Friday, 7 June 2013

Lochalsh Dirty 30 Q&A

This Saturday (8th June 2013) I along with other runners and walkers will be taking part of Lochalsh Dirty 30 Challenge, there are always last minute questions that pop during preperations, so I posed these to race organizer Ewen Kerr who kindly answered them.  I'll also add a few details from my own perspective as someone running this great event for the fourth time.

Q1: How long has the Lochalsh Dirty 30 been running?
[Ewan Kerr] We've been running since 2007, so this will be our 7th year.

Q2: Can walkers and runners enter on the day?
[Ewan Kerr] Yes.  The event was initially set up as a walking event, but
we've seen a growing number of runners taking part over the years and are
happy for everyone to take part.

Q3: What is the cost of entry on the day?
[Ewan Kerr] The Dirty 30 is £25.  This is for the full, 30 mile course.
There's always the shorter Dirty Dozen route, which is only 12 miles, and is
£20 entry fee.

Q4: Can on the day entrants catch the shuttle busses from Shiel bridge campsite?  Should they contact anyone ahead?
[Ewan Kerr] We have  limited places available on the buses, so you should
email if you need a space on a bus and have not
already registered.

Q5: How many walkers and how many runners are already entered?
[Ewan Kerr] We've got 33 runners on the Dirty 30, and 5 runners on the Dirty
dozen this year.  The walkers are just over 100, and another 22 registered
for the Dirty Dozen event.

Q6: How dry is the course?
[Ewan Kerr] The course is fairly dry, though as usual, the forest section is
always muddy -- that's why it's the Dirty 30, but you would manage with
lightweight boots this year.

Q7: Are there any route changes?
[Ewan Kerr] There are no changes to the route this year, but you will see
the new permanent way-marking that is being installed in conjunction with
the Forestry Commission.  This will hopefully mean that the route is enjoyed
by people throughout the year, not just one day in June.

Q8: Is the Jelly Baby Pitstop at Letterfearn raising money for charity? Which one?
[Ewan Kerr] Yes, the ever-popular Jelly Baby Pitstop will be raising money
for a local charity -- last year it was for the open-air swimming pool at
Also, the parents from the Glenelg primary school PTA will be manning the
kitchen at the start/finish, with teas, coffees, rolls, delicious home made
soups and even more delicious cakes, with proceeds going towards the school.

Q9: Will water be available at the checkpoints?
[Ewan Kerr] All entrants are expected to carry the necessary food and water
with them for the Journey.  That said, we will be able to provide drinks and
sweets at the famous Jelly Baby Pitstop, and the Ratagan Youth Hostel are
also hosting an open day, and refreshments will be available there too.
There's a tap for water at Shiel Bridge as well as the garage shop, and
we'll have a limited supply of bottled water at Moyle, but you should not be
relying on that.

Q10: Are there flowing streams that can replenish water bottles out on the
hill after Sheil bridge?
Yes  - there are plenty of streams running where water can be replenished
throughout the course.

Q11: What websites should entrants check for any last minute updates on the
[Ewan Kerr] We'll post any last minute updates or changes on our website and on our facebook pages

Q12: Do you have an recommendations of where to pitch up a Motercaravan on
Friday evening?
[Ewan Kerr] There's a camp site at Shiel Bridge (details on website) at the
foot of the Five Sisters of Kintail, and another site at Moyle.  Another
popular spot is also on the beach near Glenelg, along the road to the ferry
where you'll get spectacular views straight down the Sound of Sleat towards
Sandaig (Camusfearna in 'Ring of Bright Water')

Q13: Can I do the event for Charity?
Absolutely -- Many people use the event to raise money for the charities
that are important to them so we don't have a prescribed list of charities.
Others just want to take part for the personal challenge, or to enjoy with
friends and family, and that's great too -- we just want everyone to enjoy
the day!

Here are my thoughts as a runner:

Q14: What's the weather forecast for the area?

Forecast currently (Friday 7th June) on bcc website for Kyle of Lochalsh:
Q15: What will you be wearing?
Shorts and T-Shirt, but carrying jacket.  Will wear my inov-8 debri gaiters to keep shoes clear as parts of the off trail and muddy - it's as much for piece of mind as avoiding blisters. 

