I’m starting to question my sanity. It was probably the excitement of quitting my job; as the last issue of the magazine I’d been working on for the past eight years went to press before Christmas, I went on a spending spree, entering June’s three day, 186 mile Marathon des Cote and September’s Mt Snowdon Ultra 100.
‘Bat shit crazy’ is how a friend described my actions over Christmas. And he’s probably right. All this is probably one big cry for help, or my own version of a buying a Harley Davidson or running off with a woman half my age to divert my attention from the BIG FOUR OH that’s looming on the horizon.
I say embrace the craziness. As far as midlife crises go, this one’s pretty innocuous. The only person I’m going to hurt is myself. And all that pain will be worth it. I’m doing all this to help people suffering with the condition that’s ruled my life for nearly 30 years. I might even emerge from all this a healthier, saner person.
My mate’s comment got me thinking; what other batshit crazy runs are there in the UK this year? See below for what I found. I’ve selected one for every month of the year. Maybe you could try one yourself? Or if I’ve missed one, let me know!
12 bat shit crazy runs for 2018
Dark Star River Marathon – 28 January 2018
Here’s one way of shaking off the excesses of Christmas: slip sliding through 28.2 miles of mud up and down the River Adur in West Sussex. My mate Si did it a couple of years ago. ‘Never again,’ he says. ‘The mud sticks to your shoes and they just get heavier and heavier all the way. But we enjoyed it and the medal is cool: one of a set of four for the river runs that make a design of the countryside around the river. Two down, two to get!’ There’s another plus: the run is sponsored by Sussex brewer Dark Star, which supplies free beer for each of the 200 runners mad enough to take part.
The Arc of Attrition – 9 February 2018
This one is hardcore: a 100 mile arc along the entire south west foot of Cornwall from St Keverne in the south to St Agnes in the north, along the rugged Cornish Coastpath. It’s not for beginners. This takes part slap bang in the middle of the storm season and competitors need to be self sufficient for long periods of time, as checkpoints are about 20 miles apart. There’s a 36 hour time limit and cut offs at each checkpoint. Still not put off? Then you’re mental. Click on the link above to enroll.
The Four Inns – 24 March 2018
Nutters (scouts mostly) were running this 40 mile ultra before anyone even knew what an ultra marathon was. Established in 1957 and organised by Derbyshire Country Scout Council, the Four Inns is essentially a pub crawl for running nuts. Just save the pints for the finish line at last of the four inns (the Cat & Fiddle), for the race covers some of the most challenging and beautiful moorland in Britain. In 1964 a competitor died during the race, resulting in the formation of the Derby Mountain Rescue Team, which is still an integral part of the event.
Crawley A.I.M 24 Hour Track Race – 7 April 2018
Round and round and round and round and round… If running for a day non stop isn’t enough of a challenge, then try running for a day around the same 400 metre track. This annual event in Crawley, West Sussex, is a fundraising event for orphans and needy children in Uganda and also features six and 12 hour options. You’re going to need the dedication and resolve of Buddha himself if you’re going to get round this one for a day.
Isle of Wight Challenge – 5 May 2018
One 66 mile loop of the Isle of Wight’s stunning coast path, taking in clifftops, beaches, forests, farmland and more. Competitors can either do the course in a day or two (the latter option involves camping in Cowes overnight) and can expect fully stocked checkpoints, massages, medical help and a glass of bubbly at the finish line. This was my first official ultra (I took part in last year’s). I enjoyed every minute of it. Even when I was sobbing like a big baby (see below).
— Diabetic Dad Runs (@diabeticdadruns) 29 April 2017
Man v Horse – 9 June 2018
Man v Horse was the highlight of my running year in 2017. And it’s the dictionary definition of batshit crazy. Dreamt up over a few pints in the Mid Wales town of Llanwrtyd Wells almost 40 years ago, this annual event pits about 1,000 runners against 60 people on horseback across a mountainous 23 mile course with numerous river crossings, bogs, forests, windswept moorlands and slippers ascents and descents. Men have twice beaten horses since 1980. Even if you don’t win, it’s great fun. But it will ruin your socks (see below). Tickets go on sale tomorrow here.
— Diabetic Dad Runs (@diabeticdadruns) 10 June 2017
Race To The Stones – 14 July 2018
Voted the best endurance event in the 2016 Running Awards, this 100km yomp along the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest footpath, can be completed in a two ways. For the truly mad, it can be done in one go non stop. It can also be completed over two days, with an option to camp overnight half way. The Ridgeway is beautiful, following a chalk ridge from Wiltshire to Berkshire.
C2C Ultra – 25 August 2018
Low cost (£99), low key; that’s how the organisers of Britain’s first coast to coast ultra marathon describe this event. Competitors have just 38 hours to make their way from Whitehaven Harbour on the west coast to Tynemouth on the east, via the stunning Lake District and Pennines. That’s 140 miles, non stop. Ouch. But what a journey!
#MtSnowdonUltra 100 Mile
— Mt Snowdon Ultra (@SnowdonUltra) 3 January 2018
Mt Snowdon Ultra 100 – 22 September 2018
See above for my welcome to the start line of the 2018 Mt Snowdon Ultra. Literally, I start now. For in nine months I’m going to need to be fit enough to take on 100 miles and 8,900 metres of ascent across the Snowdonia national park. The route takes runners across knife edge ledges, windswept peaks, mountain paths, forests, lakes and some of the best scenery Great Britain has to offer. I better find some hills to train on. Fast.
Zombie Survival Run – 27 October 2018
If I survive Mt Snowdon (see above), I might just try my luck outrunning a horde of undead flesh eaters on Newbury Race Course this October. It’s a 5k inflatable obstacle course set in an apocalyptic dystopia overrun by face chewing nightwalkers. Runners have three lives; if they’re caught by a zombie a third time they’re disqualified. You can also enter as a zombie, with the entry fee including an undead makeover. Perfect for Halloween!
Escape From Meriden – 16 November 2018
This one’s just weird. But strangely alluring. At midnight on the 16 November 2018, entrants (or ‘prisoners’ as the event organisers call them) will gather at a stone cross that has stood at Meriden, the geographical centre of England, for the past 500 years. They then have a day, or 36 hours if they’ve entered the ‘chained’ category, to get as far away as possible. There are no checkpoints, no water stops, no rules (only that competitors can only use their own steam and feet to get away). What’s the worse that could happen?
Endurance Life Dorset – 1 December 2018
The organisers promise to take runners back millions of years in this 45.5 mile ultra marathon (shorter distances area available) spanning the breathtaking Jurassic coastline, which has fossils dating backing to the time of the dinosaurs locked within it. This one is not for the fainthearted; competitors will have to negotiate steep hills, windy clifftops and slippery trails. But they will be rewarded with amazing views and an after party. A great way to finish off a batshit mental year of running.
While I’ve got you here…
… how about sparing a quid or two on helping to find a cure for a really crap chronic condition that cuts lives short, or makes the years of many living with the condition truly crap? Go on… it will only take a minute over at Just Giving and it might just spur on one type one diabetic (me) to do something incredible or at the very least make a total tit of himself!