Saturday, 30 April 2011

50 not out...

Mike is nail-bitingly, eleven miles out of the finish with just 2hrs and 45mins of the day left. He looks like he will get there with just seconds to spare.

4mph is all that is now needed to make it happen, although he now has the darkness of the night slowing him down.

So, Tarporley is finally in sight and we will be out to guide him in on his last couple of miles into the beautiful town centre and the warmth of the sleeper coach.

More at 11.30pm...

21.9 left today

He's here right now and Mike is on a big push. He has really stepped up the pace... How does he do it? Maybe we'll never know... butwe do know is that when the chips are down, he rises to the challenge every time.

He is relentless... and maybe should be renamed 'The Determinator'... he's simply unbreakable.

Less than 16 minute miles will see him in, GO MIKE!

Progress in Lancashire

Last year's JOGLE finisher, David Miles came out to see the action as we passed Widnes. This is the stage he said was a 'Real Breaker' last year... The A49 is just endless and so far Mike has got 28.6 of the miles completed in 9hrs 15mins.

It's looking like a 1am finish, so Mike needs to pull this one out of the bag.

We are at the 39.0 mile point and will keep you posted.

Pressing times in Preston - 9.8 miles

Mike got to us just before 10am and met up with JOGLE Blogger addict, Charlie Sharpe, who came out to meet us on his way to 'The Lakes' today. It was great to see Charlie, one of our London ULTRAracers once again and it was a good opportunity for him to experience the event first hand.

Maybe we'll see him on the start line, next year.

Mike did offer some advice to him when he arrived and now needs to keep his present speed thru the warm part of the day ahead...

More at midday?

Off and on the road...

Mike must be made of armour plated steel and hit the road again at 6am. He has 61.1miles ahead of him today on the roads thru Preston, Wigan and Warrington on to Tarporley. It's not a brutal route like yesterday's over Shap, it's just very, very, L-O-N-G.

Today, is all about focus and getting back into running into a pace where he can cover the ground quickly to give time for rest and recovery.

More from 10 miles...

Somehow he's made it...

Mike rolled into the finish at 0224hrs this morning... somehow he managed to get to Garstang and stay in this year's 9bar JOGLE Ultra. He boarded the bus well past the midnight cut-off that we have on the event this year and covered the last 15 miles in more than 5.5hrs... it was a very cold last six miles in.

As he is the last man standing, he was given a one off time-extension past the midnight cut-off.

Somehow, he has to do it all again tomorrow and cover the 61.1 miles to Tarporley by midnight (Saturday) to stay in the race.

How on earth is he going to do it?

Friday, 29 April 2011

Lancaster and still 8 to go...

It's cold, dark and lonely out there for poor old Mike tonight and there is still a good 8 miles to go. A pre-midnight finish now looks uncertain and its very, very windy as the day is drawing to an end.

At the finish, we have been joined by Colin Fitzjohn, one of last year's runners who knows first-hand just how hard this day of the event is.

So all we can do is wait for Mike to make it to the end of today and the warmth of the Sleeper Coach.

More when he gets here...

He's still in there and still fighting - 40 miles

Mike's race is now well on the ropes - but he's a fighter and hopefully he will go the full distance and reach that final finish line in Lands End. To get there, well he's now got an enormous task ahead of him. Every day will be harder than the previous and he needs to go faster than his 3.33mph of today.

Whether he can or not, we'll have to see. There's another 60 miler ahead of him tomorrow and he won't get to the finish this side of 2330hrs we think.

Looking on it's been so hard to watch, especially in the heat of yet another scorcher... he's looking very tanned indeed as you can see from the picture and hopefully he will get here before the end of the day.

Still waiting at 40 miles...

Mike's just gone thru the 12 hour barrier and has still to reach 40 miles - where we are right now. That's a ground coverage of 3.33mph and a projected five and a quarter hours from here onto whatever time he turns up...

This situation is looking serious for Mike's JOGLE dreams...

Over halfway...

Mike's just South of Kendal right now and over half way to the finish in Garstang today. It's slowly, slowly now all the way and hopefully now todays hills are out of the way he can get back into his rhythym and start knocking out the miles.

He is currently on pace to finish around the 2300-0000hrs mark leaving no time for food or recovery before tomorrow's early start down to Ludlow.

Royal Shap - 20 miles

The Royal Wedding kept us entertained as we waited for Mike on the top of Shap. I know that I have wittered on a bit about how tough Shap can be but it is a bugger of a long hard hill and one that Mike has had to walk up.

Something he's not keen on at all.

His speed has dropped to 3.33mph and he will hopefully now speed up on the drop down into Kendal. Go Mike...

More from there...

Going better at Shap - 10 miles

Mike took a good hour to get into his stride this morning but he reached CP1 in just under 3hrs. Slow, but he is still going and will hopefully speed up throughout the day. He'll need to otherwise he will be in the 18hr doldrums which would mean very little recovery time.

