268 Miles Statement

Statement from Dave Stevens 13th May 2018
Good morning to all the awesome people following my 268 Pennine Way Fkt Attempt

Last night approaching High Cup Nick,  the weather was so bad as I was running across that it became too dangerous to continue as both myself and my pacer were feeling  early stages of hypothermia.

I was becoming increasingly concerned that I wasn’t able to make a logical or safe decision so had to abandon the attempt on the grounds of safety.

Although initially gutted , I take great comfort in knowing that I can go the distance and on this occasion it was circumstances beyond my control that ended this attempt.

But this record ain’t going anywhere and I’ll be back next year to do it all again with my epic crew and sponsors.

I raced to 160 miles and have to say a huge thank you to everyone who supported and answered the call for pacers and support.

Thank you guys.

from my iPhone

Dave Stevens Interview

The first of two interviews with Dave.  With the 11th of May looming Dave has recorded an interview introducing himself, the background to 268 miles, training methods and the mental challenge to running this ultra distance.

This part was filmed on Kinder Scout during a training day.

 

 

Scott Running, Training and Toubkal Winter Expedition

It’s been a few weeks now since my last blog and for any athlete it’s always a good sign that your busy perfecting your craft that your available hours for social media are reduced and your fully committed to the task ahead. In a nutshell that has been me the past 5 weeks: eat, sleep, train repeat.
The program of progressive training that I’ve put together was always intended to really start in earnest post Xmas and it really has been full steam ahead. It began post Xmas with really putting in a 3 week block of high mileage around 90-110 miles each week with a mixture of technical trail and road . The #supertracRC were invaluable especially as the first dusting of winter snow laid here in the uk the grip was second to none and allowed me the confidence to move seamlessly over technical Icey trail. Pre Xmas I’d made #scottrunning aware of my intention to race regular between January and the #Run268 record scheduled 11th May (Edale) and would be mixing up the distances and terrain , including: fell, trail and road. As a result I was lucky enough to be sent a pair of the fabulous #ScottPalani road shoes for training and racing on the Tarmac and these are the only shoe I’d trust for such high road mileage as have an amazing energy return whilst providing the level of stability I require.
Mid January I added a huge slice of diversity into my training by taking a group of 8 novice mountaineers out to Morocco for a guided winter mountaineering trip ( guided by myself as part of the Urban Fitness Company Adventure Series) culminating with a successful summit  attempt of Mt Toubkal the highest mountain in N Africa @4167m. This was the second time I’d been at altitude for a short period of time within 10 weeks and feel that the benefits upon my training and performance once back in the uk was invaluable.
The long days in the mountains, hauling heavy kit, at altitude, being self sufficient are key tools that I believe will contribute to the hardened mindset required to run the fastest 268mile Pennine Way in history. I’m guaranteed to find myself staring into a darkened abyss at times during the record attempt but I’ll know and have the self confidence that I’ve faced hard times before, racing, training and in the Parachute Regiment.
With two weeks to go until my first race of the season a 38mile race in Telford along a disused railway line I’m relishing the chance to blow out the racing cobwebs and push my body over an unknown distance as over the years I’ve raced 50mile, 100km, 100mile but never 38miles. I believe I’m somewhere in the 6hr region for this distance and raring to go.
Next Blog:
Build Up To Race Day

We got a Headline Sponsor!


Wow! what a few weeks it’s been. From the very start of the planning process for #Run268 I’ve always recognised the magnitude of the challenge ahead of running the fastest 268 mile Pennine Way ever and believed the challenge as well as the official run 268 movie was deserving of a headline equipment sponsor.

To begin with I sat down and listed the brands that Id had previous experience with over the past 15 years of elite marathon running, crossfit and ultra running. From there the stand out brand for me was Scott as it had a complete product list of footwear and apparel. After a series of emails, discussions over the phone with their head office in Switzerland it became clear that Scott shared the same vision and excitement to be part of #Run268 granting be full sponsorship status for the full process of training, the record attempt and the media side of things after I successfully smash the record in May.

