Last weekend, I ran the Grizedale Ultra 26 race, the first in a new series of ‘short’ ultra marathons designed to help people training for 100 mile races like the UTMB or Lakeland 100. The route followed a eight shape around Grizedale forest, with the start, mid point food station, and finish all being the same place, so it was a great idea logistically or the organisers, and also for the spectators.
The first loop was largely on well gravelled forest tracks, so was quick and dry underfoot. We enjoyed great views of the Coniston Fells, and it was easy to pass other runners. The second loop was much wetter underfoot, with a mixture of single track, technical descent, and short sections of road. It had bigger, steeper climbs, and was much more fun.
Anyway, for anyone thinking about doing this race in the future, do it! The field wasn’t very big, but there was a great atmosphere, and the volunteers were exceptionally friendly and supportive. The event was well organised, and the views were amazing. The navigation was easy, but the route was well marked anyway. It was still worth taking the map just in case, as some of the trails in the second loop were rarely used, and I encountered a few relieved faces to see another runner in a few places.
As for my efforts, it was my last race of the year, and my big toe definitely hadn’t recovered from the UTMB yet, but I had a great day out and finished in just over 5h30m, so earned my beer that night.