We are on over Shap now and will have more on his progress from just before Kendal...

Hard start in Penrith for Mike...

6am saw Mike literally hobble then stop/start into a very gingerly light jog on this 56.4 mile day that has over 1000 metres of climb... Watching him move away from the start my only thought was - How in the hell is he going to get to the end of the day?

I must say that my heart went out to him as I could see the pain on his face. Mike's a very gritty, private, hard guy but today he's more mellow and said he was worried about his ever swelling feet and is thinking of getting some bigger shoes as the toe box in his present trainers is also now tight across the top of his feet.

From my own experience, I know this helps for a while but bigger shoes allow the feet to swell more and bash the ends of the toes too... I am sure many people who have run The Marathon des Sables can vouch for that one.

Anyway, back to Penrith and the first ten miles are now a private battle for him to warm up his swollen ankle and tired legs so that he can get on the 4mph pace needed to cover today's distance, including the 425 metres of Shap.

Come on Mike, dig deep...

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Strong finish for Mike - Penrith Complete

Well, Mike did a great job coming down into Penrith and it is testament to his athletic ability to cover the 62.2 miles (that's over 100km) today in 15hrs 32mins. His bodies ability to cope with the daily fatigue of the race is fascinating to watch and how he now rests and recovers for tomorrow is imperative for his continued progress to Lands End.

We will be back out on the route early as he starts at 6am to get maximum usage of the daylight and hopefully when you are not engrossed in the wedding you'll be back to catch up on his progress towards Garstang...


52 miles - Pain

At the last checkpoint Mike was still smack on the money and covering the ground at just 4mph. He is still favouring the slow running technique and keeps well away from walking as this breaks his tempo and stride.

It also really hurts his his right foot.

His last away from the checkpoint looked very painful indeed but he was soon into his rhythym and is due into Penrith at around 2130hrs.

And we will be there to welcome in a great day for him out on the road.

Checkpoint 4 - Tick

It really is boiling today - it's gone 5:30pm and it's still 17 degrees... some of the roads, particularly the A7 leading into Carlisle, are very busy so the mixture of heat and fumes is not pleasant.

Still, Mike was again on schedule at 42.3 miles - he arrived at 4:40pm which means he's still going just over 4mph which is superb at this stage in these conditions.

We are now through Carlisle and out the other side on the beautiful A6 - stunning views but you know what that means - a few more dips and rises before the final checkpoint of the day. Hopefully the knowledge that the shower block in Penrith shuts at 10pm will motivate him to keep the pace going...

England 0 Scotland 365...

Yes, Mike is in England, Scotland is officially ticked off his list and he crossed into Blighty at 1415hrs this afternoon. I think we were more excited than he was, as he remains totally focussed on his efforts and is probably thinking more about how to get to Penrith later with an ever increasing painful ankle.

There are still 28.3 miles to go today... Yikes!

More from 40 miles...

Great Gretnas - We are nearly in England - 20 miles

Just five miles to go until we cross over into England in the aptly name Longtown. It will be great to have Scotland safely in the bag so to speak and to start working our way down to Wales (ARAF) next week!

On the road, the temperature is already 16 degrees and half way today (31.1 miles) will be around 1330hrs giving a projected finish time of 16 hours, some 1.5hrs quicker than last year's runners. Whether that is a realistic goal today is up to Mike as he has to dig deep, focus and continue grinding out the miles...

More from England...

Signs of England - 10 miles

Mike's smack on 4mph today as we near the borders and the cross-over into good old blighty. He said that the last couple of miles into CP1 had been tough and that he has already moved some of the taping on his feet as they are swollen.

We'll keep you posted with all the action today, as it's already a boiler out there and far more interesting than 'The Royal Wedding'...

Early Start on a Long Day out on the 9bar JOGLE Ultra...

Mike set off at 6:30 this morning as he has a wapping 62.5 miles to tackle today... his ankles and feet are swollen and just before he left he was talking about having a chat with his doctor...

Steve emptied his bag of carbohydrate powder and ibuprofen before he left to replenish Mike's supplies (thanks Steve), but I think we will be making a Nurofen Plus stop en route today...

There isn't a cloud in the sky so I think it's going to be a very long, very hot, very tough day out on the road... this is the profile of the route today...

More soon...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Safe and sound Moffat...

Safely in and bang on schedule today as Mike completed the 57.1 miles in 14hrs and 26mins... very, very impressive going for anyone without having five days and hundreds of miles running already in their legs!

Tomorrow sees more hills and it’s going to be more climbing tomorrow for our last man standing - or is that running. For us it’s been a sad day to see Steve go but a very warm one out on the roadside on the ‘9bar JOGLE Ultra’.

We hope you will join us again in the morning to see how far Mike has gone as he starts sharp at 6.30am.

Clear of CP4 and off to Moffat...

We are now waiting for Mike to come in to the finish, down the long road into Moffat. He has survived a pretty brutal 57.1 miles today along some very long hard soul destroying roads.