It’s a very proud feeling to be part of a brand such as Scott which brings a real heritage of elite runners and I certainly feel the expectation to be part of this elite group and that’s now reflected in my training which has stepped up a gear.

My first official race as part of #TeamScott In be in mid February 2018.

#Scott

#ScottRunning

#BlackAndYellow

#happychristmas

#268miles

Mount Toubkal November 2017

Recent trip to Morocco to recce the upcoming #UfcAdventureSeries trek on Mt Toubkal and my Speed Summit Attempt whilst there, the benefits of altitude training and the target races I’ve chosen before my Record Attempt next May.

As anyone who knows me will testify my attention to detail and overriding OCD always comes into play when organising events, training for events and prepping performance clients for their chosen challenges. It’s with this in mind that I arrived in Morocco last week with a tight schedule spread across just 3 full days to establish: the logistics of the upcoming #UfcAdventureSeries Toubkal Trek in January, learn the routes, completely risk assess and ultimately smash a rapid non acclimatised ascent to see just how my body would respond to this physical challenge (p.s I wouldn’t recommend this).

Arriving in Morocco I was presented with temperatures hovering around 31 degrees which was cause for concern as was prepared for a winter ascent of Mt Toubkal. Never the less after a 65km transfer to Imlil at 1700m above sea level and the gateway to the main route to ascend Mt Toubkal the temperature had reduced considerably to around 16 degrees and I settled in for my first night having prepped my equipment before an EARLY start the next day.

8am: I was on the trail with my pack weighing 32lb due to additional water and food as I was aware that I might have to be completely self sufficient for 48hrs. The pace was consistent I wouldn’t call it particularly fast and after 3.5hrs I arrived at 3000m after a long uphill grind at the official refuges . This would normally take 5-6hrs as stated in the guide book and be the end of day 1 on an official trek but for me this marked lunch time. After a series of “guides” telling me I was too late to summit today I ignored their advice and 25mins later I was on the move again pushing from 3000m to the summit of 4167m I was aware of the thinning air for this next stage which I covered in 3hrs (guide book states (5hrs) and was pleased to see the summit come into view.

The summit afforded me 360 degree views across the mountain range and beyond to the Sahara desert and was the warmest I’d felt all day as I’d mainly climbed in the shadow all afternoon and there was no wind at all on the summit. I spent 25mins soaking in the atmosphere and enjoyed a can of Juicy Fuel Cola provided by my official drink sponsors. This kick started my energy again as I knew I’d have to concentrate whilst descending safely .
1.5hrs later I was back in the refuge at 3000m and warming up taking care of my personal admin , preparing my evening meal of chilli and rice with a dessert of porridge oats with sultanas and apple flakes.

After a broken sleep due to other climbers making their pre-dawn summit attempt I got back on the trail after another hot meal of Beans and sausages with a porridge sachet and descended back down to Imlil in a very leisurely fashion compared to the day before over 4hrs.

Even for this short period of time at altitude I feel like the physical adaptations have been apparent in my training upon returning.

So why train at altitude and how can it benefit my #Run268 record attempt?

By climbing summits of over 3000m the air is noticeably “thinner” at high altitudes meaning there are fewer oxygen molecules per volume of air. Every breath taken at a high altitude delivers less of what working muscles require. … By training at high altitudes, athletes aim to allow their bodies to produce extra red blood cells as the demand for oxygen delivery becomes higher it must adapt to make up for the shortfall.

In return running on routes under 2000m I should be saturated with red blood cells meaning that I require less breaths to achieve fulfilment.

#Run268 Target Races: I love racing and the ultimate high that comes with racing. It would be really easy for me to race multiple times each month but there is no longevity in that approach for a record attempt of over 250 miles.

For me it’s about training smart and peaking for just 3 target races prior to the record attempt. These races will be:

3rd Feb :Thames Trot 50mile
14th April: Calderdale Hike 40mile
28th April: The Fellsman 62mile

Some of these will be part of huge training blocks or followed by a huge effort within days of the above race.

