THE SALTMARSH75 COMMUNITY

SALTMARSH BLOG

KIDS INSPIRE

Kids Inspire are our chosen charity for this years event, on the day donations with will gratefully received and a team of volunteers will be supporting all competitors on the day.

Our official sponsors EJ Taylor will be entering a team in aid of Kids Inspire.

For more information on Kids Inspire and what they do please visit their website https://kidsinspire.org.uk/

2 Months and counting!

With the Saltmarsh organisation well underway for this year’s event, I hope the training is coming along just as well for those taking part?? We are very lucky to have Matt James participating this year and we had a catch up in the week where I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions. For those of you who are unaware of who Matt is and the challenge he has set himself, he can be found on Twitter @ultra52uk – his twitter name is a little hint on what he plans to do this year. Yep, you’ve got it – 52 Ultra’s in 52 weeks!!! Madness…..

So, Matt – how and why did you set yourself this challenge?

I decided about a year ago that I wanted to do something that I felt would challenge me and push me to my limits, I have never been a natural runner, I never really enjoyed running when I was younger so the prospect of running an ultra-marathon every week for a year seemed like it would be quite testing for me mentally and physically.

How have you planned and organised yourself for these ultras, have you got routes already planned or are they ad hoc?

I have pretty much just looked at a map and pinpointed some areas that I would like run then tried to map out a suitable route for an ultra. It’s quite a tricky process as when you are just plotting a route on a map you can’t really see how steep it might be or if the path is still passable. I’m sure that I will encounter more than a few surprises during the challenge and have to make changes as I run but this is the bonus of running a lot of pre-planned routes, I can change them as I go.

I don’t have all 52 figured out just yet I will probably plot lots of them a few weeks before I run them so I can configure them around other things that I might have going on.

I am also going to be running a few organised events so I don’t have to do too much thinking for those.

Which ultra are you most looking forward to and why?

That’s a tricky one, there are a couple that are up there for me, I’m looking forward to running the Malvern Hills, I used to live there and the scenery is stunning. I’m also excited for the Saltmarsh 75 as it’s going to be the only multi day event I will be doing I think.

How are you feeling about completing Saltmarsh75 and what are you most looking forward to / worrying about with this event?

I cannot wait for the Saltmarsh 75, I’m looking forward to the route as I have read a lot about it and seen a lot of pictures and it looks like a great. I’m also looking forward to the multi day aspect to it because I love camping.

My concerns will be with the weather as I know a lot of the route is quite exposed but I will be prepared for whatever conditions crop up.

Tell us the 3 most important things you carry on you when doing an ultra

Firstly, I always carry my phone with a full charge, I tend to do quite a lot of trail running and have been in a lot of out of the way locations so a phone is super important in case you get into difficulty. I also have the OS MAPS app so I can always see where I am. I make sure I take lots of photos and videos too.

Secondly, I always carry my bank card and a £10 note. You never know if you will need these in an emergency, I carry the £10 note because sometimes if you are running somewhere really out of the way you can come across a shop that still does not take cards.

Thirdly, It’s more something that I wear and that’s my flip belt, it’s fantastic for carrying my phone and my cash and card and keys, I love the way it holds it all steady and it does not all bounce around and it’s easy to access.

Best motivational song?

I have a lot of different songs on my playlist for those tough times but I think the song that really gives me a boost is lose yourself by Eminem.

Favourite post event meal?

For me it’s pizza, I love to push myself as far as I can for as long as I can and then put my feet up with a hot pizza, I think it tastes so much better after you have put in so much effort.

What advice can you give anyone thinking about entering their first ultra?

Do it, don’t think about it just sign up, don’t doubt yourself as you will talk yourself out of it. Just sign up and then think about training and preparing, I think anyone that can run can do an ultra, it does not have to be about speed it’s just about moving.

When I started running my first ever event was a full marathon, I had been running a few months and just signed up for it having never run more than 10 miles. It was tough and it took me 6 hours but I did it and it felt great.

My second event was the Severn Challenge, which is 218 miles in 5 days along the River Severn from source to sea, I had never run multi day or gone further that the marathon distance by this point and was now facing some 60 mile days.

So, if I can do it with little training or experience then I think anyone can if you set your mind to it.

How do you prepare for the physical and mental /emotional challenge of an ultra and what have you changed as you embark on your 52 ultra challenge?

Physically I just run and cross train by rowing or cycling, I have never really been into the usual training plans or hill sprints and fartlek sessions, I tend to just get out the door and run for as long as I can, it might not be the best training method but it works for me.