The heat of the day was extremely hot on the hard shoulder and Mike's ability to cope with the conditions has been great to witness.

He has a jaw-dropping 62+ miles to conquer tomorrow starting at 6am, that's less than 10 hours from now and he still isn't here yet at 20.36hrs.

More later...

Boiling near Moffat...

As Steve leaves us to go back to Northampton, we continue to see out the day in boiling weather, well for Scotland anyway and it's a dizzy 16 degrees out here right now.

Mike is battling on and is starting to hit some long and arduous climbs that will become a feature of his next couple of days thru the last of Scotland and into Cumbria and the dreaded Shap.

His energy to keep running is quite remarkable each day and his only complaint at the hills is that they knock him out of stride which means he has to walk, which he doesn't seem to like.

The day here is nearly done and I am at CP4 with just 9.6 miles left on the clock today. Moffat awaits with clean clothes and more hot showers...

More from Moffat Woollen Mill...

Half way on Day 6...

With Steve gone it's now a one horse race and Mike is now out on his own on the open road with no-one between him and Lands End or John o'Groats come to mention.

He is still running freely and is having to contend with very high temperatures out on the hard shoulder as he heads towards the 20 to go mark.

How he now contends with being alone on the run or even if it matters as he has been out there since day one only remains to be seen.

More later... now where's my P20?

All over for Steve at 20 miles...

Talk about gutting... Steve's out...

He came into CP2 and said, 'Ask me the question, Rory'... I did, we hugged and both shed a tear and sat in the sunshine and shared our thoughts of the last few days.

It's been a phenomimal effort... and today he has shown that he is a gentle giant of a man.

Liz, be very proud and Connie, your Daddy is one in a million.

Strathaven - Checkpoint 2 - On the edge of our seats...

We stopped the other side of the village at 16.8 miles to accompany them through it...

Steve got there first and is looking pretty disheartened. His calf has got worse - he's strapped it to try to hold the muscle in place and relieve some of the pain which is in the head of his gastrocnemius. Sadly he's still getting a lot of discomfort and is unable to run at all.

Mike came through whilst we were talking to Steve - he is still going 4mph and his quads are still aching from yesterday's run.

I walked/jogged them both through the village and we are now parked up at the 20 mile point with everything crossed.


Muscle Fatigue at 11 miles...

Both guys were showing signs of muscle fatigue this morning at CP1. Steve's calf strain has returned and has only walked as far as us this morning and says that he can't run on it at all. Mike has taken some time today to warm up his quads that took a good battering yesterday.

They are both covering the miles at 4mph...

On a really hot day already, we are concerned about how they are going to cope with the day ahead.

Morning from Pollok...

There's lots of life aboard the bus this morning as Steve prepares for his 6am start. Mike is already up and seems to need a lot less sleep than Steve, much to Steve's amazement. He's working on a theory of tiredness not harming physical's fascinating to watch and as we head into England tomorrow, we will see if this pays off.

We have already seen that Mike seeems to be made of 'Cockbain' Steel and maybe that's a prerequisite of the race. He'll have to be to get there as today's route is down to Moffat and some 57.1 miles with 1219 metres of climb/1153 metres of descent. This will take them to 40% of the race distance covered.

6 days and only 40% done, yikes!

But then what would you expect from 'The UK's Toughest Footrace'.

More later from checkpoint one...

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Safe and Sound in Pollok - End of Day 5

Ahh... and relax, we are safely thru Glasgow and out the other side. Mike and Steve are feeling pretty sore but are glad to be on board and in one piece.

Relatively speaking they are in good nick... Mike is suffering with ACS in his right leg and is currently soaking his feet in a bucket as light relief. Steve has managed to get thru the day and hasn't encountered any further blisters and is looking forward to some new rubber (trainers)tomorrow.

As they say tomorrow is another day and it's onwards to Moffat and a great overnight stop at The Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

More from ULTRArace on the road in the morning and we will be back on-line first thing.

From under the Erskine Bridge

With just the last few miles to complete it's been a good hot day out in the saddle for the last two competitors standing in the 9bar JOGLE Ultra 2011. They have both had to contend with very warm conditions so far and have coped with the fast traffic on the A82 - Steve says he now HATES the sound of traffic!

Good job he has only got 11 days to go eh?

Funnily enough both of them missed the A814 turn and so will claim anything from 1-100 extra miles but we now have Jenny running with Mike (with iPhone GPS, I hasten to add) and I am shadowing Steve down to the Clyde Foot Tunnel entrance.

More from the finish...

Less than 20 to go - 37.4 miles done

Well we are nearly coming to the end of the wickedly quick A82 as it heads into Glasgow... Mike had a near miss with a truck earlier which has focussed his senses and Steve has just asked for a washing machine to carry like the guy in the recent London Marathon... (will go with the extreme ironing board in the pic).