On my feet I'll have my Trailroc 255's, these are light and work well on road and trails.  Some runners have worn road shoes but there a couple of muddy bits and technical descents that are best tackled with trail shoes.  Fell shoes won't be necessary though.

Q16: How will it take?
In the past three years I've ran it in 5:24, 5:34 when I suffered with cramp from mile 10, and last year 5:12 off the back of some great training.  I did this off the back of 10k times in the 41 to 42minutes range, so multiple your 10k time by 7.7 times are you'll roughly get what time you might get.

This year due to my foot injury have I've only run 18 miles in the last 4 weeks, and only 83 miles since the beginning of April.  I have never run the race with such little time on my feet.  The furthest I've run in this period was the Stuc a' Chroin hill race that is 14 miles long with 5000ft ascent/descent, finishing in 3:18, with a 4 minute PB.  So while I've not run long distances I'm optimistic that my legs are still robust enough to handle 5+ hours on my feet.   

If I manage a sub 5:30 time this year I'll be very happy, my goal at the start of the year was to be the second person to go sub 5 hour.

Q17: What is the course record?
Last year Scott Kennedy completed the course in 4:25, 36 minutes faster than anyone else has yet achieved. Scott is a 2:45 marathoner.

The event is not ran as a race though, it's ran as a challenge, it's only the runners that informally might place themselves or worry about times!

Q18: How easy is navigation?
The route is very easy to follow for most of the route - for the most part it's either clear path, tracks or roads.  There are however a couple of sections that people have made mistakes.  I'd recommend taking a map with you, I laminated a small section of a map that I fold in my running rucksack.

Q19: Food and drink?
I'm planning on lightweight running ruck sack and putting a 1 Litre of water in the camel back at the start, then topping this up at the Shiel bridge checkpoint.  I normally take around 200 Calories per hour of food but never finish it so this year I'll reign it in a bit.  In previous years I left food/drink at the Shiel bridge campsite to pick up on the way through.  

Two years ago I didn't top up with water at Shiel bridge expecting there to be water from streams on the way up to the pass but the once that normally cross the path had all dried up.  This year looks pretty dry so I'd err on the side of caution.

Q20: Splits?

These are my splits for my 5:24 time ran back in 2010, my split percentages when I ran 5:12 were pretty similar and feel I ran well judged pace on these occasions, so as % these are probably good guide.

CP Distance Total Section time Elapsed time Pace Avg. Pace
1 5.95 5.95 00:57:33 00:57:33 09:40 09:40
2 4.83 10.78 00:54:44 01:52:17 11:20 10:25
3 5.15 15.93 00:44:23 02:36:40 08:37 09:50
4 5.04 20.97 01:21:52 03:58:32 16:15 11:22
5 4.27 25.24 00:46:00 04:44:32 10:46 11:16
6 4.28 29.52 00:39:26 05:23:58 09:13 10:58

Q21: Pacing?

As a general pacing I'd suggest take it easy, walk all the steeper hills.  If you find yourself getting out of breath at any point slow down as going anaerobic will just fill the legs with lactate and waste precious glycogen stores.

I'll be taking my HR monitor, as well, I'm a bit of science geek...  In previous years my average HR was 163, 165 and 164, so as an experiment I plan to use a HR of 164 as a guide of the level intensity to work out.  For the first 20 minutes I plan to try and warm up slowly keep my HR below 160.  My lactate threshold is up around 175, so I'll be averaging 10 below this.

Q22: How tough is the course?

It's 30 miles with around 3000ft of ascent/descent.  It's a mixture of hills, tracks and road that individually are not too difficult, but together it's a nice challenge.  The 1500ft hill ascent up at mile 18 is the most demanding - just at the point your glycogen stores will be running low!  The descent down the other side is very technical and different to run smoothly.   It's this section that will likely make or break your race so hold plenty back for it.

Thanks to Ewen Kerr for answering my questions, and thanks to the whole Dirty 30 team - it's a great event and with the weather looking like it'll bless us with a cool start and sunny conditions later it should be a great day this Saturday. 

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