UTM(not to)B & Cotswold Fail Century

I’ll let you in on a little secret. I haven’t enjoyed running an ultra since the Green Man Ultra in March 2015. Since then I went through the motions at the Thames Path 100, my first sub 24 race on UK soil. I had run a 22:31 at the stifling, muggy Brazos Bend in Texas a few months before and thought I had it in me to go sub 20 hours at the Thames Path, but sickness transpired against me and I death marched in for a 23 something finish. That was my third 100 mile finish and the first where I felt nothing.

In September during the start of a year from hell I dropped at the Cotswold Century, emotionally wiped out by 60 miles.

But then in January this year I found out I had a place in UTMB. I firmly believe that UTMB helped me get through these last few months with something so huge, so epic to aim for amidst all the struggles I had day to day to get there.

On the way I finished the South Downs Way 50 in April and the South Downs 100 a couple of months later in June. Both finishes meant very little and I knew I was suffering.



Meeting Anton was pretty cool

By the time August came around, I finally had some good news and was able to fly out to Chamonix in a positive state of mind, but you can’t run UTMB on less than 100% mental focus. I was fit for sure, but it wasn’t meant to be. I learnt a huge amount and will be back to complete this race, of that I am certain. The race didn’t destroy me physically like a lot of races do. To be honest, most of it was hiking and I was back running a week later in the Dolomites and feeling good.



Framed race number. Note the cut away section on the bottom right, which was the ticket to the ‘loser bus’. I look at this every day as I work.

So good in fact, that I decided to seek redemption and for all of the wrong reasons, decided to enter the Cotswold Way Century again and close down a horrible year with a strong finish. 55 miles in this weekend I was pulled from the course having fainted and with uncontrollable vomiting from mile 30. I wasn’t ready. My body and mind weren’t ready.


A massive thanks to Mountain King for the fantastic poles. I can’t recommend them enough.

But, and this is a huge but, both these failures were way more beautiful than my two victories earlier this year. Both took everything from me in different ways and I discovered more about myself, my strengths, my weaknesses, my goals, my aspirations, my life, my focuses in these races. I prayed during both, I cried, I fell down and I started to heal because of both.


Factor 50, stubble and tiredness don’t mix all that well. Remember that.

I am not done with ultras. Not by a long way. But I am taking a long winter rest now and focussing on whats truly important as I look forward to life again. And if this text doesn’t sum it up, the below hopefully will.


About fromsofatoultra

In August 2011 I heard the term 'Ultramarathon' for the first time and have been obsessed ever since. I am not a race winner but hope to inspire as I have been inspired- I am by no means a natural athlete and if I can do it, anyone can. Having completed my first ultra in August 2012 I have just got started...and I am here for the journey.
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1 Response to UTM(not to)B & Cotswold Fail Century

  1. Les Jackson says:

    Great open and honest read. I hope you get the recovery and rest you need and manage to get back to UTMB for redemption.

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