So he must be feeling a lot stronger than he did this morning and as he says, If it's ok at London then why not here on the 9bar JOGLE Ultra! So if anyone can oblige, please let us know.

We are heading into the picturesque(not) town of Dumbarton, with it's grey houses and grass to await the guys at their last checkpoint of the day...

Glasgow, here we come.

Inverbeg - 32.4 miles in - Day 5

We stopped to do a bit of work and make a few calls and it has turned into a bit of an impromptu pitstop as we heard Mike pull up the shutters of the trailer which made us jump out of our skins!

Mike stopped fleetingly before heading off into the 21 degrees heat. He asked if he could have steamed white fish for dinner - I think he may be slightly disappointed when he finds out it's spag bol but Steve got in his request earlier this morning...!

Rory went to meet Steve a mile down the road and walked back to the trailer with him. He was feeling a bit hot and bothered but is refreshed after a makeshift shower - Rory poured the water canister over his head. Right off to the next CP 4-5 miles up the road...

15 Miles - and all is well

On a beautiful crisp morning in Scotland, the sun has broken thru and we have a bit of a boiler on our hands later at some 21 degress already (according to the car it's a bit of a heatwave for these parts and Steve and Mike might well feel it today).

The drop down towards us along Loch Lomond, Steve said was very tough indeed and he now faces the task of keeping himself focussed as he goes on to attack the rest of Scotland over the next few days.

Mike is still strong, altough we did see him walking today for the first time as he caught Steve up and then continued with him for a joint effort and a chat to pass the hours and miles.

It will be interesting to see if they become more dependent on each other as the days go on... let's hope the curse of the Anterior Compartment Syndrome keeps well away today.

More from their lunchstop at 28 miles...

Mike Sets Off

Mike has just left and his right shin is looking pretty red and swollen this morning. He is nonetheless in high spirits and we are looking forward to a nice day - Mike gave us an hour-by-hour weather forecast for the day including real-feel, wind direction and speed, dewpoint, humidity and precipitation type - basically it's going to be sunny with a bit of cloud! Perfect running conditions...

More from the road... now is that the bus engine starting up or is it Rory's snoring...?

Back on the Road - Day 5

Steve has just set off on this 57.7 mile stretch of the 9bar JOGLE Ultra. Not as much climb today but 2.6 miles longer so another long day out on the roads lies ahead. He is still managing the bus stairs with relative ease which is quite remarkable given he has now covered over 230 miles.

It's Rory's turn to have a lie-in this morning. I came downstairs to find Mike already up and eating breakfast - he woke up at 04:30 this morning - let's hope he doesn't do any sleepwalking through Paisley else it could be another extended day...

Micky is decidedly stiff this morning which has confirmed he made the right decision yesterday - he's leaving us this morning:-(

Mike will be leaving at 7am then it's off to CP1 which, by request, will be around 15 miles today.

More later...

Monday, 25 April 2011

Safe and Sound - Day 4 Finish

Steve has just arrived back at the bus in high spirits in 14:34:30. Very consistent indeed WELL DONE STEVE:-)

So no more traumas today... Mike is upstairs preparing for tomorrow and we are all happily filling our faces with sausages and mash cooked by the lovely Ann... her lunchtime wraps went down so well with Steve that we have placed a doggy bag under his pillow in case he gets the late-night munchies.

We are so so sorry to be saying goodbye to our lovely Micky today. He has been fantastic company on this event - even when the road was getting really tough he kept his smile and chipper sense of humour. To put his performance into perspective, he has run just under 200 miles in 4 days which I'm sure you will agree is a superb effort.

We are parked up at The Green Welly Stop overnight ready for another hard day out on the road down to Paisley. Hopefully you will join us again tomorrow and watch the action unfold... as it happens.

So it's a last goodnight from Micky and it's goodnight from the rest of us...

One in - One to come

Mike has just finished in 12hrs 24mins and 30seconds... not a bad day out on 55.1 miles eh? AND he looks pretty fresh too. Bangers and Mash awaits him after a brief cool down and a trip to Glasgow tomorrow...

Now where's Steve?

Glencoe and Bridge of Orchy

After going around the Dark Side of the Moon, in terms of radio silence, we appear back on your screens with news of a relatively easy climb up thru Glencoe for the 'Dynamic Duo' but a very hard section from there across the top of Glencoe and the last checkpoint at The Bridge of Orchy (an eponymous bridge which was constructed by Government forces as part of a programme of pacification of the Highland Clans which involved the construction of military roads from the Lowlands into the much wilder upland areas of Scotland

A bit of Wiki there for your infortainment...

Anyway, back to the event and there is just 10.9 to go and status is... Mike is still running, in good shape says that today is better than yesterday. Steve is still running also and is going better than yesterday and his feet are now holding up and his walking poles are in the back of our Chevy.

More when they get here...

Over and Out for Micky :-(

At 196.4 miles it's over and out for Micky Sutton - The mind says 'Yes, bring it on' but the shins say 'No Bloody Way!'. I must say there was a tear in my eye as I went back to walk in the last 200 metres with the pocket rocket...

