Monthly Archives: August 2015

Hoad Hill road trip.

The Hoad Hill marathon had come around all too quickly after the Marmotte and I felt unprepared and not at all race ready.  I had done what I could but the final long run before our departure had been a disaster and although I knew I would finish I was not brimming with confidence regarding any sort of time especially with the terrain the race was to go over.  The race report, such as it is can be viewed on my A-Z page.

Unusually I was having company for this race.  Carol had decided that she would like a trip away and my marathon weekend was extended to include Wales and Englandshire.

If you are used to driving yourself all the time to be driven around is a luxury and an eye opener as you can actually look at the countryside you are driving through.  The journey to Ulverston passed quickly with a couple of stops one of which was at Lakeland HQ for a look around the kitchen gadgetry and a snack.  We were staying in Ulverston in the south lakes at the Bay Horse Hotel right on the water and on the race route.

bayhorse The marathon is named after a hill near the town which has a monument to Sir John Barrow a native of the town and a founder of the RGS and is 436 ft high and of course we would be running up it.


We travelled down on Friday the 7th August and once we had booked in and got freshened up we went into the town for a quick look around and some food.  Saturday dawned nice and bright so we decided to follow a walk from one of the brochures in the hotel which would take us into the town for a better look around and get registered for the race.  We walked round for most of the day and of course took a walk up the hill the views were amazing with Blackpool tower and the hills of North Wales both in view.

We had lunch sitting outside a small cafe and just watched the world go by.  The cafe might have been small but the cream scone and tea were of the highest order.  Sitting outside the Fourpence Cafe in the sunshine was a real tonic for Carol and I as the summer in Scotland hadn’t really happened. Before heading back to the hotel we booked a table at an Italian restaurant for dinner.  Back to the hotel a quick freshen up and we were ready for dinner.  Rist0rante Rossini was empty when we turned up but as we made our way through our meal there was a steady flow of customers and the restaurant began to fill it was obvious that I was not the only runner carbo loading for the following days race.

Being cheered during the race and met at the finish line by someone you actually know is quite a pleasant and uplifting experience.  By the finish the rain had stopped and the day was improving.


After a photocall we went of to find some food and a hot drink.  Vendors were sparse on the ground but we soon found one selling hot drinks and cake!  We never hung about much but walked down to Carols car and headed back for the hotel.  In the evening we Walked yes walked it does you good after a marathon!!! and had a bar lunch at the same hostelry we had eaten at on Friday  Normal pub grub but, for us huge portions.  We both particularly recc the Mill Burger a tower of protein stuffed goodness!!  We were heading for Portmeirion the next day so we did not tarry over our meal and headed back to pack and rest weary legs.

On our way to the home of No6 we stopped at an old slate quarry, Bounce below,  which now held a zip wire and underground trampolines.  Unfortunately we did not have enough time to do both and opted to try the underground trampolining.  After a safety briefing 20 of us were led down into the caves and got our first look at the trampolines.  The nets as it turned out were on 3 levels connected with slides and ramps that you used to get between levels.  The cavern was strategically lit to add to the atmosphere.  It took a little while to get used to the trampolines which were in fact cargo nets slung above the cavern floor but using the slides and ramps between levels we started to enjoy ourselves just as out hour was up!

It was then onward to Portmerion.  Portmerion is in Gwynedd North Wales and was constructed by Sir Clough Williams -Ellis between 1925 and 1975.  It was the village used to film The Prisoner a cult TV series from the 60’s.  The village is based on an Italian design and has a beach and gardens.  It is open for day visitors and the buildings double as self catering acomm or as rooms when booked into the hotel.  I had visited before with Carol but had never stayed.  We stayed one night and were treated to a great day and evening in the village which is a very romantic place.  We dined in the hotel and then walked around the village in the starlight once the day trippers had gone. A great experience and one that was over all too soon.  Before we knew it we were up, washed, breakfasted and on the road again heading for Shrewsbury and Carols friend Yvette.

Carol had visited Yvette before, she lives in a small village near Shrewsbury, but had not driven there from this direction before so no snooze for moi as my map reading skills were required!  We arrived at Yvettes and were shown to our room and freshened up before joining the crew downstairs.  We spent a pleasant evening eating, drinking and chatting catching up with each other.

The next day we took a trip out to a local common and walked Yvettes two dogs a novelty for me as I havent had a dog for a few years now.  We then headed to Shrewsbury for some lunch.  Shrewsbury was a town I stopped in during my LeJOG and although I thought I recognised some of the area we were walking through I was not sure.  Once again our time was over all too soon and we found ourselves hurtling up the motorway, Carol at the wheel and me napping!

Thats all for now folks.  Feedback if you enjoy these little glimpses into retirement!


The Hoad Hill Marathon

The Hoad Hill marathon is sponsored by Siemens and held on coastal path, road, trail, fields and fell around Ulverston, 2015 was the inaugural edition of this race.

There was a half marathon which was full with 300 runners and the marathon with 147 entrants.

I had travelled down with Carol we had decided to make a wee trip out of it with a stop in Wales and Englandshire she had elected to drive.  Ahhhh luxury.

We were staying in the Bay Horse Hotel right on the coast and CP 2 in the race.

A bit wet CP 2 with a half marathon runner streaking past.

A bit wet CP 2 with a half marathon runner streaking past.

The hotel was comfortable and pleasant and a short walk from the town.  We spent Saturday walking around the town and some of the race route including Hoad Hill which was the finishing point for the Half and marked the beginning of a northward loop for the full.  At 300+ feet the views on a sunny Saturday afternoon were amazing and we gazed on Blackpool tower and the mountains of North Wales.

The forecast for the race was rain and as I lay in bed at 1am Sunday morning listening to it pattering off the window I resigned myself to a wet cold and muddy 26.2 miles.  Ah well I complained about the heat of the Great Wall!

It was a sparse line up for the start and after a short talk from the organiser and thanks to the sponsor s we were off.  The race started with a short dash through the town and out through a kissing gate up a muddy narrow path and finally out on a quiet road.  This was the beginning of the southward loop of the race and although the rain did not stop underfoot was relatively dry.  After climbing Hoad hill 300ft, the half marathon runners headed down the hill to the park and finish whilst the full marathon runners headed north and for the highest point in the race at 900+ feet.  The second half of the race was wetter, slippier and hillier than the first with forest, field and fell.  During the second half there was a few times when I was unsure which way to go and I wasn’t the only one some of the signage left a bit to be desired.

The end of a wet muddy race.  H done!

The end of a wet muddy race. H done!

Result according to Strava was 25.1 miles in 4:19:46 official time was 4:42:0 3rd O55.

Marathon week 3rd August.

Since we returned from Skye Carol and I had been suffering cold symptoms.  Mine seemed to be approx 48 hours behind Carols but were running the same course.  Last week I struggled through 38 miles nearly all easy with 1 set of half mile intervals.  The planned 15 miler was reduced to a ten and I decided to drastically reduce training for the the week prior to the marathon.

The week of the marathon the only other run I did was my Jog Scotland commitment on Thurs evening and we headed down to Ulverston Friday morning 7th August.

Details of the trip and the marathon can be fond on my A-Z marathon page.