Dave Stevens
Urban Fitness Company
#UfcAdventureSeries
#Run268
www.268miles.co.uk

Recce, Juicy Fuel Cola and 268 Pacers

Recent Recce

Juicy Fuel Cola Sponsorship

“268” pacers

It’s been a steady couple of weeks training since my last Blog where I touched on the subject of route selection and future recces of the #Run268 course.

Last Friday (10th Nov) I travelled up to the Peak District to run/nav a 20mile section (10miles out and 10miles back).

Using https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/pennine-way/routes

I plotted my route starting from where the Pennine Way crosses the Snake Pass Road and began my out and back course passing through Crowden which will be the first official #Run268 checkpoint of 16 and marks the 16Mile Point on the course. From Crowden I continued out past Torside Reservoir across the moors to the start of Black Hill which marked my “about turn”.

I can’t emphasise enough how different the weather was in comparison to just 2 weeks earlier. Throughout the whole day I was presented with gusting winds of upto 60mph and flash rain showers when least expected. It’s was one of those days that during my time in the Parachute Regiment would have been described as “character building”.

All in all another 4hr 20min effort was achieved and I can feel myself becoming truely “mountain fit” again as I adapt to the volume of training and being out in the wild weather. Only training in a harsh arduous environment will prepare me for what a diverse course that #Run268 will provide, there’s nothing that any gym can offer that’ll replicate the slog of crossing open moorland in harsh weather during the winter months.

Aswell as running a section of the Pennine way last Friday it was the perfect opportunity to drop in on my official drink sponsors: “Juicy Fuel Cola” based in Poynton Stockport only a short hop from where I was.

The guys have developed a fantastic range of premium lightly carbonated fruit based drinks based around a cola style flavour. My career as a Performance and Conditioning coach often highlights  the issue of nourishment versus punishment when co ordinating nutrition plans for clients and in my own personal circumstances I’ve trialled a series of different sports drinks to see what actually works and what’s just clever marketing hype. When ever I discuss nutrition regarding Ultra marathons or any sustained effort beyond 6hrs you have to remember you are re writing the rule book it’s a very personal choice and the same approach won’t work for everyone and it’s certainly different to probably how you’d perceive preparing for a conventional marathon.

I first became aware of Juicy Fuel Cola when another athlete gave me a can to sample and then I found it at a local bistro local to where I live and train in the Midlands. The lightness of the fizz and the palatable flavours were not over powering yet provided a wonderful break from the chemical acidic tang often associated with sports drinks or the dullnes of plain water this is achieved in my opinion by sourcing premium fruit blends to produce a zero refined sugar, zero added sweetner drink that basically says what it is on the can. My energy levels remained optimal with no notable drop in energy or output and again this is because of the lack of refined sugar and the be benefit of a fructose based energy source and the bodies ability to convert this easily to a source of energy.

Impressed with my findings I approached Glenn from #Jfc and explained about #Run268. The company have truely embraced the Record Attempt and are the official drinks sponsor to #Run268 providing me with the nutritious support required to run the fastest time ever on the 268 Mile Pennine Way course next May. #FuelTheFire
268 recce 10 November 2017

Pacers: “Calling All Serious Runners!”

Breaking records like these aren’t just an individual endeavour . It requires a solid structured team approach, from logistics, sponsors all the way to pacers. I’m looking to put together a team of #Run268 pacers (10-20 runners in total). The main aim is to keep me on pace for the duration of the challenge taking on a section of 10-20miles each (or further ) acting as my sherpa, extra eyes at night to assist on some of the “sketchier” dark sections, motivator etc your role is invaluable.

If you think this is you and you’d like to be a part of a record breaking run then feel free to get in contact.