He was very chipper about his achievements to even get back on the road today and said, 'It's been an amazing experience and if you are an ULTRA-runner it's something you have to try and achieve at least once'.

We are just so sad to see him go as he is a tremendous asset to the event and is always so positive in his approach to life.

More from halfway and Glencoe...

21.2 miles - Where is Micky?

Steve and then Mike came thru virtually together here at Lochside... Steve's early pace has helped him no end to get here but did say that he had endured some negative thoughts in the last few miles.

We have of course encouraged him as much as we can and did a pit stop style foot taping whilst he ate. Mike said that following a more stationary pit stop of his own that he felt a lot better and a lot lighter... (Too much info I think Mike!).

Now where is Micky?

Loch Leven - Checkpoint 2 - Day 4

We're definitely on the most picturesque day of the 9bar JOGLE Ultra which will hopefully spur our runners on. We are at Loch Leven waiting for them to come through Checkpoint 2 at 21.2 miles.

Rory has slightly lost the plot and is currently stood in a field taking photos of a fence - it may be a peculiar photo album today as he also insisted on taking a whole album of me and my abysmal go with Steve's walking sticks!! Steve looked on in mild amusement and remarked that we must be really bored - just a little sleep-deprived I think...

Anyhow, on our way between CP1 and here we first passed Micky who had stepped the pace up and managed 3 miles in 40 minutes. He was shortly followed by Mike who has definitely slowed but is still jogging along happily.

Some distance in front was Steve who is all smiles today - fantastic! I think getting past his 2010 pick-up point has really lifted his spirits and he looks very strong indeed.

They should be approaching soon so more to follow shortly... oh dear, Rory is now photographing the road I think he needs a power nap...

Good Morning from Fort William - Day 4

Well Hello there from Bonnie Scotland where you find us at the 10.9 mile point just on the way out of Fort William. Steve has already been thru and says he feels 'better than ever', as he started with Micky at 6am but Micky still has to make it to us and was walking slowly thru the middle of town as we passed him.

He needs to really dig deep as Steve said Micky
was nearly in tears as they parted company earlier. Come on Micky you can do it!

Starting at 7am, Mike still wants to head towards Inverness (what is it with Inverness and Mike?) and we will endeavour to get him a gyroscope to point him towards Tyndrum today. There are two turns only today, both left - one out of the car park and one into the Green Welly Stop. So far he has got one of them wrong! Let's hope the second goes better...

Anyway, more from the 20 mile point and news on Micky as it happens.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Day 3 - Finish in Spean Bridge

Famous for its Commando Memorial we had a super-human effort today by all three of the finishers. Hats off to Mike for completing his 67.7 mile leg he did (including a 13 mile self imposed detour) in a cool 14hrs and 34mins. He again looked very fresh at the end of the day and was looking forward to sinking into fish and chips as he crossed the line. His feet are starting to feel the pace but he is going to get to work on them after supper.

Micky and Steve finished stronger than yesterday in 14hrs and 15mins for a joint stage win and are in great shape to make the hike up Glencoe tomorrow to get to Tyndrum.

It's been a great day out in The Highlands and we hope that you will join us tomorrow for more on This ULTIMATE ULTRA-Marathon...

42.9 miles - only 10.8 to go

Micky and Steve came thru at 17:35hrs and Steve summed his 2011 race up so far by saying, 'This time last year, I was buggered'...' This year I feel fine'. So that's great news to hear and it looks like his sticks have really helped him out. As has getting pictures of his little daughter Connie (the cutest baby ever) via his phone from home.

We were staring to wonder whether today was going to kill off all who remained in the race.

Mike is still strong and has a long way to go still and has a few more war wounds on his feet than when he started. His foot blister fountain at CP 3 in Fort Augustus was most amusing... he did however just get his shoe back on and carry on as if nothing was worrying him. He's bloody tough!

Spean Bridge awaits after a five mile uphill section which will test the last bits of strength left in their tired old legs on this Easter Sunday.

More from the finish when we get there.

And then there were 3... Day 3

The prospect of an additional half marathon on top of the 54.7 mile route has proven a step too far for Torkel today. He had run a marathon already when he reached the first checkpoint and decided to throw in the towel. His decision was helped along by some of the traffic that comes tearing around these roads, not slowest of which was a local police car!

So it’s a very sad goodbye to Torkel but at least now he can spend the rest of the day with us (maybe he wants to give it another ago I hear you cry?!) and enjoy the beautiful Loch Ness and its stunning surrounds…

At 2pm Mike came through Checkpoint 2. He is in high spirits in spite of his shins which are beginning to give him a little agro. On to Checkpoint 3 and the Dynamic Duo…

20.2 miles - Day 3

Micky and Steve are thru checkpoint 2 and onto 30 miles whilst we wait for Mike and Torkel to come thru. Steve has been using sticks today to take some of the pressure off his right foot and a sore big toe joint.

