Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Dorset Doddle - not

Eventually got back to running after 2 months off. Well, sort of. 
Jog/walking on the Dorset Doddle - a 32-mile stretch of the South Coast Path from Weymouth to Swanage. 

Runners & walkers wait for the 9am start.
As there were no trains on Sunday that would get me to the start in time I took my mid-weight kit in the new Innov-8 backpack and camped out on the Path Saturday night. As the forecast kept changing throughout the day I took the one-man tent rather than bivi and was glad I did, as it was rainy with strong winds all night.

Do you have a.. ?
With everything stowed away for the start, the pack was bulging with 2 rounds of sandwiches, 6 sausage rolls, 5 bananas, 4 Snickers, tent, airbed, sleeping bag, waterproofs and lashings of of Ginger Beer foaming away in the side bottles (I like to be prepared), we were soon setting off from Weymouth clock tower on the start of the hilly trek to Swanage.

From the start the weather was perfect, the clouds clearing to leave a beautiful blue midsummer sky and a cooling onshore wind that hid the fact we were all getting a bit crispy under a strong sun, and apart from tearing a chest-strap fixing, the pack held up well with 20lbs of gear.

The plan was to walk the first 2 checkpoints (Osmington Mills & Lulworth Cove), see how everything felt then try a jog for the remaining 20 miles. This worked out well as there was no recurrence of any niggles, and it kept the pace just high enough to keep at the back of the slow runners. En route I passed a few and managed to glean a little information on the route ahead, which boiled down to one word. "Hilly".
Durdle Door
The temperature stayed around 22C for most of the day, though even in that mild heat I managed to knock back around 5 litres of water and was always running on empty by the time the checkpoints rolled around. The decision was to go with 2 bottles in the side pockets rather than the horizontal bladder as the tent took more room that the planned bivi would. These were very easy to fill with a mixture of lemon squash & berry Nuun that kept electrolytes, sugar and E-numbers up throughout.

Flowers Barrow is a nice name for a shocker of a hill.. but with a few stops to "enjoy the view" (aka legs are shot) this was completed and a quick jog down the other side got us back to flat-ish ground. It was shortly after this at Swire Head that I ran into Matt who was to be my jogging buddy for the last 13 miles. Apart from the steps at St Aldhelms Head there were no major steep sections, though by now we were both eager to get the last stages done, so concentrated on jogging as much as we could. With a few diversions to cut out some of the lumpier bits of coast we still managed 5300 ft of ascent.

St Aldhelms Head steps ahead. Ouch!
Apart from a few wrong turns and the odd bit of scrambling (don't ask), it all went fairly well, though the last section along the seafront at Swanage was perhaps the most bizzare. Not having seen many people for the last 8 hours we found ourselves among the massed seaside public as we wearily jogged along at a snails pace. We must have looked a pretty motley sight in grubby, sweat-stained gear but by then we were beyond caring.

All in all, a very enjoyable day, Excellently organised with easy to follow route notes (when we decided to read them). And free food !  If the legs are back in action, this is definitely on the next year's events list.

Next up.. SVP 100k. Double the distance but none of the hills.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments.
There may be a short delay while these are reviewed before posting.