hills profile beforehand. Also got to keep up with a friend who did a stage of the Tour de France in the Alps last year - should be fun!

Tour de Yorkshire
15 Jul
Gear I've bought
Ultimate Direction mountain vest

This was recommended by the guys on the Vango stand at the OTS In Manchester - so thanks for the tip - and thanks to Tim at Beta for helping get it sorted. What a superb bit of kit - clearly designed by ultra runners and well worth the money.

Ultimate Direction mountain vest
07 Sep
My big goal
UTMR start

After a bit of hiccup with the bus taking us from Grachen to the start - it broke down which meant we started the race after 7.5 hours on a bus and with no time to prepare or eat - 76 of us crossed the start line in Gressoney-la-Trinité (Italy) at 3pm to the chimes of the village clock - cheered on by what seemed like the entire village.

UTMR start
08 Sep
My big goal
UTMR

What a course! Some brutal climbing but also great views, especially at sunrise. I crossed the finish line in Grächen (Switzerland) 27 hours 49 mins later, finishing 46th overall and 9th in my age category with just 10 mins to spare before the cut off time. After a personal welcome from Lizzy (which she does for everyone) and collecting my medal, it was time for a beer. I'd done it, what a fantastic weekend.

UTMR