A large knife slice into the top of his shoe will hopefully have solved that one.

More when we are onto the halway point...

Lovely day btw by the side of the Loch and no monster to report of as yet.

Going backwards in Inverness - They are alive!

After running for three hours our lead pair of Mike and Torkel have covered -0.3 miles! Yes, they have 55.0 miles left to cover on this 54.7 mile day... having covered 13 miles getting here. Get it?

Yikes, that gives them a 67.7 mile total today with the most climb of the whole event at over 1750 metres. That will surely be a test of their endurance.

Funnily enough, Torkel did say that he thought it was strange seeing the 'Welcome to Inverness' sign but just carried on, luckily he and Mike managed to get back on to the A82 just as we found them.

And deep breath and relax... that's us not them as we get worried if we dont pass them going from CP to CP you see.

More from the 20 mile point.

13.4 miles - Day 3 - Missing in Action


Micky is leading the pack today, just by a nose from Steve as they are running together. Torkel and Mike are missing in action and have taken a long-cut around a part of the A82 which is off route. Bet they check their maps closer next time eh?

Micky and Steve were amused anyway!

However, it looks like they will all converge here at the same time outside the Loch Ness Visitor centre... is that a 'Monster Diversion'?

More news when they have all arrived.

Day 3 - Ed bows out

Morning from the road in Beauly and as we thought last night, Ed has decided enough is enough today and the 5 are now 4. His ankle has swollen up overnight and is very painful this morning and there is no way he can make 54 miles today. It's a real shame as he is such a super guy...

Steve and Micky have just set off - Torkel and Mike will leave an hour later at 7am. Steve set off with a pair of walking sticks in hand but most happy as he is now back on Chocolate after Lent. Micky looks like he has lost his horse and is a little John Wayne as they walked away into the sunrise.

Mike says he is a 'little stiff but still able to squat', whatever that means:-) but it sounds like he still has some left in the tank.

A nice day beckons and we are looking forward to seeing the Loch Ness Monster later on... now that would be news.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Late Finish - and Graham Clifford is Out...

Poor Graham Clifford's hopes of getting to Lands End are over... The 100+ miles of road have blistered the balls of both feet and he feels that there is no way he can carry on with them in that condition. He's upbeat as he was determined to finish today but had already set his mind on going back home to Reading in the last 10 mile section. Micky will miss him no end I am sure...

He and Ed finished along Graham in 15hrs and 10mins but are both suffering with Anterior Compartment Syndrome, which has left both of them with swollen shins and pretty demoralised about getting to the end of tomorrow, let alone Lands End.

They will decide their own fate in the morning at 5am when we get up ready for Day 3 of this 'ULTIMATE ULTRAmarathon'.

Ray of Light - First finishers

A great run by Mike today finished in glorious sunshine in Beauly. He took just 11hrs and 18mins to cover the 56.6 miles and was followed in by Torkel in another great time of 12hrs and 13mins.
Steve finished strongly in 14hrs and 4mins... he is absolutely on pace for a good overall finishing time, especially as last year he crashed out on day 4... and is in a lot better condition being some 5hrs slower than last year. Nice one Steve!

These guys have had a great day out in the Highlands and they hit Loch Ness tomorrow on a 54.5 mile route to Spean Bridge...

47 miles - Day 2

This proved a really tough section, except for Mike and when he came thru he was three miles up on Torkel, three and a half on Steve and five miles up on the pack.

He was still running at good speed and was in great shape as he crossed over one of the long firth bridges to us at 47 miles and on to do the last 10 or so to the finish. When Torkel had got to us he had got his second wind and looked a bit more relaxed in his running and Steve was going at his ever constant 'Get to the finish this year' pace.

Unfortunately for the slower pack, the war wounds are starting to pile up. Micky has a bit of a lean from having tired  QL in his back as well as sore shins and Graham's feet are pretty well blistered - although this is not surprising as he is in a pair of dreaded Asics Gel Kayanos... (you know what I think of them) and twin layer socks (even worse). He said it's a lesson learned and we will get him sorted for tomorrow... however he is very cheerful!

Ed is also still bubbly but also has sore shins (a feature of this race, me thinks). Ref - Bryant, Miles & Cockbain 2010).

Anyway we are off to the finish to see Mike arrive... and more then.

35 miles - Day 2

We are now overlooking Invergordon at Checkpoint 3 of the day and Mike steamed through 20 minutes ahead of the pack looking very strong.

Torkel was next to arrive - he seems to be in some discomfort with his hip. Still, he jogged away settling back into his pace comfortably. Steve wasn’t far behind looking strong and requesting birthday cake at the final checkpoint of the day – all of their appetites have increased tenfold already.

Not far behind Steve were Micky, Graham and Ed. They are working really well together.

