Self-supported Jogle - ran with a tent on my back ('cloud up 1') for the 19 days, sleeping out every night mainly on roadsides, using the tent, no assistance from friends or family.
How I got to the start
I was with the amazing MdS boys in the tent one evening perhaps 8 years ago now and I said I would do this. Not the record I was planning, but I could never foresee myself doing a supported run - it’s just not me.
Self inflicted adversity - how much can you take, why not try and push your boundaries to a safe limit and see what you have.
And I guess ‘safe’ means that you need to be aware of how you are feeling and I think that’s a complex matter re heart rate, blood pressure, injuries, infections, intake, sodium, etc and therefore I have to recommend a path to something like this - for me the St Albans half marathon turned into marathons (I guess 150 or so), turned into triathlon, into Ironmen (14 over 2 seasons), into 100 milers, into the worlds toughest races (spine, dragons back, utmb), I personally don’t think you can take this on without graduating from these races - they teach you so much. Get through a kit inspection on the dragons back and you’re half way there, despite the 90% cut rate.
My training for this.
Was 6 weeks. I had a hip flexor injury from tennis and single leg press work for the summer which meant I couldn’t walk or run easily. Those 6 weeks comprised of a 15-18 mile run everyday, sometimes a marathon, making sure I had destroyed my legs with a home workout prior to that run and then again at the gym in the evening. Then it’s about nutrition, iron levels and protein.
I should have spent more time with a loaded bag on my back, but got used to it after about day 4. And my soleus muscles on both legs (controlling the feet) were inflamed a lot and still are - I should have worked on these (I never have).
Kit was fine, £99 tent was amazing (cloud 1 up) and should have carried more powerpacks -
I ended up in Argos and Curry’s along the route buying 2 packs with 3/4 full power. The lady in Argos was amazing at finding the one with the most power for me 🙏
And my god. Some of the A roads. I don’t advise anyone takes my route. Sometimes it was a bit hairy. One point a lovely police 👮 lady pulled up in front of me on the A30 dual carriageway (I was absolutely soaked) and politely told me to leave the road for back roads. My phone was dead (wet through) so I was just following a line on my watch. I took the exit and walked into a Seat car dealership- those guys helping me map a back route - were amazing!
Data collected on the tracker, fenix 3 and fenix 5 pro. I had both watches recording - 5 pro was the back-up with the mapping. 3 with less data (ie no maps loaded) was 100% reliable.
What did I go through
Well. It was incredible.
Night sweats I guess sweating out toxins from the damage I was causing.
Hypothermia - getting close a few times
Trench foot - mild and managable
For about 2 hours in the tent my legs would do a lot of twitching - I could not sleep with that going on. That’s just about stopped now.
3 injuries to my right leg (calf, quad and then the soleus muscles) that all dissipated. With just my soleus muscles on my left leg to manage from day 6 onwards. Tapped and managed them and the ones on my right leg healed to about 90%.
Breathing became harder
Weight loss - 7.5kgs
Probably over hydrated sometimes that or my kidneys were try to adapt (still trying to understand what happened).
I stopped my blood pressure medication as it conflicts with salt tablets - and needed those on the hot days - 3 days if I recall coming down from the midlands to chepstow
Day 14 I was running along the roadside vomiting, I not really sure why. I drank water only and salt tablets and it went.
And I’m being asked by some, What next? Well I might cycle this route one day for the 44 hour record, and try for the RAAM record in 5+ years but my aim for the next few years is the RIBA’s Stirling Award - the uks highest award in architecture. This year reminded me that in my 20’s I worked for 3 practices that won it. I’ve given myself 3 years.
I was privileged to do this.