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Thread: Pacers for Overseas Runners

  1. #1

    Pacers for Overseas Runners

    I'm a New Zealand based runner who is thinking of having a crack at the BG in summer 2023 or summer 2024. I'm from the UK but moved to NZ just after I got into running back in 2014. I've since been back to the UK and recce'd several of the legs while on holiday visiting my godparents, who live in Borrowdale. I feel like I should just get on and have a crack at it next time, as at the current rate of progress I'm going to be in my 50s before I've recce'd the whole thing.

    While I can get support from family at the road crossings, I don't have many running friends or family in the UK who are going to realistically be able to pace and witness me on any attempt. I've seen people post on this forum requesting for pacers before, but can anyone give me some additional pointers on how I might go about this?

    Any and all responses very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Master ba-ba's Avatar
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    What kind of time will you be aiming for?
    Time of year?
    Clockwise/anticlock?
    How were the recces? How long did they take you and in what weather? Did they feel comfortable.
    What's your general mountain experience and running fitness?

    Some people will show up for any old chancer having a crack. Some like to know that there's a good chance the contender will get around and it was a useful investment of their time. It's a sweeping statement and purely my opinion but I imagine the later would be more experienced pacers
    Nic Barber. Downhill Dandy

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by ba-ba View Post
    What kind of time will you be aiming for?
    Time of year?
    Clockwise/anticlock?
    How were the recces? How long did they take you and in what weather? Did they feel comfortable.
    What's your general mountain experience and running fitness?
    A little over 23 hours I reckon.

    Definitely a midsummer attempt because of weather, daylight hours, the logistics of visiting the UK from NZ, and time to get back in shape after recovering from the 100 miler I'm running at the start of Feb.

    Clockwise makes the most sense to me and was the direction of all my recce's to date.

    Recce's were really enjoyable. NB - Take this with a pinch of salt, as my brain edits all the shit bits out after the fact and I'm nearly always left with the impression that I just had a ball out there, when it may have actually been pretty crap at the time. All were done solo and at a reasonably relaxed pace...

    - Leg 1 was done in April 2019 in pretty chilly and windy weather but with good visiblity. I did it on a whim and didn't do any research so took a slow route out of town via Fitz Park and made a steaming pile of the nav from Great Calva to Blencathra. I did it in 4h25m but reckon I could whack a pretty good lump off from the lessons learned and subsequent research.

    - Leg 2 was done a couple of weeks ago in 4h45m. Weather was near-ideal (maybe a bit windy) with only a little clag at the start on the top of Clough Head. I was in OKish shape but being the middle of a mid-life crisis, spent probably 20 - 30 mins mucking around filming for my YouTube channel.

    - Leg 5 was done a couple of days before Leg 3, also in perfect weather. I took 2:55 but again, I reckon I could reasonably take 20-25 mins out of this if I were to do it without filming now that I've run the leg.

    I've not recced legs 3 or 4, which is probably the biggest gap in my knowledge as they're the hardest bit. I have done some hill walking in the area Langdales/Eskdale/Upper Borrowdale, but that was about 25 years ago.

    I'm reasonably comfortable in mountain environments on my own, having done a bunch of hill walking in the Lakes as a kid and some winter mountaineering in Scotland when I was at university. I've also done a fair amount of running in and around mountainous bits of New Zealand, alone and in groups or as part of a race. I've done various ultramarathons on a variety of terrains: Kepler Challenge 60k in the Southern Alps, Hillary Trail 80k Ultra, Tarawera 100k twice in 12:35 and 11:52, Tarawera 100 miler in 23:33. Solo runs include things like the Ruapehu Round the Mountain Track 70k / 3300m which is in a very remote part of North Island. My road marathon PB for all that it's relevant is 3:01 done on a flat course but hot day in Christchurch last year.

    Quote Originally Posted by ba-ba View Post
    Some people will show up for any old chancer having a crack. Some like to know that there's a good chance the contender will get around and it was a useful investment of their time. It's a sweeping statement and purely my opinion but I imagine the later would be more experienced pacers
    That's fair enough: I wouldn't expect to turn up to an attempt without having put the work in during training to make it a reasonable prospect.

  4. #4
    Master ba-ba's Avatar
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    Those time look a bit slow on the face of it but you have caveated them well. The main question is, after doing legs 1/2, did yous still feel relatively fresh (i.e. did the idea of Steel Fell not completely put you off?

    What would be your plan for coming over? Would it be arrive, attempt, go, or would you be over for, say 3/4 weeks, so could feasibly get a run in over L3 and 4 2/3 weeks before the attempt as a last big run and a test of the water? Would there be any flexibility in the date if the weather crapped out?

    These are generally the questions that don't need asking for UK based runners (the first set questions I'd expect challengers to have satisfactory answers to!)
    Nic Barber. Downhill Dandy

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ba-ba View Post
    Those time look a bit slow on the face of it but you have caveated them well. The main question is, after doing legs 1/2, did yous still feel relatively fresh (i.e. did the idea of Steel Fell not completely put you off?
    Yep, they're definitely slow but I was running them more to get a feel for the navigation and the lay of the land rather than trying to go for a time. One of the key lessons for me from running Leg 1 back in 2019 is that there are places where being on a sheep trod versus having to bash through heather can make a huge difference in pace; hence being more concerned with getting a feel for the bits of the round I don't already know.

    After I did Leg 2 a couple of weeks ago, I felt reasonably fresh and if I wasn't meeting the missus at Dunmail Raise and then driving straight down to Staffordshire to take the kids to Alton Towers I'd have been quite happy to have carried on for a bit more.

    Quote Originally Posted by ba-ba View Post
    What would be your plan for coming over? Would it be arrive, attempt, go, or would you be over for, say 3/4 weeks, so could feasibly get a run in over L3 and 4 2/3 weeks before the attempt as a last big run and a test of the water? Would there be any flexibility in the date if the weather crapped out?

    These are generally the questions that don't need asking for UK based runners (the first set questions I'd expect challengers to have satisfactory answers to!)
    These are great questions, and things I've been considering over the past couple of weeks.

    I'm beginning to come to the conclusion that recceing legs 3 and 4 is an absolute must as they seem to be the real meat of the round, and it's unlikely that I'm going to be able to swing two trips to the Lakes in a single three week UK visit because of family commitments. I do travel long haul for work occasionally, so there is the possibility that I might be able to stop off for a couple of days on a work trip and get a quick recce in but failing that I think the best plan is for me to do them next summer with a view to having a crack at the round in summer 2024. A nice 2-day fastpack of Legs 3 & 4 with a night in the NT Campsite at Wasdale sounds like it might be the go!

    I'll definitely plan some flexibility into the date, as the summer weather can be distinctly non-summery and it shouldn't be too difficult to persuade the family to spend a week up in Borrowdale with both weekends.

    Thank you for the help, it's much appreciated!

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