It's turned a bit chilly up here although the forecast of torrential rain was thankfully as accurate as ever with only a few spots of rain... we’re all looking forward to a hot shower and a large bowl of Chilli for dinner!

23 miles - Day 2

The pain is starting to set in for some, especially after the drop down into the Dornoch Firth. Mike is still ahead of the pack but didn't really extend the lead during that section and freely admits that he will soon be into unknown territory...

Steve was just ahead of the others into the feed station and has a few niggly leg aches he is contending with... Jenny ran with him for a while and he is quite content with his progress so far and is in good spirits. Micky and Graham are still side by side and are now eating for England as they are seeing the importance of 'food and mood, Ed is now a permanent part of this group'.

Now at the rear of the group, Torkel is finding the going hard and is struggling with his food intake and a very tight Piriformis (Muscle in the hip area that laterally rotates the thigh) that is making his running very difficult right now. He is hoping to get to the end of today he says... and that's all he is worrying about right now...

Hmmm... let's hope he continues eh?

More from the lunch stop at approx 35 miles...

Good Morning from Scotland - 12 miles

Well here here are back online and on the road at 12 miles already. We had Steve's 42nd Birthday last night to celebrate on the bus and even had a Scottish Birthday cake for him. It was then bed by ten for most before a night of wandering around for some of the more insomniac runners. We found this last year that it takes a few nights to settle in and in a few days they will be instantly be asleep as their heads touch the pillows... we hope.

This morning, it took a few calls to get them up and there were a couple of 6am starts at 6.05 for Steve and 6.15 for the Three Amigos of Graham, Micky and Ed before the lead pair of Mike and Torkel at 7am.

Mike was the strongest out of the blocks and had already built a 25 metre lead in the car park where we were parked last night... he went off like a 5k runner.

Here at the first stop of the day at 12 miles, Steve was thru first quickly followed by the Three Amigos. Mike came in and overtook whilst they restocked and Torkel came in saying that he was going to run with the pack for some company today.

All seemed in good spirits and there are a few blisters and aches here and there only to speak of so far... we are off to the 22 mile point now... and more then.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Over and Out - The 7 are now 6

STOP Press...

It's been a very emotional last few miles on the '9bar JOGLE Ultra'... Mike finished in a brilliant time of 12hrs and 33mins and Torkel in 12hrs and 50mins just as Ben decided that enough was enough right on the 50 mile point near Helmsdale...

We are really sad to see Ben go and I am sure that the other runners will also be sad to lose one of their numbers so early in the trip. 'Guernsey just hasn't got the hills that we have experienced today' said a tired Ben. His poor feet got a real battering from the uneven roads it seems too.

The remaining four have just finished in a little over 14 hours and are looking forward to some warm food and a comfy bed on the bus.

Well done today boys...

Tomorrow sees Steve, Micky, Ed and Graham off at 6am and Mike and Torkel will get an extra hour in bed... and that's where we are heading right now. We hope you have enjoyed the blog and the pictures today and we will be back online in the morning.

Night, night from Brora.

50 miles - Day 1

We’ve just spotted Micky, Graham, Ed and Steve all walking up a long hill at 48 miles together. It’s funny how after a few hours the runners always seem to join up and start helping each other out. I must say this year the camaraderie is fantastic and we look set for some great times ahead. We are now off to find Mike and Torkel who should be nearing the 52-mile point right now.

40 miles - Day 1

Mike is still looking strong and stopped for only a couple of minutes before heading off again at 14:50... Torkel is now approaching at 15:25 so there is a significant lead now, although as we all know this is far too early to start placing bets... Torkel found a tearoom on route and stopped in for a cuppa:-)

2 miles down the road are Graham and Micky followed by Steve and Ben.

At the last checkpoint Steve's calf was giving him some minor agro so he was planning to go a bit steadier for the rest of today.

We now have beautiful sunshine and the scenery is breathtaking, almost enough to take the runners' minds off the road ahead, if it weren't for those cheeky hills! More later...

30 miles - Day 1

At nearly halfway for the day Mike steamed thru the feed station at 12:20 making 30 miles in 5hrs and 20mins with Torkel again behind him by ten minutes. Graham and Micky were next and have got so close over the first day of the event that they are looking for a church near Garstang to tie the knot on April 29th.

Ed has also just arrived at 13:15 and so have Steve and Ben at 14:20.

All are welcome of course... although it might be overlooked by another certain wedding on that day!

Suns out, countryside looks great and Scotland feels closed on this beautiful Good Friday.

20 miles - Day 1

Mike is first again to CP 2 at 21 miles in 3hrs and 40mins... Torkel was next at 10:50hrs. A definite pairing of Micky and Graham chuckled their way into picking up supplies and Ed was closely followed in by Steve at 11:20, so with Ben here at midday it looks like its that order to half way today at least.

The tester will come later in the day as at least Graham hasn't been more than 45 miles before in one go... he has got Micky for company who has though so all is well for that pair I am sure.