Mentally it’s tough to train for, there is nothing you can really do to prepare for spending such a long time on your feet or for when something goes wrong mid run, you just have to always try to look on the bright side of what you are doing, I tend to think of fun times I have had with friends or holidays I have enjoyed. I don’t really listen to music while I run but I do have a few playlists on my phone for those times when I am struggling.

Do you have a specific event plan or tactics to get you around the course?

My plan is to start out slow and keep going until I get to the end, lots of people go out too fast and then struggle later on, I’m not trying for a record time so I’m just happy going at my own pace until I reach the finish. I usually stop to take pictures and video so I tend to use those times to eat or stretch if needed.

Every route will be different be it hilly or trail or road so it will obviously change how I run depending on the conditions.

We know lots of people struggle with race day nutrition, do you have any top tips for eating and drinking while on the go?

When I first started running I was obsessed with taking gels because I thought it was what all the professionals did. I do still sometimes use gels if I have not had time to prepare for a run but I prefer to try to use real food as much as I can now. I try to take homemade flapjacks with me that are packed with nuts and seeds to help fuel my long runs.

I have also been known to take pork pies and peanut butter sandwiches though these do struggle a bit when packed into my running vest.

I sometimes take some jelly babies with me to get that hit of sugar if I need it but I always make sure I carry something that will give me a lot of calories.

I struggle to eat before a run so I have to make sure to take enough with me to keep me going over 30 or 50 miles.

I wear an inov8 running vest which has a 2 litre running bladder in the back which I fill with water and two bottles on the front that I use an electrolyte tablet in, it’s important to hydrate well and replace all of your lost electrolytes when you run long distances. The difficulty I have is because my ultras are mostly self supported I don’t have aid stations where I can refill my water bottles so I need to factor that into my route planning.

Almost 3 months to go!

With just over 3 months to go until the 2018 Saltmarsh event, I hope training is going well for those who have entered and for those that haven’t – what are you waiting for!? It was around this time last year I thought I was losing my mind and had made a terrible mistake signing up to the biggest challenge of my life. I’m guessing some of you are feeling the same, but I must be honest - all the anxiety, nerves and training is so worth the achievement you will feel after this event and that will never go away. I am still shocked at and proud of myself for achieving this.

I remember asking Saltmarsh Ben for advice after his Cotswold Way Challenge and although he didn’t complete the full 75 miles of Saltmarsh (sorry Ben, that’s the last time I mention it – promise), I think he offered some great lessons learnt which I think are worth listing here for you guys to take note:

  1. Look after your feet and accept that you will need to stop / rest for a few hours over the day. You’ll get back the time later by moving quicker.
  2. Pack light – I took way too much with me on day 1.
  3. Change socks and t-shirt during the day – makes you feel mountain fresh for at least 10 mins which is well worth it!
  4. Drink lots
  5. 60 miles is a VERY long way to run/walk.
  6. Take music for the dark times – I didn’t.
  7. Walking is SLOW… be prepared to think way outside running times. i.e. 10k to go is not just over an hour at 20min mile ‘plodding whilst crying’ pace.

ENTRIES ARE NOW OPEN FOR 2018

Trainers and Legs

We are pleased to announce that entries are now OPEN for Saltmarsh75 2018. 

Over the 5 years we've been planning and running the Saltmarsh75 we've had consistent feedback that you all love the event. To be frank all us that get involved in putting it on, just love it too.  Over the years we've kind of steered away from the typical massive race bling medals, loud music at the finish line, pasta parties etc because we feel that we're friendly and somewhat understated event.  We are confident that we already look after participants well and provide decent value for money and have stayed true to that principle.  

This year we've taken the difficult decision to increase prices by a fair amount.  We want to make a number of improvements such as better stocked check points and improving route signage, perhaps t-shirts for all, and these additions will add to the overheads of running the event

We think the changes will be worth it and will help everyone enjoy (as much as possible) their Saltmarsh Experience. We will work hard to ensure that we keep the friendly feel and we'll continue to love the Saltmarsh as much as you.

ENTRIES OPEN

Saltmarsh Entry Numbers

13th Jan 2017 - Entries are open!

It's an exciting day at Saltmarsh HQ as today we open entries for Saltmarsh75 Number Five. We're looking forward to seeing who will be the first to commit and sign up. We also launch our new website.

It is a day for all things new, so we're opening up an addtional category for this year, The Duo. This came about as a result of a conversation with previous winner Paul Nickells who suggested it might be good to allow two people to enter as a team, one runs day one and the second runs day two. So that's what we're doing.

Obviously, you can still enter the full 75 miles as an individual, or just one day.

FOLLOW THE SALTMARSH 75