Next Blog: High Altitude Training in Morocco for #UfcAdventureSeries

Dave Stevens

Urban Fitness Company

#UfcAdventureSeries

#Run268

www.268miles.co.uk

Route Selection

Route Selection

So I’ve spent the past few weeks scrolling over some of my old training logs and diaries from 2006-2010 or as I like to call them “The Glory Years” when I was running my fastest times on the road, trail and fell and have selected the key sessions to implement as part of the process to building towards #Run268 over the winter period whilst gradually increasing my weekly run mileage. I will describe in more detail in future blogs some of my specific training plans and key sessions.

official starting plaque

Although training to cover the #Run268 miles Pennine Way is never far from my thoughts it’s equally important to become familiar with every element of the route stretching from Edale to Kirk Yetholm which is a mental endurance exercise in its own right.
My first source of information was the National Trail Website
and the general break down of the whole route https://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/pennine-way/routes

Most participants undertaking the Pennine Way will allow themselves a sensible 16 days and this was apparent from the National Trail Website. As I’ve researched the route it’s become apparent that the way in which I’ll approach the #Run268 distance is by breaking the 16 days into 16 legs/16checkpoints. This would mean that on average I’ll have the ability to be replenished every 11-22miles. Replenished meaning: fed, hydrated, suitably clothed, change of run pacers, massaged, the list is endless but the best way to explain it is to imagine a formula 1 car entering the pit and the crew waiting to resolve any issue.

As I study the route it becomes increasingly apparent the diversity of the terrain that the Pennine Way has to offer from running through lowland valleys to high level mountain traverses and everything in between. In my opinion the stand out “black spot” on the route is the 20mile section between stage 11 and 12 which has over 3000ft of ascent over hard to navigate and extremely exposed areas including the notorious “Cross Fell” which FYI was where England’s Coldest temperature and strongest wind gust was recorded.

My plan over the coming months is to recce all 16 sections of the #Run268 route to enable me to build a mental picture of the course and how I’m going to pace myself accordingly so that there is minimal confusion on the event and I can chase down the current record.
I’m going to state my intention now as I always feel it’s important to be accountable for your actions that I will be running at a 2 days 10hr pace allowing a 7hr buffer on the current record and I intend to run fast enough to allow myself 2 power naps at different stages of #Run268.

I haven’t decided on an “official start time” yet for #Run268 as this will be something that myself and project manager Ste will discuss over the coming months to enable me to cover as much of the toughest stages in daylight wether that be due to the geography of the route or the navigational difficulty I’d prefer to be tackling these in daylight.

Next blog I’ll be discussing pacers, stage recces and sponsors.

Round Rotherham 50 mile Ultra 14th October 2017

Post Race Blog: for the Round Rotherham 50mile Ultra Marathon.

Time: 9hrs 10mins

Position: 14th

I had a really positive run experience over the 50mile race. The course was perfect for consistent pacing for the duration of the route with no major climbs and some fast paced easily runnable sections along canal and on Tarmac. Temperatures were higher than expected and this caused many of the fast starters to “crash” midway through the race.

From the start I relaxed into my race schedule of sub 10hrs or 5mph. It helped running within a group of 4 initially as the EARLLY miles passed by quite quickly and we were able to compare route knowledge to ensure a speedy route between checkpoints with no wrong turns and minimal confusion .

At around 20miles our group of 4 became 2 (myself and a fantastic guy called Neil Jones stayed together), as we let the other 2 create a gap on us as the progressed up the trail. We figured they’d either “blow up” and come back to us with 30miles of racing left or they’d time it perfectly.

At 31miles we pulled into the checkpoint which marked the “official baggage drop” where we had the opportunity to have access to our additional items like spare socks, food etc. We spent 5 mins at this checkpoint to sort out our admin. I resupplied on dextrose and added additional electrolytes to my Camelbak as was conscious of the high temperatures and loss of salts in my sweat.

Immediately we were able to get the pacing going again which is always the risk after spending a period of time immobile in a checkpoint.

Gradually we started to chase down some of the earllier runners who had set off to fast and we’re now paying the price and this continued upto 46 miles before hitting the last checkpoint and finally winding up the pace to the finish.

Final thoughts: No major issues, no blisters, injuries or sickness. Achieved my qualification distance to run the LDWA 100 next year before #268 as part of my final phase of training.

Maintained a faster than required pace for #268 which will be valuable in beating the record and secondly allowing me to “cat nap” on the event to recharge my brain.

Just have to continue progressing the racing miles at pace and mentally conditioning myself for the challenge ahead.