Note: It was good to hear from David Miles this morning from last year's race on the phone earlier and fellow 2010 runners Neil Bryant and Mark Cockbain, he sends his best to the class of 2011.

More from halfway... and more pics are now online.

10 miles - Day 1

We are waiting at the first checkpoint for the runners. Much as we thought, there was a sprint for the front and when we passed them at 7 miles, Mike was out in front followed by Torkel with the pack following.

Steve and Ben are at the rear covering the distance right on pace. Obviously Steve learned a lot last year!
We have also just found out that Steve is 42 today, so we will have a birthday celebration over a glass of orange juice on the bus tonight..

Highway to Hell - ACDC

At precisely 7am, right on time, The Magnificent Seven hit the 'Highway to Hell', some 860+ miles from John o'Groats to Lands End. Into a gale force wind up here of course and a balmy 9 degrees they sprinted off from the famous Start/Finish line outside the still derelict hotel.

We are off to our first checkpoint to see how they are getting on and settling into their first day on the road.

More later on...

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Rock and Roll - Led Zeppelin

Well we are here - armed, ready and set for 16 days out there on the roads of the Scotland, Wales and England. We had great weather conditions for the final leg of the journey up here and shivered only slightly during our photo session in front of the post.

It's going to be an early night for the guys as we start at 7am prompt tomorrow for our first 63 mile leg down to Brora. We drove thru there today and it took a further two hours to get here along a very long and winding road.

So all it remains for us at ULTRArace to say is 'Good Luck for tomorrow Chaps'...

More then

Airport - The Motors

There's nothing quite like a bit of male bonding...I say and the class of 2011 are already arriving and settling in and getting to know each other. It's all good manly stuff.

We have a further 130 miles to get up to JOG and are on our way as soon as the 13:30 arrives at Inverness Airport with the other runners.

- for more information check out

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Ready to go - Republica

I tell you what... 450 miles is a bloody long way to drive, let alone run! And it's taken us most of the day to do it, in the comfort of our Chevrolet Captiva. In fact looking at the stats, we did in an average of 60 miles per hour, exactly what our seven runners plan to cover a day over the next 16 days... hmm...

It doesn't compute somehow and thinking about the whole 860+ miles right now must feel extremely daunting to the guys prior to starting on Friday... it's one hell of a test of human endurance.

Inverness is still a mighty long way from JOG and we still have a five hour trip to make the first of our daily stopovers and the photocall at the famous fingerpost at the start of the 9bar JOGLE Ultra. We are already safely snuggled up on our luxury sleeper bus tonight and ready for the Class of 2011 to arrive tomorrow. So goodnight from Bonnie Scotland and more tomorrow.

Summer Sun - Texas

Well,we have made it to Scotland in our ULTRArace Chevrolet... It's a ridiculously high 24 degrees and is fantastic weather to get our 9bar JOGLE Ultra underway.

We meet the sleeper bus at about 10pm tonight at The Ironworks in Inverness... Paul,our driver is already a few miles ahead of our stop and will hopefully have our home for the next 16 days up and running for when we arrive...

It feels like going on holiday right now! Some holiday eh?

More later...

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Seven by Seven - Hawkwind

Well, we are all packed for the trip up to Inverness tomorrow to greet 'The Magnificent Seven' on Thursday.

Ben, Edward, Graham, Michael, Micky, Steve and Torkel deserve a huge round of applause even to get to the start line of 'The 9bar JOGLE Ultra - The Ultimate ULTRA-marathon'. The 17,806 metres of climb over the next 16 days (that's more than climbing twice Mount Everest from sea level) will no doubt sort the Men from the Boys and the 17,747 metres of descent will sort out what's left!

Hopefully, they have looked long and hard at last year's competitors and have seen how 2010 Champion Neil Bryant conquered the 860+ miles. With any luck they will also have seen how he, David Miles and Mark Cockbain went thru the pain barrier time and time again to get to that final run into Lands End and finish the longest mega-marathon footrace in Great Britain.

It was amazing to watch... and let's hope 2011 is just as exciting.

Anyway, our on-board Chef, Anne White arrives at ULTRArace HQ tomorrow at 10am and then we are off... and it's Bonnie Scotland here we come...

Monday, 18 April 2011

The Final Countdown - Europe

'9bar JOGLE Ultra' - 3 days to the Start

I am sure that there are some sleepless nights ahead now for 'The Magnificent Seven' as they begin the final countdown before the biggest ULTRArace of their lives... 860+ miles on the road over 16 days is something to be very respectful of for both runners and voyeurs as they run their hearts ourt and we look on as the drama unfolds.

In the ULTRArace office it's all JOGLE right now and we are already packing supplies for the long journey up to Inverness on Wednesday.

JOGLE fever has also hit our email as 2012 is already booking up fast with 6/13 places filled with at least the same amount considering their entry status... no doubt they are looking in right here to see what happens to the class of 2011 first.

Intro's to 'The Magnificent Seven', tomorrow... and more then.